Storytelling

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  • Stories from New Zealand: The Departure



    We had already driven two hours away from the Christchurch airport when we found out the unfortunate news. Our airline moved our flight back. An entire day. Our departure was now less than 12 hours away. As you can imagine, our future bookings and travel plans were officially a huge mess. If the airline was a person, I would have been tempted to plot revenge… like dying all their shirts pink, or snipping off all of their pant pockets.

    Needless to say, our time was cut short in Kaikoura- a seaside town best known for whale-watching and all manners of sea-life encounters. Luckily, the owners of our charming bed and breakfast (where we were, again, the sole occupants) had excellent advice for our unexpectedly brief visit. The next morning, we took a quick drive in hopes of catching a glimpse of a New Zealand fur seal colony.

    We had two chances to see the seals: Directly off of the coastal highway, or across the road by a waterfall down a forest path. The baby seals sometimes played in the later area, so we heard.

    You could say serendipity had found us, again. At Ohau Point, there were seals of all sizes bathing in the frothy waves of the South Pacific Ocean.

    There was time to spare, so we said, Why, not. We’re here already, and wandered down the forest path. It was simply opposite the point, afterall.

    “Unbelieveable!!! You’re in for a real treat!” exclaimed an apparently flabbergasted man who we passed along the way. Hm. I shifted my eyes over to David’s, raising my eyebrows.

    However, it didn’t take long for us to start understanding the man’s reactions. First, there were a handful of seal pups in the stream. Hands down, it was the closest we had ever been to such an animal. Then, we saw a seal sitting in the middle of the forest. By himself. Weird. And then, we arrived at the waterfall…

    Oh, my goodness. So many seals!

    There were more seal pups than I could count, and they were splashing and jumping and playing like truly wild children. We could have very feasibly touched them. However, I imagined my finger as a fish, and decided to keep my hands to myself.

    Nearly every New Zealand experience we found was unexpected. We knew a beautiful land awaited, but my! what a trip this turned out to be. It was all a sort of weird and wonderful time.

    Thus, we had many kiwi visions dancing in our heads for our journey back… A trek which became a 42-hour calendar day.

    It was time to turn right-side-up again.