dolphin sighting!

Three weeks in a Campervan has made us tired of camp sites and the constant search for clean water and public restrooms. With three days left, we were ready to find one last spot to wander around before making our preparations for Christchurch airport. Cramped up in the van at our little table, we scanned a map over dinner and tried to decide where our final adventure here was to be. The peninsula southeast of Christchurch, known for it’s marine reserve and easy access back towards the city won the our last weekend.

Elegant restaurants, well dressed couples on sunset walks, kids whipping by on razor scooters, and a busy pier selling fishing trips and evening cruises welcomed us into Akaroa. The small town is known historically as New Zealand’s only French settlement, and the change from the other small towns we’d grown used to was quite welcoming.

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Down to a bare minimum budget, we hadn’t planned on doing much more than walking the town and enjoying the sights. But we couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that we’d missed out on much of the wild marine animals that this country is so well known for. On a whim, we walked into a tour office late in the afternoon to see if the were any affordable options.. All the while knowing that the likeliness of anything affordable was low.

Perhaps everyone was too busy at home watching a certain British couple marry, or attending one of the parties for said couple that seemed to be being thrown everywhere. Whatever it was, we didn’t so much mind because their distraction was our gain. Low on participants and on the brink of canceling his evening boat cruise we scored an unexpected deal on a two hour harbor tour. Complete with wine… And dolphins!

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Never mind that we still couldn’t really afford it, the draw to see the Hector’s dolphin was overwhelming and we decided to go for it. The smallest known species of dolphin, Hector’s are well known in this area and commonly swim in the wake of the yachts coming in and out of the harbor. Dave got some great shots of a few of these rare and very tiny creatures, and we feel complete with our trip now having been able to witness them on our final weekend.

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