I woke early on New Year's Day, slipped out of the backpacker's hostel as quietly as I could, and drove down towards the seal colony. Someone had used stones to mark the onset of 2011....
I spent a whole two hours down at the Seal Colony, before too many other people had even arisen. There weren't very many seals resting here, though this one gave a good yawn; but the tide was low, and the rock pools were exposed.
There was an abundance of Neptune's Necklace (or as I learned in my NZ Flora paper- Hormosira banksii.)
There was an abundance of kelp in the lower tidal area
And all the time I was aware of the remarkable setting Kaikoura has, with the mountains rising close by.
The previous evening I had enjoyed fish and chips on the beach, and took many photographs of the seagulls that tamely waited nearby, hoping for some throw-outs. The seagulls seem so very used to humans, and don't seem to be afraid of them.
But of all the seagull shots I took, this is my favourite one, in the carpark at the Seal Colony, where this bird was drinking from a puddle on the tarmac.