(back to Abel Tasman National Park)
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I woke up in Abel Tasman National Park, packed up the car and set off down the west coast. For the next few days, the driving was gorgeous with beach views around most curves. I was headed for Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks, but along the way I saw a sign for a seal colony and decided to stop off and see it... the upside to traveling by rental car.... complete freedom.
From the parking lot I had to walk about a half mile along a path to where the seals were. My feet were really hurting, but a stretch of the legs sounded good too. Along the way, I saw sites like this photo to the left.
The trail took you to a viewing platform, from which you could look down at the seals. The waves crashing up the rocks was as nice as seeing the seals. I waited until I got a photo with a good wave crash... here it is below.
Actually you can barely see the seals in the photo above, but they were also hard for me to see when they weren't moving. The photo below is a closer photo with some seals circled for you. The red ones are males sunning themselves lazily on the rocks - they didn't move much. The yellow circle is where a bunch of pups were playing in the sea - they were non-stop - diving into that little pool, climbing out, bumping each other around, diving in again... it was fun to watch.
To the right is a photo of me. I asked a guy to get a photo of me with the seals below in the background... this is what he came up with. That happened quite often where I would ask someone to take a photo of me a certain way, and it wasn't even close. Oh well... the ocean and rocks are pretty too. See the key latched onto the belt loop of my shorts... I wasn't going to risk misplacing that again like I did in Abel Tasman!
After I got back in the car I started back for the highway. The seal colony was much further from the highway that I realized... as I turned back onto the highway there was a sign that said 80 kilometers to next fuel. I was really low on fuel, so I turned back towards Westport, passing the seal colony, to get to fuel. That was the first time I wasted fuel to get fuel. Some of the towns in New Zealand are so small they don't have gas stations - particularly on the south island. It was hard to adjust to that.
(on to Punakaiki)