This theoretically “easy” task is made more complicated in a Transit van, owing to the need to first lower the handbrake to allow room for the seat to swivel. The scopema drivers side seat swivel, comes with no instructions, other than a simplistic diagram of how to fit it on the website. Whilst we did video the whole process, this is just in case you are if you are like me and also like a written list.Continue reading
No chance to back out
Originally, we had just “popped in” to talk about jumping options and book a slot in the coming days. We found ourselves quickly suited up, in the last few spaces on a plane before we could change our minds!
We chose to go from 15,000 feet to get more free fall time, and chose a freefall camera package so we could really get the perspective of our jump over any wrist mounted footage. This option was pricey but gave us some pretty wicked photos and a nice video too. Continue reading
Entering Another World
On visiting any of the sounds you would be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a Jurassic park style world. The cliffs here run straight into the water, continuing some hundred of metres below sea level. The water is dark, stained by the tannins carried in the water that runs off the trees on the hillsides. Bizarrely, this run off also means that the water is far less salty than imagined, forming a freshwater layer on top of the sea water. The dark water filters much of the sunlight, allowing deep water species to live much closer to the surface than usual. Continue reading
This was one of the highlights of the trip so far, which we booked with Encounter Kaikoura. Despite being utterly amazing, it came with some significant seasickness drawbacks! Booking on the early 5.30am tour was perfect for us at it meant we could also make it to church “later” in the day. We arrived bleary eyed at ten past five ready to get suited up and were provided with a long john wetsuit, additional wetsuit jacket, neoprene hood, fins, face mask and snorkel. We chose to wear a rashy underneath in addition to our swimsuits. After a short video briefing we headed onto a bus for a short drive round the coast to the harbour, where we hopped on board our boat.
After reading plenty of reviews we had purchased some seasickness tablets and taken them ahead of time. Although the weather was fine, the sea was choppy and had a large swell. The dolphins in Kaikoura are completely wild, and aren’t enticed in any way, which means the first part of the trip is spent looking for them. We passed a small pod of dolphins, but continued on as our guides decided they weren’t in a playful mood. A few minutes later another group was spotted, and after donning our hoods and masks we were ushered into the water. Continue reading
Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe
The Fox Glacier sits within the Southern Alps on New Zealand West Coast. From it’s nevé plummets steeply towards its terminal face, dropping 2,600m over 13 kilometres. This steep incline means that the glacier is incredibly fast moving, covering up to 5m in a single day – distances other glaciers struggle to reach in a year. The fast pace of the glacier and the amount of ice forced into the valley from the nevé means that features such as ice caves, pressure ridges are often seen.
Its Maori name, Te Moeka o Tuawe, means the final resting place of the ancestor Tuawe. He fell to his death whilst exploring the area, and his lover Hine Hukatere wept tears which formed the nearby Franz Joseph Glacier – also know as Kia Roimata o Hine Hukatere. Both glaciers are also unique because they end amidst rain forest which is considered unusual.
In recent years the glaciers in this region have begun to retreat, meaning hiking onto the ice from the terminal face is not safe, and instead tourists must be flown up onto the glacier itself. Despite this, it is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, and local company Fox Glacier Guiding, takes several hundred people up onto the face each day. Continue reading
A chance to learn new skills
We had the opportunity to try something new whilst on the west coast of the south island; Knife making. This is something that Jenny and I have been interested in for a while. A good quality bushcraft knife can cost £100’s. There are lots of different styles of knife and we weren’t sure exactly what we were in for with the course, but it came highly rated. So we booked in a few months before we left. Incidentally this was our first ‘hard’ date. Up until this point we’d given ourselves plenty of flexibility to allow for buying a van. Continue reading