We could hear the honking as soon as we got out of the car. We could also smell the pungent whiff of rotting seaweed and salty sea air. There before us were dozens of seals of all ages. Bulls lolloping around like pashas in a harem, females with flippers in the air enjoying the intermittent sunshine, and pups playing in their very own swimming pool, just out of reach of the big wide ocean. In a corner, hemmed in by slippery rocks were two big ones sizing each other up and making a real racket.
It looked like a bull seal and a female shouting at each other but I’m no seal expert so maybe someone can enlighten me. They didn’t fight, just shouted at each other then the darker one, possibly the female, waddled off to find a rock to chill out on. You can see these seals at Ohau Point, just north of Kaikoura, famous for its dolphin swimming and whale watching trips.
Alex, who was 11 years old at the time, loved being able to get close to them (tho not too close to disturb them). As the car park is just off the road and this colony of seals at Ohua Point are free to view it is a very popular place. Make sure you take a camera with a good zoom lens and you’ll get some great photos at any time of year.
After spending half an hour watching the seals, we stopped off at a caravan called Nin’s Bin where we had deliciously fresh crayfish caught just off the coast. Our friend Judi, who was showing us round her home country, explained that the name Kaikoura is Maori for ‘meal of crayfish’ so it was very appropriate to try this local seafood. Apparently Nin’s Bin has been there since the the 1970s, so hopefully it will be around for many years to come.