My brush with big waves around New Zealand’s South Island started in the Pacific, and escalated into the Tasman Sea. After cruising through the calm seas of the Queen Charlotte Sound, we arrived in Kaikoura, a small coastal town on the east coast of the South Island, known for it’s rich marine history and it’s whaling past, so we headed out to sea on a whale watch expedition. Of course, I underestimated the size of the swells we would be encountering in the Pacific Ocean (much larger than the ones I’m used to in Southern California), and sea sickness quickly became a factor. The sperm whales were truly amazing, however, and well worth the nausea, as were the dolphins. The albatross, however, seemed like overgrown seagulls to me. Hanging over the side of the boat to take the photos, while not getting sick or falling in, became the goal of the trip.
After the whale watch, we walked around town. I had a ginger ale (for the nausea) and a double shot cappuccino (for the sleepiness of the sea sickness meds) and a pizza! I had a good laugh at some Aussie mannequins, felt some scratchy but warm wool yarn and sweaters, and learned that the alcohol free zone in New Zealand can be very tiny.
After we rounded the bottom of the South Island, we began our crossing over the Tasman Sea. A three day trip turned into five days in stormy seas with 60 knot winds. I had new respect for sailors worldwide. The trip was so horrendous, that several passengers disembarked when we reached Melbourne so they wouldn’t have to face the Tasman again on the way to Sydney. We stayed, but agreed to bid the Tasman farewell for future travels.