|The InterIsland Ferry|
We had a nice ferry ride to Picton. The plan was to stay around the port and explore the Marborough wine region but the campgrounds were either run down or by noisy highways so we continued toward Christchurch.
Fortunately we ended up at Kaikoura and ended up spending 2 nights in this one road beach town. We went to the seal colony and hiked a few miles. The beach was made of finely ground black rocks but had not one shell. This area is famous for a species of Abalone called the Paua. Of course, we bought two.
|Port of Picton|
|Shoreline in Kaikora|
|Kaikora Fur Seal|
|Tucker Sno-Cat from the actual expedition|
We went to the Museum by the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch. They had some nice exhibits but we both thought the Antarctic Exhibit was very interesting. New Zealand is the closest major country to Antarctica and has been a major player in its exploration.
When I was flying EC-130's in the Navy, my engineer, Dan Shore, flew in the squadron that had LC-130's belonging to the National Science Foundation in support of Antarctic Operations.
I always wanted to fly in that squadron. What an incredible experience that would have been.
|LC-130 (notice the skis around the wheels)|
Apparently the US Air Force now has the job.
|Temporary Support for the Anglican Church in Christchurch|
We walked the City Center and visited the Quake City Museum. Even though the city was basically leveled by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the rebuilding has been progressing rapidly. There is no shortage of work in CC for construction workers.
|More of those walking road blocks|
|Franz Josef Glacier|
Neither of us had ever seen a glacier and that was probably the highlight of our trip. If it was winter, it would have been nothing more than a snow capped mountain but being summer and warm, it was truly special. The glaciers are receding 125 metes per year and probably won't be there in 50 years. Too bad.
|The Fox Glacier used to cover this entire valley|
|Getting there was half the fun|
|The Fox Glacier|
|Mostly loved by the sand fleas|
|The Blue Pools. Nice hike, nice surprise|
|Suspension bridge to the Blue Pools|
|On the Lookout at Bluff.|
|At the south tip of Bluff|
We headed down to the 'Far South' and were as close to Antarctica as most people ever get when we went to the town of Bluff. A Low had come passed and it was windy and cold. If it wasn't, I would have been dissapointed. We went to another museum in Invercargill and headed up the east coast to Dunedin.
|It was cold at Bluff|
|Cheese tasting and tour in Oamara|
We were ahead of schedule and spent a few extra days exploring the southeast and even had an unplanned night at Akaroa.
|Never too old for the Jumping Pillow|
|World Famous Chips in Akaroa|
|Getting a little stick time at the museum. P-51 in the background|
The flight the following morning was full but we were lucky and had a morning arrival at the Coolangatta Airport in Australia.
Now that we are done living in vehicles, it's back to Tortuguita. Sure seems huge compared to what we have been living in for the past 2 months.
|Kiwi Air Force Museum|