Saturday, May 28, 2011
And, on a more detailed level, the glacial ice carved the rounded, intricately patterns rocks that litter the valley floors.
Mike and Madeline scampered right up to the base of the now retreating Fox Glacier.
While at Franz Joseph, the current glacier is a fair trek up the valley. We lacked the time necessary to fully explore this one.
Donna works exclusively in wool, and had a small basket of hand-dyed wool for sale. Her business, the Wool Patch, will be undergoing changes soon. Donna is pursuing her dream, and after eight years of trading and meeting some wonderful people, she will be studying art and design full time at Christchurch Polytech. Donna's work is unique and all of her quilts are wool. This one features many of New Zealand's rarest birds.
While this quilt is more traditional.
Everyone, especially Jane, really enjoyed the show and tell, but the biggest surprise was ahead - -
PUPPIES! Their Jack Russell terriers had produced six little pups one month earlier.
Justine holds up one of the pups so it can get a smooch from our driver, John.
Betty was instantly in love. I suspect there will be a puppy in her near future.
It's a good thing that we would all have to get on a trans-Pacific flight. Otherwise, we might have had to scrap over who got to take one home. Here, Judy bonds with another pup.
While we were acting like besotted fools, Mama Dog just took it all in stride. Thank you, Donna, for sharing your home with us.
This coast captures the flavor of wild nature as these huge trees, or remainder of what had once been, rolled onto the beach.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The continental shelf drops abruptly to the ocean floor about 2 miles offshore here, creating a nutrient rich upwelling of water and huge numbers of oceanic species, like Royal, Shy, and Wandering Albatross, as well as Giant Petrels, Cape Pigeons, Gannets, and more. The birds are so close that you could almost reach out and touch them, although doing so would definitely risk the loss of digits.
We were 9 strong on this outing, more than half of the tour participants came out with me. Betty loved the close-up views of the birds. This Southern Giant Petrel, below, posed for the camera while waiting for a turn at the chum basket.
I think our group must have taken hundreds of photos. Notice the calmness of the ocean on this day.
Our captain told us that this Northern Royal Albatross was a very old bird, possibly 50 years old. Apparently, albatross plumage becomes paler with age. The peach coloring is a remnant of breeding plumage. Upon our return to shore, we were greeted by this shag and gulls. A wonderful trip, not to be missed if you are in New Zealand.
Dave and Betty enjoyed the brilliant sunshine on this warm day as our snacks were set up outdoors. Quite a charming little shop.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Well, we didn't realize the size of the winery we were about to visit. They had never before had a large bus stop in front of their tiny showroom. Owned by Howard and Julie Simmond, their 6 acres of grapes are mostly Pinot Gris with quantities of Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Gewürtztraminer. It didn't take Howard long to collect his thoughts and then treat us to one of the most remarkable wine tastings I have ever experienced.The 6 acres of grapes are hand picked and pressed. Only the best for the Gibson Bridge grapes. Two bottles went home with me that day, with special packing to pad them in my now seriously overweight suitcase. It's so worth it for something this special. Another suitcase and an extra bag charge, but two precious bottles now reside in New Mexico waiting for that special occasion to arise. I already know how good it will taste!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
A pair of Takahe had been recently introduced to Zealandia. Takahe were thought to be extinct until a small population was discovered in the Murchison Mountains on South Island in New Zealand.
Looking up toward the top of the valley.
Zealandia also boasts a breeding population of Tuatara, ancient reptiles native to New Zealand. Tuatara can live 100 years or longer.
We saw many native species that were impossible to catch with the lens of the camera, Stitchbird, Saddleback, Tomtit, New Zealand Scaup and, of course, the inimitable Tui. A pair of New Zealand Falcons has a nesting territory in the park, but they were not evident during our visit. Zealandia - a must see location when you nest visit New Zealand!!!