Wednesday, July 09, 2008

That was so much fun!

Fun with a capital F, and maybe the U and the N as well. Since the last post I've been on a wee bit of a fiber bender, I kid you not, starting with a trip to the Milton Mill, meeting and tiki touring with another Knitter, and then more fiber on the way home. All lovingly supported by an understanding family - but, yes there is a but - I've got no knitting photos to show today, its been all I could do to meet, travel, shop, stash, and a little knitting, I failed to record my knitting progress. Instead of knitting I do have penguins, so if that tempts you read on, if not, I promise there will be knitting on show next time.

Our visitors Jocelyn and Tess arrived Saturday last, when Bear and I woke it was to radio news that the roads we planned to travel over on Sunday and Monday were closed by ice and snow, and we woke to snow falls and and icy blast traveling up the country. We were worried we wouldn't be able to get out to the airport to greet our friends from the warmer coast of California, but the day did clear, their flight was delayed several times, the weather brightened, and we arrived in time to wave and hug hello. Before Jocelyn arrived she asked if visiting the penguins was possible - yes we said.

So duly rugged up we headed out Saturday afternoon for a Penguin tour, in sleety rain. At the colony we were encouraged to wear the heavy green waterproof coats they had on hand for rainy days, no we demurred, we had good jackets on. The nice staff offered again, they had coats in all sizes all the same shade of green, Large, extra large and even bigger, 'its ok' we all said, we have good jackets. After 10 minutes of politely offering us the heavy green waterproof coats we gave in, and they were right, it was wet and cold and we needed seriously heavy duty rain wear.

Once kitted out and Rugged up for a cold wet day, we climbed aboard the Penguin bus and headed off up the peninsula to the penguin grounds. At the top of the penguin trail we parked and descended first down stairs cut into the hillside, then into the camo tunnel system. These tunnels are dug into the ground and covered with camo netting, and let us sneak up on the penguins mostly undetected. Personally I think any bird of prey that hunts for a meal would know we are there, but has found the odd creatures in the heavy green coats to be harmless.

At various points along the tunnel system, we stopped in little viewing chambers, and peered out into the rain. Our guide (who's name I missed) was fantastic, she kept the 3 kids moving, and warm, and spotted penguins for us over here, and there and had all the juicy gossip abut which breeding pairs were swinging a little or a lot. It was one of the coldest days they had had, and we were told it was so cold and miserable that most of the penguins had stayed home and not gone fishing. So I now have a new definition for a cold day, so cold the penguins stay home! We were told that seeing 5 penguins on such a day would be a good score.

We were rewarded with views of 11 different penguins, some we saw more than once, and one we watched emerge from the sea, toddle up the beach and thru the sand dunes and off to his apartment. We saw 2 different kinds of penguins, little blue and the rarer yellow eyed, both sorts choosing to live inland by 100m or so under trees and in little A frame apartments built for them.

After our Penguin adventure we headed out the next day for Milford and the Glow-worm caves, which unfortunately were closed due to a crack in a large rock overhead. Then it was off to Touch yarns,
and a night at Tekapo, and ten Ashford, and on to wave goodbye at the international airport.

As you can see my-Toby and Jocelyn's Tess did seem to hit it of just fine, tomorrow I'll update a little more, but it seems a long post, there is a meal to cook and knit night to go to, so I'll finish right here for now.

Take care - Stella


Knitting Linguist said...

That's a great picture! And I think I'll just refer people to your description of our penguin adventures -- you've got it nailed :)

Shirley Goodwin said...

Hoo! Great holiday away - we had those penguins at Oamaru too. I have just bought some fab hand painted Touch Yarns possum/wool mix - I can't stop fondling it! You can see it on my blog. I haven't got to their shop yet but next time I head that way, I'll call in.