Sunday, June 21, 2009

And the winner is...

Drum roll please.............. My brother Andrew, big shocker. Andrew correctly identified the splayed body as that of a beaked whale, and his pick is backed up by a recent report from May in New South Wales that confirms that beaked whales do come ashore once every blue moon.

In other whale news Tens and i spotted our first living whale (a boring run of the mill Orca) yesterday on what turned out to be an 8 hour fishing expedition from dawn to dusk. We were only supposed to go out until 2 pm but we didn't actually find a good spot until the end of the day when all sorts of stuff started flying into our boat, including an eel and a crazy little fish called a 'leather jacket' which croaked at us angrily when we pulled it up. Pictures will follow shortly, which reminds me I forgot to post the 2nd round of shots Tenny has meticulously logged on Flikr. If you haven't seen them already they can be found here:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hot Water Beached

We've said adieu to the Corromandel Peninsula, where we can now pretty much call ourselves local experts after spending three weeks, and have landed north of Auckland on an olive oil/vinegar farm called Pururi Flat. On the way out of town we stopped by Cathedral Cove and the Hot Water Beach, which is one of New Zealand's big tourist draws. On a lovely day you can dig a hole in the sand and bask in natural pools of hot water while looking over the shimmering ocean. Or on the crappiest day of the year however, when we visisted, you can look like an idiot trying to dig a hole which gets covered up immediately by the incoming storm surge. Let's say hypothetically you did decide you wanted to be that idiot, well then you'd look a little like this:

And let's say, again hypothetically speaking, that you tried to go around the rocks to find a more secluded portion of the beach away from the waves, and you had as much luck as we had that day, well then you'd probably find something like this:

Our host here believes that the poor belated soul was a pilot whale, but after looking at some pictures I don't think it is. The elongated snout would suggest a dolphin more that a whale, but I looked up what the largest dolphin was and apparently the internet is claiming that a killer whale is actually a dolphin. So now I am thoroughly confused..

A thousand gold pieces to the person who identifies this carcass!*

*depending on the availablilty of gold pieces successful entrants may receive a postcard

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Seriously Bizarre

We picked up our new wheels while we were in Auckland, and are proud to introduce the newest member of our family:

Princess Silver Fern

She is a 1996 Subaru Legacy Brighton, with some sweet hatchback space and dual left hand driving side action. Within our first week we took her up into the mountains on the Coromandel Peninsula, where we did the Pinnacles Hike in the Kauaeranga Valley (Tens will have some photos up on Flickr shortly). And it was on her first night camping that New Zealand proved it isn't always as warm as it is cut out to be, with this being the scene in the morning after a long cold night:

Geniuses that we are we decided to test her by leaving a light on all night, and she passed the test by driving for another week before the battery completely died on us (Atta girl!!). Next test is to run her without oil (not even valvoline) in the desert for 5 days and see if the engine survives. If she passes that test then maybe, just maybe, we'll start taking care of her.

In other news Tenny and I were in deep discussion while planting some trees at our first wwoofing farm, named Tihanna, after something that I didn't understand (you get used to that after 2 weeks of Maori names all over the place), and began to ponder one of the great questions of New Zealand culture: what is the most famous band ever to come out of NZ???

Well I responded quickly that it must be Silverchair, to which Tenny replied that Silverchair was from Australia, and we proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes trying to get that damn 'wait till tomorroooooow' song stuck out of our head. And so the question was left unanswered, but some quick research reveals shocking results! Pretty much the opposite from Canada, where google reveals a whole bunch of artists that you never knew were Canadian, I was floored to find that there are almost no notable bands from New Zealand. Not even debatably notable punk bands, or opera singers, it's just a wasteland. There are only two musicians of note, the first being the person who wrote the music for the Rocky Horror Picture Show (mildly bizarre..), and the second being the New Zealand artist responsible for the greatest selling single of all time:

Wanna know the rest hey... buy the rights!