I know last post I had a wee whinge about Christchurch weather (or was up in grump mountain as Moata would say) and while I don’t think I helped actually improve the situation I’m not above taking my own advice. Yes dear reader, there are no double standards here – one rule for readers and me, the blogger, above the law. So I proceeded with my plans despite the weather, or even in spite of the weather. Yes I practically bit my thumb at the ubiquitous greyness that was smothering last weekend.

So off to Kaikoura with a mate for an impromptu surf trip, banking on a little lingering easterly swell after the epic weekend the week before. Threw some gears in an overnight bag and headed into the wet greyness that was the open road. It made me realize how little you actually need for a weekend away (disclaimer: I’m a guy who’s happy to go feral for a couple of days).

Stayed the first night in a house so that didn’t count but it was a chance to watch (for at least the second time) the Bill Murray classic ‘The man who knew too little’ – if you haven’t already I highly recommend it, it’s a little like the comedy of Mr Bean but with the class of Bill Murray. The next day we were away at the crack of 11.30 to check this really secret surf spot called Mangamanu (just keep it to yourself ok) then Meat Works. The swell was MIA so instead we decided it was a good time to put the tent up. Found a spot that looked like it wasn’t taken and looked clean enough (sadly free campers are not the cleanest creatures on the planet – hence the sign you can see in one of the photos below).

kaikoura free camping campfire
The reason I go camping
kaikoura free campers pollution
NZ's clean green image takes a nose dive by the world famous Manga surf spot
kaikoura seals sleeping
A non-performing seal
kaikoura dusky dolphin spotting
A pod of dusky dolphins playing in the bay
Kev hoping for a cold beer finds mud instead
Kev hoping for a cold beer, finds mud instead
Tourists entranced by a lump of seal
Tourists entranced by a lump of seal
kaikoura surf trip
A Kaikoura surf trip isn't one if you don't surf
Me trying to make the most of no swell at Meat Works
Me trying to make the most of no swell at Meat Works
Meat Works - small swell and a moody sunrise
Meat Works - small swell and a moody sunrise

Tent up we passed the time waiting for the swell to hit by playing skip-bo (a game that I took to with a certain amount of natural affinity solely because it’s all about numbers – I like figures) and working on the campfire – takes my vote for the best thing to do when camping. Still no swell so we went seal hunting instead (armed with cameras of course).

Got back to the camp and there was still time for a surf – desperation had set in and there were a couple of guys out there so it was on. Suited up booties and all and grabbed a few waves before it got dark. Perfect timing for a cook up and ramp up the fire, and maybe a few beers and bourbons – just missing the marshmallows. It was at that point I realised that the sole reason I was roughing it 3 hours from home was so I could sit there and do the campfire thing. I’m thinking of actually starting a Facebook fan club all about how great campfires are.

Sunday morning got off to a rough start with the airbed giving up before 6am and forcing an earlier-than-planned start. I was so desperate for sleep I defied the rock hard ground and snoozed a little bit longer. Sadly still no swell so we packed up, checked Manga one last time then headed into town. On our way through we came across a huge pod of dusky dolphins (and calves) in the bay straight out from the Esplanade. We stared out at them along with a growing crowd of spectators both on and off the water, wondering if, by the time we suited up and paddled out, the dolphins would still be there. After 5 minutes of that I was like ‘let’s do it, nothing to lose right?’

Within 10 minutes I was out there along with a bunch of kayakers and small boats getting amongst the biggest pod of dusky dolphins I have ever seen, swimming around, under the surfboard and flipping out like circus animals. When you get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures you realise how powerful they really are. A quick flick of the tail and they were right out of the water, spinning around and back flipping, it was an incredible sight. While the vista of a bunch of black fins circling towards, and around me, triggered some initial flight response within, it wasn’t long before I was just sitting there in the water soaking up a special experience that doesn’t come along very often.

On the way home, the weather rewarded my stubborn defiance with a show of sun through the clouds. Too little too late. But I thought this turn in the weather was good news for the buskers who are in town for the annual World Buskers Festival in Christchurch. My vote is for Mario Queen of the Circus, definitely one of the better buskers, oh and Mulletman has a sweet mullet, as the name suggests. I’ll see you at the Comedy Club on either Tuesday or Wednesday, and I’ll be expecting Michelle to document it thoroughly!

In other news Gary Coleman’s in jail – just another case in point of why children (or people who look like children) should not be actors – ever. Sorry that was a random segue to end on. It must be kooky hour.

Kaikoura Surf Trip Defies The Weather
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2 thoughts on “Kaikoura Surf Trip Defies The Weather

  • Tue, 26 Jan, 10 at 12:04 pm

    Okay, that is a secret spot…

  • Tue, 26 Jan, 10 at 12:03 pm

    I really want to go to this spot. Could you tell us where is it?

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