Two for the Road

Who would have thought we’d last this long? Not me, that’s for sure. But there it is. Two whole years on the road. With some breaks here and there in familiar territories but otherwise it’s been pretty much all road, all the time. Thanks for tagging along! 🙂

Right now, the road has stopped for us in Hawke’s Bay, near Napier. It’s wine country and supposedly very pretty but we’ve only seen it dreary and drizzly so far unfortunately. (Actually that’s not really true. When we arrived two days ago it was beautiful and sunny. But the current greyness is doing its best to convince us that it’s always looked like this.) Still, we weren’t deterred by the bad weather, not much anyway, and headed out for a Gannet Safari today. Gannets are moderately sized seabirds and it just so happens that their largest accessible mainland colony is located right here in Hawke’s Bay on Cape Kidnappers (excellent name!). Said Cape was purchased by a stinking rich American a few years ago who fenced it all off and created an exclusive golf course so now the easiest way to access the colony is with an organized tour. That’s why this morning we hopped onto a bus with Gannett Safari, thereby considerably lowering the median age range of the tour, and headed out to find us some gannets.

The road through Cape Kidnappers runs past the aforementioned golf course as well as lots and lots of sheep farm land. There are some dramatic views from the cliffs which would probably be even more dramatic if the weather hadn’t been so crappy.

The first gannet colony, rather safely tucked away from prying tourist eyes.

This second colony was considerably more acquainted with humans.

The stench around the birds was godawful. The ammonia cut through everything, including scarfs and tightly pinched noses so most people tried to stay off to the sides where the wind didn’t hit them directly. It still smelled pretty bad there but at least it was bearable long enough to take a couple of pictures.

Baby gannet, just a few weeks old.

Juvenile gannets

And finally, an adult gannet

Best of all was feeding time though:

6 Responses to “Two for the Road”

  1. Vicky says:

    wouldn’t winetasting have been a better option 🙂 ???

  2. Nora says:

    That’s on the menu today. Our host from the B&B has offered to take us round to a few vineyards this afternoon. We’ll report back. 😉

  3. Luis says:

    You two are the coolest people I know, no really! Congrats on 2 years of paws on the road.

  4. Nora says:

    Thanks – right back at ya’ll! 🙂

  5. Alex says:

    Apparently gannets pee in their nests. Filthy creatures. Learned that from Monty Python, an unending trove of wisdom

  6. Alex says:

    Here’s the bit there Michael Palin explains why he doesn’t like the gannet. You have to listen to the whole thing:

    Just as Fa gets his WWII lessons from Eddie Izzard (according to Fa, the British and German soldiers spent every Sunday playing football matches against each other), I get all my considerable wisdom from Michael and the boys, and some geography lessons from Eddie for good measure: from Germany to Switzerland you go through “Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Venezuela, Africa, Beirut, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and then Switzerland.”

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