Hi it's Jenni! It had started to feel like it was Dan's blog, so I've managed to finally get to have my own go at writing a blog!
We've become excellent wildlife spotters over the last couple of weeks. We've seen dolphins three times now swimming about in the sea, once in Abel Tasman National Park when we were on our way to do the seal swimming, then next in Milford Sounds, and yesterday we saw some Hector dolphins at Otago Bay just outside an albatross centre. They're the rarest and the smallest dolphins in the world, so we were pretty lucky! We also saw an albatross flying back from the sea to feed its chick, which we were very excited about - they're enormous!
At the moment we're at Mount Cook which is NZ's highest mountain. We had already driven past it on the way down the west coast, but as it happened we could not see it because it was covered in rain clouds. We got 150mm rain during our stay at Fox Glacier, which meant that I stayed up most of the night - the van's roof isn't the best sound proofer! But we've got the most perfect weather now, clear sunny days, so we've got amazing views all around us. We're planning to do some more walks around here tomorrow, we've heard about one that will take us past some lakes that have icebergs in them, and over some swing bridges with beautiful views over the mountain ranges.
The odd thing we've got at the moment is that nights are absolutely freezing, the temperature in the van is around 10 degrees when we're sleeping, but the days are really hot in the sun. Also, we've had a couple of days of storm winds. One of those days we camped on a cliff on the side of the road overlooking this huge white beach - really pretty place to wake up - but the winds were so strong that the van kept rocking and shaking, and I was terrified that the handbrake would fail and we'd roll into the sea! Of course Dan tends to manage to sleep through the night no matter what weather hits us...
One thing I wanted to tell you guys about was our stay at Marlborough wine region. We were so excited about going there, because we really love their Sauvignon Blanc, and we hired out bikes and visited 7 wineries, sampling on average 5 or 6 wines per winery! That was another hot and sunny day, what better way to spend it than on bikes cycling through stunning scenery, constantly drinking these delicious wines! We've put some pictures for you to see as well, just click on the right. By the end we were pretty merry and thought all the wines tasted just amazing...
Yesterday was pretty exciting day for me. We went for a tour of the Cadburys chocolate factory in Dunedin! We got to see how they make chocolate and taste cocoa beans, not to mention getting samples of their products - I really was a lot more into it than the kids on the tour! I can't wait to be in Indonesia or Malaysia where they grow the cocoa beans, then I will have seen the whole process.
Just to remind you all to have a look at my and Dan's photos as we were dangling over the edge of a plane at 15,000 feet or 4.5km! I've now allowed myself to think about just how high it was we jumped from, and what a long time 60 seconds was to freefall towards the earth. I think my adrenaline makes me think that what I'm about to do is just normal and that I'll be safe and everything will be fine... I stil can't believe that when the photo was taken and I could see the ground looming beneath me I was happy to jump out of the safety of the plane! Can I just add that 15,000 feet is the highest you're allowed to skydive from, and 60 seconds is the longest freefall you're allowed to do - at least if you're a first-timer!
If that doesn't work, try this link: http://www.skydivenz.com/ and go to page 5 of 12 April photos (link at the top of the page)
I have to go because we've run out of coins. More to follow soon, together with some killer pictures of Dan in his skydiving outfit! Oh and at the Cadbury chocolate factory Dan had to wear a beard net as well as the standard hair net, I'll put a photo of that up for you as well (we're back in the USB port problem zone again it seems), he looked so ridiculous it's just incredible.
Miss you all, thank you for all the comments!!!
Jenni and Dan