Farewell to the Godwits

Occasionally in life you meet someone who you wish was your next door neighbor forever.  But life rarely works out the way we might wish, and Laura isn’t my neighbor.  She lives in Nelson for half the year, a 5 hour drive from Christchurch, and Alaska for the other half.  Their family is heading back to Alaska summer in a couple weeks, as they’ve been doing for the last 6 years….just like a kind of sea bird called a “Godwit.” There’s an elaborate ceremony in Christchurch to mark the departure of the godwit flock, which leaves their NZ summer feeding grounds to fly back to their AK summer breeding grounds each year.  We decided to have our own departure celebration by spending a weekend in Kaikoura together before they go.

The thing about a bad weekend forecast is that any improvement in the expected weather outcome is a bonus. We packed puzzles and craft projects, but the rain beating on the roof all night ended by morning, up spending most of our time outside. Here we are on a bit of the peninsula walk. We've written about Kaikoura before, so I won't bore you with lots of details. Suffice it to say that it's a bump out of arable land on an otherwise rocky stretch of coast, and a combination of deep ocean trench and upwelling currents make it good fishing grounds. This time we even saw a pod of orcas cruising the coast line.

Here are the clans!  The thing about a bad weekend forecast is that any improvement in the expected weather outcome is a bonus. We packed puzzles and craft projects, but the rain beating on the roof all night ended by morning, up spending most of our time outside. Here we are on a bit of the peninsula walk. We’ve written about Kaikoura before, so I won’t bore you with lots of details. Suffice it to say that it’s a bump out of arable land on an otherwise rocky stretch of coast, and a combination of deep ocean trench and upwelling currents make it good fishing grounds. This time we even saw a pod of orcas cruising the coast line.

Grassy path and a big open sky? Perfect flying lane. Half a second latter I got bowled over by my son, and the exercise was repeated until we captured the desired shot.

Grassy path and a big open sky? Perfect flying lane. Half a second latter I got bowled over by my son, Oomph!  And the exercise was repeated until we captured the desired shot.

What are they doing here? They look like dufflepuds sleeping with their feet up like umbrellas. Somehow the nests they were making turned into this scene!

What are they doing here? They look like dufflepuds sleeping with their feet up as umbrellas. Somehow the nests they were making turned into this scene!

Guess what Audrey's playing? She's a baby seal, pushing a leaf around in the water. We visited Ohau stream in prime playful seal pup season, and it's quite the sight to behold.

Guess what Audrey’s playing? She’s a baby seal, pushing a leaf around in the water. We visited Ohau stream in prime playful seal pup season, and it’s quite the sight to behold.

This particular stream, just a few kilometers north of Kaikoura, is the baby seal nursery of the coast.  You park on the coastal road and walk a few steps into the bush, and the place is crawling with miniature seals.  And tourists, but they’re mostly well behaved.  It’s super cool.  I’ve been before during baby seal season, but I don’t get tired of them.  They’re like swirling dark slugs in the water, but much more energetic, agile, and amusing.  In the video below, watch the ones on the right sparring.

Goodbye for now, Jordans.  We hope your family time in Alaska is good.

Goodbye for now, Jordans. We hope your family time in Alaska is good, and look forward to your return.

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3 thoughts on “Farewell to the Godwits

  1. Those photos were great Molly! I think you have a future in photography.
    Can’t wait to get back and plan our next trip. We love you!

  2. Yes, Molly, I know what you mean about wishing for neighbors. How about that brief but idyllic time when the Kennedy’s lived across the street from us? I think it was between Jennifer and Sarah’s births. But they are still close friends. I don’t know how to predict prospectively who you will stay close to, but having friends for each person in the family sure helps.

  3. I’m remembering when a Shaw was a neighbor and allowed for lots of visits with a Harro then,
    turned into a married couple with a lifelong friendship – PRICELESS!

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