Wednesday 27 March 2013


"What a waste of a nice beach," said the man next to me at the Florence Hill lookout over Tautuku Bay. "Not a single house! Not even a tent. Tch." I pointed out that some people might see that as an advantage, but he was unconvinced. I was on my way to Cathedral Caves, the start of a watery sort of day here in the Catlins - scenery, that is, not weather, which has been glorious. The Caves are big and splendid, but require some wading to enter, which puts off a lot of people, apparently. Tch to them, I say: their loss.
Then there were waterfalls, mossy and green and white, and coolly refreshing on this warm day. They were a stop on the way to meet up with Brian for a slightly too exciting surf-ride in a boat out of the rivermouth and into Porpoise Bay. I went there yesterday to spot Hector's dolphins and thought I had done well to see half a dozen or so from the beach - but today we had about 19 diving under the boat and riding on the bow-wave, looking up at us sideways and generally playing in the clear water. Just 1.5m long: so cute!
And finally, there was another beach and lots more sea lions at Cannibal Bay, where 20+ animals lay on the sand and dozed, or flicked sand over themselves, or idly scratched, while two bulls had a desultory sort of scrap as I watched from about 10 metres away, eyeing up escape routes meanwhile, just in case. It was a lovely day, and I've become rather fond of the Catlins, as much because it's so dozy here as in spite of it. Nice place. You should come here!

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