26.01.2014 - 27.02.2014
It was a relief to wake up to sunshine after the worst downpour they had had this year! But our time a Abel Tasman had run out as we had to keep moving to stick to the schedule. It felt a bit like we were a day out of sink with the weather and if we had left a day later we would have been able to do everything we had planned.
Trying no to feel despondent we hopped on the bus and headed towards Punakaki. It was a scenic drive following the twisting road along the river until we got to the coast.
Here we stopped at Cape Foulwind to check out the local fur seal colony and their babies! I wonder if it is the smell if seals that gave the cape its name? Once you had tuned in your seal spotting eyes we started to see them everywhere, popping their heads out from behind the rocks and hopping over the boulders.
This one enjoyed a good scratch!
Fur seals can swim up to 30km per hour over short distances and can dive to over 250ms! This is a crazy depth to comprehend as we have only been to 30m and that seemed a lot!
We also met a relative of the Kiwi bird but I can't remember the name of them...
Next stop was to check out the famous pancake rocks. Made out of limestone they have formed into these unique layers that make them look like stacks of pancakes. The experts still aren't sure exactly how and why these rocks formed in this way.
We were staying that night in little houses a short walk from the beach ours was called Rata and as I wasn't well Possum had kindly set aside our own room instead of bunking upstairs with everyone else. As I got an early night Dan joined the others to check out the sunset.
The next morning Sally and I were up early as we were going to do Jade Carving and make our own Maori inspired necklaces. It would take us 4 hours to make our creations and we were picked up by Hamish and taken to his studio to get started. Whilst we chose our designs we were introduced to Brindle a 7 month old puppy who liked to play and I think I was going to get distracted by this one!
I was hoping to get more inspiration on different designs we could do but those on show were limited so I decided to go with a swirl that would look like a wave as I like the ocean. In Maori this is a symbol of harmony which is a nice touch too. First step was to cut a circle of Jade using the circle cutting machine. It took a while to cut through the stone but soon I had a perfect circle and Hamish helped to draw on the markings and set me up to drill a hole through the middle that would start the swirl.
Then we needed to master the technique of cutting the stone, using one edge of the tool to make the cut deeper and then the flatter edge to move the curve out... Did that make sense to you as I struggled with this and every time I thought I was getting it right it turns out I was doing it wrong.
Needless to say it took a while to get the hang of it but eventually the gap of the swirl began to form although I had made lots of scratches that I needed to try to get rid of when it came to the polishing phase.
Before doing that though I needed to thin down the outside edge and I think I was a bit better at this part!
Polishing had 4 steps and we were fast running out of time so we took in turns swapping from one machine to the other to use the different polishing tools. We were just finishing up when the bus pulled up to pick us up but it was a bit rushed at the end.
It had been a really fun morning and great to be able to make our own necklace. I'm glad I did it this way rather than buying one from the shops as apparently the only way you should get a Maori necklace is either to make it, be given one as gift or kill someone and take their necklace! Didn't fancy doing the last one!
If I was to do it again though I think I would go to the bone carving studio. Having met up with other people who did that they seem to have had much more inspiration with designs, with about 40 instead of 4! It might be that bone is more pliable to carve than Jade so you can do more intricate designs in the same time.
That aside I'm pleased with my handy work
We had a long drive that afternoon to get to Franx Josef and along the way we had our first incident, but no one was hurt so alls ok.
And we soon forgot about it after seeing this view!
We made it to Franz Josef safe and sound and in the morning we would be trekking on a glacier! Yeah!