Whale watching

New Zealand is famed for its whale watching, the water is so clean here you don’t have to go too far from the coast to find the marine wildlife.
Kaikoura is the place to visit in the South Island, due to the way we’d planned our route and an earthquake destroying most of the roads, we weren’t able to visit there.
Auckland was our back up! 

I got to try out my full waterproof outfit! 

Eyes peeled keeping a watch for any activity.

And pretend we were Jack and Rose…

The dolphins found us and started dancing around the boat!

A Bryde’s whale was also sighted! 

This was one hell of a way to complete my time here in New Zealand! That’s right, I’m coming home! Not for too long, I already have three more adventures lined up! 

So stay tuned for the next escapade! 


First full day on the island

Woke up in the morning, rolled over and went back to sleep. Because I can! 
When I did eventually emerge from my hut, I found myself a sun shade and read for the morning. 
I found a piece of wood and painted it with ‘Iechyd da’ although they had run out of white paint so it doesn’t look 100% right.

I got chatting to some new arrivals and managed 3 beers in the 30mins challenge! 
Boat trip to jump off elephant rock and watch the sunset.

Most people who jumped, gained an injury, I didn’t jump, because I’m a pussy. But I did have a swim.
The water was really choppy so was difficult to sit in the boat and actually enjoy the sunset.
Back to our bit of the island, noodles, drinks then make my way through the dark to find my hut, almost bumping into a Zebu!
So considering I’m trying to do nothing…it’s not really working!


To the island

So because I’m so bad at getting up in the morning I booked the slightly more expensive afternoon bus to HaLong Bay. 
Naturally, I wake up at 7am now. Came down for breakfast expecting the usual cheap white bread with butter and jam, was handed a menu! 

A menu of French toast, yoghurt and fruit, and egg on toast. A refreshing change for a hostel.

Did a bit more research of HaLong bay with my new found book. 
Booked into a cheap little hostel for one night so I can explore and book a cruise from there. 
Went to get lunch from a street vendor, a big bread roll with an omelette, chicken, tofu, cucumber, coriander and some unknown pink item. 

It was pretty filling! I took it to a cafe where I could sit in the sun and enjoy it while purusing my book and the internet for ideas.

Where I also had the best chocolate milkshake since being in Asia!

Was picked up from the hostel by a guy on a motorcycle, so had to sit on the back of that while he drove me two blocks away! 
A mini bus collected me from the street corner I was dropped at. Drove through ‘real’ Vietnam, paddy fields, cattle, goats.

A few hours later we are at the docks.

I do like a boat ride, seems to blow the cobwebs away.

Landed on Cat Ba Island and thought I would have to find my way to the hostel, but there was a bus waiting the other side to take everyone to their designated hotels/hostels! 
This mini bus was from the land time forgot, complete with petroleum fumes permeating throughout the vehicle and window curtains from I-don’t-know-what-era.

We were about 20mins into the journey and the poor little bus gave up halfway up a hill. 
As darkness falls around us, it’s feels like we are in the opening scene to a horror film…

We were rescued by a convoy of vehicles and deposited at our relevant hostels and hotels. 
Mine was more than I bargained for, I booked a single room for $5, I got a triple room with en suite for $5! 
I dumped my bag and head back out for food, like most sea side settlements the restaurants tended to be along the sea front, although it’s dark now so can’t appreciate the view.

Chose a place called CatBa Commons Cafe, mainly because they had a giant menu picture board and I saw they did fried noodles. 
An 8 year old girl took my order and then went to play with her dog in the street. 

Nicest noodles I’ve had in Asia. Started chatting to a Scottish guy who has cycled up from south Vietnam, who very kindly bought me a drink.