On our second day in Abel Tasman, we rented kayaks and explored on the water.
First off, we paddled to a cafe for some coffee (it was early, we have our priorities) THEN we got serious and powered our way over waves to Fisherman Island. After pulling our kayak to shore, we had the beach all to ourselves.
One of the amazing things about New Zealand is that there's just not a lot of people here. The cities are much quieter, driving on the country roads you rarely see other cars and even during peak season in a major tourist spot you feel like you have it all to yourself.
Between the blue waters and the humming cicadas, Fisherman Island looked like a default desktop background photo and sounded like a soundscapes CD. That last sentence is just one example that shows how much I needed to step away from working on a computer all day back at home.
On our way back from the island, we spotted a seal lounging in the rocks.
We flipped out.
It was about 8 feet away from us and seemed to understand the effect it had on us simple humans so it hung around for 10 minutes or so... floating around, checking us out and allowing me to take a few shots with my waterproof camera. Seeing this one seal, out on it's own in it's natural habitat, right next to us... was really incredible. Sandy and I were over-the-moon excited.
After the high of our seal encounter, kayaking back to shore was a bit of an adventure. No one told us that our kayak-return meeting spot would look drastically different in low tide late in the afternoon. As in, it was now a mile long beach where before it was just ocean and a parking lot.
We were paddling along for awhile, both of us very lost and little seasick. We did a lot of extra paddling and kayak dragging. Eventually, when we found the correct beach, we enlisted the help of locals for directions and to call the kayak place so they could pick us up. I was concerned they'd be worried as they were down 1 kayak and 2 Americans. But of course, no one had even noticed we were lost at sea.
I often find that whenever I'm feeling quite satisfied with myself (reeling from my new seal friend), the universe has a way of smacking me back down to size (lost and nauseous in a kayak). I suppose it's a good way to keep balanced.