Seaweed and Kelp
While we were down at the rocks checking out the seals at low tide, it was also a good opportunity to check out the rock pools for marine creatures.
There was thick, brown (and sometimes green) ribbon like kelp everywhere (caution: very slippery rocks!) but as I looked more closely where I was walking, I noticed several other colours too, including quite a bit of this one, which reminded me of a cypress tree frond dyed pink.
The new Threat for Fur Seals
Once seal hunters killed thousands and thousands of seals on the Kaikoura coast. Now, as those animals’ population is thriving, there is a new threat. Fisherman are asking that the protection of seals should be removed because the seals compete with them for fish. The director of Talley’s Fisheries had even said that the “cute brown-eyed für seals” were a general misconception, and they should be culled. He said NZ’s fur seals ate 300,000 tonnes of fish a year, more than the annual commercial catch of 270,000 tonnes a year. And the seals’ diet included ling, crayfish, blue cod, red cod, paua, hoki, blue fin and yellow-eyed penguins.
Exactly now, as I write this, a story has been published in the Dominion Post, The Press and other newspapers that Talley’s and other fishermen’s claim cannot be supported by scientific research.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) examined 133 faecal samples and 15 regurgitations from seals at Tonga Island in the Abel Tasman National Park. The lab tests showed that the seals mostly ate anchovy, pilchard, jack mackerel and squid, and this was similar to their diet of squid and oily fish in other parts of New Zealand. So the seals do not eat the species the fishing industry and recreational fishermen are after. The abundance and size of blue moki and blue cod have even increased since the Tonga Island Marine Reserve was established in 1993.
Good news for the seals :-)
Bio-bonanza at Goose Bay
Immediately to the south of a peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean, the sea floor drops away to tremendous depths up to 6,705m. This geological phenomenon is known as the Kaikoura Canyon - and it brings an area of high biological productivity within a stone's throw of Goose Bay...
Goose Bay is situated about 17km south of Kaikoura on the coastal road (SH1) between Christchurch and Kaikoura. It is a beautiful 14 minute drive with wonderful vistas of picturesque coves, craggy islands, dazzling vegetation and, of course, the rolling blue ocean.
Goose Bay is a great spot from where to view the solitary or communal activities of New Zealand fur seals and passing pods of dolphins. During our visit in January we were fortunate enough to see seal cubs splashing about in small rock pools.
Recognizing the scenic value of this location, authorities have wisely provided areas for vehicles to pull over. It is well worth the effort.
Goose Bay also offers some very popular camping options.
Vegetarian, venison and local seafoods
The chefs at Hapuku Café use local organically grown ingredients. The seasonal menu specialises in venison, local fish and vegetarian dishes, with a range of nightly dinner specials.
Dine in or outside The café will soon be serving virgin olive oil, pressed from the farm’s own 1000 tree olive orchard.
The bar menu offers “The World’s Largest Selection of South Island Beers”, and a select list of Marlborough and local wines.
A rotating exhibition of New Zealand artists, including live music from a varied selection of musicians, is a feature of the cafe.
Dine in the tranquil garden on warmer days, or beside a crackling fire inside during cooler months, while enjoying breathtaking views of the mountains, olive grove, and deer farm.
Many large male semi-resident sperm whales are back feeding on the natural abundance found within the upwelling depths of the Kaikoura Canyon
ofert tours daily and iftheevent that customers do not sight a whale a refund of up to 80% of their fare is guaranteed.