Have you ever seen salt ponds before?   It’s a first for me and we drove alongside kilometres of flat open ponds, each one ringed by white rocks separating the ponds.  The wind was fierce and it blew white foamy bubbles over our car like snow.   The idea is the seawater evaporates and the salt is collected.  I have been buying hand harvested Celtic sea salt rather than the commercial bleached, iodised and deodorised table salt variety. foam from salt ponds - not snow! Salt factory Lake Grassmere Salt foam not snow!

Now I have tons of questions.  So how exactly do they collect the salt from the dry pond after the water is gone?  I mean, how can they not collect the sea sand at the same time with the salt particles and how do they separate them.  It would have been interesting to have a tour of the processing plant they had there, huge mounds of different coloured salt/sand but it wasn’t open to the public.   And I am going to study my Celtic (expensive) hand harvested sea salt a bit closer to see if in fact it is just sand with a bit of salt thrown in.

Being in New Zealand, each stretch of road is a revelation and next we were driving alongside a very dangerous looking wind swept coastline.  Black jagged rocks, huge piles of kelp seaweed being thrown against them.  But wait there was movement and it was like one of those 3D pictures you need to stare at intently to see the full image.  The rocks were covered in seals!  Now that the eyes realised they were there, hundreds appeared lying lazily flapping a flipper, rearing up to have a brief argument and flopping down again.  Young ones in a tidal pool waiting for the next rush of waves to crash in and throw them against the far side like teenagers playing dangerous games. Young seals playing in the tidal pool

We reached Kaikoura and had to decide if we were going to pay $300 to sail out and see the sperm whales.   We could just see them from the shore swimming in circles but sadly no tails or breathtaking jumps.  Decided against spending that amount and instead visited the sea-formed limestone caves for $30.  Limestone cavesOver 2 million years old and full of mini grottoes of pretty fantasy shapes, it was well worth it.

My disappointment at not seeing the whales soon disappeared over a foamy soy cappuccino in a quaint cosy coffee shop.  I guess I am a like a cheap drunk – easy to please.


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