FEB 13 // DAY 15

We reconfigured our spaceship’s sleeping arrangements last night and boy did we get a good sleep. The trusty wingroad strikes again. My original sentiments have only grown stronger. I love this car. Like I said, we were headed towards Kaikoura. Somehow, we had to get there by 4 pm so we could confirm our reservations to swim with dolphins the following morning. We picked up two hitchhikers–also en route to Kaikoura. Phillip and Fabio recently graduated high school in Germany and were in New Zealand on a year-long working visa. I wish I knew about the program when I was their age.

You may have heard of the series of earthquakes that decimated Christchurch in 2011 and, perhaps, noted the quake that affected the coastal region to north last November. Along our drive to Kaikoura, the effects of the recent disaster were still apparent: warped guard-rails slumping down mountainsides, strange deformations in the asphalt and many detours around areas that were unstable. About thirty minutes outside of the city center, we crested a hill and could finally see the azure ocean. I can see why people live here, regardless of earthquakes. It’s stunning.

We made it to Doplphin Encounters in the nick of time and then checked into Sunshine Lodge, our accommodation for the night. As I mentioned before, the Kaikoura area had a serious quake five months ago. Many of the structures in the town are still deemed uninhabitable, but the Sunshine Lodge had a “Can Be Used” sign affixed to the front door. To our joy, the friendly manager Tim has an even more friendly dog named Spock. You can see him in the featured image of this post.

The place was pretty quiet and we had the kitchen entirely to ourselves. After we made dinner, we stopped in at a pub downtown for a beer. As the moon rose, we watched it on picnic tables, looking out over the ocean and chatted with an Australian couple, before we headed back to the Lodge to get some much needed shut-eye before our 8 am Dolphin Encounter.