Saturday, March 3, 2018

Akaroa Harbor

View of Akaroa Harbor

This morning we took a coach out to Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. It was about 1.5 hours  drive through historic settlements of the Maori, French and other Europeans.  Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano.  The Akaroa harbor was once a lake.  But two volcanic eruptions opened the lake to the Pacific Ocean.  Because the French were here, there are roads and areas with French names.  Canterbury (where Christchurch and Akaroa are) is called a Parish.  At one time all of the area was covered in trees.  Today, it is mostly grasslands.  All the trees were cut for exportation and local building.  

Cruising the Akaroa Harbor

At Akaroa we boarded a catamaran for a cruise in the harbor and out into the Pacific to view spectacular sea caves, volcanic formations, high cliffs and bird nesting sites.  Some of the cliffs had evidence of lava flows that had cooled.  There were layers of evident volcanic ash, lava, ash, lava.  The water was green, green, the cliffs red, green, gray, silver.  We saw Hector’s Dolphins, one of the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins.  They are only about 4 feet long.  Today they were feeding and stayed just under the surface.  We also saw blue penguin and fur seals.  The day was warm and clear.  We’ve been most fortunate.  Pictures at flickr.