Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Back to Christchurch

We returned to Christchurch and had a few hours to spare before we returned our trusty little chariot so we went to the Antarctic centre which was fascinating and well worth the visit. We experienced an authentic Antarctic storm in one area and were suitably rugged up in the most flattering jackets and boots which I could probably have used earlier in our visit! It was amazing and very, very cold and we now have a much better understanding of chill factors. We listened to a number of audio visual presentations and were amazed at the courage of the early explorers and also saw a film about the present research work being conducted which has its own challenges even now with all the modern conveniences.
However the highlight for me at least was the penguins which were so endearing, and we were fortunate enough to be there for feeding time which was even better. The penguins at the centre are Little Blue Penguins and have all been rescued and after recovery deemed unsuitable to be rehabilitated to the wild again. It seemed to us that they made very wise decisions --- what a life! They only have to wait to be fed twice a day with their favourite delicacy and if the wrong fish should come their way they spit it out and wait for the next one. Some even only eat certain parts of the fish so they reject the parts they don’t fancy and wait for another to come their way! We were particularly taken with one penguin – a senior who had had his share of trials and suffered a stroke last year only to be nursed back to health round the clock by the adoring staff and now is quite happy to come out for a chat during the day.
We left earlier than we would have liked to fulfil our obligations with the car and settled in to a motel close to the airport in preparation for the trip home via Wellington as we were unable to get a direct flight home.

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