Back from travels in the south Pacific

Greetings from a very hot (+40C) and still way too dry Namibia. The rainy season has yet to start across much of Namibia, except for the extreme north east (Caprivi) which may imminently benefit from disaster management given the sudden rise in water levels of the Zambezi river’s already flooded conditions!

I finally got back to Windhoek after a circuitous journey through Samoa, New Zealand, a brief bit of western Australia, central South Africa and coastal Namibia. I’ve added a little widget slideshow to my blog to show some of the fine scenery (and birds) I happened to see on my journey.

By managing to circumvent every city (with exception of a frightening experience in central Auckland during peak hour traffic) in New Zealand, either through really bad timing (late night fly-bys) or rural alternatives to main national roads, the biggest “city” I stopped in was a place called Hokitika; famous for its greenstone shops – a bit of a tourist trap me thinks, having earlier seen seen some beautiful greenstoneswork in Havelock (famous for greenlipped mussels!). Camping out most of the time in really excellent national parks and forests, we got to see the majority of New Zealand’s endemic birds (even the fabled and fabulous Kiwi!), got sucked dry by sandflies (and itched for dear life for nearly 10 days!!) and rained on frequently. A truly splendid experience!

I had hoped to catch several trout but alas! no such no joy and a major reason for returning very soon to catch the huge monsters I saw lurking in several streams and lakes, before my season permit expires in April :-). Considering how New Zealand has made concerted effort to get rid of all sorts of nasty invasive aliens such as possums, stoats and hedgehogs, I am somewhat annoyed by the price of the permit to catch trout and salmon (NZ$ 96!) – nasty invasive aliens in their own right – in New Zealand. While I admit they are very tasty and full of Omega 3s, I don’t really see the case for such expensive permits, when strictly speaking I am helping the environment be rid of alien predators who have undoubtably taken out several species of endemic fresh-water and estuarine fish and amphibian species?

A better planned itinerary next time, (starting in South island!) will definitely see me spending more time on Steward and South Islands – with a sea kayak and more time to fish – both are definitely places worth visiting at least twice in a lifetime! As is Samoa:-)- but that’s another story altogether !

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