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Last leg of a long journey

Auckland, New Zealand

Hello again, faithful readers. Fourteen months ago, I wrote my first blog as I was preparing to jet off to Seoul, and here I am now trying to wrap it all up as I return home. Home, I should note, is rather a fluid concept at present: after a couple days in Girl World with my ladies in Seattle, I'm spending a few weeks in Wenatchee, then back to Seattle, where the aforementioned ladies have been so considerate as to procure an apartment for me. It's so soon! I can't wait to see my friends and family after so long away.

Before that though, I've had a few more adventures to speak of. I finished off the south Island last week in great style, leaving Christchurch for Kaikoura, a little coastal town where most of the entertainment is pulled from the seaside. Accordingly, I went on a little fishing excursion with my friend Jack, another English lad. As we were preparing to step into the boat, someone spotted a sizable octopus hiding in the rocks. I was really excited. I like octopi. Darren, our Scottish first mate, was excited too. As I was engaged in appreciative comments about the wonder of nature and what amazing creatures they are, Darren promptly reached into the sea with a hook, pulled up the animal and cut off its head, tossing it unceremoniously back into the ocean. "Bait," he said. Oh. It was that kind of a fishing trip.

A couple minutes later, one of the girls was staring in the bait bucket, looking a little queasy. "The legs are still moving," she observed. She was right. The bloody mass of

tentacles continued to writhe in the bucket, despite the obvious inconvenience of headlessness. "Ah, yeah," said Darren. "It'll survive for hours." I didn't have much time to marvel about the incredible adaptive qualities of octopi before it was time to start fishing. After the octopus incident, we were all a little apprehensive about the trip, wondering just what we'd gotten ourselves into, but in reality the actual act of fishing didn't require much of us. Darren showed us how to do it. "Drop," he said, letting down the line. "Wait." Two minutes of silence ensued while we waited for the line to go slack, indicating it had hit bottom. Immediately, there was a tug on the line. "Jerk," said Darren. "Reel." With that, he set to cranking the line, and before you know it, there was a bright orange sea perch being hauled into the boat.

"That was well quick," Jack noted.
"This ain't Dover," Darren retorted, once again beheading the fish without ceremony.

Laconic though the delivery was, Darren's formula worked. We dropped, waited, jerked

and reeled up dozens of fish, mostly perch, but Jack managed to haul in a couple blue cod as well. I had better luck with the crayfish myself. After fishing, we went to our captain's house, where he cut up the perch and set out some soy sauce and wasabi for some fresh-caught sushi. Good stuff. Then, he gave us all a couple pours of his moonshine whiskey. As a rule, I'm not much of a whiskey girl, but under the circumstances it seemed appropriate. We steamed up the crayfish for one of the best meals I've ever had. Good times in Kaikoura, and in New Zealand in general.

That said, it's been quite a long walkabout, and I look forward to being home. Thanks to everyone that has followed along with me this year. I hope to write many more stories of many more places in the years to come. See you all soon!

permalink written by  alli_ockinga on March 29, 2010 from Auckland, New Zealand
from the travel blog: New Zealand!
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Hey everyone! In February 2009 I left the Pac Northwest for South Korea to teach English for a year. This is what I'm up to! Keep in touch!

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