March 17, 2013

March Travels

Not sure how I managed to make March such a busy month, but travelling has been the main focus for the last three weekends.  After my trip to Wellington on the 1st,  I was lucky to get to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress in Auckland the following weekend - this was originally booked to be held in Christchurch, but instead was squeezed into the Sky City Convention Centre after the earthquakes destroyed those plans.  It was a huge and fascinating conference - it didn't rain once, which is amazing for Auckland. We have certainly had a summer to remember, but the country is paying dearly for it. New Zealand has officially declared drought conditions in the North Island, although the South Island is no better off.

After living in Auckland and further north for many years, it is always good to visit again. As usual I took the chance to check out the Sky Tower....

View from my room

View at night

View from the top

After a busy week back at work, it was time for the Kaikoura Trip... everything was going well, until the night before we were due to leave. Poppy became very ill.  She was quiet at work but came to the usual meetings and choir but by evening she was subdued, reluctant to move and a pathetic sight... Off to the After Hours Clinic for X rays and pain relief.

No idea what she ate, but she paid for it with gastro enteritis and it was a long night. I took her out every two hours ... at one point even feeling for a heart beat because she was so still.  By Friday morning, although better in many ways, she was too ill to leave at home with everyone at work,  so I managed to get Alex to take her over to the lovely staff at The Vet Centre in Straven Rd where she was beautifully cared for while I had to go away.  Thank you everyone :) I am pleased to say she is now home, and nearly recovered. Quieter but eating again! (on strictly controlled prescription food).

Meanwhile, 42 of us had an amazing trip to Kaikoura. The brown grass and empty rivers as we travelled north were a stark reminder of the drought.

Drought was officially declared over the North Island last week. The Grey and Buller districts are also on drought watch.
This is the worst drought in New Zealand in 70 years due to its severity and regional spread, Salinger said. Previously the highest record rainfall needed was in the summer of 1945-46, when the soil moisture deficit was 361mm.
It's been a summer of troubling milestones with a total North Island fire ban and outdoor water ban in Wellington after authorities announced last week there were just 20 days of supply left.
Dramatic satellite images of the country taken a year apart highlight the North Island's desperate need for rain as the drought continues. 
Images taken over recent weeks show how the country has become increasingly brown as drought conditions have spread.
The image taken on Tuesday shows a swathe of dry land from the tip of Northland to Lake Taupo, and the lower west and lower east coast of the North Island.
The top of the South Island is also tinder dry.
Even as I write this post - it has started to rain her ein Christchurch !!!! Fingers crossed we get enough of it steadily for a while.

In the afternoon , some of the students went to Fyffe Adventure Park for some trekking - the rest explored the beach or shopped.
Pony Trekking

Later we gather for some predinner games...

Pre dinner

Self decorated glasses

Love the Kaikoura coffees... staying with the seafood theme....
The student were a pleasure to be with and the weather was perfect. No wind, long calm evening, no hail or rain, and the seas were calm. 
Vet Nursing - Classes of 2013
The crew estimated about 600 dolphins were around them so they had a long swim without having to follow the pod. I am still working on photos from this years boat trip, but a friend, Alan, recently did Dolphin Encounter too, and he put up some pictures from his trip on Facebook. I am stealing three of them.... and I will acknowledge Alan's incredible photography skills and send you to one of his art pages. in return.

No dolphins there, but it explains how he took these great pictures.

Enjoy the beautiful Dusky Dolphins :)


  1. Beautiful pictures! So glad Poppy is's scary when your little one is sick.

  2. It looks like a lovely trip, overall (notwithstanding the illness.) Thanks for sharing the photos. Are the dolphins really as brown as they appear? I've never thought of a dolphin being that color.

    1. Certainly more grey, especially when seen from above, but I guess Alan might have touched them up a little - interesting observation Jim :)

  3. It's good to know that Poppy is well on the way to recovery.

    You certainly have been having an interesting time. I've never been up the Sky Tower and I still haven't managed down to the South Island since The Earthquake and my NZ summer is almost into it's last month - again!

  4. Amazing dolphin photos. What a great trips you had. Auckland is still on my list of places to see. We certainly will plan the skytower


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