Sunday, January 17, 2016

20. Day of 24 in New Zealand: Keas! And Bluff.

In the morning the Milford Mariner cruised further out until we reached the Tasman Sea and then back to the harbour.  The weather was a lot better and the waterfalls have almost completely vanished, only the big ones were still there. Interessting how fast the landscape can change. All in all, it was a great cruise and a very intense experience of the Sound.


Our nature guide on the cruise gave us a tip. We have to drive through the Homer tunnel and drive on the next carpark to see the infamous Keas. Well, it wasn’t the first on the left, but on the third car park we finally saw some Keas. These beautiful parrots are mostly green in colour, but as soon as they spread their wings, you can see a bright orange/red under the wings, which is normally completely hidden.


These parrots are really bold. They are used to tourists and love everything rubber-like – especially on cars. So as soon as you parked the car, they will come and try to rip off the rubber on the windows or attack the radio antenna. Be careful to park the car longer as it maybe gets completely destroyed by them. Our nature guide on the Mariner told us a story of a friend that came back to a destroyed car. Not only did they remove the rubber around the windows and the windshields, they even removed the caps of three tires and found it funny – apparently – to release the air on the tires. So three flat tires.


But I didn’t care about that. What I wanted is to capture the beautiful wings. So how can I do that? Of course only when they are flying or are about the fly away – easy. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as I hoped. Not only are birds a lot faster than landscapes, they are also very unpredictable. So I tried it a lot and lucky me there were many tourists around, so also many Keas around on the cars: first eight, then six as some Keas left as blind passengers on one camper van. Unfortunately, I had one problem which I didn’t notice. There is an option on the camera called ‘continuous focus’ and the camera was set to ‘static focus’, which basically means the focus will not follow the object.


It can happen that the camera has the wrong setting. No problem. But realising it afterwards in the car when there are no Keas around, is just plain f**ing stupid. So this is the photo I took:




This is how it should look:



Anyway, lesson learned. That’s definitely something that is not going to happen again. But unfortunately, there probably won’t be any Keas anytime soon. But I still managed to get a few decent shots. Btw. I broke my rule for this post not to use my RAW images during the trip as they take too much time to process and post, but as I had a little time now I made an exception.


After the Kea photo shoot we drove to our next destination – Bluff. This is the southernmost town of the New Zealand mainland. Tomorrow we will go to the really southernmost town, which is Oban on Steward Island.


Oh and we’ve been to Monkey Island – at least we saw it. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with the classic game of LucasArts. It is located in the southwest. The name apparently comes from a ‘monkey winch’, which was used to haul boats ashore (Source).


Location History:




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