March 1 Cape Foulwind (Day 156)

We started our day spiffing up the place for our host as she is having a realtor bring a potential buyer through this afternoon. We headed into Punakaiki to visit the Punakaiki Cavern that we saw on our walk 2 days ago. It’s easily missed as it is alongside the road with very little parking nearby. We were able to park fairly close and walk down to it.

We didn’t think to bring flashlights, our phone flashlights were sufficient, but we decided we should come back and explore further on another day!

We then drove north to visit Cape Foulwind near Westport, another place we passed yesterday. Named by Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery in 1770, the name was not repeated when he named Cape Foulweather in Oregon on his third and final voyage in 1778 (he was killed on a beach in Hawaii in 1779). The 3 voyages of discovery by Captain Cook are diagrammed HERE. Incidentally, all 3 voyages passed through Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand!

We had a quick picnic lunch at the carpark at the path that led to a nearby seal colony on the way to the Cape and the small lighthouse.

A few reader boards and the signpost just past the seal colony. There weren’t many seals in attendance, maybe being out to sea to feed.

The trail led along the cliff top skirting cleared paddocks. There is a signboard describing the revegetation of the trail and reclaimed farm paddocks with native vegetation, especially the NZ flax.

The headland of Cape Foulwind has been extensively modified by Europeans. The flat portion at the point was actually excavated starting in 1886. For 20 years more than a million tons of granite was removed by blasting then loading the rock onto railway wagons and hauling it to Westport for building a breakwater, roads and reclamation projects.

We reached the automated lighthouse and managed to find a tiny trail up to the base through all the replanted native vegetation!

We returned to the carpark via the same trail, encountering some locals.

More Weka, in this case a larger bird chasing 2 small birds around!

Around the curve of the small bay is the seal colony site.

This time, with binoculars, we were able to spot quite a few NZ fur seals, especially pups, that were playing in this little inlet.

The little inlet pond looked like it was a play-pen for the pups, which won’t be on their own until next spring when their mothers give birth again. The NZ fur seal looks a lot more like a sea lion, but apparently there is a difference according to the link above! We made it back to the car and returned to the Airbnb and enjoyed a great dinner.

The view of the deck and out to sea through the freshly cleaned leaded glass window!

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