Seascape at Arnott Point, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Taken at Arnott Point on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island on April 15th, 2012

The seals and I, we have an uneasy truce. As long as I don’t go in the water, they won’t bite me. Seems like an easy arrangement to uphold, but just to reinforce it they bark at me and mock charge from time to time. But I bark right back and the peace is upheld. All the same, my adrenaline is pumping and I’m almost happy when the sunset fades and I can skedaddle from their turf.

We’ve caught the seals totally by surprise. Humans, here? On OUR beach? This is not a place that sees many bipedal visitors, unless you count the Fiordland crested penguins which roost here from July to December. Access is via a billy goat track which is so steep in places there are ropes rigged to help you get down. Plus you have to find the track in the first place, which we did thanks to a friendly local named Barry.

And if you manage to find the track and negotiate your way down the cliffs, once you get the beach you still have to contend with roaring surf, high tides, and a little scrambling. It’s no wonder the seals were surprised.


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