We have really gotten to see the damage from last November’s earthquake up close. Yesterday we had to travel inland to get to Kaikoura given the collapse of the roads along the coast both north and south of Kaikoura. And we traversed a whole area that had been ripped apart by the quake and zigzagged over temporary roads.

This whole part of the South Island land mass rose 10-18 feet with the quake. Just try to image that. So, in town, while there is extensive damage, much is undamaged by the ground rising and staying up. On the shoreline, one can see the difference from before. And when we went to pick up those of us who went on the bird and seal watching boat trip, there was no jetty. The boat was on a carriage and people boarded it on land. Then it was backed into the water. And reverse when they came back.

On the way back to Christchurch, we got to go southbound on Hwy 1 … it’s one-way going south. The road to the north is still fully blocked. Crews are working all along several miles going south. Debris is everywhere. Roads crushed. Railroad tunnels closed. Shipping containers have been put along between the rock face and road to act as a dam against more debris falling.

Started the day at 9:00 with ride into town for breakfast. Then Sharron took the few of us who had not gone on the boar for a little tour up and down the coast. Saw some fur seals, some of whom were camped out o the boardwalk by a park. Went back into town and wandered around for a bit. At 11:30, we headed to pick up those who had been on the boat. Then southbound through the construction area and back to Christchurch arriving about 4:00.

Left for supper at 5:30. Elegant dinner at a country club where we got to share our experiences and saw slide show Jeff put together with images of each of us in all the places we’ve been. Said good-byes to all. Wonderful group of people. I have gained some good friends.

Tomorrow J, D, and I leave here at 7:30 for 9:00 flight to Auckland where we pick up a car and drive onto the Coromandel Peninsula for a few days.

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