A Weekend in the Marlborough Sounds

To celebrate the completion of orientation week and one last hurrah before classes start, all 14 of us students set out for our student trip weekend.

The Old Convent - my home for the next 3 1/2 months www.creationcsp.org
The Old Convent – my home for the next 3 1/2 months
www.creationcsp.org

I traveled with a group to the beautiful Hopewell Lodge in the Marlborough Sounds.  It was a 4 1/2 hour drive through winding roads, most only wide enough for one car but still a two lane road.  Oh, and I was driving on the left side of the road, so the driving was enough adventure for me.  It was an absolutely magical drive, though!  We couldn’t help but pull over every 20 minutes or so to admire the new and spectacular view of the Kenepuru Sound.

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We spent our weekend relaxing on the porch, enjoying the sunshine and fresh NZed air, tramping through the bush (walking through the woods), kayaking, warming up in the hot tub, hammocking, and visiting the glow worms and star gazing at night.  I truly believe there is no place on earth where the stars shine brighter.  Oh, and I can’t forget about the polar plunge that took place!  Mike, the lodge owner, came up to us afterwards and asked in his kiwi way, “Are you mad?! That water is freezing!” …We are.  It was.

Stumpy, the weka bird, lost his foot in a possum trap and we decided to make friends with him and feed him leftover bread
Stumpy, the weka bird, lost his foot in a possum trap and we decided to make friends with him and feed him leftover bread
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Hammocking with a view
So much to do at the Hopewell Lodge from paddle boarding to kayaking to fishing to polar plunging
So much to do at the Hopewell Lodge from paddle boarding to kayaking to fishing to polar plunging

Later Saturday morning, Mike informed us there were dusky dolphins heading our way, so we made our way to the dock to watch them come across.

Two dusky dolphins making their way across the sound
Two dusky dolphins making their way across the sound

What a beautiful sight! Another group from the Old Convent were on kayaks at the time, and actually got to experience the dolphins swimming all around and underneath their kayaks!  Not going to lie, I was a little jealous.  We’ll be swimming with dolphins later in the semester for my Marine Ecology class, though, so I’m sure I’ll be writing all about it!

I kayaked later in the day throughout the sound for about 3 hours, seeing just a box jellyfish.

Calvin students make for great sports rivals but even better friends
Calvin students make for great sports rivals but even better friends
A peaceful kayak ride through the sounds
A peaceful kayak ride through the sounds

 

There’s something so wonderful yet so unsettling about kayaking on the ocean.   Sitting in a little, not so stable, kayak in the middle of a sound, surrounded by mountains makes you realize just how small you are in this big, big world, and what a beautiful, humbling moment that is.

The drive home was slightly less terrifying as I adapted to the NZed way of driving, but just as magical.

Mike and Linley, our wonderful lodge hosts
Mike and Linley, our wonderful lodge hosts
A quick snapshot of the drive out of the Marlborough Sounds
A quick snapshot of the drive out of the Marlborough Sounds
Just another look at the drive back to Kaikoura
Just another look at the drive back to Kaikoura

I’m still waiting for New Zealand to cease amazing me, but I don’t think we’ll ever get there.

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Bryce Talsma

Hey everyone! My name is Bryce and I am a junior from Hudsonville, Michigan. I am a biology major with a pre-veterinary focus and an environmental studies minor. This fall I will be studying sustainable living in Kaikoura, New Zealand. I love all things outdoors and am really looking forward to what I can learn about sustainable living and what our role as Christians is in maintaining this earth. I hope you follow along on this amazing journey and will take just as many of your own! Adventure is out there!

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