It was the smell that hit us first. A nauseating whiff of rotten fish that made us gag when the beach was still hidden around the corner. We had to stop and investigate the bright pink, the awful stench. Getting out of the car and walking down onto the beach we couldn’t help but crunch, crushing the tiny prawn-like creatures that carpeted the yellow sand like the best kind of gravel driveway.
We were in Southern New Zealand, on the Otago Pensinula and it was krill. Whale food. Plankton. I knew about plankton of course, learnt about it at school. But I never thought I’d actually see it, laying in thick drifts on the beach and floating like clouds of blood in the cold Antarctic water. It’s hard to believe that these tiny krill contain enough calories to feed the truly awesome whales that visit this coast, but they do. Things like this make me happy.