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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Across the Cook Strait to the South Island.

 December 12th

This morning it was time for us to leave our fabulous hosts. Ferry crossing was for 1 pm so leaving at 10 am gave us plenty of time. Marilyn saw us off, David had already left to visit a friend, bizarrely for the South Island, first be train and then plane. He was gone by 7 am. If only we could have taken him with us. No third passenger seat belt, unfortunately. Anyway it was a sad goodbye, although just maybe their plans could coincide with ours when they come over for a wedding to the South Island early next year.

The road leading to Wellington reminded me of days gone by when hardly any cars travelled our motorways (hmm showing my age now) SH 1 was a joy to drive (well so Ian said because up to now I still haven't taken the wheel) and so picturesque. 

How lovely if our roads were like this.

Not that many cars queuing when we arrived, although it still took a while before we got to the booth to show our tickets. Then onto lane two to await boarding.

The crossing was smooth, lunch was had and then a seat found on the back deck. Gosh, it was hot, and we had stupidly forgotten the sun cream.

Wasn't long before we looked for shade, a welcome relief, but out into the main channel, the wind picked up, and it got quite cool. I found this from Interislander Cook Strait crossing

The Cook Strait ferry crossing is 93 kilometers (58 miles) and takes three-and-a-half hours. Two-thirds of that journey is a scenic spectacle, with the ferry looping around Wellington Harbour and drifting through the fjord-like channels and inlets of the Marlborough Sounds. The remaining third of the journey is spent navigating Cook Strait between New Zealand's main islands - a seafaring adventure through a dramatic and rugged channel where two seas meet.


Not far from Picton, an unexpected greeting came our way. Dolphins. They were fast! Approached the Interislander, had a quick swim across the bow wave, and then vanished. Only just managed to snap these photos.

All too soon the trip was over, and Picton came into view. It's a shame we never got to see the docking, the tannoy system sprang into life asking everyone to go back to their vehicles and of course we obeyed.

There was a long wait until our turn arrived to disembark. Having been tucked out of the way we watched as the crew waved off one line after the other. Finally our turn came and without really seeing much of Picton, took the high road out towards the DOC camp site at Whatamango Bay.

And more problems along this road. Washouts and subsidence and with some hairy bends all the way to the campsite, Ian had to have his wits about him although these are the sort of roads that the boy racer in him shows itself. A look and a moan from me made him slow down!

We did wonder about trying to find a parking spot so near to Picton especially as not many campsites were around here. We reserved a place but need'nt have bothered. The place was huge, well maintained, had water but not for drinking and toilets. Table and chairs are placed in small bays, which means noone has to park nearby. I expect it to be very busy during the school holidays. We paid $20, a tenner each which was reasonable for what was here. A lot of DOC sites have no facilities at all!

 Picton has never been explored by us so tomorrow we hope to rectify that.

And wildlife


Jenny said...

So pleased you had a good trip over Cook Strait, sometimes it can be rather rough! Our Tuesday 1.00pm sailing was cancelled due to all the staff coming down with Covid. So the whole lot of us were rebooked on Wednesday in the early hours at 2.00am, not a time we would have normally chosen. Our trip was in pitch black, and we arrived in Picton at 5.30am, travelled on to Koromiko for a well deserved snooze. We are going to Blenheom for the next few days, if you are close by please get in touch. Otherwise we may hopefully catch up later as we both travel around.

nbwakahuia.blogspot.com said...

Your monarch butterfly photos are very good - especially considering you took them from inside the house. Aren't you pleased I'd cleaned the windows?

And aren't pukekos just the most hilarious birds? I love the way their legs seem to be on backwards, i.e. their knees point backwards instead of forwards. Their chicks remind me of moorhen chicks - just little bundles of fluff with beaks and legs!


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