Saturday 1 February 2014 72 °F
There are two ferries that travel between Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island. Sue chose to book us passage on the budget rust bucket Bluebridge Ferry to save some $$$. As of this moment, we are over 2 hours delayed departure with no sail-away time announced. That's the bad news. The good news: free (slow) wifi, kids play area, movies on a big screen. We have no complaints.
Even though we arrived in Picton on the South Island over two hours late, it really didn't matter. The ferry wound its way through the Marlborough Sounds with incredible views of private islands, native-growth tree-covered hills and sparkling blue coves. Sitting at the front of the boat together felt like our own private tour of this truly magnificent corner of the world.
Once in Picton, we made a quick run to the grocery, then traveled by water taxi to our VRBO in one of the remote bays--accessible only by boat. Our skipper Jeremy was a sweet college kid on his summer job. He allowed both Pearl and Henry to operate the boat.
What a lovely two days we had--a vacation from our fast-paced vacation! Wifi availability can be both a blessing and a curse. Our cute little cottage had no wifi--but we were ready for a break from checking email and making plans. We spent the days kayaking through the coves and hiking on the famous Queen Charlotte Track with views from the tops of high hilltops to all of Marlborough Sounds. Henry loved solo kayaking to check out the local wildlife: birds, fish, jellyfish, stingrays.
On a humorous note, we had to keep a close eye on our cottage. The best way to get airflow through the structure was to leave the sliding glass door wide open. In our yard was a Weka family; Wekas are flightless birds that look like a cross between a duck and chicken with a dorky gait and stubby little useless wings. Persistent momma weka continually attempted to enter our cottage or approach us while lounging on the sun deck. Henry says this is the first time that he's heard of a Rail being a nuisance bird.
Now we are back in the land of the electronically connected. Tonight we are in Kaiteriteri which is in the northwest corner of the South Island, right next to Abel Tasman National Park.
In case you haven't heard the news: Henry and Dave saw a kiwi in the wild!!!! They booked a night tour at Zealandia which is a preserve near Wellington. At Zealandia, the large grounds of native bush are enclosed by fence, not in order to keep the kiwi in, but rather to keep the predators out. Check out Henry's blog for more details. http://worldbirding.travellerspoint.com/