Thursday, March 30: Low but light cloud in the morning clearing to sunny, hot & dry by the time we reached Picton; fogging over in the early evening
Sea kayaking: 8.3 km
Graham & Warwick were quite circumspect this morning and although I could hear them talking I dozed on. No cramps in the night, even despite having to manoeuvre past the stuff in the tent (it was better organised this time, but the head end had changed, and there was a bit of a slope which caused me to slide down the tent in the course of the night).
Christelle’s alarm failed to go off for the first time, but we were in no particular hurry, so getting up @ 7:30 we were greeted by the empty space left behind by Graham & Warwick’s tents and no one else was about. Eventually the others were up as well, with many of them out for a skinny dip to start the day.
My gas bottle had enough in it to boil water for my cup of coffee & Christelle’s bowl of tea, and there is something left. One packet of muesli bars was finished and Christelle was given the unopened box of remaining muesli bars, even though the cardboard was a bit soft. My tent had been drying away and it was packed away for future drying in Nelson, and we were ready to go by 9:30, almost as usual. Our first goal for the day was Motuara Island, and the sea was calm and inviting, and we were soon on the other side where there was a jetty with a lovely sign, “No berthing.” Around the jetty there was no place to land, and a small beach was about 100-150 m away. We parked the kayak there and started wading around to the start of a track at the jetty, until I pointed out that high tide was yet to come & that we might have to return at high tide, in which case the passage that we had chosen would be impassable. Christelle was disappointed at not being able to take a walk, but I feared there was no other option with the tides as they were and the time we had to be at Ship Cove.
Time lapse had been set up for the leg to Motuara but the case was almost completely steamed up, so one last chance was used to de-steam the apparatus. Good thing that there was an emergency roll of toilet paper so that the case was cleaned out, closed again and set off. The preliminary results don’t appear to be bad.
We went around to the south of Motuara and onto the smaller sub island where the wind appeared to change. this was where we decided to make the crossing back to Ship Cove. There was a stronger wind now from the north, and the waves were running more or less parallel to the boat, but it wasn’t long before we were in more sheltered waters and explored some of the coves in the direction of the Cook Memorial and the jetty. Once there, a boat was parked at the jetty – again with a welcoming “No berthing” – and we asked the skipper how best to prepare the kayak and were told that we should park on the beach and wait for the water taxi to provide someone to help us carry it to the taxi.
I used the delay mechanism and the tripod to take a couple of shots of the buccaneers and then we set out getting lunch together. In the middle of this a boatload of schoolkids were unleashed for an historical excursion and their lunch of hotdogs took over all of the available picnic tables. We found a bench on the other side of a small bridge and were able to kill the crackers (a little stale by now but still eminently edible) and the salami, and with that there was nothing more for lunch.
Time lapse of the clouds moving over the hills behind Ship Cove was set up and in the meantime the kids had been collected at the monument for the group photo and we took the waterfall walk just for a couple of steps, at the end of which there was a modest waterfall for time lapsing and bracketing.
Once we were back the place was empty, and the covers & spray skirts were fairly dry. We packed everything remaining onto the boat and raised it onto the footpath/jetty level to await the taxi. It was pretty much on time & Christelle went off to ask for help, and the purser came along to assist. The boat had to be reversed at the jetty entrance and we were soon at the taxi, kayak loaded, spray skirts, flotation devices, and paddles had to be stored on the boat aft, and with that we were prepared for our odyssey back.
And such it was. Various people were dropped off and taken on; a dog was very friendly but was just apparently happy to be home; an extended excursion into Endeavour Inlet resulted in freight (and shopping) being unloaded at various jetties; all of which was uncharted territory until we came out again at Snake Head (really?) and I could begin to comprehend my confusion of the peninsulas, as they all looked like the southern peninsula of Blumine Island.
The missing hatch. Christelle had spent most of the time on the upper deck and came down to tell me that shed had been informed that that one of our hatch covers had flown off. I envisaged our belongings being distributed up and down the sound as well, but on later inspection it was only the rear hatch cover, with the seal and straps still in place, showing that we had secured everything on board correctly.
We went into Blackwood Bay and made a stop to what I thought was the right of the position of the original boatel. One last incursion into Torea Bay where the trials and tribulations of the second day were recalled; then it was only a short trip to Picton. Mabel Island was behind us and the last obstacle was a sailing school messing about before the harbour was reached.
Dave of MSA was soon there with his trolley and an exchange between the skipper (whose boat had been damaged by our flying hatch cover) and Dave following out admission of losing the cover ensured that the argument about compensation would be between them. Out boat was trawled to the back of the shop where we emptied it, divided up what was left of the bootie, disposed of the rubbish, and waited for a bit for the return of “Mr Petre’s” wallet (i.e. mine). I detailed my suggestion of informing customers of the uncomfortable seats and with that we were done.
Christelle didn’t feel much like an Indian place for dinner, so I left it up to her what to do for the rest of the evening and let me know on Facebook. I took off to the Jugglers’ Rest; was greeted by a Liverpudlian Jack, a friend of Nikki’s and an American of unrecognised provenance. Was shown the Blue Room for a change (I had stayed in the the Red last week) and my primary satellite pack (with computer and change of clothes) was still under Nikki’s control, and she was dropping off a friend at Blenheim airport.
Time was spent spreading out stuff that had to be dried; sending off the last message on the spot; and chatting with Jack. Once Nikki had arrived and my stuff there I went for a shower and, with a message from Christelle that we would meet for dessert and some cafe in town, went out to the Crow Bar for Bangers & Mash (and some peas & onion gravy) for $13 and a handle for $6.8. Very much, very filling, and warm. Could die.
Went to town to find Christelle, took a few minutes & then she was there. Wandered around a bit, found a cafe with pavlova which was new to her but which she thought she could eat, and I had a beer. Invited her for the lot and on my way back stopped at the supermarket for some real beer, and some crumpets for breakfast tomorrow.
Writing the diary was amused by three Germans (two from Berlin and one from Hamburg) about various biking tracks. Time, almost, for bed. Nelson tomorrow.