49. Picton – Nelson

Friday, March 31: Some remnants of cloud in the hills in Picton, becoming sunny and rather warm

Genie’s

The hostel was rather quiet last night with very few guests; at around 4:00 when I got up to go to the loo, one of Nikki’s bread machines was making a lot of noise and she was up, too, to turn it off so that it didn’t wake any other guests. Regular waking was around 7:30, and breakfast was three of the crumpets that I had bought last night with vegemite, coffee, and grape juice from Nikki. I was chatting with the American, Dave, who was also leaving on the midday bus.

I was out of my room @ 10:00 and proceeded to check the internet for anything I had forgotten yesterday. Itunes took up a lot of time and the result on the ipod was less than satisfactory but it will have to do for the trip. I saw that the university sports centre back in Hannover now had a sea kayaking group (Tuesday evenings, so finding time for swimming practice will be a bit of a challenge) instead of flatwater paddling, so I guess that is what I will have to take. Around 12:00 Dave turned up from wherever it was he had been & we loaded up our backpacks and headed for the ferry terminal.

The bus was there, of course, the driver had to check whether everything was in its right place before starting to tick the passengers off his list. I went into the terminal and filled a bottle with some cold water from a fountain and then went back to wait with Dave and one other passenger. Checking in the driver could not find me on his list (good that I had the voucher with me – always good as a precaution, although seldom needed). After trying to phone his office he claimed that atomic (who I had bought the ticket from) had not passed the order on to InterCity. I told him to deal with the other passengers first to see whether there might be a seat left in the end, otherwise I would have to try to make other arrangements to get to Nelson.

There were plenty of people trying to get on the bus by now, that much can be said, including a couple of very late arrivals. In the end there would be two seats left for me and a French guy who wanted to move his booking forward, but we were warned that there would be passengers to be picked up in Blenheim that might exceed capacity and that would mean we would have to leave the bus. One woman was even (or had to be) seated in the jump seat so that meant that a full bus would officially be beyond its capacity. I didn’t wait and threw my backpack into the luggage hold and went to the back of the bus.

We left with a few minutes’ delay. One more passenger embarked at the i-site; two left and half a dozen embarked in Blenheim, and one more was taken on at the airport, and with her every seat in the bus was taken. That was close. The trip itself was fairly uneventful, except for a stop in Havelock after a herd of cows had briefly held up all the traffic, and a bit of construction; we were about 20 minutes late into Nelson, no stops to left anyone off, except at the bus station.

Nelson sunset, from Genie’s garden at the top of Mount St, looking towards the airport (maximum of 1780 shots in time lapse)
Nelson sunset, from Genie’s garden at the top of Mount St, looking towards the airport (maximum of 1780 shots in time lapse)

Now I had to get organised. I had left Hire-A-Holden’s address on the computer and had to charge up the hill to Genie’s place to start it before doing anything else. Had bought a steak & pepper pie at KB ($4.8) for a late lunch and ate it here with some of the tomato sauce left over from the kayak tour. Copied the address, took one of Genie’s old ice-cream containers & packed the two devices into it (forgot a couple of batteries that were in the suitcase) and headed for the Post Office. Right calf started cramping along the way, but nothing serious. The PO wanted $7 for a bag via courier which I thought was OK and the deal was sealed. Then went shopping for some cola and beer, went along Vanguard St to see if I could find the bottom end of the walking track that links to Konini St, couldn’t find it, then did, went across the park to check out Giovanni’s Fish’n’Chips for dinner & timed the walk back (10 minutes). By now I needed to get some data transferred to the external hard disk, and moved the GPS tracks (surprisingly fast kayaking – up to 8 km/h), and then started on some pictures from the A470 (kayak time lapse). Set the SX120 up to shoot the sunset as it looked promising with some high clouds about and wanted to try out how well rawopint works for this. Sent emails off to Michael about the return of his equipment, and atomic about their dud voucher, and booked a Super Shuttle for tomorrow for Auckland, as cheapcabs were now not as cheap as they had once claimed to be. Went off to Giovanni’s (152 Toi Toi St) for a bacon burger with cheese and half a scoop of chips for $9.7. Fairly inexpensive but competently put together. Was eaten back here on the picnic table in the garden, and the burger didn’t fall apart despite the beetroot and the tomato.

Sunset had fizzled out a little but the pictures seemed to be OK. For some reason the spaces between my toes started itching like hell (hope it’s not athlete’s foot – where from?) but applying the polidocanol seems to have quietened things down. There are still a couple of sandfly bites from Queen Charlotte but all that stuff is now winding down.