Different means of travel, different speeds. This sort of put trip planning off a little. On the other hand, not having to spend a whole day slogging on towards some distant goal had its benefits, not least of which was enjoying the scenery. More could have, should have been done, but I’ll happily leave that for another time.
The boat was no doubt fast (and special thanks again to Marlborough Sounds Adventures for a very reasonably priced 5-day hire and return transport – $240 per person), possibly due to the fact that it was not packed to the hilt. A later trip in western Sweden using plastic boats and carrying all supplies for twelve days proved to be somewhat slower. Read more…
Saturday, April 1: Nelson: Overcast
Auckland: Fine & warm with some high clouds
Walking: 8.1 km
Tracy’s (airbnb, $50)
Perhaps the last wakening at 7:30 summer time. Breakfast was the remainder of the crumpets with vegemite, some coffee with milk out of Genie’s fridge, and then the work of packing had to be done. Almost everything fit into where it should and Genie’s scales gave a reading of just under 20 kg for the suitcase (with more clothes to be discarded) and just over 7 for the backpack. Everything was checked and double-checked, the flat locked up and the keys in their hiding place, and I was on the street waiting for the Super Shuttle with 30 minutes to spare. The only thing that didn’t seem to work out was deleting played podcasts from the ipod (impossible; the podcasts have to be deleted from the master list first and then the ipod has to be synced, which might have triggered World War 3, i.e. the loss of all of the old podcasts that would then have to be downloaded again). Listening to the podcasts out on the street it occurred to me that having the pocket knife and the scissors in the backpack was probably not such a good idea, even if security at Nelson was going to be fairly laid back, so those were transferred to the suitcase without much of a problem. Read more…
Wednesday, March 29: Cloudy overnight, becoming a bit lighter in the course of the day, freshening south wind, and rain showers in the later afternoon & early evening
Sea kayaking: 16.4 km
Cannibal Cove ($6, Doc)
Graham & Warwick were up extremely early to practise for getting up early on Thursday morning (their water taxi leaves at 8:30), as well as some very vocal wekas, and we slept in a bit until Christelle’s alarm clock went off at 7:00.
The weather was not promising for the deck camera, so everything was packed away until at least lunchtime. We were also quite early and Christelle was eager to go & not so much interested in the historical walks, so we pushed off just after 9:30. Read more…
Tuesday, March 28: Cloudy to begin with, less wind than the night before, becoming sunny and fine with little to no wind by the early afternoon
Sea kayaking: 21.9 km
Blumine Island campsite ($6, Doc)
During the night I had cramped again and again, first in the left calf, then in the right. Nothing too serious or permanent, but in my contortions I had bent my glasses and trying to fix them I dislodged one lens. Managed to get everything back together and did get some sleep in the end.
We were up at around 7:30 and ready to go just on two hours later. The sea was much calmer, although the weather wasn’t promising that much. I set the camera up for time lapse and it did something (have since discovered that M mode had to be set on the A470 to be able to trigger continuous mode). We wanted to get to Ratimera and decide further from there. For the first bit Graham & Warwick were following us 10-15 minutes behind but they didn’t take the turn to Ratimera and we didn’t see them until later. I used the Travel Buddy pillow to support my back and that worked very well as long as I put the footpegs back one stop again. Read more…
Saturday, March 25: Overcast with drizzle in the morning, lighter rain developing in the course of the afternoon & evening
Very quiet the whole night and morning. I was up around 8:30 expecting there to be a rush for breakfast but apart from an obviously set breakfast table, nothing else was stirring. I had the end three pieces of bread as vegemite on toast, some fruit juice & coffee.
Preparations for the Queen Charlotte Track sea kayak tour were beginning to take priority. Since neither toothpaste nor coffee will be enough for five days, replacements had to be bought from Four Square. Had sent off emails to one of the attendees of Skeptics in the Pub who is a biology teacher, and there was some interest from her for a class of 14-year-olds. Also sent a message to Gold about the Cosmic Shambles performance (will also have to message Dell). Got an OK for a place to stay near Birkenhead and back-calculated the time from the airport to there at 1½ hours and gave the hostess an ETA, which was appreciated. Read more…
Had a restful sleep until 8:00 and then started on a simple breakfast of two rounds of ham sandwiches with coffee. Had a little discussion with the American couple who were leaving later today. Cecile was a bit taken aback by being asked for $30 for the shuttle to the Heaphy and decided to hitch hike it.
Went down to the i-site for some basic internet, met a Belgian woman, Christelle, just off the Heaphy who was weighing up the pros & cons of the various overnight possibilities and she was asking me about Rongo which I could recommend. Then it was over to the hardware store, but their gas cans were just as expensive as in the supermarket and they only had citronella mozzie coils for exclusive outdoor use, and probably not as effective at killing sandflies as the genuine ones are. Anyway that meant going to the supermarket where peu a peu I was collecting stuff, so I decided to make a whole job of it and buy everything I needed. There was a sultana-nut mix (“trail mix” which corresponds closely to the German Studentenfutter) for $4 for 400 g, a salami from a local butcher that appeared to be genuinely dry, and wasn’t much more expensive than the prepackaged salami on special offer. That really only left some OJ (mixed juice was cheaper & chosen), the mozzie coils were nondescript, so were left out, some Pams muesli bars were bought & will suffice, some “bacon” bought for lunch today and breakfast tomorrow, to which only two hardboiled eggs from the old batch had to be added, both double-yolkers, then some beer for tonight. Then it was time to head back to the hostel. Read more…
Over the years, on buses, at motorcamps, in backpackers, I’ve stumbled across people spending their two weeks’ worth of holidays trying to see all of New Zealand, such is the call of the place desired by many. And yet here I am again, standing in front of the expanse of two months, squeezing the days into plans and realising how much there is still to do after five trips down under. But not to worry. There will be plenty of new stuff on this trip. Read more…