Marlborough Sounds

Published: June 27th 2009
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The ferry crossing to the south island was a bit mixed. When we woke up that morning I said to Michelle that the ferry hadn’t a hope of going the weather was that wet and wild. We left our campsite at 6am and drove for 20 minutes to the check-in point. Other cars and camper vans were queuing so we had some hope. Soon we were on the boat and the weather had cleared a little bit. As we left the port you could see the waves were choppy. Soon we were out at sea and the boat was bouncing up and down and from left to right. I thought I wouldn’t be bothered by the motion of the boat but we both started to feel sea sick. Most of the people on the boat were very pale looking and some were regular visitors to the toilet. I held out for a s long as possible before I had to join the queue and get sick. Michelle was feeling ill but was able to hold down her breakfast! When we reached the Marlborough sounds the water was a lot calmer and we were feeling a lot better. The scenery through the sounds was spectacular. Big green rolling mountains surrounded by calm waters. It was very picturesque and no doubt I took a lot!

Had had decided for our first few days to travel around Marlborough Sounds and see the numerous coves, bays and islands. We took the Queen Charlotte Drive which took us along the coast. On the way we could see some thing in the water. We tried to find a place to stop and look but couldn’t get one. We did eventually find one but couldn’t see anything. We got the binoculars out and could see what looked liked flippers from a diver. While we were there an old man out walking came over talking to us. He told us what we had seen was seals and it was rare for them to come in this far into the bay! If you remember the orcas we’ve been quite lucky so far. We talked to him for a small while about him and his life. He was born in Scotland and then moved to India. After that he moved to Namibia before moving to Australia for 20 years. He then moved to Cyprus. He told us that he knew Cyprus would change when they joined the EU so he moved to Turkey and lived there for 14 years. Eventually he decided he needed to finish his life in a country that spoke English and decided to move to the Marlborough Sounds in NZ. He gave us plenty of tips on where to go and was typical of the friendly people we have met so far in this country. There is one thing though. Like Basil Fawlty once said ‘don’t mention the war’ in reference the German customers at his hotel, the saying for New Zealanders is don’t mention the rugby! While talking to the man a seal came right up to the shore and we got some photo’s of it before it took off into the sea.

Our campsite was a good bit away and it took extra long to get there as we were driving so slowly to see all the sights. We would drive no faster than 40km per hour and stop regularly to take photos. We arrived at our campsite before dark and got a nice spot beside the sea shore. When we arrived a curious and very tame flightless bird cam up to me and started pecking at my boots. I wasn’t sure if it was attacking me or curious but it was quite amusing. I couldn’t take my eyes off it or it would sneak up and peck me. It was about half the size of a chicken and not at all afraid of me. Maybe I had parked over or near her nest and she was warning me off.

The following day we drove around the sounds and walked part of the Queen Charlotte Track. The track takes four days to complete so we didn’t exactly do that much. The part we did was nice but not really in the same league as the trekking in South America that we did. For the rest of the afternoon we drove around the sounds stopping at nice spots to have lunch and tea. We returned to the same campsite by the shore and my little friend was waiting their to peck at my feet again. I had seen the same type of the bird all through out the day and it came across as shy. This fellow though wasn’t afraid of me at all, even when I tried to chase her away she would stand her ground. When we got up the next morning and I went outside, she was there waiting again. She tried to get into the camper van this time so I had to put up a blockade of my boots across the door while it was opened. When I did this she just pecked away at the boots obviously pee’d off that they were in her way. Michelle who is afraid of birds wasn’t to interested in my new friend/enemy and wouldn’t get out of the camper van unless the bird was gone.

Over the next few days we are going on a wine tour(this time without bikes) and perhaps swim with dolphins or go whale watching. We cant wait!

In a bit. DH

Song of the blog: Michael Jackson - Billy Jean

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