Picton. After waiting so long and being near the end of the loading it was a bonus to be disembarking at the head of the line. I went straight for the library. It was crawling with tourists and their laptops. A sign on the table suggested limiting ones self to an hour. I rearranged my departure giving myself 4 more days on the South Island, reaching out to Jurgen in Nelson... (Not! turns out he is an hour north in Motueka) a fellow starting up an Eco-Village/intentional community. Caught up on some email and didn't charge my phone...
Boy did I regret that.
Sat outside and Skyped with Elke, the wireless reaches and doesn't disturb the patrons. That facilitated a conversation with a local fellow who was not impressed with tourists eating their breakfast in the library while checking their mail. "Foreigners" He wasn't too impressed with local gov't either allowing spraying of some toxic chemicals by some local logging contractor. And the phones! He maintained that New Zealand has the most expensive telephone coverage in the world... on and on.
I took the Queen Charlotte Drive out of Picton. Up and up it goes, switch backs galore with awesome views along the ridge looking across the sound. And speaking of sound, I managed to record the insects in the trees with a short video of the vista below above Havelock estuary of the Pelorus and Wakamarina Rivers. Behind me Mahau Sound, to the right Hikapu Reach.
I was stopping frequently until Havelock. The road turns inland, gets wider and the speed increases. Still lots of hairpins and up and down through a pine forest that looks combed, the rows are so straight. I stop again at Pelarus Bridge, there is an opportunity to walk for an hour to waterfalls but it is late in the day. This is a beautiful area, the river looks mighty inviting... Not a lot of traffic makes the driving easy.
Stop in Nelson to turn on my phone, check messages. Dead. Insert sim card in other phone, check messages attempt to return call... right, he can't hear me. The phone dance happens again with pay phones. Punching in expired numbers, I find a phone that takes coins. Does it ever! I did connect and after getting lost briefly in Richmond an hours driving has me standing by the clocktower in Motueka. Jurgen and family arrive, we go for ice cream then out to the property where I will camp for a couple of days.