Morning comes with an amazing sky. I am facing east across the water, the colour creeps up into reds and orange brightening the day considerably. After breakfast I struggle with the starter, turning the key over and over. Roll the van forward then back. I am scared I will run the battery down, and miss the ferry. It starts.
The road to Picton has a warning sign; not suitable for vehicles towing trailers, 25Km of gravel and watch out for logging trucks. Hmm sounds like home to me. Starts out paved with the mandatory switchbacks and soon degrades(?) to gravel. I come around one hairpin and the dirt/dust is so deep my wheels are spinning. Back up and take a run at it. As I descend into a valley I see ahead some dust, and a loaded logging truck hauls ass around the corner in front of me. The logs are likely Gum or Eucalyptus and about 18-24" diameter all about 16' long. Makes the turns easier I guess.
Stunning views coming up! Down into Robin Hood Bay the view from up high certainly enhances the look of surf on a flawless beach, mostly reserve here administered by DOC. Up and over around through great expanses of logging slash then native bush and pines with views of the islands and peninsula off to the right. Down again and briefly back onto pavement as the road touches down at sea level in each little bay; Ocean, Kakapo and Coles. Then I begin to see houses, construction, and massive residences perched on the cliff-sides in Whatamango Bay, many of which are for sale...! anyone interested? Talk about a retreat from the madding crowd. This is the place. No surf on these beaches, the peninsula moderates the waves well creating a very gentle lapping on the beach, at least in this weather. Just over the hill hairpin turns not withstanding, civilization! Port Underwood, Waikawa and Picton, gateway to the south and north depending on your perspective or needs.
At the library I immerse myself in writing, reading emails and eventually skyping Elke. I step outside to speak with her. The library is full of travelers like me connecting via the wifi.
Looking at the time I realize I need to head off to the ferry. On the van my first parking ticket. Oh well. At the terminal it is all good, I get my ticket and line up. A text from Kim, she wants to travel North with me. We will meet up tomorrow.
This ferry is smaller than the other, less people, not so crowded. I spend the entire voyage plugged in deleting old emails (after reading them, of course!) My phone rings , everyone looks. It is a very pathetic sounding ring, hard to describe. The phone dies before I can answer it. Do I have this affect on technology often, or always?
We arrive, disembark and I take a right when I shoulda went left.....I take the first opportunity to turn left heading towards Ngaio, trusting my instincts I go up and up, around and YES, Karori this way. I stop to consult my address's, look up and there is the road! Ross and Sally still at work, they arrive half an hour later. Ross takes me on a tour, Makara Hill where the big gun was in the second world war. Never fired in anger, (broke windows in a test) It ended up sold to Japan for scrap. Then downtown to see the parliament buildings and the third largest wooden building in the world. A government office. I love this architecture. I fill Ross in on my travels and the family history since he worked with Clive back in the 70's. We visit the reserve with a possum proof fence stretching for miles across the mountain.Wonderfully the birds are thriving due to the lack of predators. As things progress they are able to bring them back from the isolated islands they have been living on.
Then dinner with Sally who worked with Wanda and more family stories, theirs and mine.
A shower, laundry and I am set! Camera store in the morning.