Fiu in Adriatic
Nelson and South Island
We arrived in Nelson, South Island, New Zealand as planned, on March 3rd in the early morning hours to a glorious sunshine after the only rough weather during that last night coming in to Cook Strait (the channel that separates North and South Islands and which creates a funnel effect for the winds so that it is nearly always blowing a gale in this area). And on the same dock as us, who else than Music!! Mary, Kenny and the kids had arrived back to their hometown in December and were happily settling in after 10 years at sea. How great to see them again and to reminisce about last year’s sailing. They kindly lent us their car and we were able to drive up into the Abel Tasman National Park and also across to Picton via the Marlborough Sounds.
After a week in sunny Nelson, Ivo and Borut headed off to Picton through the Marlborough Sounds on Fiu while Susan stayed on a few more days in Nelson. The Sounds proved to be one of the worse anchorages yet, with a Venturi effect coming down off the hills and producing gusts of 50-70 knots of wind. Never had Fiu been shaken and stirred before as that first night at anchor in Elaine Bay. Like riding a rodeo bronco!
Trip to golden Bay
Picton was the destination and we all met up again there four days latter. Susan had hired a car so we left Fiu in the marina and off we went for a 10 day whirlwind tour of South Island. We now know that early March was really the end of the summer – we had the last few days of sun and warmth before winter started creeping up from Antarctica.
West Coast - from Picton to Greymouth, Franz Josef glacier, Queenstown, Milford Sound
Touring South Island: land of the Lord of the Rings, sheep, last stop before Antarctica, some of the worst architecture (Lonely Planet agrees) the land where 'men are men and sheep are worried', home to a fake and cheeky sandwich eating kiwi (bird), sheep, vineyards we never stopped at, the smallest ever wooden box sleeping cabin, glaciers, sheep, the scariest mountain road, curious road signs, did I mention sheep, and last but not least, many friends. The most wonderful hospitality awaited us in South Island. Mary’s sister Lydia on their dairy farm near Invercargill, Peter, Simon’s father, a wonderful charming young man of 89, living in Timaru, Pym’s sister Annabelle and Michael & two children on Ellesmere Spit outside Christchurch, and of course Mary & Kenny in Nelson.
We drove from Picton across to Westport, then down the west coast for a quick tramp (hey, we are in Kiwi land) up to Fox Glacier, Queenstown (where Borut left us to fly home to Slovenia), Milford Sounds, down to Bluff the southernmost point of South Island, and back up to Picton along the East Coast via Christchurch.
Here we saw some of the funniest road signs - following are selected few:
Horsepoo for sale – half rotten, No Doctor, No Hospital, 1 cemetery, Eggs, fruit & things, Experience is what you get after you need it; The faster you drive, the bigger the mess; The homekill specialists; Hokatiki town motto is: great wildlife between 2 slices of bread.
Far south - Bluff, Land's End
East coast - Dunedin, Oamaru, Akaroa-Banks peninsula, Christchurch
Next - Sailing North - Cook Strait, Wellington, Gisborne, Great Barrier Island, Auckland