I awoke to a morning far calmer than last night's breeze led me to expect. A good sight when you are heading for Cook Strait and a ferry to the South Island. From Picton it would be a drive straight through to Nelson, base for my first South Island rides.
I was on a 13:30 sailing, earliest available when I booked, so didn't have to rush straight to the dock.
That meant time for breakfast at one of my favourite Wellington cafés. 'Seashore Cabaret' is just across the road from my Petone motel, their Buttermilk Pancakes and coffee were a great start to the day.
Mt Victoria Lookout
It was such a lovely day I headed up Mt. Victoria. Last time I was there it was overcast, which has its own charms, but not a cloud in the sky today. Regretted didn't have time for a bike ride as weather had thwarted previous Wellington ride attempts. Oh well, maybe on the way home...
Wellington waterfront, CBD and port from Mt Victoria.
Strange to encounter a memorial to American naval officer and explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. but Wellington was his NZ base during his second Antarctic expedition (BAE2) and his other US Govt supported expeditions.
The spine of the memorial is pointing South to NZ's Antarctic Territory.
Wellington Airport, Rongotai & Lyall Bay on a calm day.
My ferry, the Bluebridge Straitsman, is at the dock mid-left of photo below.
Bluebridge across Cook Strait to Picton
While waiting to board, this Penguin Boat, the Sealion, intrigued me. Although it has been there for years I hadn't noticed before. Turns out it's a sad story, unseaworthy but trapped as the owner doesn't have funds to repair.
I got a better view once onboard.
The ferry was full, and I was marshalled until the Bravo was parked with the bonnet tucked under the overhang of a tractor-less truck trailer. Although they secure everything, I was glad of a calm day!
If you are travelling by cycle Bluebridge don't charge for the bike and give 10% discount off the passenger fare.
Leaving Wellington on the Straitsman. The best forward views are through windows so mostly stayed aft looking behind the ship which was also out of the wind. Even on a calm day the apparent wind on the deck is at least 19 knots (35km/h).
Before we left saw part of a COVID Mandate Protest heading for Parliament and the Beehive. Quite a few intending to join the Wellington marches were stuck in Picton. Either they didn't realise ferries were required to check vaccine passes before allowing boarding or thought their BS home-made exemptions would be accepted. By February it would become an occupation of the lawn outside Parliament that would be there until the end of March.
A great day to be on the water.
Bluebridge Ferry in Cook Strait, no sign of its legendary swells and gales today.
The strong currents between the islands combined with gales mean it can get very rough. This 2006 crossing gives an idea what you might experience on a bad crossing...
To get into Picton the Ferry threads through a narrow entry into Tory Channel.
A turn to port signals entry into Queen Charlotte Sound and the run into Picton.
The NZ Laser Championships were racing in Queen Charlotte Sound and followed us in as their day ended.
Picton looking lovely on a fine summer day.
Bluebridge Ferry does a 180° to reverse into the dock in Picton.
Picton to Nelson
It was about six in the evening by the time I disembarked. Although chose the scenic route, along Queen Charlotte Sound instead of the main highway, the mission was to drive straight through to Nelson and check into the motel before it was too late. Love this road, there was little traffic but several temporary traffic-light controlled single lane sections (due to storm damage repairs) slowed progress.
Nelson's Tahunanui Beach
It was about half seven in the evening when I arrived at Courtesy Court Motel, Tahunanui Beach, my home for about a week. Walked along the beach, as the sun set, then to get some dinner and supplies for breakfast.