Time to say farewell to Te Waipounamu, South Island...
Had a mid-afternoon ferry, after checking out from the motel had a leisurely breakfast at Seabreeze Café on the Picton waterfront. I initially choose it for the view, but the food and coffee were great too. Add to that listening to a wonderful podcast–Alan Alda chatting with astronaut Chris Hadfield about his life and more–for a nice start to the day.
Chris Hadfield: Song of an Astronaut | Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda
His descriptions of living in space make you feel you’re on the ship with him.
His performance of the David Bowie song Space Oddity in a video he beamed down to earth was a worldwide hit.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is a veteran of three space missions, including as commander of the International Space Station. He takes us with him.
With a couple of hours to kill before the 13:00 check-in decided to head down to Blenheim for a change of scenery. Just got there and a text advised the sailing was delayed a few hours and check-in was now 16:00.
I was staying in Wellington so a later arrival didn't impact me; was happy it gave me time to revisit an attraction I first saw on my 2019 trip.
Back to Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is just outside Blenheim. I noticed few changes since last time, about three years ago, but it was nice to have another leisurely look around.
The range, quality and sheer detail of the displays is astonishing with original or incredibly accurate reproduction (often flight capable) WW1 and WW2 aircraft in dioramas created by the talents of WingNut Films and enhanced by mannequins by Weta Workshop. If you are in the area, make time to visit.
I looked at the aircraft exhibits but was glad of more time to examine the amazing range of military and personal artifacts.
"Rare memorabilia on display; the envy of any national collection ranges from beautifully crafted ‘trench’ art through to personal items belonging to national flying heroes such as the USA’s Eddie Rickenbacker, France’s René Fonck and Germany’s Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen and the infamous Hermann Goering"
WW1 Knights of the Sky Exhibition (omaka.org.nz)
In a post-Brexit world this post-war game about rebuilding Europe is poignant. British politics broke up what the Nazi's couldn't.
This P40 was new since my last visit, found in a NZ barn...
Soviet Union Ace Lydia Litvyak is featured.
This close-up of Soviet Union Ace Lydia Litvyak shows the detail seen in every display. It was like standing beside her, almost wanted to brush the stray single hair that had fallen over her eye in case it was annoying her.
The café carrot cake is good too, I reckon having it with yoghurt (instead of cream) makes it healthy too!
All too soon it was time for my last South Island drive, to the ferry.
Across the fearsome Cook Strait
The Bravo on Bluebridge Ferry, luck of the draw meant I was towards the bow, so would be among the last off...
It was about 18:00 by the time we sailed, four hours later than planned.
A lovely evening when we left Picton.
Must admit looked at this (below) for a while until realised it meant arrival/departure by helicopter winch, and not a helicopter landing spot.
The Queen Charlotte Sound with clouds coming in from the East (ocean) from Bluebridge Ferry.
Lovely sunset looking West!
As we entered Cook Strait, sea fog appeared.
The crossing was calm and foggy right into Wellington Harbour. This photo was taken off Point Halswell, by Evans Bay, and not a sign of Wellington ahead!
First sight of Wellington as we passed Roseneath Point.
The fog lifted a bit just before we docked, the harbour mirror calm.
But was coming back as we berthed at about 22:00.
I had already arranged late check-in at the motel, so that wasn't a concern, but was a bit past eating much so just made do for dinner with the snacks and fruit I had with me. Hope the weather is fine tomorrow, would like a view on my bike ride!
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