Day 15: Monday 28 Nov – Wellington to Picton

Today we only had to ride 4km to the ferry and then 1.5 km in Picton to the camp.

Even though the ferry was not sailing until 9am we had to have our bags out by 630 am as the trucks needed to get down to the ferry to queue. There were no breakfast facilities at the motel so we were told we were going to get a breakfast pack. Turned out it was a breakfast and a lunch park. It was huge, a plastic supermarket bag full of food. A smoothie, a fruit drink, an orange, a banana, a fruit log, 3 small packets of savory snack biscuits, 2 cheese segments, 2 rolls with frankfurters, a Muesli bar, and a round plastic container 250gm of nuts. How many days was this for again?

I had been a bit nervous about the sailing as I suffer really badly from motion sickness and the past few days the seas had been really rough.Thankfully today it was really quite calm. I had a nice ride along the water front and crossed over at the Westpac stadium and down to the ferry. I could not believe how many people there were as foot passengers – the terminal was packed. Usually when I catch the ferry I am driving a vehicle.

We had to walk our bikes as a group onto the vehicle deck.

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The ferry we travelled on to Picton

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Onto the boat

We were sailing on the newest Interislander ferry, which had some really good seating facilities. I got a good seat at the back of the boat, with a nice view out over the water. The sailing was three hours and really calm all the way across. Once we got into the Marlborough Sounds I even managed to get a blog update done.

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Sailing to the South Island (Photo and Caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Once we got to Picton we had to go to the vehicle deck and wait to be let off. It was a bit unpleasant with all the cars with their engines running, but luckily they let us off  quickly.

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Waiting to get off the ferry

A short 1.5km ride and we were at camp by 12:30 pm. We arrived before the trucks, so had to wait for them to arrive so we could get our bags.

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Sunny and warm in Picton (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Once we had set up our tents Brett, Michele, Tony and I walked into the town and had a look around. We stopped at a bar with a nice outside area and had steamed green mussels in wine and garlic, wedges, and a ParrotDog Pilsner, then we moved to the next bar. Tony, Brett had I had a Kereru Pilsner, and Michele had a cider.

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Lazy afternoon in Picton

After this we walked around Picton looking at the shops. I tried a couple of hairdressers as I badly need a hair cut. Although they said “no appointment necessary” they were both fully booked. I will have to wait until after the ride.

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Another ferry in the Picton Harbour (Photo credit: Michele’s Facebook)

We called into one more bar on the way back to camp and saw “Pisco sours” on the cocktail menu, so we decided that as we had all done the section of the South American ride where they were from, we would have one. Well, although they are on menu clearly they are not popular as the bartender had to ask another bartender and they had to refer to notes, and they took over 45 minutes to make. They were not worth the wait but the thought was good. As I said to Michele – we will remember them more because of the disproportionate amount of time they took to make, and how uninspiring the end result was.

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Disappointing Pisco Sours

Dinner was fresh cooked (lemon) fish with couscous and a broccoli salad. Tony and Michele shared a bottle of Vidals (Hawkes Bay) Pinot with us.

We have a new rider called Justina from Switzerland, she has come all the way just to do the two week South Island ride. Every rider’s nightmare: she arrived but no bike or bag! Hopefully it will be sent on tonight’s ferry.

Tomorrow is the birthday for both Emily (the tour leader) and Mika (a TDA worker). A couple of the riders had organised cakes, candles, and cards, which we all contributed to and signed. After dinner we sang happy birthday and had cake and candles.

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