13 December 2010 – Ship Cove, Marlborough Sound, South Island, NZ

We made it to the South Island! Ship Cove is a much busier bay than we expected. Yesterday when we arrived it was deserted, but only a few hours later a megayacht anchored nearby, then several other small sailboats & motorboats joined us. Small ferries came & went from the wharf all day long, disembarking hikers. Kayakers also came in groups to visit the cove.

I got out our inflatable kayak right after breakfast & we gave it some much-needed attention after nearly four years of non-use. It's held up remarkably well despite our neglect, & it served as a good platform for plucking mussels off the rocks on shore right near the boat. I think we’ll be getting a lot of use out of the kayak in this part of the world.

The trilling sounds of the birds in the ferny forest above us made this place feel very exotic, & a little sun made us feel better about it being so chilly. We definitely know we’re in the Marlborough Sounds & on the South Island now– it looks & feels very different here.

We organized a picnic & kayaked ashore to hike up to the lookout mentioned in our guide. There were other tourists about, but we had the trail to ourselves. It was a nice view over Resolution Bay until the clouds moved in & it got quite cool. We could see out to Cook Strait in one direction, & down Marlborough Sound in the other. As we ate our lunch, a henlike wild bird pecked at BB's feet & tried to sneak some of our food - a very aggressive, evil-looking bird with beady red eyes. We don’t quite what it is…(we later learned it's a weka). BB was pleased to get cell phone reception on the platform at the summit & call his mom, which he wanted to do yesterday for the Chanukah party, but cell reception is spotty here, at best.

While walking, we wrote two of the songs we're preparing for the medley we'll sing for David & Janet of Navire on Christmas Eve. We're enjoying the challenge of replacing the words to carols with reminiscences of our adventures together with them in Niue & Tonga.

The trails are very well kept by the NZ Dept. of Conservation, with bridges, stairs, handrails, etc. & there's a nice monument to Cook as well as a bunch of signboards with information about this part of the world & Cook's multiple visits here.

On the other side of the bay there was a short hike to a pretty double waterfall, but that was much more crowded with groups of girls. Even with the crowds, it felt good to be out walking after our passage down the coast.

When we returned, I worked on drilling the red beads we picked up in the forest in Niue & Tonga to make necklaces for Christmas gifts while BB worked on the update. It's amazing how much cooler it gets when the sun disappears. Also, I guess it feels colder on the boat now since the water temperature is colder down here. I'm grateful to have the shearling slippers.

The mussels were delicious without even putting anything on them. I hope we’ll be able to pluck seafood from the rocks everywhere here. What a treat.

says ADR