|Depart Hutt (Wellington): 1635 km (11.00)
We woke to clearer skies this morning, at 07.30 when the alarm went off. After breakfast we did our chores, including emptying and filling all the various tanks. By 11 we were ready to head off, but we wanted to do a couple of internet things first. There was supposed to be wi fi at the camp, but because we were right on the edge of the camp, the signal was really crap. So we parked up just by the office and spent an hour or so on the laptop and/or reading. Then Nick made some sandwiches for the ferry crossing, and we headed off to the ferry port.
Our crossing was booked for 14.30, and we arrived for checkin about 12.50. Actually they were running a bit late, so we didn't start boarding until after 14.00, and we were pretty much last on. The ferry was similar to the cross channel ones, but quite a bit smaller.
According to the notices around the port, the conditions for the crossing were 'moderate' (fine, moderate, rough, severe). In the port of course it was pretty calm, but as soon as we were in the open water, it got really choppy. We headed to the upper, outer rear deck. The weather started to close in again and it got very cloudy, but the rain didn't start until we reached the south island. It was a very interesting crossing, lots to see the whole way across, but it was really, really cold. It was all I could do to stay out there, but I didn't want to get sea-sick and there wasn't really anything to do inside exceppt read (not good for sea-sickness!). The crossing took 3 hours in total, and by the time we got back in the camper we frozen to the core – it took about an hour to warm up again.
As soon as we landed in Picton we headed west along the twisty, turny coast road (Queen Charlotte Drive). It was raining, but not miserably so, and the views were lovely – a bit like being back in Coromandel – sandy bays, tropical plants, and fortunately not too many cars either.
We stopped at a camp site in Havelock (self claimed mussel capital of the world). It was about 19.30 by then. Camp site was fine, although pretty packed with permanent caravans (not too rough). There's not much to see, even though we are right on the coast, but as it was just a sleeping port, it doesn't matter too much.
For dinner we had lamb steaks with rice and peas, and after all the fresh air, hit the sack about 21.30, dog tired.