Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Great Day For a Crossing

Got up at 5:15 this morning to make it to the ferry dock to check in by 7:00. Said goodbye to Leandra at 6:30 and headed to the dock. Stopped along the way on the waterfront to take some photos of the early morning rowers. The water was quite smooth.

Made it to the ferry dock at 6:50. I checked in and was given my "Boarding Pass". It was a black plastic stick. Oooo...fancy! Then again, Bluebridge is the cheaper of the two ferries (Interislander being the other, more luxurious one). I parked Betsy at the gate and took some photos of the ferry. The Bluebridge Ferry is definitely the largest ferry I've ever seen or been on. Countless trucks were coming off. Then, of course, several loaded on.

As I was taking photos, I noticed my camera battery was low. I had fully charged the other one last night so I went to change it out. The other battery was not in my camera case. I thought it might be in my handlebar bag--nope. Then I started to worry. Had I dropped it walking back to the camping area last night from the kitchen at the backpackers? I thought I had put it in my pocket, but it wasn't there (I had slept in the pants I was wearing). The only place I thought it might be was in my sleeping bag (if it had fallen out of my pocket during the night). There was no time to look. I just hoped I would have enough battery to take photos on the ferry.

Soon, I was allowed to wheel Betsy on the ferry. She had a nice parking spot on a bike rack in a cubby hole on the deck. The deck guy helped me tie her up. Then I climbed about 3 flights of stairs to get to the main cabin. There were nice couches and a theater section. There was a café where I had a muffin, yogurt and juice for breakfast. After I ate my breakfast, I went out on deck to watch us pull out of Wellington Harbour. Goodbye Wellington! It was great visiting! I also hoped that Leandra was safely at the airport by then (8:00).

As we worked our way into the Cook Strait, the swells became larger. Even though the weather was good and the boat was big, it was still doing some pretty fun ups and downs. I stayed out on the bow riding the waves until I was too cold. I went inside and found a comfortable couch and pulled out my Kindle to read. Since it had been an early morning, I promptly fell asleep. I woke up a few minutes later and heard someone say, "Dolphins!". I looked out the window and saw two! I went out on the stern deck and watched the dolphins playing in the wake of the ferry. I didn't take any photos because I knew they wouldn't show up (too far away). There was a...unusual guy out in the stern deck yelling and gesturing out toward the water. The best I could catch of what he was saying was, " Water, water, ship, ship, boat, boat ferry". He did this the whole time I was on that deck!

I eventually wandered back to the bow. Then back inside when I got too cold in the wind.

After about two hours of the four hour sailing, we entered Queen Charlotte Sound. It reminded me alot of the San Juan's only more islands and mountains. Pretty soon I could see Picton. There was an Interislander ferry ahead of us that was turning around to back into the dock (unlike Washington State Ferries, these ferries have to turn around as there is only one way on and off). as we approached the dock, we did the turn around too.

The call was made to return to vehicles, so I headed back down to Betsy. I got her untied and out of her cubby. The big door opened and Betsy and I walked off the ferry. Whoo Hoo!!! Picton and the South Island of New Zealand!

I followed the blue line to the terminal where I picked up a Picton map. Unfortunately, it didn't show me where the Holiday Park was. I needed to get a few groceries so I asked the clerk. The manager came over and gave me directions. I headed to Alexander's Holiday Park. I've showered, done laundry, eaten some lunch and now I'm typing this in my tent in the rain. Rain seems to have become a daily occurrence. As for the camera battery? Yes, it was in my sleeping bag! I'm glad I didn't lose it afterall!

Here are some photos of the crossing.

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