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Crossing The Strait

Thankfully the post office in Wellington was open on a Saturday morning. Before catching the ferry we quickly walked thirteen blocks to the only post office that was open and posted Ken’s bounce box off to Hanmer Springs (25 hiking days away). The bounce box contains repair kits and various items which are only required every three to four weeks. Generally speaking, for the male hiker this bounce box is a GREAT IDEA, as posting it ahead helps minimise that nasty shopping experience faced in unfamiliar territory. A huge time saver which is also cost-effective. Still on our way to the ferry we sprinted into a smaller New World food outlet to buy some delicious fresh fruit as well as some wine for the Phillips (friends of ours that were visiting NZ from Canada). At the checkout we just couldn’t believe it – we were both asked for ID!? Huh, we both looked at each other and then turned to the woman serving us and in unison we announced “we’re 40 this year!”. There was an awkward pause. “I still need to see your ID” she demanded. So with smiles on our faces we reached for our wallets and gladly produced ID. The woman, after realising that she horribly miscalculated the situation, turned the colour of the wine which lawfully stood between us. Was she just trying to be nice to us? She seemed incredibly serious? We grabbed the bottle and fruit and made a run for it. We had just gained further lease of life and we had a ferry to catch. We couldn’t have been happier!

Crossing the Strait was something we both looked forward to. It was definitely a highlight of the traverse so far. We managed to get quite a nice spot up-front where we had our own port-hole to witness the crossing from. We didn’t even try that hard for it – it was just there waiting for us. Even though it was raining, we really did enjoy our time looking out. It gave the crossing a nautical feel. As the ferry surged through the strait – we placed stern orders at the bar for Gin and Tonics. We felt great excitement and in-turn felt like shouting G&T’s to all passengers accompanying us in the front facing section of the ferry, but we decided it was best to act conservative. Ken’s traverse was far from over.

Half an hour out from Picton we received a call from the Phillips who were waiting to greet us at the ferry terminal. The Phillips not only offered to put us up for night but had also amended their travel plans just so we could cross paths with them in Picton. When we walked in to their place we couldn’t help but notice that the living room walls had been painted bright yellow – in fact, they were the exact same colour as Ken’s rain jacket. Funnily, the Phillips had warned us the day before we arrived that the walls were yellow but we didn’t realise they would be that yellow! Later, when Kenyon walked in to the living room wearing his yellow rain jacket – nobody noticed his presence. He had been there for quite some time, like a fly on the wall, listening in on our conversations. So we learnt a valuable lesson. NEVER, EVER . . . EVER, paint interior walls yellow! It’s just not a good idea.

We had a very nice dinner at a café just down the road. The food was good and the company was even better. It was strange to think that we had all met up in one place so far from home. The evening quickly turned into night and before we knew it the great times were closing to an end. Having good friends welcoming us into Picton was the nicest way we could ever have hoped of beginning the South Island.


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