Crossing The Cook Straight

Picton Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 10 › view all entries

Finally a good nights sleep. I was so warm, dry, and cozy in my new tent and sleeping bag I didn’t want to get up. I set my alarm for 6:30 so I could be at the ferry terminal by7:30. It was only supposed to be a 20 minute drive but the traffic was terrible. I ended up getting there at 8 and the ferry was leaving at 8:25… this was cutting it close. I was in such a hurry that I forgot to fill up the rental car with gas and I forgot some snacks in the back. I hope they don’t charge me too much for fuel. Luckily though, I did make it on time to board the massive ferry and cross the cook straight. 

The boat ride started off smooth and beautiful. I sat on the top deck where it was open air and perfect for photos. As soon as we left the protection of the bay and entered the cook straight they closed the top deck due to gale force winds. The wind was pretty strong, It was hard to walk without getting blown over. So I sat inside for an hour or so but as soon as we entered the Marlborough sound on the south island they opened the top deck again. Hearing the announcement, I ran up as quick as possible, and so did a number of other passengers. It was hard to find a spot to take photos. My first impression of the south island was good. The water was flat and a beautiful green color. Dense forest covered islands everywhere.

I hopped off the boat in picton, picked up my rental car and was on my way. Not two minutes of driving went by when I passed a dive shop. I turned around and went in to see if there were any dives going on later that day. Keep in mind it was afternoon now. I walked in just in time. If you have been following my blog you may notice a pattern of me getting to places or catching things just in time when they were never planned to begin with. Some may say this is coincidental but I think not. Its like doors are opening in front of me and all the lights are turning green.

I got kitted up for my dive and for the first time in almost a year I had to wear a thick wetsuit and a hood. Brrrr. We went across the sound that I just came in on, to find a wreck that was sitting at 40 meters. Visibility was very poor but overall the dive was good. I saw lots of nudibranches, tube worms, spiney stars, and urchins. A nice change from the diving I am used to. It was also my first time diving as a divemaster outside of the shop I work at, yet I still found myself doing divemaster type duties. Helping less experienced divers and helping crew manage gear etc. I felt like I was still working but in a good way. The only difference is that after the dive I didn’t have to do anything… no washing gear, filling out log books, or debriefing. Nice!

Got back in the car and headed south stopping occasionally for photos etc. I found myself getting tired so I stopped at a nice little caravan park. I came into the kitchen to upload photos when I started chatting with a very friendly dutch/kiwi. We shared travel stories and talked for a while. This was nice as I had been going solo in the car for a bit. I told him about my travel plans while in new Zealand and he was impressed. Not only by the plans I have but the places I have been already in such a short time. It was nice to get an insider view on plans and here that I had planned to see the best and the most I could with such a short time here.

So far my trip has been better than I expected, although I had no real expectations.  I wonder what my next few days and the south island have to offer me. I have a few more things planned that should sweet. On the top of my list is sky diving in Wanaka… I will make that happen. I am also looking forward to seeing some glaciers, and more maori culture. I want to find a real maori village that doesn’t have a tourist feel to it.

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photo by: glennisnz