Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ferry ride... was like this.... and then Paradise...

So....after an hour of torture like in this video:

we sighted land.....

the snowy peaks of Mt Richmond on the south Island. The ferry slunk towards the narrow strait and rocks that protected the entrance to the most exquisite sight that

Marlborough sounds

Am I in Norway or New Zealand...? I had to pinch myself.

It was then the sun came out and the waters were calm. Instead of all the passenger's heads hung low looking green, you saw more faces like this:

Serenity descended on the boat like a calming hot drink, and the passengers disappeared from the rear deck and made a bee line to the to the bridge, the bar and even outside to drink in the view and the sunshine..... and me, I took the opportunity to capture it on camera.... this is as close to Norway as I could get in the southern hemisphere! With one big difference, the waters of the fjord or sounds was brilliant cobalt blue not black, as you might find in Norway.

Although these are my photos, you can see a video of this beautiful voyage of the interislander here

And as if this wasn't enough, we passed through the Tory channel to an even wider section of the sound, called Queen Charlotte Sounds...

Isn't it simply gorgeous?

Imagine having your own boat and sailing around in here, stopping off at some small patch of sand to have a picnic lunch and laze in the sun.... Ah! Paradise on earth.... oh! there goes someone in paradise now...lucky thing....

Queen Charlotte Sound. Queen Charlotte... who was she: I guess an English monarch's wife...

The internet, of course, will tell me here.....

The Queen Charlotte Sound, named after the wife of King George the Third, was important for the Maori. Called Totaranui, the sheltered Sound was used for travel and provided bountiful seafood for the many Maori who lived there.

In 1770 Captain Cook anchored in Ship Cove, a place of endearing beauty. He stayed there five times between 1770 and 1777 and this tranquil retreat has remained virtually unchanged from that time.

Since that time, the area has been the scene of a diverse range of activities from gold and antinomy mining, whaling and fishing through to tourism and forestry leaving the Queen Charlotte Sound and its immediate area full of interesting history.

Interesting Facts:

  • British sovereignty was first proclaimed by Captain Cook and the flag formally raised on the summit of Motuara Island on 31st January 1770.
  • Within Resolution Bay is Schoolhouse Bay, which was once the site of the local school. At one time children from the neighbouring farms walked or rode their ponies to school along the bridle paths which now form the basis of the Queen Charlotte Track.
  • Until the end of the 19th century there was a thriving township at the head of Endeavour Inlet. Antimony was mined there and at one time sailing ships loaded their cargoes in the Inlet before sailing direct to England with the valuable metal.
  • Legend tells of the early Maori using Torea Saddle to haul their canoes from one sound to another.
Then it was on to Picton.... I could just make it out in the distance. Our stopping point where we would get a train, although for the first hour of the journey, the train would be a bus, as they were doing repairs to the track and we would meet up with the train at Blenheim. Arahura's bow looking up towards Picton....

and there it is.....

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