Day 1, April 25: Goodbye Quaker Settlement, Hello Picton
“I’m on a boat and, I’m going fast and…”
I’m on a Boat by Lonely Island
Sunday started with a whole settlement clean in preparation for our week long absence to the Marlborough Sounds. At 10 the whole group jumped on a bus to Wellington and then popped straight onto a ferry where we met Kerry, one of our guides and sailed off on a boat to Picton. Unfortunately we had to leave our nautical themed pashmina afghans behind as we needed to pack light. Most of us passed time sleeping, playing cards, watching the view go by and eating. After the whirlwind of travel we stumbled with all our gear to our hostel, met our other two guides, Claire and Tim, and got to know each other over dinner and heard a detailed plan for the next day, which entailed a 42km bike ride.
Day 2, April 26: Bike from Picton to Eco Lodge in Mistletoe Bay
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
Stronger by Kelly Clarkson
As can be observed by our song choice of the day, today was a challenging one with sore butts, cramping legs and shortness of breath. We biked 42 km (26 miles) out of Picton, up some large hills and speeding down winding roads. The pain was worth it in every way, despite the last 200 meter “hill from hell” on our “torture machines” (quote Jay), we had beautiful views at the top of every hill and were rewarded with a refreshing South Pacific swim at Mistletoe Bay. As we iced our aching muscles in the salt water, braving the cold of the winter ocean, we all had a strong sense of accomplishment completing what was one of the most challenging days for many of us. The rest of the afternoon was spent napping, reading, playing cards and making music as we waited to refuel on our delicious dinner of pasta and meatballs, after which we holed up in the warm kitchen to talk about our next adventure. That evening we went down to the dock again to admire the stunning stars and throw rocks into the fluorescence of the water. Malia even took a chilling late night dip in order to stir up more fluorescence.
Day 3, April 27: Hike – Ferry – Hike
“These boots were made for walking (hiking), and that’s just what they’ll do”
These Boots Were Made For Walkin by Nancy Sinatra
After another early 7am start we had a feed, packed up and got hiking on our first of two 8km hikes for the day. We had a deadline to meet, catching a water taxi from Endeavor Bay by 11:45 so we booked it to the summit of the ridge and moseyed on down to Endeavor Bay, just meeting the boat as it pulled up. We napped and ate lunch for the 45 minute ride to Furneau Bay and then did our second, much more gradual 8k hike over another ridge into Resolution Bay where we were to spend the night. We found our kayaks dropped off at the dock for us to move onto the beach for the next day, after which we hung out in the common space passing the time till dinner and until we got on the water the next day.
Day 4, April 28: Training and Relaxation in Resolution Bay
“Something in the water, there’s something in the water”
Something in the Water, Brooke Fraser
Today was somewhat of a layover day, we stayed at the Resolution Bay cabins, had a bit of a sleep in, and then geared with a PFD (personal flotation device), splash skirt (to prevent water from getting in the boats) and paddle, hopping into our two man kayaks with our partners. We spent two hours in the bay training for the next few days on open water; lessons began with target practice, hitting some buoys, progressed to learning pivot turns as a pair and ending with emergency fast stops. By the end we all felt comfortable on the water and excited to get onto the open ocean tomorrow. The afternoon was spent with some dock jumping, solo kayaking around the bay and muscle relaxation in preparation for the switch from leg to upper body days.
Day 5: Sea Kayaking to Cannibal Cove
“Oh Lady, running down to the riptide”
Riptide by Vance Joy
After separating gear to stay at Endeavor Bay and gear to come with us in the boats, we packed our kayaks for the two day journey ahead with all of our camp and cooking gear. We then loaded the much heavier kayaks into the water and pushed off, hugging the shore to avoid the 15 knot wind further out to sea. We fought the wind and waves inching along the coast for a wind protected break in Ships Cove, then back out into the wind, around a peninsula to Cannibal Cove, where we would spend the next two nights. Sea splashed and salt stained we cruised onto the beach, unloading our kayaks and set up a little village of tents and cooking area. We pulled dead trees along the shore and broke them apart to fuel our fire which warmed both our shivering bodies and our soggy souls. Kerry prepared some wonderful Cheeseburgers in Paradise for the group as we sat on the beach telling stories and laughing into the falling night.
Day 6: Scrounge for Food and Bird Island
“Lazing about this beach all day…pulling mussels from the shell.”
Pulling Mussels by Squeeze
We all woke up, warm and rested from a nights cuddle in the tents. Though we were staying in Cannibal Cove one more night, we weighed down the kayaks with gear so we wouldn’t be blown back to Picton, and then we headed off, back into the wind, crossing to Motuara island, a protected bird sanctuary. After beaching the yaks above the high tide line, there was a thoroughly enjoying short hike to the summit along which we saw many native birds including Fantails, Bellbirds, Saddlebacks, Kakariki, and even Little Blue Penguins in their nesting boxes. After more rest, we again fought the wind back into Cannibal Cove, eating a lunch of soup and while Kerry and Rachel and Jay and Truman caught fish and got mussels for our Seafood Stew dinner followed by hot chocolate and flaming marshmallows around the fire to celebrate the 10th birthday of one Arden Roberts.
Day 7: Paddle to Ships Cove Hike to Resolution Bay Back to Picton
“Ah, push it, push it good, ah push it, push it real good”
Push It by Salt ‘n’ Peppa
Our last day on the water we tore down our village, packed the tents and our goods into the yaks and left Cannibal Cove to the Cannibals. We kayaked into the now Northern coming winds around the peninsula to Ships Cove. Unloading and caressing our kayaks for the last time, we said farewell after a beachside lunch and hiked over a saddle back to Resolution Bay. The hike was shorter than the other days, but we had to push it for the first 30 minute vertical climb. Once to the top and with our breath back, we were greeted with the welcoming view of Endeavor Bay below and the Kaikoura Range Mountains beyond, and took the time to enjoy this last hike we all had together in New Zealand. At the bottom, another water taxi, this time laden with our trusty kayaks waited to take us back to Picton. We said our farewell to the guides, Fairy Kerry, Tim Tam and Claire Bear and thanked them for taking such good care of us on this last group trip. In celebration we ended our Marlborough Sounds Journey at Le Café with a three course meal planned by Kerry, after which we all crawled into our beds to sleep off the long exciting week, in preparation for our return to Whanganui tomorrow, and return to the states in just three days.
— Kelsey and Malia telling you to sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing it strong!