Sunday, 2nd December – Nelson

Thick grey cloud on rising, but very mild temperatures, dry and virtually no wind.

After consultation with a very helpful staff member called Maggie, we decided to go for a “coffee cruise” around a little bit of the coastline at the edge of the nearby Abel Tasman National Park.

At the last minute (almost literally) we decided to take advantage of the laundry service offered by the B&B, whereby you load a large sack with your washing, put it outside the door before 10 a.m. and it’s back, washed and folded, by 5 p.m. same day. Update on this very important issue later…..

One-hour drive to the start at Kaiteriteri, then had to undertake an assault course across the beach to board the boat at low tide. Nice spot to start with, but very grey and overcast. Our ticket entitled us to one free tea or coffee on board. I chose a coffee on the outward journey, but the swell was so great that the deckhand offered to carry it up onto the top deck for me! Gratefully accepted.

Set off on our cruise northwards up the coast. Nothing spectacular, but pleasant enough. Still very grey and cloudy.

The Split Apple rock formation – aptly named, methinks

Arrived at a bay called Anchorage, so called because it is one of the few places on this coast where you can actually anchor close inshore. Here we got off the boat whilst it continued its northward journey.

More or less as soon as we alighted on the beach, the weather suddenly improved dramatically.

We boarded this second boat here and set off on the return journey. Jean had exactly the same problem with her coffee on the return trip, as the swell was still pretty stiff.

The trip took us past Adele Island, where there is a colony of fur seals. One individual out in the sea put on a real show for us, rolling over and waving his flippers:

Arrived back at Kaiteriteri in glorious sunshine and 22 degrees, with some extraordinary cloud formations:

 The gull was purely incidental, but not bad, huh?

A pot of tea in a local café seemed the next obvious thing to do (I was driving) and then followed up on instructions received to phone the organisers of the whale watch cruise scheduled for the day after tomorrow just to check that all was OK.

It wasn’t. They couldn’t find our booking. Mild panic ensued, with a terseish exchange of emails with Trailfinders. To their eternal credit, they have someone on 24 hour standby and he was brilliant. The original booking appeared on the whale watch cruise system as 4th November! Mistakes somewhere and we’ll never know the truth, but all was resolved satisfactorily, in terms of the booking at least.

However, check-in for the cruise was for 10.30 a.m. on the Tuesday morning, which, if left unchanged, would have resulted in us having to leave Nelson at 6 a.m. for a stressful four-hour drive to Kaikoura with just a one-night stay after the cruise. I managed to book an extra night at the Kaikoura hotel for tomorrow night, which means at least that we can have a relatively relaxed drive tomorrow and be in place for the whale watch cruise check-in, but of course it means that we have one less day here in Nelson. Trailfinders have undertaken to cover the cost of the extra night in Kaikoura, as we specified a late afternoon sailing originally. Again, massive credit to them.

Our landlady was very understanding, after initially expressing concern that all was not OK at the B&B. We reassured her on this point and she at least has the opportunity of re-letting the room.

Another nice meal at a Nelson restaurant, although rather slapdash service. I mean – the Chardonnay was served without an ice-bucket! Shock horror! We soon put that to rights…..

Oh, and the laundry was there, ready and waiting for us when we got back to the B&B. You wished to know that, as these things are important…..

So – a relatively stress-free drive to Kaikoura awaits us tomorrow, in theory at least!

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