This trip was the highlight of our time in New Zealand: a warm day on calm water, travelling into small inlets to deliver mail and supplies to homes not serviced by road.
Jimmy and Penny were great hosts to a disparate group of passengers, pointing out interesting locations and explaining how things work.
We sat on the bow for most of day. It was cool there in the morning but there was much more to see, hear and smell out there. Many others perched on the stern, on the upper deck or inside the cabin.
The local people seem to take well to being photographed by tourists at their docks when they receive their parcels. The tourist income helps keep the mail boats costs down so it's of benefit to them. Some of our fellow passengers were locals returning after shopping trips into town.
Our Tuesday voyage included a lunch stop at a lodge where we could buy food and/or eat what we brought with us at picnic tables.
The scenery was gorgeous. There was fog in the morning as we left Havelock. It lifted as we got further into the sound and the sun got higher. Unfortunately we didn't see much wildlife: no whales or dolphins. It would have been a bonus.
We stopped to watch mussel harvesters at work on a barge, which I found interesting. A larger scale operation than I've seen in Prince Edward Island.
A few days before we had driven from Picton to Havelock on Queen Charlotte Drive. The views were spectacular, but watching the scenery was taking our lives into our hands. The road was narrow with blind corners and hairpin turns. Even getting into and out of overlook parking sites was hazardous. We came upon one accident and nearly had one ourselves. The mail boat gave us access to even more stunning scenery and we could leave the driving to Penny and Jimmy.
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