Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Dire Straits

Well, one Strait and not really that dire. But how could I resist a reference to one of the earliest bands I remember hearing (and dancing too, in the house we moved out of when I was 7)?

Anyway, on Saturday morning we got up around 5.30 am for the drive into Wellington and on to the Interislander Ferry, which does what it says on the tin. This is only my third ever visit to the South Island, the first being a family roadtrip when I was a kid (also around 7?), which I only have vague memories of, and the second a school trip to a Catholic Jubilee Festival (yeehaa!) in Christchurch in the year 2000.

So I don't know if hypocritical is quite the word, because I never pretended to be the world's foremost expert on the South Island, but it always felt a bit weird advising potential NZ travellers to come here when I had barely been myself. Having at the time of writing spent a few days in the island already, I'm also kicking myself for not doing it sooner and more often when I had the opportunity. I always roll my eyes at the many Europeans I meet who have basically never travelled outside their own country (or maybe a couple of family holidays to Spain or something), but while NZ doesn't have the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe, I'm just as bad in a way for ignoring my own backyard for so many years.

A sidenote while we're talking about the South Island. A (minor) bugbear of mine is when foreigners, and they almost all do, refer to it as South Island. As in "are you from North Island or South Island?'. No True Scotsman New Zealander would refer to them as anything other than THE North Island or THE South Island. It's kind of the opposite of the "Ukraine" name thing - they want English speakers to drop the "The"; since it kind of implies Ukraine isn't a real country, whereas the "the" in "the North Island" or "the South Island" gives the sense that these uncreative monikers are only a convenient shorthand, rather than the islands' true names. In fact, North and South *are* now the official names for the islands, along with the Maori names Te Ika a Maui and Te Wai Pounamu, respectively, but as official names they only date back to 2013. Up until this point, the islands had no official names at all. So if you want to sound authentically Kiwi, keep the "the" when referring to them!

Back to the ferry crossing. It was grey, cold and windy. Everyone but me got the memo and was wrapped up warmly and sensibly, but I was in my usual attire of a dress - luckily a dress long enough to tuck between my legs and prevent myself from flashing everyone. I got some pretty good spots for photos out of Wellington and particularly on the trip through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton, our destination. Mostly because I was willing to stand out in the cold on the top deck for over an hour, I suspect. Not that the photos turned out so great, but oh well. Better than sitting inside staring at my ipad the way I could be doing anywhere in the world. Oh, and we saw teeny tiny dolphins!

Boarding the ferry

Sailing out of Wellington harbour
Wellington and associates

Sailing through the Marlborough Sounds

50 shades of grey

Arriving at Picton

At the Picton marina


  1. Dancing to! I see it too, can't be bothered trying to edit on my phone :)

  2. I can't work out why, in almost every picture Julien seems to be on the verge of a Nazi salute?

    1. You've got it all wrong, he's a Trump supporter.

  3. Haha - 'Money for nothing' blasting out round the house....


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