DAY 123...Back to the Mainland

Friday 26 February

Rain, thunder and even heavier rain the entire night.  How great it felt to know that with a double fly sheet I was not going to have a wet sleeping bag or gear over night and I would stay warm and dry.  When it rains in Stewart Island it is intense.  I snuggled down to sleep and enjoyed my night tucked up in my tent.  To me there is something special about sleeping in a tent on a rainy night, to me it is amazing and fun.

As I woke before the sun, I got up and wandered down to the Oban harbour and watched the weather clouds race across the still dark sky.  I stood with my hood up and felt the rain on my face, today I was to leave Stewart Island and say a big sad goodbye to all of these lovely people.  I still had a few hours and packing of gear, T2, the wet tent and my well rinsed and rained on kayak clothes!

I went back to have a long hot cup of tea, and then as there was no rain and a just a little wind I packed all my gear into their dry bags and loaded my large plastic carry bag with them all.  I then hung out the damp fly sheet in the morning winds, dropped my tent and rolled and dried it too.  I am packing this gear away for a few days now as the weather forecast has insane winds and swells for too many days to count!  Nasty, nasty weather my way at the moment, not even a glimmer of hope.

After the gear was picked away it was time to cook up some brekkie in the shared kitchen and listen to the others chatter about their wet nights, their days plans and the tramps they had done.  I cooked up eggs and crispy sweet cinnamon pancakes which I washed down with another hot cup of tea.  Then down to the harbour to the ferry terminal to grab a set of wheels for T2, it was raining a lot and I stopped for shelter a couple of times to try and stay a little drier.  With T2 on wheels I pulled her to the ferry terminal, and booked her in for the 3.30pm ferry crossing.  MN was not going to play nicely and so I had already planned this scenario for both the Cook and Foveaux Strait, if I successfully nailed the initial crossing then no need to worry about double crossings!  We were travelling in style, thanks to the team at Real Journeys for your amazing support and generous assistance with the crossing.

I walked in the rain for a while and absorbed the final few locations in and around the town: the museum, DOC centre, the pub and cafe.  Next the fab Pip arrived and we drove all my gear down to the terminal.  Once everything was in and packed at the terminal I cooked the rest of my food for lunch and got chatting to a kindred spirit about travel, NZ and living positive lives.  Otis it is so great when you meet like minded people.  Soon we headed to have a hot drink and for me to show her all the places to go.  The day raced away and 3.30 pm arrived way to fast.  Phil came to say goodbye and we talked about next summer, T2, and my return.  I will be back and yes it will be to discover this island more, that is a promise.  Everyone I have meet please keep in contact.

Onto the ferry, I was out the back on the deck in the wind, sea spray and swell, it was a magic ride and very different to my first trip across.

Back to Bluff, big hugs to Nat and a huge catchup.  We are back in Invercargill and have been out to dinner to have an enormous steak.  Yum yum yum.  My food was delicious and I have left overs for tomorrow.  It is so damn windy, just incredible.  MN seems pretty crazy at the moment, I am happy to wait for calmer weather.  I am not going anywhere near this water for three to five days, the forecast is bad.

My smiles today:
Kindred spirits and spending time chatting.
Nat, Cuzzie and I back together again.
The wind and rain, I am glad not to be on the water.
Dinner and the left overs.

My thoughts today:
OMG the wind


Thank you Maria, Nathan and Patrica for the delicious feast!

Thank you Maria, Nathan and Patrica for the delicious feast!