Thursday, January 22, 2015

Driving with Thelma... To Christchurch and Back. (Part 3)

Continuing with our trip from part 1 and part 2...
I know but some did what to know when the book was coming out!!

Saturday dawned with the alarm going off at 6.30am. I did my bible reading and showered and we packed up the car. Then Thelma walked Pepper and sorted her out in the back. (a complex routine I was beginning to get used to) I thought we would leave at 7.00am to get down to the ferry terminal where we were catching the early morning Interislander by 7.30am but no - it wasn't until 7.15am that we left.

Even though we took a wrong turn we were down to the ferry terminal in plenty of time. I think because I over estimated how long it would take from my parents home. We were booked on the Kaitaki for the 8.30am sailing and it was fully booked so with plenty of cars waiting to get on, if you were late who would know! Thelma took Pepper out for another walk and I drove down to pick her up as we edged closer in the queue.

The weather didn’t look too nice with light rain falling and the sea in the harbour looking grey and a little choppy. Just as well I had my sea legs tablets to take!

But once we pulled out of the harbour the clouds parted and the sun shone.

In fact the whole trip was pretty smooth really with just a gentle rocking.

We were positioned on the open deck and Thelma was not too happy with that; she couldn’t leave the windows open for Pepper and the salt was going to end up all over the car from sea spray. Somehow she managed to get a kennel for the trip for Pepper so the dog was going to be safe and watched by some of the crew.
There is a fee of $15 for that but Thelma didn't pay. You can take a dog or animal in your car for the journey but it must be properly set up before the journey as you are not allowed down to the
vehicles after we set sail. Do you call it "set sail" if its not a sailing ship? In the pic we are in the middle line at the back just in front of the yellow painted strip (where pedestrians walk to get on and off) in front of the yellow car.

I ventured out on deck for some pics, as we all do, but the wind was quite cold so I soon went back inside.
I mean why wouldn’t you when you travel like we did?

We were booked in the premium lounge, Kaitaki Plus, which has an extra $45 booking fee but it is certainly a nice way to travel.
There is free food, (we had a cooked breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, potato croquettes and toast but there was also muesli) drinks, (both hot and cold, alcoholic and non) free wifi, the daily paper and magazines to read.

Later we had free morning tea with hot savouries, scones with jam and cream and rocky-road, peppermint slice and afghans as much as you could eat - if you really wanted to.

You are waited on with the clearing of you plates etc and there are cushions and blankets.
The seating is all two seater couches and very comfortable.
Even the toilets are separate from the rest of the passengers.

What is funny is that you have windows that look out on the sea as you travel but they are one-way glass so the other people can't see in. The funny part was to see some looking at themselves using it as a mirror - certainly some sights! So could I say it comes with free entertainment? There is a large screen TV too but it seemed to be stuck on the sports channel - not that I tried to change it - it was just sport both ways we traveled.
It’s almost like a mini cruise really.

Once on the other side we stopped just out of Picton for Thelma to have a good talk with someone from the AA re all the issues with the car, the accident and the service we had had. It was also time for Pepper to have another walk and comfort stop.

After yesterday’s accident I was able to drive a lot more and in fact as we got closer to Christchurch Thelma had overwhelming moments when she just had to stop and let me drive.

We made our way down the Island to Christchurch stopping often for Pepper and just to catch some of the sights. I had to laugh as the first rest area was a place we had stopped at when we were coming back from my nieces wedding in 2012. Katrina had noticed the water was a strange colour of green but the thing that reminds us the most about this stop is the toilet had the biggest 'poo' we had ever seen. So I will now call that spot “the place with the biggest poo” and believe me it had been big. In fact for some time I have wondered who in the world could produce such a thing. The water still wasn’t very nice and clear but it wasn’t the strange green colour it had been. Looking now at the two pictures the trees have either died or been cut down from around the viewing platform.

It wasn’t long before we reached the coast line and so found a nice spot on the beach to let Pepper have another romp. Someone else had been there before us and left their mark. It is interesting to see what people leave behind. I wonder when it was made, by who and who else was going to find it. It wasn't a very busy spot and we had to climb a bank on both sides to get down to the beach, so who knows really.

When we turned over a log I had been taking photos of there was a skink. It was a common skink found in most places around New Zealand.

Just before Kaikoura we stopped to see the seals and watch some of their antics.

There was also a pied shag watching for fish on the rocks.

We also took pics of the numerous road and railway tunnels that are part of the winding coast line around Kaikoura.

One of these photos has three tunnels; rail, road and sea!

Finally we reached Christchurch and with the help of the GPS I was dropped safely off at Katrina’s flat.

It was good to see her and just know I was going to have a good five days with her.

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