Ship Cove 1688.9 to Bay of Many coves campsite 1721.4km
Low misty clouds hung low on the sheltered inlets as I set off on the 8am water taxi. Not too many people were stirring at that early hour on new years day.
It was almost 2 hours to travel from the town of Picton to Ship Cove, the start of my southern sojourn. My arrival coincided with the arrival of a large 3 masted tall ship. Not too many of them around. Did I mention I want to live on a sailboat when not hiking, but it is a dream I cannot afford?
Captain Cook took an interest in this part of New Zealand. He stopped here on each of his 3 great voyages to rest, resupply, affect repairs on his ship, trade with locals and explore. His legacy is seen on almost every place name on a map. Endeavour Bay, Cook Inlet, Cook Straight and hundreds more. I’ve read all his journals and now that I’m here I must read them again.
The trail was about as good as I’m ever likely to see in New Zealand. The grades were not too steep and every river had a bridge. Although I’m hiking on the Te Araroa trail this section of trail is shared with the well known Queen Charlotte track. A 66km section of trail that most hikers complete in 3-6 days. I’ll complete the Queen Charlotte track in 2 days. Most of the TA is a combination of already existing trails, there are few sections that are dedicated TA trail, most of those traverse farmland or are roadwalks. This trail will mature in time.
10am photo below
For the most part the trail followed high ridges which afforded constant views of all the hidden bays and inlets. The water was a deep shade of blue which is unusual for such low latitudes. The water was clear with great visibility.
The low cloud burned off by midday leaving just a few fair weather clouds hovering around.
While hiking I came across one of the strange little flightless birds of the south island, the Weka. With no fear of humans these birds came and went as they pleased. They were on the trail, near the trail and even wandering around my campsite in the evening. I don’t recall seeing any on the north island, I’m not even sure if they live on the north island. Maybe a kind reader could let me know.
It warmed up in the afternoon. With no chance of rain I slept without the outer rain fly. The first time I’ve done that for the whole trail but there was a problem. Sunset was at 9.01pm, and it didn’t get dark till around 10pm, very long days down here. I think I have finally hit a good weather window, fingers crossed.