Easter Marlborough Sounds Trip

Picton to Bluemine Island, Camping at Ratimera Bay two nights.

We got the ferry to Picton and arrived Friday around midday. We then had plenty of time to settle into the hostel (with Mandarin tree!), visit the Marlborough Sounds adventure company for a briefing (and meet the very good boys Fred and Peanut), stock up on supplies, and repack our bags repeatedly before takeaways for dinner.

Getting set up in Picton. Photo credit: Tony.

The next day we packed everything (inside multiple plastic bags) into the incredibly roomy kayaks and headed out on the water with our guide Dave, taking a particular route to avoid ferries and other boats. Conditions were perfect, with calm waters and sunshine, but not too hot. We paddled across to other side, and then meandered along, exploring various coves towards Kumutoto bay campsite for lunch. Dave then left us and we headed “point to point” across the mouth of Blackwood bay before heading in to Ratimera bay. We saw the first of many seals en route. There were also lots of sea birds out and the native bush came right down to the shoreline. It was all pretty idyllic, although we had to be a bit savvy with the cheeky Wekas at all the campsites!

Getting the hang of it. Photo credit: Tony.
Heading in to Ratimera Bay. Photo credit: James.

We settled in to camp, had pre dinner snacks, a very brief and cold group swim, hung everything out to dry, had nutty rice for dinner, and then all spent some time just staring at the stars. The campsite looked straight out across to where the ferry comes and goes out of Tory straight.

The next day we headed out of the bay, past a Salmon farm, along a fair way, and then across the sound to Bluemine island. We could actually see out to the open sea at that point! We had lunch there, and also went for a little walk up the hill. Bluemine Island is predator free, so we had a lot of fun bird watching. We were also getting right in to skipping stones by this point. We then headed back to the Ratimera bay camp, had another swim, more nibbles, Moroccan curry and then just as we finished cleaning up dinner it started to rain so we all disappeared into our tents.

Leaving camp set up for a day excursion. Photo: James.
Made it to lunch. Photo credit: Hannah.
Views from the walk on Bluemine Island. Photo credit: Hannah.
Returning to camp. Photo credit: James.

Fortunately it had stopped raining by morning, as we had an early start to make sure we made it back in time for our 1:45 ferry check in. After a slightly anxious crossing of the ferry route to get to the other side of the sound we headed along to Picton. At this point we found ourselves well ahead of schedule, so had a lovely sunny morning tea stop on the point outside Picton harbour, before heading in. This felt particularly luxurious as due to the faff of getting in and out of the Kayaks we had minimal breaks where we actually made land, instead keeping snacks/water/maps and other key items strapped on the outside of the kayaks, and trying not to hit each other as we bobbed along on our breaks!

All up we did about 60ks, which was a pretty good effort!

Group shot. Photo credit: Tony.

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