I know I said that I wouldn’t be making too many posts, but I guess a few things happen in a journey, so this is a chance to find out what they are…
Not that they’re particularly interesting.
I woke up this morning and decided to check my emails. I didn’t think there would be anything of note at that time (there never is by morning tea at work, so why should there be at 7.00am on a Saturday?), but thought I’d check while I wasn’t wasting battery (I was using Mobile Control) and had “unlimited” broadband on our home line.
I was right. There was nothing of note.
We spent the couple of hours we had spare, finalising things and making sure that everything that had to be turned off and shut down was turned off and shut down. Revell turned up to take the Pink Purrer away again (when he had it a couple of weeks ago he managed to put one of the side panels on OVER the kick start, meaning that if the Purrer ever decides not to start, I can’t give it a boot to get it going.) and we finally left about 9.00am.
I withdrew $100 from the ATM to keep me going and went to catch up with D.C. who was checking out the mail. (I think the only thing of interest was a possible birthday card for me.) On my to the Post Office I came across Shane Rohrlach who kindly offered to take us and our two heavy suitcases to the Thames i-SITE / Information Centre, aka the bus stop. This meant that we’ve only had to walk about 1.75 km today, not 2.25 and was much appreciated. Once at the Thames i-SITE / Information Centre (I have that on autocorrect, so it types the full name each time I type TIC – much quicker when I’m taking Thames i-SITE / Information Centre minutes) we gave Maureen her birthday card for today and then I went over to work to drop off the deposit book (and do other things. ;-) )
The bus trip to Auckland was smooth, even if we had no sooner departed the new Kopu Bridge (Save the old Kopu Bridge!) turned the corner and ran into fog. It was so thick that I estimate that at some points we only had about 200m visibility. Then we climbed a hill at Waitakaruru and that was the last of the fog.
We arrived in Auckland about ¼ hour early, i.e. 11.45 instead of 12.00 midday. As the next boat to Rangitoto was due to leave at 12.15 we decided to leg it downhill for the next one kilometre of our walk. We had so much time that we stopped off at the Hollywood Bakery and bought a couple of sandwiches for lunch. (Chicken and avocado $4.50 each – I paid for both as that was quicker.) However, although I would have loved a gelato, we didn’t have time for that so we didn’t get one.
We got into the queue for Rangitoto, which was the smaller queue next to the queue for Waiheke… We thought. It turned out that both queues were for the Rangitoto boat and we kind of jumped the queue. It wasn’t our fault though! We were in the right queue and we know this from years of experience!
Another thing that we knew, that no one else did and they weren’t told, is that there’s a shoe scrubber at the gate to Pier 2B. This is to give you a chance to remove any dirt potentially holding unwanted seeds off your boots. Remember that both Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands are pest free (apart from people) and are joined by a causeway. We only saw one other person use it. (The gap between the two islands used to be wide enough that Earnest Shakleton attempted to sail through, only to get stuck. He had to be pulled through Gardeners Gap by some friendly Maori. He didn’t have a lot of luck on that trip, did he? Nowadays a short bridge connects the two islands.)
We had just boarded the boat when everyone who was in the downstairs cabin decided that they wanted to enjoy the journey from the top deck. The problem was that we were on the “Wanderer” and it only has one entrance into the cabin, and one set of stairs up to the top deck. So we were stuck, blocking the gangway and unable to go into the cabin because a great horde of people were pouring out and heading upstairs.
But finally we claimed our seat and sat back to enjoy our sandwiches and a refreshing glass of water. (A gelato would have been nicer.)
They’ve nearly finished the new wharf at Rangitoto. The old wooden one’s fine, but it’s been decided that it’s time for an upgrade, in part because the Fullers Ferries’ skippers (or their management) are such cowards that they won’t come in if the weather’s a bit rough. So now we’re getting a nice new concrete one, that’s about two feet lower than the old (erm… What happens when we have a king tide and rough seas, Architects?) and is behind schedule (completion date November 2013) and over budget. (Would you believe that they struck rock when digging the foundations? Rock!? “This is a 600(?)-year-old volcano, Guys. It’s made of rock!”)
Allan Godsall was waiting to escape the island when we arrived (why do I always think that word should be “arove”?), so we said a quick hello in passing. Then we left our cases behind the wharf builders’ barrier and went around to say hello to the Collins’. We thought we might have scored a wheelbarrow to take our gear around to our bach (the final ¼ km walk), but we went one better. Alan Collins carried D.C.’s bag. I carried mine, and D.C. carried my coat. (Why do I think that because we’re prepared for the Wellington cold, it’s going to be warm? These are the same coats we took to brave the snow in Arthur’s Pass.)
Shirley gave me a letter rack with a treble clef (you know the G clef that I use in place of the S in my name, I know that doesn’t make sense). It’s great, but I should have saved opening it until Tuesday. ;-)
We opened up the bach – Took down window shutters and dolls’ house banner in the window, unlocked the cupboards, put out the solar panel, turned on the water, checked the long-drop hadn’t fallen down, made our beds, put up the flagpole, put up the flag, got changed out of our travelling clothes and into our baching clothes, and then went back to the Collins’ to have a proper conversation and help them shut up their bach.
Once we’d waved them goodbye we came back home and read. (I did warn you.)
After tea – Continental fried rice and cold Christmas pudding with hold chocolate sauce, we went to bed to read… And write up this blog.
Except I’d run out of broadband minutes so that’s why the blog for the 5th is being uploaded on the 6th. The blog for the 6th reads:
“Read…. Read…. Read….”