Leaving Stewart Island
I slept well! I woke up feeling happy. I finished gathering my things and packed them onto my bike, ready for my departure whenever necessary. I went to the South Sea restaurant for breaky and sat around a long while staring out the window. The weather is finally calm today. Though there were occasional rain showers. I have a hotel in Invercargill booked for tonight, my ferry ticket paid for, and a shuttle to return my bike and me to the city. I even have the bus from Oamaru to Christchurch settled and my route back tallied. The remaining days are few.
For my last adventure on Stewart Island I decided to take a scenic boat ride across the Paterson Inlet and up Fresh River. I left from Golden Bay and got to see more of the island interior along the fresh water river. My skipper, Chris, took me around the little islands and pointed out the various bays as we rode over. He told me about the town and some of the island history. It was nice to have a conversation with a local. He pointed out a lot of birds to me, and I saw a little Blue Penguin. It was heaps of fun on the narrow river, too. The water is often less than a meter deep, so they have to drive the boat relatively fast and make sharper turns. This caused the boat to turn significantly to the side the boat was turning on. I almost felt like I could reach out and touch the water. It was a pleasant out and back. I was the only passenger, but we picked up a full boat of people at the Freshwater Hut. Normally they don’t let passengers leave the boat, but Chris let me walk about while he loaded the others. There is a neat bridge walkway that I crossed over to the hut. I realized that I never took any photos of Bungaree Hut, so this was a nice opportunity. Plus the walkway was fun. Simple wirelines holding up a thin plank walkway, swaying quite lively as I walked across.
I was on the afternoon ferry back, so I had just enough time to grab a snack before waiting around the wharf. It was a full boat back. The weather was great though, no crazy rocking this time.
I am staying at the Kelvin Hotel again. I liked them so much the first round. Plus the hostel was booked out. I had a quiet birthday in the hotel. A nice supper at the restaurant and big dessert. I watched a movie from the quiet of my room. And I relaxed in preparation for the next several days jammed full of big miles and new adventures.
Happy 28th birthday to me.