Elaine Bay, Marlborough Sounds

Thursday 5 April 2012

Last night we managed to catch up with Chris, a friend I met through Altrusa many years ago.  And fate would have it that Kevin & Faye bought Chris’ house that she built overlooking the boulder bank in Nelson – small world.  Chris, Roy and I wandered across the road to the Waimea Club where we had a very nice meal and spent a pleasant evening catching up before Chris headed off home. 

It seemed to take us forever to get on the road today.  After packing up and saying our farewells to June & Ian, it was off around the corner to the dump station where we proceeded to empty the tanks. As the dump station was on a slight slope, to ensure that the said tanks were in fact completely empty, we emptied on one side then turned the van around and emptied facing the opposite direction thus ensuring that the tanks were indeed completely empty.  We then just need to fill with fresh water before finally heading out of Nelson.  We stopped at a very pleasant rest area along through the Rai Valley for our lunch break before continuing on.

A very pleasant drive through to the turn off to Okiwi Bay and Elaine Bay before heading over some very ‘interesting’ narrow, and windy – no, not windy as in blowing a gale but windy as in twisty & turning – roads.

inletview of inlet along the way

high pointand another view along the way with the photographer snapping the only tree in the foreground along this particular route!

road inIslands

The fact that it was a glorious day made the drive pleasant enough, although on the final climb down into Elaine Bay on a very tight corner in which the road almost turned back on itself, we very nearly came unstuck.  We stopped in the middle of the tight corner as Roy thought that he was unable to complete the turn without going over the edge (vertigo coming to its fore), but after inspecting the situation, with gentle coaxing we made it around the bend and into Elaine Bay and the parking area.  We quickly sorted out a spot in which to park which gives us the most stunning views from the front windows straight down onto the jetty and up the Sounds. 

The water almost looked inviting enough for a swim but on closer inspection there were a few of these fellows in the water.

jellyfish 1Jelly fish in the water, note colour of water.

jellyfish 3and on the shore with Roy’s jandal for sizing comparison.

parkingparked up, that’s us on the upper left.

site 1and from the other side of the bay

Friday 6 April

As more vehicles arrived later into the previous afternoon and evening, we realise that our spot here is truly primo.  We have level ground above the rest of the gently sloping site with amazing views.  There is a hint of a cloud far on the horizon, the outside temperature is well into the late 20’s, and to top it all off all we need now is some fish! 

stingrayStingray

Off the wharf the afternoons entertainment is usually spent by watching a group of stingrays swim around and around, one in particular is enormous with it being around 2m across.  No fishing done off the wharf at this time, although we do get a good feed of mussels and oysters.

mussels 1Shellfish in the pot.

flowerUnknown flowers founds along a walk.  They are very small, about 1.5cm.  Can anyone enlighten us?

Saturday 7th April

Even more people come and go today, the wee camp spot is almost bursting at the seams with lots of vans, tents and caravans.  Although this is a DOC campsite and there are very clear ‘No Dog’ signs in place, it seems as though a few people just choose to ignore the signs.  And it also seems compulsory that all the breeds of dog must be a small, white, fluffy, yappy things with names like Buddy – yes, Buddy was constantly being called!!!  Oh yes, and one of us had a terrible headaches as well as other aches and a sore throat….thanx Kevin for passing that on….which probably explains the tetchiness!

Fishing.  It must be said that the fisherman has been out most days trying his luck off the wharf or the rocks, although he has not landed any to keep, he is catching the odd few. 

too smallnice, but too small.

Tonight’s entree was a lovely feed of tuatua/pipi – I can never remember which is which!

Sunday 8th April

Another stunning day, so we decide to go for a drive on out to French Pass to see if we can see the tidal whirlpools.

french passthe start of French Pass

It is around 22kms from Elaine Bay, and we set off with great intent, however, as the road became more and more open, with sheer steep drops (stunning views), the vertigo suffering member of the party decided that that was enough, we had only got half way so we turned around and headed back. 

french pass 2Inlet to French Pass with Durville Island in the distance

Roy was dropped off at the turn off to walk back to Elaine Bay whilst I ventured in to Okiwi Bay to get milk and a few other essentials items.

Further round from the camp site is the wharf where they (un)load the mussels.

mussel ropeMussel spat on ropes in sacks ready to be transported

unloading 1Unloading sacks from the barge

two tonneand onto the back of a truck and trailer unit.  All 28 tonnes of them.

Monday 9th April

Another stunning day in paradise, the locals tell us that they cannot remember an Easter period like this with the weather so glorious.  Another day of doing the usual, a few chores thrown in for good measure.  By early afternoon, the camp emptied and we were left on our own, not for too long though before one other van came to join us for the evening.

However, we have seen what we need to tow behind the van, behind the RAV4!  A boat, complete with small 4×4 on top of the boat.

four wheel on boatBoat with 4×4

loadingand here, you put down the ramp and drive it off, hitch it onto the boat and head down to the launch ramp.  Now, did we win Lotto this week?

And sight of the week?

 stick insect   Stick insect seen on the loo wall, note the size from the width of the concrete block!  

Next stop Havelock.

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