Like the old days!
Armed with Elder Daughter's all-important 'laissez-passer' document, we set off for Picton mid-morning to deliver her to the ferry. I had a copy of the letter in my bag too, in case we were stopped on the return journey (we were not!) It was sunny but extremely windy here in Nelson and she was slightly worried about the conditions out in Cook Strait but mysteriously, as soon as we were over the Whangamoas and into Rai Valley, the wind dropped and it there was hardly a breath of wind in Picton.
We arrived in plenty of time for her check in - the ferry was delayed, as we'd known it would be. No-one was being allowed into the terminal building, so once she'd had her name ticked off on the clipboard, she came back and waited at the car with us. We'd known it probably wouldn't be possible to get any food anywhere, so we'd brought sandwiches from home and sat on the tailgate of the car in the sun and ate them, feeling like people in the 1950s, when there wasn't a terminal building. There only seemed to be about four other passengers waiting.
Once she was on board, she messaged us to say that actually, there were eight passengers, and six truck drivers. If you look at the ferry in the pic on Flickr, you can see how remarkable that is! There's just one sailing each way per day at the moment, between the North and South Islands; normally there are about four, I think. A crew-member came along and marked her personal 'bubble' out for her (an entire corner banquette seat with about six tables!) with large red crosses printed out on A4 sheets. That's the way to travel!
Meanwhile, Younger Daughter and I had visited Picton's Exceloo, which amused us greatly with its American-accented greeting and automatic piped music (she had The Girl from Ipanema while got Arthur's Theme - no chance at all of getting stuck between the moon and New York City at the moment, unless you're on the ISS!) Then we went in search of contactless takeaway coffee, which we found at a café on the seafront and drank by the beach, looking at the ferry. The weather was fabulous, and it really felt like being on some sort of major day out, the first in weeks!
Picton itself was very, very quiet and so were the roads. The majority of the other traffic was logging trucks, milk tankers and freight lorries. We wended our way back along the scenic route, Queen Charlotte Drive, and it was only when we were climbing the Whangamoas again that the wind returned - it was still blowing in Nelson, and must have been doing so all day. We were home by 4.30, and the ferry berthed in Wellington at 6.30pm.
I could have blipped the pano in extras, but I rather like this shot of the two of them with the ferry in the background - one with a sandwich and the other excited about finally being able to get back to her boyfriend and 'real' life in Wellington (for a bit, anyway...). Hopefully we'll be stepping down to Level Two next week, and that will offer something more resembling normal life than what we've had for the past six weeks.