“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” ― Christopher Columbus
Wise words, Mr. Columbus. Wish I had heard those words before the hours leading up to Josh and I getting on the ferry. I felt my courage had abandoned me the entire morning as we awaited our departure on the Interislander. Josh and I did some last-minute errands like buying a cell phone and then killed some time until our ferry was to leave the North Island at 2 p.m. I’ve never been on a cruise before and the only ferry I’ve ever been on was in Corpus Christie, Texas, I think it was, and that was just across like two feet of water! But crossing an ocean? Ehhh, wasn’t feeling too confident about it and especially hearing the night before from one of our new friends how they got seasick and threw up the whole 4 hour ride. My nerves can certainly get the best of me sometimes. Just like waiting in the airport gives you time to worry, we then had to drive our car into the waiting area and just sit there . . . and think. What if I get sick? And everybody sees me throwing up? How embarrassing. What if a big storm comes up? That can definitely happen in a four-hour time span, I thought to myself. And what if we hit an iceberg? Are there enough lifeboats if something were to go wrong? What if a big whale jumps onto the boat? Haha, your imagination can run wild with anticipation, at least mine has always been hyperactive.
We watched the Interislander ferry slowly come into the harbor, and then we finally drove our car onto it, parking underneath in the boat’s big belly. “This is kind of cool,” I started thinking. I’ve been on little boats before out on the lake, and a small little riverboat cruise on a river, but this was incredible. We walked up the stairs and toured the ferry. Woah!!! It was huge! I felt like we were on the Titanic. I started feeling a lot better knowing there was lots of space to spread out and explore with four different levels and viewing decks. A restaurant, movie theatre, lounge, shop, dining areas, and sleeping cabins . . . this might be all right after all. I picked up some seasick throw-up bags they had hanging on the wall which also made me feel better too; just in case. Josh and I had fun going up and down the stairs and out onto the decks. I didn’t feel very nervous at all anymore, and then the boat started moving away from the dock. That was a little weird feeling at first, but we stayed on the top deck, which was the best place to be I think. Wow! What had I been scared about? This was amazing. Wellington is so beautiful, I felt kind of sad to be leaving it behind. It was a typical windy day, especially being out on the top deck, but the wind felt like freedom to our faces. Not a cloud in the blue sky, which made me even happier for I love the sun.
We watched Wellington grow small in the distance and slowly crawled across the blue waters and out into the wide-open ocean. We pulled out of the harbor and bays and began our journey out into the ocean, crossing the Cook Strait. My imagination and dreaming came to life more than ever and I pulled out my little journal and started writing. Talk about finding inspiration! Here are some things I wrote in my journal: “I love seeing the South Island getting closer, just waiting and begging for us to come explore and see every hill, valley, mountain, river, lake, and flower. Right now, at this moment, I really feel like an explorer . . . I bet this is what they felt like before me . . . Christopher Columbus, Captain Cook, Magellan, all those guys. What would that have felt like . . . to be on the open sea for days knowing in your heart that there was something out there waiting for you to find it. And how you would feel when your eyes saw land in the distance!”
I keep feeling like a little child here, haha, because my chest just felt so full it could burst with excitement as we saw the mountains of the South Island approaching closer every minute. Wild, untamed land. “You are now entering the land of the Lord of the Rings,” I said to myself. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that in here yet and those who know me already are aware, but I am obsessed with Lord of the Rings. I’ve been dreaming of coming to New Zealand since the Fellowship of the Ring hit theatres when I was a sophomore in high school, and now I’m here! Both the North and South Island were locations in the movies, but the South Island is known for its picturesque beauty and what I really imagined Middle Earth to look like.
We entered the Marlborough Sounds, and all the people gathered on the decks to view the breathtaking landscape and attempt to capture its beauty on their cameras. The land was quiet . . . the hills and mountains and pine trees were silent as they watched us from both sides. Houses were sparsely scattered along the mountains, reachable only by boat. One could already sense the different feel between the North and South Island . . . this land was definitely more desolate. After passing through the beautiful Sounds, we finally arrived at the South Island, into the little town called Picton.
From there we made our two-hour drive to our first destination and potential place of living, Nelson. Josh has never ceased to amaze me with his driving here! He has done so great! That was one of the prettiest drives, Ever! We passed by vineyard after vineyard as we made our way across the wine country; a beautiful foreground with the majestic mountains as the backdrop. The land felt alive and I honestly felt intimidated by the towering mountains. Not used to seeing mountains in Texas! Josh drove up the mountains on curvy, winding roads, on the left side of the road by the way, giving me a nice view of the sheer drop-off below. Scary! At last, though, we saw the ocean again (Josh and I were beginning to notice that we like to see the ocean) as we drove into Nelson as the sun was getting lower in the sky. Nelson was a smaller city, around 50,000 people, and very cute with shops and palm trees and flowers on hanging baskets lining the streets. We were exhausted and hungry so we found a nice place to eat by the outside cafés and then checked in to a hotel for the night. What a long, adventurous day!
Dated: November 14, 2011