A standard issue Stewart Island day early on: simultaneously bright sunshine and heavy rain.

With an empty pack, only food left is one dinner, I ate an extraneous lunch last night on arrival, a rapid decampment and march out to civilisation, not much point in hanging around, there’s a 2:30 ferry to catch but really, there’s plenty of time.

A last few hours of solitude in the dripping bush, the track from Port William is the easiest on the island, a slow trudge along Maori Beach, the wind’s up a bit, I haven’t had much thought about reacquainting myself with said civilisation but it sneaks up quickly, I’d left earlyish, and suddenly I’m chatting to people about not much.

The bigger, older backpackers is back open but I’ve stayed here often enough and there’s not so much point with the weather so inclement, instead there’s time for an expensive and distinctly non-austere lunch at the South Seas Hotel, steamed blue cod, they don’t hold back on the protein, real blokes here and after my almost epic Little Adventure and simultaneous growth of beard I could easily wear that badge.

There’s again almost as many crew as passengers on that tough little catamaran ferry, Foveaux Strait has a reputation and today is a moderate effort to living up to that after the smooth initial passage, the swells aren’t so huge in this shallow water, around 30m for the most part, that’s depth of strait not height of wave which tends more in the 3 to 4m range, a few are bigger, with occasionally ugly smashing as we rip along, the captain full-on concentration with the windscreen wipers on, doesn’t seem to make much difference, not many walking around, except for those guys off from building some mussel farms, tatts and a few missing teeth, one called Podge but his mate didn’t know how to spell that when asked for the boarding pass, call him Tony instead, spelling not so much an issue there, they are on their third Bourbon and Coke and the random oscillation of the cabin doesn’t seem to make any difference to their travel.

Eventually the seas calm, stomach takes a little longer, looks like my time on Stewart Island is now a memory, I guess there’s now three weeks of washing to consider.

← Day 18 | Back to Port William Hut: on the Rakiura Track