Meet Annette, Susan and Ian off the Sounds air flight, although it was doubtful whether the plane might land, it being a bit cloudy. After a couple of fly overs , touchdown. The passengers were not at all phased. Then it's just a short drive to Queen Charlotte Drive and everyone is ahhing and oohing, as we all start to get to know each other. These three have been with Justin in the North for 7 days, so know the routine.
Ian is from Scotland, Annette from Germany, and Susan from Austin Texas. Today is a little cooler, and at various places around the Sounds, low cloud sits. It is rather beautiful so the ohhhs and ahhhs are totally justified. Then we stop at Pelorus Bridge for a break and a coffee. More ohhhs and ahhhs.
We arrive in Nelson and pick up Karen, from Seattle. She has just flown in via Christchurch, so is a little jet lagged, but happy to be joining us.
Karen's boyfriend Chris is joining us in Hokitika.
The tide is in as we drive past Mapua, so the scenery is stunning, and we stop just before Motueka for lunch and to pack our overnight bags. There is a "sameness" to the lunch, after a long season of guiding, but my clients really enjoy the variety...so far. And there are lots of questions about correct packing as they all try to grasp the concept of what is happening over the next 24 hours.
We arrive in Kaiteriteri and it throws all its charm at us. The sea is blue, the sand golden, the sun is shining, and there are only 20 people on the beach. While I mess about sorting at minute items, the guys go for a wander a along the beach. Susan tries the water...up to her knees. A bit cooler than Texas swimming. I chat with Allan from Pure Trails.
His group are cruising with us out to Tonga. Then Isaac spots me and we have a catchup. I haven't seen him for sometime, and it's great chatting. He's off to a Blues Festival in Byron Bay then back to Camp Carolina. Then he has some exciting ideas for when he gets back to NZ. It's great catching up with "cadets". A wonderful group of motivated, adventurous young people, that I am very proud to be associated with.
The cruise out to Tonga is really pleasant. I chat with a lady from Whangarei who could be Kath Adams sister, and stare at another lady who I am convinced is Julie Donald, a girl friend from my teens, but am told is Natalie, not a girl friend from my teens.