February 11, 2013 Picton, New Zealand
Picton is a small town of about 5,000 residents located at the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound on the northern end of the south island of New Zealand. During the summer months the population swells to about 15,000, as it is a popular place for locals to holiday and to have a second home. Nearby is the Marlborough region known for producing some of the world’s finest white wines, particularly the Sauvignon Blanc. There are 142 wineries in the Marlborough region. This region is known for its Greenshell Mussels which they export 65,000 tons of annually. The region also grows cherries and olives. The town itself is quite small with only a two block long shopping district. Here we explored the gift shops and outdoor handicraft market as well as walked some of the residential streets and a local park, along with the library for free wifi/internet.
While strolling through the supermarket I could not help but notice that they sell fresh dog food in the deli counter next to the milk and margarine. The dog food is packed in plastic wrapped logs in the shape of a fireplace log. They have great names for the dog food like Bruno, Wag, Butch, Bow Wow and Champ.
By mid afternoon we were back onboard the ship having a late lunch.
During our sail away party on the aft deck of the ship this afternoon we were treated to a school of dolphins that were playing in the water as we passed. There must have been at least twenty of them that were headed towards the ship as we were sailing out of the channel towards the open sea. They seemed to be wishing us safe travels as they jumped out of and frolicked in the water.
The entertainment this evening was a variety show with Jimmy Tamley the Ventriloquist and Kevin Jordan the Comedian. Neither of them had as good a show as their first performances.
As we say “farewell” to New Zealand, we have some observations. First, the country is beautiful with many activities for outdoor enthusiasts. The people are very friendly and are eager to chat, and the accent is fun to interpret. The costs for all items seem to be very high. We were amazed at the prices for food, clothes, homes, etc. Overall, it seems like a nice place to live. We had been here before and our impressions remain about the same.