Labor weekend was to spent with some more family, this time up in the Marlborough Sounds. John and Derek first took us to Garnes Bay, which is a Clunies Ross Family Trust to prevent the NZ government getting their hands on it (it is in the middle of a conservation area). Then we were taken round to Carol's in Canoe Bay, where the large house faces the bay where they farm mussels. Unfortunately it rained for the entire visit, but that wasn't to stop our hosts providing a barbeque for us - including lots of fresh mussels that Stu gorged himself on!
It was Doug's 66th birthday so there were lots of cakes and 66 presents and we were up well into the night. The next day it was time to pack and clear up, but a short break in the weather gave us an opportunity to get out on the water for half an hour in a little dinghy and see some stingrays in the bay. Then it was back to Nelson to stay at Rossi's this time before an early start and reunion with Becca. The next few days we have been travelling down the beautiful West Coast, interspersed with walks to take notice of the more stunning scenery - including the seal colony, pancake rocks, and the Nelson lakes. On our arrival at Westport we had a bonfire on the beach watching the sunset and last night we had a fancy dress party where Mel was a bride and Stu rehashed his Robbers outfit...neither of us won a prize though disappointingly! Mels costume made entirely from one of those net thiongs that you put over cakes to protect from flies (i am sure they have a name!)
This morning we stopped in at the bushman centre to discover why the West Coast makes "the men men and the sheep nervous" and to find out how they caught deer from a helicopter (basically jumping at the deer - very manly stuff), watching a boar wrestle (although the boar was very sedate and just wanted bread!) and sample some possum pie (reasonable enough but nothing special). Now we are in Franz Josef readying ourselves for Ice Climbing on the glacier tomorrow!
Lots of love,
Stu and Mel x