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Crossing the Cook Strait Circa 1845

How it might have been

semi-overcast 20 °C

A fearsome tempest swept past us in the night and we received word that as much as eighteen inches of rain had fallen over our destination of Nelson on New Zealand’s South Island. The sea looked foul as we readied to board our vessel – the good ship Kaitaki – and we contemplated retreating to our comfortable lodgings in Wellington…
’Tis barely conceivable that souls could survive is such conditions, but almost as soon as the mainsail was hoisted the weather began to improve. With a backwards glance as we cast off from Wellington quay we spied a great schooner under a leaden sky and wondered at the privations those poor passengers must have suffered being transported in such appalling conditions…
Many a sound vessel has foundered in The Cook Strait twixt the north and south islands of New Zealand so, as we left the shelter of Wellington harbour, we were relieved to find that the wind had abated and the waves declined. We were barely two hours out under a cloudless sky when the lookout cried “Land Ho!” and passengers flocked to the rails for a glimpse of the new land…
The previously cramped and claustrophobic areas below decks were suddenly deserted…
And the flocks of sheep held in wagons midst the carriages on deck ceased their pitiful baa-ings as they smelt the sweet pastures of their new home…

After two weeks of hard tack and boiled mutton on the North Island we were anxious to get ashore and try the local seafood which, we are assured, is some of the finest in the Empire. First we travelled overland to Nelson to give thanks at the great cathedral which is being built atop a hill…
Nelson is a most delightful town with many parks and gardens and already numerous traders have built attractive stores on its wide boulevards…

Ah! If only those poor souls in 1845 had the luxuries of today.
(P.S. Lest you are concerned - so far we have dodged 3 earthquakes and a typhoon in New Zealand, but can we avoid the rain on the notoriously wet west coast)

Posted by Hawkson 21:22 Archived in New Zealand

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Almost missed your post. It went to Junk Mail.
Hard tack and boiled mutton? I'll bet.
The Kiwis though must do a wonderful leg of lamb.

by R and B

Ahoy Matey, such hardships. The hardtack and mutton (poor sheep) set you in good stead for your new land adventures. You should be familiar with rainy days. Hope you got your sea legs back.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Nelson is a great town for craft beer (and wine). I remember a converted church turned pub with a very nice outdoor seating area - if you get a break in the weather. Hope you do.

by Tom

Very fun post!

by Sheila

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