Picton, New Zealand
November 30, 2008
350p The regional shift on the south island is amazing. 360km between Picton and Kaikoura and the terrain has gone from alluvial plain to Marlborough rolling hills [wine country!] to deep forested hillsides like the Pac Norwest.
Even in this little seaside marina town, the Southern Man philosophy still runs deep. There's this adage down on this island; the land, the mana of this country runs through and through and it manifests in everyone. A thick love of the land and pride in country built from the soil and the spirit of this place. It's a combination of traditional european farming values, tilling and living off of the land, and the Maori's deep tie to the earth, and the idea of remoteness and time alone in the open space and high country. It's an extremely tangible aura you get from southerners, especially in the mountains, that you don't feel in the north.
I'm sitting in Oxley's Bar, across from the working marina. It's about 25 degrees, bright sunshine. Phenomenal. I found myself looking for boulders the whole way here. Nothing but volcanic choss. Hard to believe that with an entire coastline of rock that there's NOTHING TO CLIMB! Brutal.
Sitting in the bar looking out the open window. So... back to the Southern Man philosophy. It's different from national pride. It's like the land, culture and spirit of a place are a physical thing, and it fills every fiber. It's a sense of exploration, pride and deeper understanding of the natural world and how it ties into modern life, and how you are more comfortable in the wild. I love it.
There was too much fish and chips on the south island and not enough kumera. The one food I came here craving and not a trace really.
There's an old 70s era sailboat at the far side of the marina. “Cafe & Bar.” I was curious, but I enjoy the mystery a little bit so I avoid actually checking it out. More fun in my head, the idea of where it's been, like it had a life at sea and weathered storms before finding safe harbor, tired and old, waiting out its end of days.
I had forgotten how beautiful the ferry ride is from Picton to Wellington. Winding in and out of inlets, the crags rising right out of the sea, lush and green with trees. The sun was just going down at the start of the two hour trip across. Once you come out of the inlets, it's open, turbulent ocean until you reach Wellington.