Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Life in the Marlborough Sounds

Dave and I have been in the Marlborough Sounds of New Zealand for over three months now. I am so grateful we have been able to work here and be right on the water.  Being here has definitely been a nice change in lifestyle. Our commute consists of walking 30 seconds. We can't go anywhere on our breaks unless we take a boat. If we want to go walking, it will always, without fail, involve steep hills. If we are overheated, we can run and jump into the ocean to cool off.  If we're feeling ambitious, we can go fishing for some blue cod.  I like to think we took advantage of our free time to do as much as we could around the area.  One thing we didn't get to do was mountain bike the Queen Charlotte track, but who knows, it might happen yet!

The views here are fantastic, every morning we woke up to the sunrise - or rather it woke us up.  We also got acquainted with a lot of the local wildlife here, including wekas, cicadas, bellbirds, fantails (super cute birds that will follow you around on the trail), and huhu bugs.

We also get to wake up to mornings like this!

A cicada. They are everywhere during the summer and they're loud.  Almost deafening. Photo Credit: David Cassidy. 

One of the shags that live in the bay.  There is a huge colony of them about a 2 minute kayak away. Photo Credit: ME!

Wee Fantail following us around. It has such a unique way of flitting about!

We've also been fortunate to be able to work with a wonderful group of people and formed our own little Marlborough family.  Nick, one of the mangers, is even in the photo!

After our Lady Karen cruise, not everyone is in the photo unfortunately!

Panpan hugging me and lifting me up. 


Cruising on the Lady Karen
As Sarah's farewell gift, most of the staff were able to go on a cruise through the sounds on the boat called Lady Karen.  It's run by a Kiwi called Gordie. He is pretty much one of the nicest, friendliest people anyone will ever meet.

We got to fish for a bit, stopped for a swim, got to shoot some skeet and mostly lounged around and drank alcohol.  The chefs at the resort also made us some lovely salads and desserts for the day.

Look at how big this blue cod is! Alex couldn't believe his eyes. 

Skeet shooting. 

General lounging.

More lounging.

Visiting Lochmara Lodge
While we were here, we also spent the day at another resort on the sounds called Lochmara Lodge. It is a hotel as well as an art studio and wildlife sanctuary.  They take care of animals (mostly birds) that are injured.  We had lunch at the cafe and then walked around the resort. There were hammocks, art work, river eels, pig feeding and bird feeding in their aviary.  They even had a rope swing but we didn't have our togs with us.

Hammocks were everywhere

It's kinda hard to get out of them, okay?

Mosaic couch. Art and functional.

Feeding birds at the aviary. 

Days Off
On our days off, we would also just relax around the resort.  We would go to a neighbouring jetty and sun bathe (summer in December..what??), go fishing, or snorkel.  I honestly couldn't believe that we could just DIVE for scallops and eat them for free! One of the chefs, Bridget, taught me how to remove them from the shells. Pretty cool process, and kind of odd actually killing your own food!  When we weren't too busy at the resort, we would go kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.  If we were feeling really ambitious, we would go walk along the Queen Charlotte track, or to the look out.  You have to understand, work consisted of walking up and down hills all day.  Walking up and down hills on days off weren't exactly at the top of our list, but we did manage to get out a few times. 

Walking from Ship's Cove to Furneaux Lodge, looking out at the Marlborough Sounds.

Snorkelling with SamSam.

Paddling to a secluded beach. 

Six Course Dinner
Before Panpan and Sam left, we also got to eat at the Foredeck, the five-star restaurant on the resort. The chefs prepared a special six course degustation (meal) for us that included just about every animal you can eat (minus chicken) and a wine to match each one.  Here they are in reverse order, descriptions are quite simple, even though the meals and flavours were quite complex.

White chocolate mouse, with a lemon curd center, blueberries and a popcorn crust.

Refresher: Freeze dried lychee, vanilla, fresh passion fruit, ginger beer ice.

Veggie side of kale and carrots. 

Beef Wellington with veggies. I was so excited, I forgot to take a picture before I dug in. 

Salmon with crusted mussels

Pork belly and scallops and potato rosti. Scallops were fried in Marmite. Mmm!

Tuna (yum!), prawns (yum!), proscuitto (yum!) and cantaloupe (yum!). 

Each course came with a delicious wine match, chosen by Stacey and Sophie. Needless to say, I was very full and very drunk by the end of the meal.  

I was lucky enough to also have a friend come visit! Benoit came and spent the day kayaking and had lunch at the resort.  Hard to believe we met seven years ago in Prague!!  Doesn't feel like it was that long ago at all.

Lunch at the Bight Cafe, open to the public, and right on the water. 

Working and living in an isolated resort has been a fantastic experience. I will never forget the people I met here and I will certainly miss them and the wonderful lifestyle we had here.  I don't seem to have any work pictures, but maybe I'll post some a little later.

PS. They pronounce Marlborough "Mall-Brah" here. Took me awhile to learn that. =)

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