Immediately after class was finished on Wednesday I joined another tutor in an express drive to Sydney for an overnight stay with one of my students. We both had flights out Thursday and were grateful to have the hospitality and transportation.
Beating the the morning rush hour, I was driven to the nearest train station, hopped on the train to city central, changed trains for the airport, got my flight to Wellington, NZ and …. Waited. A cyclone was doing its thing over the NZ islands which had caused a number of flight cancellations the day before and was continuing the routine this day. We had flown above and through clouds all the way from Sydney and really could not see the ground until we were almost touched down.
I had booked a flight on a small local airline to take me directly to Golden Bay, the northwestern tip of the south island. The afternoon flight to Wellington was delayed which meant we were delayed in leaving Wellington. A group of four women trekkers/hikers shared the flight for a total of 6 (including pilot) on the plane – it’s maximum!
I got to be copilot – way cool even though I did nothing but sit there and watch! Chris, our pilot, was good, getting us through the clouds, rain and wind with hardly a bump. We raced the sun even though we couldn’t see it since the airport at Takaka/Golden Bay had no lights. Unfortunately we ran out of daylight after we had already passed Nelson so we turned around and made a very decent landing in Nelson.
Managed to get a bite to eat at the Nelson airport (pumpkin frittata piled high) while waiting for the van from the Takaka airport to scoop us up. The trekkers needed a grocery store stop since most businesses were scheduled to be closed on Friday due to the holy day/holiday. The drive from Nelson to Takaka was about 1.5 hours and up/down a mountain with lots of twists and turns. Must be beautiful to see – all we saw was the rain on the road.
So, what should have been an arrival of 6pm or so turned into a getting picked up after 10pm. Straight to bed!