As you slip out of Picton aboard the huge ferry you aren’t really prepared for the stunning scenery that awaits you as the captain navigates the huge vessel through the Marlborough Sounds. The weather was perfect too; a beautiful sunny day with dead calm waters. Even as we entered the Cook Strait the waters were eerily calm, backed by the towering peaks of the south island shoreline.
However, there was of course time for some Prince family drama during the 3.5 hour ferry crossing. As we were rounding the headland for the final approach into Wellington harbour Dan, Clair and Samuel decided to go out front to get the best view of arriving on the North Island to start our next month of adventures. We should have realised what was about to happen as we struggled to open the door to get on deck against a very strong wind. Once opened and held in place by Dan we started to step outside. As Samuel extended his leg over the door jam the wind blew his flip flop straight off his foot and straight over the side of the boat, much to the enjoyment and hilarity of the 2 young girls who were trying to get in through the same door. Samuel did not see the funny side, in fact he saw the absolute opposite of the funny side and proceeded to cry hysterically at the realisation that his flip flop was lost, and yes, forever! He might actually have cried more than the time he split his head open!
We spent easter weekend here, and the kids were super excited to find that the easter bunny had tracked them down again to deliver some treats. However I am not so sure the neighbours would agree, the clocks had been turned back overnight, so it turned out that our egg hunt was excitedly taking place in the garden at 6.50am!
The weather let us down in the end and the lesson on fly fishing had to be conducted in the garden rather than a river as the water would have been too churned up and murky. But this gave Geoff the opportunity to break out his massive smoker and smoke us some of his previous catch, nothing like home smoked home caught New Zealand wild Brown Trout!
The biggest attraction are the Hukka Falls, which were just a 5 minute drive from our house. From the falls you can walk along the river to the natural hot pools for a dip and sit in steaming hot pools of fresh water that runs into the river over the thermal rocks.
We also got to see the dam gates lifted at the Aratiatia Power Station and watched the rapids quickly fill the river bed below us, providing the hydroelectric power for the station to provide electricity to the town and beyond.
Orakei Korako was another day trip out to visit the Geothermal parks and caves that were also just nearby.
Within 2 hours, blood and urine tests had pushed the doctors first concerns of Appendicitis over the limit and we were ordered to Rotorua hospital, immediately.
We turned down the offer of lift in an Ambulance and got home to throw all our bags into the car and get to Rotorua as soon as possible. By a massive stroke of luck our next home swap was just 30 minutes from the hospital and our hosts Gill and Wayne were so accommodating and happy for us to arrive a day early.
Dan was dropped into hospital and placed in the emergency ward for the night for observation. The next morning the doctors did their rounds and decided it was 80% certain that he had appendicitis and that surgery should take place as soon as possible. He was in surgery by 2.30 pm that afternoon for his operation. The surgeon found an infected Appendix and worked for 1.5 hours to get it out and cleaned up inside, luckily it hadn’t ruptured so it was quite a straight forward procedure. Another night was spent in hospital recovering before Dan was let home the next morning. The hospital staff and facilities were excellent and the treatment and surgery completely free!
Thank you Taupo and Rotorua Emergency services, we owe you!
Hopefully our next post will be sickness and injury free as we lay low whilst Dan recovers!