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For the second night in a row I met people who were intending on taking today's lunchtime ferry to Wellington.

Sean, Adam, Jack, Hannah & Nakita were travelling back in two cars from Blenheim and offered me a lift. Obviously I wast able to accept but did agree to meet them in Picton for the crossing of the Strait.

I had asked Adam to knock in for me at nine so that I would hit the road in plenty of time for the short 30km spin to the ferry terminal. It's a good thing that the guys in the dorm were a little louder than usual and woke me around eight thirty. Adam finally called around half past nine when I was already up and doing.

I checked out and said goodbye to Sinead and Bert who had been excellent hosts at Blenheim Backpackers and headed off north for the final section of the Island.

It was mostly flat apart from one tasty climb through road works. The road was reduced to a single lane and the hard shoulder meaning I faced a queue of traffic building up behind my single figure speed up the steepish single lane incline.

The cement truck behind me didn't try to pass me but it resulted in a stream of traffic waiting for me to climb the rise.

Those situations, while unavoidable, are slightly embarrassing as car after car flow by my should each in turn blaming me for losing a few minutes of their lives.

I eventually arrived at the ferry terminal just ahead of the gang in the cars and we got sorted for the transit. As well as the Irish gang I bumped into Torsten and Anna from the hostel in Kaikoura and they joined our ever increasing group.

Getting back on the bike immediately from the ferry I found my way to Sarah's apartment. Sarah was an old college friend with a strong Leitrim connection through her Dad's family.

Despite meeting her randomly over a decade ago when in College it turns out I count her uncle Noel Farrell, aunt and cousins as neighbours in Leitrim Village. Noel, himself a keen cyclist, had actually joined me for a portion of the day as I left from home nine months ago. It really is a tiny world.

After a fantastic fish dinner cooked by Sarah's partner Phil we met with Eugene, another former college mate, for a table quiz in the bar downstairs. The lads had a fifty dollar bar tab won from a previous quiz. A pretty decisive victory this time around resulted in a doubling of that amount. Which more or less took care of the cost of the evening's refreshments.

After a long chat about mental health and the reasons behind my trip and the entire Cycle against Suicide campaign we finally gave up the ghost and hit the hay.

I've been talked into spending at least a day here in Wellington but I'm gonna play it by ear as to when I hit the road again. (7 photos)
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My experience on the bike today totally justified splitting the last two hundred kilometres from Cheviot into two days.

The trip from Kaikoura today was always gonna be fairly tough. The 130km stretch to Blenheim, just thirty kilometres shy of the ferry, was absolutely beautiful but apart from the first hour I barely had a flat section at all.

I was constantly climbing hills for the other five and a half hours of the day's journey. The descents on the other side of each rise didn't even relieve the struggle as the constant northern wind cost me about five kilometres per hour.

The head wind pretty much dictated the entire day making the hills continuous slogs while reducing the actual speeds I managed to hit on the downhill portions.

I spent some of the morning watching the seals playing around on the beach. I'd pulled in beside an abandoned truck on the side of the road.

After a few minutes the owner of the vehicle emerged from the water wearing a wetsuit and clutching a net laden with six live Abalone in their shells. The maximum number of the sought after delicacy he is allowed harvest at a single time.

We chatted for a while and he told me about the time he'd cycled around Donegal while on holiday in Ireland.

I moved on over the next few hours closing the gap between myself and Blenheim Backpackers which had kindly offered me a bed for the night. The manager Sinead is a sister of fellow Cycle Against Suicide family member Sorcha who has been very supportive since the start of the cycle.

Her brother, Sean, and his friends were also in town and staying at the hostel. I chatted to Sinead, Sean, Bert, Nakita, Hannah, Adam and Jack for a few hours before hitting the hay.

They were planning on taking the same ferry as me back to the north Island tomorrow but with five people spread across two cars I was offered a place for both me and the bike on their pre purchased ticket.

Not having to pay for my own passage is a huge saving and a very generous offer from the gang.

I'm cycling the thirty kilometres to Picton tomorrow morning and then meeting Adam there before getting the ferry to the north island.

I'm staying with an old college buddy, Sarah, tomorrow evening in Wellington. I'm looking forward to catching up with her as it's been a few years since I've seen My experience on the bike today totally justified splitting the last two hundred kilometres from Cheviot into two days.

The trip from Kaikoura today was always gonna be fairly tough. The 130km stretch to Blenheim, just thirty kilometres shy of the ferry, was absolutely beautiful but apart from the first hour I barely had a flat section at all.

I was constantly climbing hills for the other five and a half hours of the day's journey. The descents on the other side of each rise didn't even relieve the struggle as the constant northern wind cost me about five kilometres per hour.

The head wind pretty much dictated the entire day making the hills continuous slogs while reducing the actual speeds I managed to hit on the downhill portions.

I spent some of the morning watching the seals playing around on the beach. I'd pulled in beside an abandoned truck on the side of the road.

After a few minutes the owner of the vehicle emerged from the water wearing a wetsuit and clutching a net laden with six live Abalone in their shells. The maximum number of the sought after delicacy he is allowed harvest at a single time.

We chatted for a while and he told me about the time he'd cycled around Donegal while on holiday in Ireland.

I moved on over the next few hours closing the gap between myself and Blenheim Backpackers which had kindly offered me a bed for the night. The manager Sinead is a sister of fellow Cycle Against Suicide family member Sorcha who has been very supportive since the start of the cycle.

Her brother, Sean, and his friends were also in town and staying at the hostel. I chatted to Sinead, Sean, Bert, Nakita, Hannah, Adam and Jack for a few hours before hitting the hay.

They were planning on taking the same ferry as me back to the north Island tomorrow but with five people spread across two cars I was offered a place for both me and the bike on their pre purchased ticket.

Not having to pay for my own passage is a huge saving and a very generous offer from the gang.

I'm cycling the thirty kilometres to Picton tomorrow morning and then meeting Adam there before getting the ferry to the north island.

I'm staying with an old college buddy, Sarah, tomorrow evening in Wellington. I'm looking forward to catching up with her as it's been a few years since I've seen her. (5 photos)
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Check, Double Check & Check ...

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I had toyed with the idea of pulling a massive 200km day to Blenheim today but after double checking the elevation I didn't really fancy the longer distance on top of a considerable amount of climbing over the day.

I sent Sinead in Blenheim a message to say I would be a day later than I had planned. Her reply later in the day was that she hadn't expected me till then anyway. Turns out my subconscious must have expected a delay en route when booking myself into the backpackers last week.

The two lovely ladies working in the motel in Cheviot, Pauline and Gypsy, kept me entertained for the morning before I set off towards yesterday's expected target of Kaikoura.

The first fifty kilometres included a fair bit of climbing before eventually rounding a bend and the Southern Pacific Ocean came into view through the end of the valley.

The amazing view was joined by a sudden gust of wind directly across my path on the descent into the space between the hills to my right hand side and the snow capped mountains to my left.

I stopped for lunch at a restaurant with an amazing ocean view where I had to compete in what felt like ten rounds of boxing with the local seagulls to enjoy my own food.

The final twenty five kilometres saw me hug the coast passing through tunnels and around headlands until reaching the short swift climb into the town of Kaikoura.

I followed road signs for the backpackers until I found myself at a hostel on Killarney Road. Eva, my Swiss friend from Waipara had suggested a place here with a hobbit room.

All the beds in that dorm were designed like you would expect in Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. When the guy behind the counter suggested it I was delighted to find I'd ended up at the same place Eva had suggested by accident.

I took a bunk in the Hobbit dorm for an extra $3 (€2) and got myself showered and changed. After a quick trip to the shop and making a snack, I joined a few of the staff headed to the cinema.

The movie was called Interstellar but certainly didn't live up to it's name. A massive cast including numerous oscar winners was a massive leg down.

Afterwards we hit the hostel common area and the assortment of musical instruments which were made available. There were a group of German girls chatting and we ended up playing music, singing and chatting for a fair few hours.

With a big triple figure distance separating me from Blenheim tomorrow I need to get some rest. Looking forward to seeing a few seals up close and personal en route to the north of the island tomorrow. (6 photos)
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It's alright not to feel okay!
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