When we step off the ferry I experience a sudden sense of dislocation. It’s partly that the Boulder Bank has always been over there, and now it is Nelson that is over there. But it’s more than that. The place so obviously belongs to the birds. They are all around us, wheeling over our heads, perched on the driftwood that lies in piles like bleached bones, fossicking amongst the rocks.
But although I have long been curious about the Boulder Bank - its long narrow mass and its lighthouse - I had never set foot on the Boulder Bank until last weekend. When I told a friend I would love to walk the full length of the Boulder Bank, she made all the necessary arrangements: a ferry ride across The Haven; a key to the lighthouse; a vehicle to pick us up 13 stony kilometres away at The Glen.
So it is that four of us gather outside Guyton’s fish shop on a Sunday morning with sunscreen, stout shoes and a packed lunch. Although it is already nine o’clock Rocks Road is not yet fully awake. It is still cool and there is little traffic. The boats moored at the jetty – Pelican, Koo, and Gloria Maria - show no signs of life. Nor do the balconies of the apartments across the road.