Wake to heavy rain. Lynley had warned us last night that the weather forecast was bad and if the floatplane couldn’t fly we’d need to get the water taxi. As the visibility is terrible it’s pretty obvious this is what we’ll need to do. What a shame! I was really looking forward to another journey on the plane. Lynley & Mike organise our transport for us and the water taxi comes just before 10am. Walk down the jetty this time in the pouring rain trying to keep my laptop and camera vaguely shielded. The water taxi driver looks slightly like Captain Birds Eye and has a good toothy laugh to go with it. The journey to Portage only takes 10 minutes and then we have to wait for the bus. The bus is packed and we’re soaking. For some inexplicable reason the driver disappears for what feels like an hour and we’re left soggy and steaming in the bus. Eventually he drops us at the next pier and we scramble onto another boat. This one has around 20 passengers who appear to be on some sort of day trip. Eventually arrive at Picton and exit at the ferry terminal. Find our way to a Subway cafe by the station.  We’re absolutely drenched through.  Have a hot snack for lunch and then board the train.  Our rucksacks are loaded into the baggage compartment at the back and then there’s an open observations carriage (needless to say we didn’t bother going there) and we’re in the front carriage by the buffet car.  The train journey takes about 2.5 hours to Kaikoura.  It’s quite interesting – first we pass through Blenheim and the Marlborough wine growing area with massive commercial vineyards, then we pass through salt marshes where all New Zealand’s salt is farmed and then we travel along the edge of the ocean coast until we reach Kaikoura.  Originally a whaling town, Kaikoura now makes its money through conservation of wildlife and tourist trips to see the whales and dolphins – which we hope to do.  The sea bed drops away dramatically to the Kaikoura Canyon, and just 1k from shore it is 1000m deep which encourages the sea mammals.  My initial impression is that it’s a very touristy town – packed with souvenir shops and motels – most of which are full for the weekend.  Later in the evening as the clouds lift and the skies clear I see what an incredibly beautiful setting it is in – within the lee of the Kaikoura peninsula.  From our motel we look across the ocean to the mountains behind swathed in patchy cloud which sparkles in the setting sun.  We walk out to a local restaurant for dinner while are clothes are drying in the laundry room at the motel.  Tomorrow we’re scheduled on a dolphin swimming trip!