After we watched the ferries for an hour or two from the overlook above Picton, we went down into the town. We had seen, beside the aquarium we visited a few years ago when we were in Picton, a museum. The museum held the Edwin Fox, a wooden merchant ship. First, we watched a DVD of the ship’s history, which was quite fascinating. This sign tells the highlights of the ship’s career.
She was built in India in 1853, of teak and saul wood. The timbers were steamed over a charcoal fire and then hammered into place quickly to take the right shape. After hauling immigrants to New Zealand, she was converted into a freezer to freeze down sheep for shipment to England. When the new freezer works was built on land, the Edwin Fox became a coal storage; a big hole was cut in her side to let trucks go on. After some years of that, she was towed to a bay near Picton and abandoned. In 1999 she was towed (still able to float, despite being underwater for years!) to a drydock on the Picton waterfront. You are allowed to walk inside the boat and touch it—that was special! It’s quite an experience to know that you are touching timbers that were formed into a boat over 160 years ago.
Mr. Intellectual inside the hold.
An immigrant family (six people) would have one top and one bottom bunk. Each bunk was the size of a single bed or smaller, and three people would have to sleep in it. When they arrived in New Zealand they would dismantle their bunks and use the timber to build a house.
We also toured the aquarium. Because they are side by side, we were able to go back and forth between the two places. At 11:00 in the morning and 2:00 in the afternoon, they feed the animals and give a tour. We took in the 2:00 tour and, since we spent the night in Picton, went back for the next morning’s tour—they let us back into both the museum and aquarium without paying again.
This stingray was asleep the whole time we were there.
The aquarium rescues little blue penguins.