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The drowned valleys at the top of the South Island – the Marlborough Sounds - offer an idyllic but isolated lifestyle. Folk living in the bays and inlets along this convoluted coastline require services which are only available by sea.

Gallery: Mail Bags and Captain Cookers

Mail Boat June Mail bags small

Spectrum’s Jack Perkins heads out from Picton on the boat, skippered by Joe Healey, which carries mail, provisions, correspondence school assignments and even livestock for families in Queen Charlotte Sound.

Mail Boat June Skipper Joe Healey small

As Joe guides the catamaran towards the jetty in remote East Bay, Arapawa Island, the sound of engines lures a wild Captain Cooker pig and her family from the bush down to the jetty where Joe feeds them stale bread from a Picton supermarket.

Mail Boat June Mum and family small

Tourists on the mail boat get 20 minutes to stretch their legs in picturesque Ship Cove where Captain Cook made several visits in the early 1770s.

Mail Boat June Ship Cove plaque small

Noeline’s homestay is in Punaruawhiti Bay. Jack Perkins gets the job of climbing a steep path to deliver 81 year old Noeline’s mail.

Mail Boat June Jack and Noeline small