Many Marlborough Sounds locals relying on boat deliveries for essentials

For many of us, a big part of lockdown life has revolved around the supermarket run.

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Staff at a lodge in the region remain in isolation together. Source: 1 NEWS

But in the Marlborough Sounds, people are relying on boat deliveries for their essentials.

Water transport company Cougarline has been able to keep running as an essential freight service, after experiencing “hundreds” of passenger cancellations due to the disruption of Covid-19.

Operations Manager Fred Gaudin says “especially over the four weeks of lockdown, it was 100 per cent freight and no passengers whatsoever, it was quite bizarre really”.

Just like anywhere in the country, demand for groceries has spiked in the Sounds, Cougarline alone has delivered 2500 boxes to households since lockdown.

“There’s no road access so they have to order everything. From the smallest paracetamol through to frozen foods, to you name it, if you want it, it has to go by boat,” explains Mr Gaudin.

He says a number of elderly chose to isolate in the Sounds because of ongoing health problems as well as families with very young children.
“One family in particular has a lung complaint, he's only three years old”.

Others had no choice but to stay.

Mr Gaudin picked up two British tourists who “couldn't get a flight anywhere out of the country and ended up staying 30 days on their own with very limited supplies and one change of clothing”.

There are no guests left at Punga Cove Resort or Furneaux Lodge, only the staff, who are in isolation together.

Marlborough Tour Company’s Edward Drury told 1 NEWS a lot of the workers, who are from overseas, “didn't have anywhere to go, so we were really fortunate that we could stay here”.

They’re now building up to a big welcome for future visitors.  Mr Drury says “the gardens have never looked so good. We've done a lot of outdoor work and lots of deep cleaning on the rooms preparing for when we reopen again”.