For Del Carrodus, moving to Marlborough was one of the best decisions he ever made.
The owner and skipper of Havelock Water Taxis says he's living the dream, ferrying people around the Marlborough Sounds.
The former restaurant owner and chef still plies his trade as the executive chef at Slip Inn in Havelock, but it's out on the water where he feels most at home.
''Every day is different and I love it.
''Even a bad day out here is better than an office job, and on a nice day there is nowhere else I would rather be,'' Del says.
The Wakamarina resident moved to Marlborough with his family 4 1/2 years ago and got into the water taxi business two years ago.
He bought a former America's Cup chase boat which was used during the San Francisco race and fitted it out as a fast water taxi.
The Sounds weren't an unknown to Del when he moved to the area - his family regularly holidayed there, and his father had a launch and then later a bach.
Del has continued the tradition and maintains a family bach in Mahau Sound near Havelock.
The water taxi business keeps him busy, especially in the summer when he regularly works 10 to 12 hour days.
The decrease in the number of Sounds residents who own their own launches has also meant there is a greater demand for water taxis.
''A lot of them are just finding it too expensive these days to own and maintain a launch for getting into town with, so more are using me to go to town for shopping,'' Del says.
About 40 per cent of his business comes from bach owners and he has built good friendships with clients.
''Most like to keep to themselves - that's why they have chosen this lifestyle out here - but there are some I have gotten to know really well.
''They are all really decent, friendly people,'' he says.
It isn't just the people he meets that keep Del's days interesting. The spectacular Sounds scenery and wildlife are a constant highlight.
He is well versed in the various forms of Sounds marine life, and regularly finds himself sharing his route with dolphins and even orca.
''The orca still blow me away every time. The big males are so massive, they could easily tip this boat but they are really gentle and curious,'' Del says.
He has also seem the bush change over the years since he was a child, from a great deal of pine plantations back to natural bush.
It's a change that is for the good he thinks.
''I'm definitely living the dream out here,'' Del says
- The Marlborough Express
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