Mail was first delivered to the Marlborough Sounds by Government Steamer in 1869. The Steamer initially only delivered to one location. As the population grew the steamer put the mail ashore at a number of small Post Offices throughout the area and the residents had to row to these points to pick their mail up.
In 1918 the Government decided to put the Service out to Private Operators and the Mail Run, as we do it today, was born.
In the early years most of the goods carried were farming supplies and a few tourists. These days we still take farm supplies and residents to and from their homes. In summer, we drop people at their holiday homes and we also take guests to some of the unique holiday accommodation available in the Pelorus Sound.
And of course we warmly welcome people who wish to share the day with us as we deliver the mail and help support the community of Pelorus Sound.
Jim Baillie is the 9th owner and skipper of The Mail Boat since it began in 1918. He has great enthusiasm for the area and its history and loves to share his knowledge gained over the years.
Originally from Scotland Jim learned his boating skills on the rugged West Coast of Scotland. He grins when he tells you that cruising the Marlborough Sounds is like home except for the weather! Even after all the years taking the Mail Boat on his cruise through the Marlborough Sounds he is still taking photos of the dolphins, gannets and scenery.