While the World Fell Apart (Part Three) – Patea / Doubtful Sound

“On a Mish” #219 While the World Fell Apart (Part Three). Patea / Doubtful Sound. Aotearoa. 23.3.2020. Fiordland National Park is one of only a few places left on the planet that has remained untouched by the hands of mankind. Apart from a couple of tiny settlements, the area has looked the same for all generations who have gazed at its beauty. It hasn’t mattered whether it be a war, famine or virus, Fiordland fights on. Those lucky enough to visit the fascinating frontier will realise that the world outside of the park could fall apart and the only thing you’d be focused on is the stunning scenery that surrounds you…

We had driven many miles to get to Lake Manapouri and now its tranquil waters were behind us and it was time to tackle the towering Wilmot Pass.

Like each stage of my journey I got to catch up with my old work mates, and now it was time to say Kia Ora to the coach drivers. Just like with the skippers who man the helm of each vessel in the Rj’s fleet, the bus drivers are all entertaining characters with different tales to tell about the small section of adventure they will be taking you on. The 20km of the pass always flies by, thanks to the scenery and the yarns.

We crested the pass and began our descent towards the deep, dark waters of Doubtful Sound. Rolling back into Deep Cove was like reliving my first time here and the wonders of the place hadn’t decreased one bit. And there she was, ‘Big Blue’ the boat that I have had a love / hate relationship with as of late.

Kayaking in Crooked Arm (Doubtful Sound)

As per the norm the people boarding the Fiordland Navigator would act as sandfly food for a few short, or extremely long moments, depending on your tolerance to Fiordland’s most friendly fly.

Once again, just like back in Manapouri, it was odd to be on the other side as the customer. While we listened to the safety briefing I used to give, the number of people in our group really started to sink in. The ‘Main Saloon’ which is essentially the restaurant of the boat was normally completely full at this stage, as right up until my accident the normal groups were either the maximum of 72 people or not far from it. Our group was just over thirty so I knew we were in for a treat!

With a roar the ship’s two engines fired into life and our skipper Dave pulled away from the wharf and away from the last sign of human settlement for 20 hours (apart from a tiny fishing base).

From this point on nothing else really mattered and the rest was up to the hard working ships crew, and of course the centrepiece in this masterpiece that is the Fiordland wilderness and its many rare and special treasures…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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