Side Trip to Bird World – The Gut Hut

“On a Mish” #265 The Gut Hut. Secretary Island, Fiordland. 19.8.2018. While basking in the stunning surroundings of Patea / Doubtful Sound you sometimes forget that you are in your workplace. The expression “If you find a job you like, you will never work a day in your life”, is perfect for the lucky few who work in one of the most pristine places on the planet. A place people travel hours (sometimes days) to see is what we see as soon as we get out of bed. With so many tranquil spots throughout the massive fiord, you can go a whole trip without seeing another soul. For some people nothing will ever match the remoteness experienced in one of the last lost worlds left, and it is a guarantee that the memories will last a lifetime…

Each season the lucky crew get the place to themselves during the training period on the Fiordland Navigator. Because it is mid August the fiord is quieter than usual, and usually it’s very quiet anyway! Blowing new crews’ minds with the scenery is a satisfying joy that happens each season. Not many come to Patea / Doubtful Sound and leave unimpressed by what they have seen. This is what we expect will happen with the new crew, and the hope is the awesome environment will provide mental relief when the going gets tough during the busy tourist season. Training time is a time to become acquainted with the boat, and also to get to know the crew. One day during training we had some free time, and a suggestion was made to take the Navigator’s tenders (small boats attached to the Navigator) over to Secretary Island at Doubtful Sound’s entrance. The island is a very important ‘Predator Free’ island, and the bountiful bird sound provokes a feeling of the past. It is said that Captain Cook was asked by his crew to move his ship further away from the coastline after the morning chorus was so loud that it woke most of the crew way too early! Countless hours have gone into removing the unwanted introduced animals from the island, and then releasing rare native birds into a safe environment.

Looking Back at Patea / Doubtful Sound from Secretary Island

The call went out to the crew that a mission to Secretary Island was about to go down, and within a few moments we had a tender full of excited crew, both new and old. After a year of cruising past the island it was awesome to be finally on our way to visit this very special part of Aotearoa. As we slowed the boat for disembarking we could already hear the sounds of the many endangered birds on the island. Once on land, we made our way to the island’s DoC Hut, The Gut Hut. This is a hut much like many of the other huts around New Zealand, but its remoteness means it receives only a handful of visitors each year. We soaked in the serenity, and listened to the sounds of the happy native birds singing in their safe home. After a visit to the hut and a look around it was time to head back to the ship. It was now time to get back to training for another season in paradise…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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