The is NO Such thing as BAD Weather – Rain in Patea / Doubtful Sound

“On a Mish” #309 There is NO such thing as BAD Weather. Patea / Doubtful Sound. Fiordland National Park. 27.11.2021. The first person to call a rainy day “bad weather” needs a slap! Rain is rather important to human beings, and without it we don’t do so well. Therefore a day of liquid sunshine is far removed from anything resembling bad! Trying to convey this idea to school children can be challenging at the best of times, but if you have a storm and a boat then you have the recipe for a life-changing event…

A couple of days before heading over the hill into Patea / Doubtful Sound I had checked the weather and found my visit timing perfectly with a storm. And this was going to be a 100ml plus monster. The Deep Cove School Camps are not only massively rewarding for the kids who are lucky enough to attend them, but also beneficial for the parents (and myself) as well. Time spent in the bush is a valuable resource that we have at our fingertips in Aotearoa, and introducing the young to this might lead some of them into a life in the outstanding world of New Zealand tourism just like me. After arriving in Deep Cove to start my part of the camp I headed up the Hanging Valley Track to meet the team. In hot, humid air and with pre-storm clouds covering the sky I eventually found the team up near the waterfall at the top of the track. Everyone was happily making their way back down, and with the track sheltered from the wind they had no idea of the dark clouds and wind bearing down on the fiord. A tumble meant a slow trip back down the mountain to base for one of the students and three of the adults / teachers, but this could have been much worse if the rain had already arrived. The blustery conditions in the cove meant we couldn’t get the dinghies out, so it was time for another walk… This time a much shorter and easier one. As the day’s light slowly began to fade, the rain arrived. And after dinner we set off on a very successful glow worm expedition. A highlight for some (adults included) was getting the team to go silent for a minute. For most people around the world silence is impossible and the kids enjoyed it so much that we even had a round two!

Storm Clouds Brewing in Deep Cove

Early-ish the next day we woke to rain thundering down and the waterfalls growing by the minute. The team reunited before heading down to the Patea Explorer to ‘explore Patea’. Now was the time to show off Fiordland’s fury. Just like the moments of silence the night before, not many get to experience facing a storm head on. In most places around the world the weather we were steaming into would be considered hurricane force and would incite feelings of fear and panic. Luckily Fiordland isn’t like most places around the world, and instead of running and hiding we faced the storm head on with screams of joy and excitement. After a morning of getting blasted by 70 knot winds and heavy rain, we finished the kids off with a trip under a waterfall thumping down from an overhang that the boat could fit under. As if to thank the kids and their lucky caregivers, the fiord brought out a few of it’s stars in the form of a group of very camera-friendly Fiordland Crested Penguins. Being tired and wet was going to have to take a backseat to laughter and joy, and I really felt like I had washed off the expression of rain being “bad weather”. Once again Patea / Doubtful Sound had provided an excellent introduction to the wilderness and the wild weather that batters it sometimes. Now it was time to head home and rest up my aching hip after another successful outing. Yet another Deep Cove School Camp that enhanced not only the lives of the kids but also the adults (and me of course). Can’t wait for the next adventure…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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