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

“On a Mish” #219 While the World Fell Apart (Part Five). Patea / Doubtful Sound. Aotearoa. 24.3.2020. 2020 was a strange year for everyone. No one could imagine how much the world would change and how long it would take for things to go back to normal-ish. And just like with the global pandemic, my hip and back wouldn’t be going back to normal for a very long time. If we had known this we might have just stayed out in Patea / Doubtful Sound!

With all kayaks loaded and the two tender boats back in their cradles we began to steam west towards the Kekeno / New Zealand Fur Seal colony. Along with seeing the seals we also got to see the Tasman Sea, and also cruise by the spot where the ship’s fridge swung open and smashed me into next week. I had a mixture of emotions as along with being fascinated with the outstanding environment I was also feeling depressed that I wasn’t part of the team anymore. I’d much rather be a host than a guest.

After seeing the seals it was time for the trip’s grand event, and that was the huge buffet prepared by the boat’s very talented chef Jorge.

Now a few kgs heavier we finished our day with a very informative presentation by the ship’s very knowledgeable nature guide Courtney. What a day, what a place. And thanks to the mass cancellations I had an excellent sleep in my private cabin.

Early-ish the next morning the boat fired back into life and we began the cruise back to Deep Cove and the end of our magical outing. But before then we had some more epicness to look at.

The weather was nearly the complete opposite to the day before. Sunshine and blue sky was replaced by grey clouds and rain. Some might not enjoy the rainy weather, but usually their mood brightens once they start seeing the numerous temporary waterfalls that only appear after rain.

Just before returning to the wharf in Deep Cove the boat creeped into Hall Arm and it was there that we ‘listened’ to the legendary ‘Sound of Silence’. This is when the boat is shut down leaving only the sounds of Fiordland. To some this is the highlight of their entire trip to Aotearoa.

After getting back to the wharf we had to say our goodbyes, and at this stage I didn’t realise that it would be my last trip on the boat I had called home for nearly three years. I guess not knowing made leaving the area a little bit easier.

The final leg of our journey was coming to grips with a very different world than the one we had left behind the day before. We were greeted with the fact that the entire country would be going into lockdown. A lot of people were scrambling to find somewhere to spend the lockdown, and because I would be up in Christchurch I offered my house to about half a dozen lost souls.

The rest as they say is history, and nearly everyone around the world was in the same situation as us. Lockdown time for all, but at least my whanau and I got a chance to see one of the most amazing places on the planet while the world fell apart…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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