True Story …

A few years back, I volunteered to help a couple of old fella’s sail a yacht around the top of the South Island and down it’s West Coast. South of Haast is Jacksons Bay where we called in to refuel the diesel and water before tackling the charts further south and around the bottom towards Stewart Island.

Combined, the two fella’s had between them approx. 110 years worth of sailing experience. Me – zilch. I was more the eyes and labour and cook and tangata whenua and anything else they wanted to use me for. Except that!

Anyway, they decided to make a call to do only one tack to Milford Sound. Sail 40 nautical miles out towards Australia, tack, and sail straight up the fjord!

Departing Jacksons Bay and heading out to sea, we struck a 30 knot southerly storm that swelled waves up to 5 metres, 40 or so nautical miles off shore. The owner of the yacht got violently sea sick and so here was the other fella and me, trying to keep the yacht upright! For over twelve hours and through the entire night.

I prayed! Heaps. To everyone. Shit scared that I was going to become fodder to the monsters of the deep. Well, we kept it upright to touch land where I lay on the ground and hugged and kissed it. With a thank you prayer. To everyone.

Yesterday, we drove the road to Jacksons Bay so as to show Claire where I would have wanted my memorial monument!

Of course, that was after we departed Lake Hawea and journeyed to, up and over the Haast Pass, following our planned tandem cycle ride route. It was absolutely captivating.

So too was the poor bastards whom were biking the topography, holy f..k!

That could have been us. I’m confident that we would have prayed and sworn. Heaps. To everyone.

Our meander today a contrast to what it’s like to actually be on a bike seat.

It’s not the same however, we are grateful to be doing it how we are.

And we sometimes get it wrong!

Deciding to stop and cut lunch at a picnic spot became more who would eat first. The damn sandflies were unrelenting with their bite and then subsequent itch.

There was no praying. Just swearing.

B..t..d mongrel f..kkers. Ahem!