ASSOCIATION (Part 1) – ONE DRIVE BACKWARDS, TWO SAILS FORWARD

Starting this blog post from where I left off (Blog Post 26/3/14 Resolve: The Home Run Hit – Life is Simple [Part Four]) has taken some thought because I wasn’t too sure as to where to begin.

The prognosis for Max’s son wasn’t positive.

When you are communicated that you have limited time to live life – goal posts change.

Y847Max’s new goal was to get the yacht sailed back to Christchurch in the quickest time so as to be able to take his son out for a sail together.

Some father-son time.

The window of opportunity arrived for Max, Wayne and I with an additional crewman Joe (a friend of mine) to re-depart and via Queenstown, Association Pt1 - Journal1head back down to Milford Sound.  It was only a matter of kilometre’s before initial tender conversations soon evolved into associated testosterone pirate banter and the emotions of the past couple of weeks to abate, although not forgotten.

Having an extra set of hands and eyes on board gave some comfort too, especially for night watch at the helm during the planned sailing under the stars.

Queenstown to Milford Sound by bus allows for the backbone of Aotearoa to be show cased to tourists by the hordes.  The knowledgeable bus driver narrated stories of Maori myth and Colonial settlement with such vividness that he had you time Association1 - Journal2warped back to yesteryear, engulfed in imagination of what life was like back then.

Valleys narrowed into avalanche mountains ringed with native forests where peaks pointed like nipples in the cold.  The ‘Homer’ tunnel at 1.3 kilometres in length and at a gradient of 1:10 allows for quick passage beneath the bowels of the ranges, one-way traffic at a time.  Relief to be through and out the other side to quickly cascade down the hillside because the area is prone to snow avalanche during the colder months and rock avalanche during the remainder.  Huge boulders that have fallen from above lie at peace where they landed and rested.

Association1 - Journal5What was most enjoyable were the different road side stops along the way to be able to disembark the bus and allow the senses (smell, taste, touch, hear and see) to be fully engaged to the surrounds.  They were amplified even more so as the sight of the yacht came into view idly reflecting on the water’s surface of Deep Water Basin.

It sent goose bumps up the spine as to what had been and even more so as to what was to be.

We had ticked off the one drive backwards step.  It was now time to sail the two-steps forward – get down and around and then around and up.  By mid-afternoon we were Assocaiation1 - Milford Sound by Roadmaking our way out of Milford Sound pointed toward open waters, coastline and George Sound.

What I didn’t know about Joe was that he too was an experienced sailor like Max and Wayne.  That improved my confidence somewhat given Fiordland and Fouveaux are re-known for its inclement weather conditions far worse than Association1 - Backbone of NZwhat we had already experienced.

However, I now had three Chief’s to contend with and be abused by, being the only Indian aboard the ‘Chieftan’ (name of the yacht).  I have to write though that watching the three of them park the yacht for the night was secretly entertaining.  A squaw on board would have probably done better … by George!

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