The captain and expedition leader suggested we stay in our rooms and read, the storm due to last for a couple of days. Up until that point we’d had uncannily good weather, sunny days and mild winds, perfect for watching albatross and petrels glide over the waves. Now it seemed we had crossed over some invisible barrier into another sea.
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then
I thought of arriving at tropical islands, cocktails on deck, my hands on the wheel as the ship coursed through the ocean. What I didn’t think of was the terror, not of storms and rogue waves, but of learning something new.
Mount Wainui is just a tiddler, 722 metres at its peak. But from my kitchen window in Paekakariki, beyond the backyard and the bald flat paddocks, past the hill pasture and monotonous pines, Mount Wainui appears hefty, rugged, rebellious.
It had started well. We were quick moving through, first the farmland before the track, sheep watching with suspicion as we kicked up sprays of dew, and then through the gloomy, sweet smelling beech forest that meant our tramp had officially begun.