We wanted to squeeze in a short tramp between Christmas and New Years while we were all in Christchurch for the holidays. At around three hours, the walk to Woolshed Creek Hut in the Mount Somers Conservation Area fit the bill. It was summer, the days were long, and we knew it was an easy walk, so we took our time getting out there.
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.