“not so plain sailing”

It was a feeling I’d experienced on only a handful of occasions before. Normally, it was associated with adventure play grounds like Queensland’s Dreamworld or the Kawerau bungy bridge in Otago.

In the right time and place, these attractions offer an ideal buzz. A rush for the thrillseeker. But today, as we nosed our way out of the Tory channel and into open water, it left us with the feeling of being taken to the top of the ride over and over again.

I can’t boast the virtue of sea legs, otherwise the situation would have been laugh out loud funny. One minute we were in the calmness of the Marlborough Sounds. Passengers on the ‘red eye’ crossing were sipping their first coffee of the day as jovial conversation played in all directions. The next, we rose up, up, down then crash. The sound of contorting metal creaking underneath heralded our entry into the Cook Strait.

Before long, all traces of food and drink disappeared. Jumpers where being flung off. Removed hats became makeshift vomit bags until the paper ones could be located.

The only chatter came from a young Argentinian couple sitting in the row adjacent. The girl was sweating and looked like she might vomit and crap herself simultaneously, whilst the guy tried to sooth her with a lullaby from their native tongue, or he could have been reading her the last rites. Either way, she looked afraid.

The situation reminded me of what it must be like to wake up in hospital after a joint replacement. Pale faces shuffled from seats to handrails and off in the direction of the nearest toilet. The only thing missing from this equation is a physiotherapist and nurse to aid our rehabilitation to walk properly again.

Leaving the South Island was meant to be symbolic of our journey moving on from a familiar port and out past the horizon. But at this stage the only benefit from the horizon came as a means of holding my gaze as the ferry lifts up and down.

But then, gradually, the movement lessens as we push into the harbour…

Irrespective of whichever super 15 team I may or may not follow, the sight of the Cake Tin signalled the end of our ride. Much like the bungee cord being removed from ankles or the metal harness lifting off shoulders at Dreamworld’s giant drop.

It was time to get off.

It was good to be in Wellington.


  1. Hey guys. This article is in tonights Marlborough Express. You write a mean story Dave! Keep up the good work. No other news here. Just back form a 4hr ride/1 hr run. Yes, Taupo is on the horizon. Can’t quite see it yet but getting the feeling that its out there. Lurking. Looking for prey! Hope you’re all well.

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