Back in the Beautiful Sounds

After spending a couple of days catching up with friends and terrorizing her flatmates in Palmerston North, Talya and I ventured down to Wellington on a weekend road trip to visit Deborah.  We stayed at her flat and enjoyed a few days of exploring and catching up with each other before parting ways. Talya went back up north while I hopped on the ferry to continue my trek down south for a Furneaux visit.

The ferry ride over was surprisingly smooth and in no time I found myself stepping off the boat into the Picton harbor. To be honest, it felt better than expected to be back in this tiny town. After once getting fired from Lochmara, Picton had felt awkward and alien, even unwelcoming.  However, after working out at Furneaux for about 5 months and now returning,  Picton felt warm, inviting, familiar. I booked my ferry ticket out to the lodge and as I sat on the waterfront eating lunch with Freddy and Francis (Erin and my favorite ducks. Yes, they are generic names for any male and female duck) I couldn’t help but feel inexplicably happy that I had returned to the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. I had bolted from the area after being dumped less than 4 months before, and as a result felt a little robbed of time in this slice of heaven on earth. Funny how you miss things more when you no longer have them…and I had certainly missed living there.

The sun was shining at the wind had died down to a slight breeze, it was such a perfect day to be out and about. Not even two minutes after leaving the jetty we came across some bottlenose dolphins. Our captain slowed the boat and we all enjoyed watching the dolphins as they playfully jumped out of the water and curiously checked us out by coming right up to the boats edge.  We zipped along and my eyes soaked up the aqua, turquoise, cerulean and midnight blues of the water as sunlight danced across the waves; the lush emrald mountains as a backdrop.  My return visit could not have had a better start.

My reason for visiting Furneaux was partly to see everyone there and partly to attend the Meet the Neighbors party that the lodge was hosting. Quick history lesson: Lee, my ex, got back with his ex, Clare, less than two weeks after dumping me and within two days the pair were engaged. It was shocking news to us all. Let me tell you, she HATES me. Word is that she raged upon hearing the news of my visit, calling both the manager and owner of the lodge to tell them she “couldn’t handle it” and refused to work when I was there.  She’s 35 years old; one would think that by that age you would have enough maturity to not pitch a bitch fit when someone you didn’t like was around. Guess not. I had thought that maybe my visit would be slightly tainted by the company there but it turned out all right in the end.  Lee wasn’t even at the lodge and, much to my surprise and amusement, Clare was working the night of the party. She would not speak a single word to me and avoided even looking at me. I had a bit of fun throughout the night by continuously edging into her line of sight and smiling at her just to piss her off. It worked. (I guess you could say that at 23 I would have enough maturity to not intentionally aggravate someone, but it was just too much fun 🙂 ) She took off the next day to town and didn’t return until I was leaving.

The couple of days spent at the lodge were glorious. I stayed at Steve and Moira’s house (the manager and his partner) which was less than 10 minutes away and visited all my old haunts.  I got to thinking about my meager travel funds and how nice it would be to live out in the Sounds again and earn/save some money for Cambodia. Because Clare can’t handle even the mention of my name, and Steve is already sponsoring quite a few people this year, I wouldn’t be able to work at Furneaux. However, Punga Cove sits across the bay and upon inquiry before a day of hiking the owner of that lodge said he could probably sponsor me for the season. Now faced with the prospect of possibly returning, I debated whether or not it would be just as good over at Punga, and if I would be happy to work there and not Furneaux. Back at the house later that night I stepped out onto the deck for a breath of fresh air, and as I looked up at the vast expanse of stars shining above me, filling the sky and stretching to the horizon, the only thought running through my head was, “I don’t want to leave.”  And just like that I made up my mind. I wanted to be there for the beauty of it all, not just the people, and Punga would suit me just fine.

I am now in Blenheim visiting Millie and Sebastian (some old Furneaux friends from last year) and then I will make my way down to Christchurch to visit more friends. I think I will also pay the Christchurch immigration consulate a little visit and see what I would need to do to obtain a work permit. In just one weekend, my plans went from going to Cambodia as soon as possible to putting it off for potentially half a year and returning to the Sounds.

This is why I don’t make plans.


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