It’s great to be back! After 3 years of guiding in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and the wilderness of Fiordland, completing a carpentry course at polytech in Christchurch and labouring on construction sites in London, I’ve now had 3 weeks to renew my friendship with the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.
It’s nearly 15 years since I arrived at the Portage Hotel in Kenepuru Sound looking for some work for a few months which ended up being two years. Then another six years as a guide for Sara and Dave at MSAC. Now I live in London but it is great to be back for a short visit. There’s a new office, a brilliant new bunch of staff, the buildings on the Picton foreshore are a couple of stories higher, the old-timers who I used to serve Marlborough Draft at the Portage are slowly drifting away, I’m wearing yet another MSAC uniform and the packed lunches are a bit posher, but some things haven’t changed. The seals still loiter with intent at the salmon farm, the school boat still takes the kids to school in Waitaria Bay, the lush Sounds bush still looks Jurassic compared to the stark, barren Scottish coast, the water is still a different shade of green every day, the fishing still “isn’t what it used to be” and Lulu the MSAC dog is still in charge of the office.
It’s hard to believe I was pouring concrete at the Olympic site only 3 weeks ago. And as I commute home this evening on the water taxi it’ll be even harder to believe I’ll be back sitting on the Tube in a couple of weeks. It’s made me realise what an utterly wonderful place this is. And I can thoroughly recommend to anyone gettimg stuck in the Sounds for a while!