The end of the world looks pretty good

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION/ NEWS -

The end of the world has a zip code. ‘‘Go to World’s End,’’ the skip­per from the sail­ing boat Zin­gara yelled out to us as he left Res­o­lu­tion Bay in Queen Char­lotte Sound. ‘‘What?’’ I yelled back. ‘‘World’s End,’’ he screamed over his chug­ging mo­tor. ‘‘ Go to World’s End.’’

I thought it was a cafe and scoured the chart for a cafe in a bay some­where in the Marl­bor­ough Sounds. Noth­ing.

The thing is, charts have sym­bols for rocky bot­toms and life­sav­ing sec­tor lights, not cap­puc­ci­nos.

I wrote ‘‘Go to the end of the world’’ in my jour­nal that day. A month later my mum died after a long and hor­ri­ble bat­tle with can­cer.

Her third di­ag­no­sis came just a month after we bought the boat, so we hadn’t been sail­ing much.

After the fu­neral ar­range­ments and a shocked shift of life, we fi­nally set sail to Pelorus Sound at the top of the South Is­land. It felt pre­ma­ture – joy still seemed un­rea­son­able.

For eight days we caught blue cod, found mag­i­cal lit­tle tracks, in­vented new cock­tails, read, kayaked around fish farms, checked our new so­lar pan­els for wattage (and I cried a lot).

We soaked in the ris­ing and set­ting of the sun from our new whare on wa­ter.

With only two days left we de­cided to make a de­tour into Ten­nyson In­let.

It didn’t make any prac­ti­cal sense, but I’d spied some­thing on the chart – World’s End!

It wasn’t a cafe, but a thin stretch of wa­ter sur­rounded by na­tive vir­gin bush and a bay to the left called Ngawhakawhiti.

This gor­geous bay has a zip code of 7195 – odd, be­cause the beauty and peace­ful­ness of this place is un­clas­si­fi­able.

At low tide there’s an en­tire world of shells worn only by na­ture and skele­tons of leaves.

The bird­song in the morn­ing is a re­minder that I’m just a silly hu­man; there’s a sense of space, an even big­ger re­minder about how hard I work to fill up my day with in­signif­i­cant things.

There’s ev­ery shade of na­tive green, a sparkling galaxy for a ceil­ing.

It was such a priv­i­lege to be wit­ness to the place.

One morn­ing we saw smoke com­ing from the bush on the other side of the bay.

My part­ner, Dean, took the dinghy over to in­ves­ti­gate (my brave sailor – won­der what he’ll be like with pi­rates!).

We were a day’s sail­ing away from home with no cell­phone cov­er­age, so I did imag­ine ter­ri­ble things.

And what if Dean did find a fire out of con­trol? It’s not like the fire en­gine could be on its way in a jiffy.

Dean came back and said he’d come across two guys wear­ing cam­ou­flage, cook­ing some­thing very meaty on an open fire.

They’d avoided his gaze and Dean didn’t in­trude. They’d found this place, too.

Even amid my grief, or per­haps be­cause of it, I’d found the end of the world. And it was bril­liant.

Although we hope to sail to the Pa­cific Is­lands and see palm trees and turquoise wa­ter, I can’t imag­ine days more worldly that those at World’s End.

Par­adise: World’s End in the Marl­bor­ough Sounds.

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