The end of the world looks pretty good
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.