Thursday 31st March
I slept till just on 3am then awoke to a wind and my usual thoughts of T2, I hope she is truly above the high tide mark. I went for a wander along the stone beach and yes, she was high and dry. I tided down my fly sheet, climbed back into my tent, checked my InReach for messages, curled up and went back to sleep.
At about 7am I woke and lay listening to the stags roar. The weather at this point I already know, no paddling today. At 8am I got up proper and turned on my Inreach to send some messages and it did not turn on! Strange! I knew it was charged so what is wrong now? I tried resetting the unit, I tried connecting it to another battery pack, everything I could think of and more. Nothing! It had stopped working. I was now officially uncontactable from all. What to do?
Bligh Sound is not the busiest of places and no one is in sight, there is no way of getting a message to my support team. Many scenarios sprang to mind:
Pack up and paddle until I see a boat. No, then my location will be incorrect.
Wait until they realise they are not getting messages. No, they will panic and send a rescue team.
VHF and see if someone is near you! No answer as no one in the Sound.
I pondered my situation over breakfast, I built a fire and thought okay I can see the entrance to the Sound so just wait for a boat to pass and then try them on VHF. I did look to the sky today and ask myself if April Fools Day had come early. No need to panic, something will happen. I sat and drank a hot coffee, the silly sandflies today were trying to drown them selves in it. The only thing going well today is my fire. So much driftwood, it was incredible.
At 11am as I sat looking out at the ocean I see a boat, this will be fun trying to explain my situation via VHF. Within moments of my call my radio crackled into life, "We are heading towards you." Thank goodness. I watched as they sped towards me. I gave them a couple of numbers to try and call to contact the support team but they were unable to get hold of anyone. We chatted and I decided to jump on board Amazon and hitch a ride to Milford Sound, where I would be able to get a new tracker sent. I grabbed my electrical bag, toothbrush and sleeping bag and climbed on board, waving goodbye to T2 and my zipped up tent.
A new adventure! On their satt phone I managed to call Nat, told her my tale, and she organised a replacement. Within the hour she called back with the delivery details, thanks Nat. As we motored along I learnt lots from everyone on board, about their hunting, fishing and lives. Hot coffees and toasted sandwiches were had, and I kept expecting my failed unit to spring back to life as it was now plugged into mains power and I kept hoping it was just a user error. Every time I checked still nothing, no lights, not a flicker of life. The weather was bad so I would have been paddling no where anyway, why not meet some new people!
As we turned into Milford Sound I saw lots of boats, it was busy but even on a wet, misty day it is spectacular and I am going to see it twice now, what a bonus. I had a bit of plan for once I arrived, to locate the Crowe family on Honey and crash on their catamaran until my unit arrived on Saturday when I would grab a ride back out to Bligh with the Amazon crew. Milford is not large and through the mist and rain we soon locate Honey. No one on board so I will have to find them. Jude heard I was looking for them and zipped over in the little blue inflatable with a big smile. They were so welcoming and no worries about me coming to stay for a few days. Big hugs to the boating community, you all rock.
I made contact with Will, the Real Journeys man, he helped me charge up my well used VHF, located my parcel with my new VHF inside, and said he would keep a look out for when my new InReach came along. Thank you. Thank you also to Wayne from Lobster Company for keeping me n contact with all on Amazon and general updates.
My plans now, I have to wait for my lifeline so I will sit in Milford until it arrives. The Amazon guys are leaving tomorrow so I will miss my ride with them but somehow it will all work out for me, I have to have faith, it always seems to. April Fools Day tomorrow and bad weather forecast, stay put I am told, I will. I hope I have said thank you to everyone today, I am unsure, there have been so many of you. Sending another heartfelt thank you from Red, and I truly mean it, to:
The Crowe family on Honey, Tim, Jude, Ella and Samuel.
The Amazon guys, Mickey, Bill, Justin, Jamie, Mark and Brendon.
Real Jounreys, Will and Dave.
Wayne from the Lobster Company.
I owe you all.
Another incredible day, another day of incredible helpful generous people.
My smiles today:
To everybody and their help.
Nothing was a problem today.
What the universe dealt out to me today, what a curve ball day.
Milford Sound you are magnificent even on a windy,misty day.
The large bar of Whittakers Chocolate in my VHF parcel, thanks Jase.
My thoughts today:
An inspiring quote that Jude Crowe shared with me and we both feel passionate about:
Those who work with the elderly report that at the end of life the most common regret is not over what we did, but what we failed to do. The chance not taken, the business not started, the invention not patented, the dream not followed, the talent not nourished, the novel not written, the product not tested, the trip not taken, the apology not offered. So much music that died, bottled up inside us, because we were to timid to let it out.
It is something I will treasure, and try to stay true to. I will live life until my zimmer frame arrives!
Goodnight from Red and all aboard Honey.