Another Year Older

8 Jun

There it was, my 27th birthday was approaching. By “chance” it happened to fall on my days off. Day one of four, in fact. I decided to take a trip to one of the fiords a bit further south of Milford that is also accessible via land…kind of. (Land, water, land over a mountain). It’s called Doubtful Sound. I had booked an overnight stay on a boat on this fiord, which was far larger than the fiord on which I worked, and had several branches from it (to make sense of this, Google Milford Sound-where I work, and Google Doubtful Sound-you will see what I mean).
Luckily, because I work for Jucy in Milford, I was able to get an epic discount on my overnight cruise of Doubtful through Real Journeys. As I was getting on the Jucy coach to Te Anau the night before (after my last day of my shift in Milford), I saw a local Milfordite who said “Where are your hoops, Kim?” It was a guy named Dave who is from Southern California and works for Southern Discoveries (Red Boats). I noticed he had a twin brother next to him. I realized immediately that I had probably introduced myself to both of them a million times thinking they were the same person, seeing as how they were completely identical! I responded, “I can’t take em with me on the boat, I’m doing an overnight in Doubtful tomorrow for my birthday!” And they responded with, “So are we! We’ll see ya there!”
It was nice to have friends there for sure, but of course, being the independent and secure person that I am, it was certainly not needed.
I stayed at my usual place, The Aden Motel, in Te Anau. It’s a cozy place, full of warmth and Love. The owner is a kind soul, and I enjoy giving her my business.
I woke up, and it was my birthday. My heart was full of Love and excitement, as if I were a child all over again. I love birthdays! Of course I missed all of my loved ones back in the States, but I was in the most beautiful place on Earth, let’s be honest! I grow endlessly here, and I could not have been happier to be going to Doubtful Sound. It’s amazing how timing works as well, because I had wanted to go to Doubtful when I was wwoofing in Tuatapere, but never quite made it. The timing wasn’t right. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it the same. I wouldn’t know what I was seeing. Now that I work on a fiord and know what everything is, as well as the struggles of the rain forest, my heart could be fully and wholly invested into this journey.
I hopped on the bus to start the first part of the adventure. The bus took us to Manapouri, where I picked up my lunch and hopped on a boat to go across Lake Manapouri. On the other side of the Lake was another bus to take us over the mountain and to the fiord, where our overnight vessel would be waiting.
I took in all of the sights, but could not bring myself to take any photos. This was my birthday, and this was just for me. I have saved the images in my Heart. Plus, it’s all just too big to capture and integrate in one photo. It’s not fair to the landscape!
We hopped on the boat, and Dave and his family offered me a spot at their table. We were shown our rooms and made our way down the fiord. At one stage we stopped, and people could either kayak or go out on a nature guided tour on a small boat. It was absolutely pissing down rain as well. Luckily I work in the rain forest on a fiord and understand that this is normal, and can even appreciate the rain. I know that rain creates thousands of temporary waterfalls on the sheer glacial carved mountains, and adds a beautiful level of enchantment to the fiord and forest. I decided to go out on the small boat for the nature guided tour around one of the arms (or branches) of the fiord.
I learned heaps from Jason, the guide, and was delighted to be around people who were just as passionate as I am about the forest. In addition it made me realize how negative some of the people that I am surrounded with on the boat that I work on are, and the compassion that they lack. There wasn’t a single employee who seemed as if they hated their job (but how could one, really?!).
Afterward, I was drenched and chilled to the bone. It was fine, because my room (my awesome upgraded room!) had a shower. So, it just made the hot shower that much better.
I went back to the dining room, and dinner was about to be served. I was extremely excited for a proper meal! I bought a beer and a bottle of wine, and sat down with Dave and Joe’s mum for a cocktail while we waited on the boys.
The dinner spread was then presented, and it was unreal. There was everything from vegetarian goodies to Akaroa Salmon, roast New Zealand Lamb (!!!!!), heaps of different veggies, salads, sauces, breads, etc, etc, etc! Everything was absolutely incredible. Real Journeys has some absolutely talented chefs!
After the most incredible meal I had had in a very long time, the most beautiful desserts were presented and laid out. The girl presenting desserts announced a couple of honeymooners, then my birthday. She said they had something special for me, and the sweetest girl came from the kitchen with a hunk of epic looking cake with a candle in it, and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me! It was such a beautiful surprise. A girl named Keren made the cake, it was an extremely moist (sorry Tami Dennis if you’re reading this, I know you hate that word!) coffee cake. It was literally the best cake I have ever eaten in my life. It received mouth orgasm status.
After dessert, Jason put on a presentation, and Joe, Dave, their Mum and I had some more wine and watched. It was quite informative, and also reiterated on some of the important issues that the forest struggles with that I emphasize on. When it was over, the vessel was anchored and the skipper and crew came out to hang out. Everyone was incredibly friendly and wished me “Happy Birthday”. Joe and I finished off the bottle of wine, and went outside in an attempt to catch some epic star gazing. It was okay, but was quite cloudy because it had been rainy. We decided to call it a night, and I retired to my awesome room with my big, cozy, bed, with the sea just outside my window shining in with Love.
The next morning was the most profound. What happened that day was so profound that I couldn’t even write about it for a few weeks because I had to integrate it. It was too big.
After our brekkie, we were greeted with a beautiful morning as we cruised through the fiord. It was absolutely lovely. The most amazing part was the “Sound of Silence” that they always do the next morning after an overnight cruise. The skipper took us to the most beautiful arm of the fiord, and then turned off all the engines and generators, and no one was allowed to talk or move for fifteen minutes.
I love that they did this, because it isn’t often enough that we just stop and listen. There is so much life all around us in the forest. The birds, the invasive species, the wind through the trees, the waterfalls, the Love, the struggles, the constant battle for survival of all living things…My eyes filled with tears. It was beautiful…it was so many things.
Then it happened. It was kind of like when I listen to the trees. It just came to me:
Hope, and hold on. Hold on to New Zealand, to Fiordland, because it is the last hope for this planet. New Zealand is the last “untouched” place by man. There were never any natural predators. Man has done a number, but it isn’t too late…yet (but getting close). Save the rainforest in New Zealand in order to save the World.
That was my beautiful and profound message. I had to save the forest. How the hell do I do that?! I thought…but that wasn’t for me to know in that moment. Just like everything else, timing is everything. I just had to integrate this and stay open to the Universe for her guidance.
When I made it back to Te Anau that day, I was still wrapping around the huge message which I had received. I needed to spark my creativity. I needed to think. No. I needed to feel. My mind was going insane, so I decided to take a starlight walk through this mini path that leads to the beginning of the Kepler Track. The wee walk was just around part of the lake. I grabbed my torch and headed to the trail.
As soon as I entered the trail, I heard a noise in the trees. I shined my torch to the top, and there was an Australian Opossum staring down at me. I looked around, and there were two more. This was why I needed to be there. These are horrible invasive species, and a huge issue to the forest. Now, this wasn’t even any sort of dense bush, and there were these creatures everywhere…imagine what the dense forests are battling! My God! I realized I wasn’t actually meant to go for a walk, so I headed back down to the lake and sat down under the stars, eyes filled with tears of frustration. Of course I cannot hate these animals; they are simply doing their job. It was man who brought them over. Now we must sacrifice these poor animals in order to save the forest, and all of the native birds whose numbers are declining every single day.
I sat there for a few moments, and tried to clear my head so that I could be receptive to the Universe. I noticed a tree in the distance. There was a message for me. I went over to it, placed a hand on my heart and a hand on the tree, with my intention of saving the forest in my heart. I saw a fine tooth comb going through the forest, top to bottom. That was my message. I thanked the tree for his wisdom, and sat back down by the lake for a while longer. That was it. There was no easy, Band-Aid answer for the severe problems of the forest. I needed an army. I needed a plan. I needed to tap into my creative mind…


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