Rough start to travelling life

20:44, Nov 25 2012

It was a feeling I'd experienced on only a handful of occasions before. Normally, it was associated with adventure playgrounds like Queensland's Dreamworld or the Kawerau bungy bridge in Otago.

In the right time and place, these attractions offer an ideal buzz. A rush for the thrillseeker. But today, as we nosed our way out of Tory Channel and into open water, it left us with the feeling of being taken to the top of the ride over and over again.

I can't boast the virtue of sea legs; otherwise the situation would have been laugh-out-loud funny. One minute we were in the calmness of the Marlborough Sounds. Passengers on the red-eye crossing were sipping their first coffee of the day as jovial conversation played in all directions. The next minute, we rose up, up, down, then crash. The sound of contorting metal creaking underneath heralded our entry into Cook Strait.

Before long, all traces of food and drink disappeared. Jumpers were being flung off. Hats became makeshift vomit bags until the paper ones could be located.

The only chatter came from a young Argentinian couple sitting in the row adjacent. The girl was sweating and looked like she might vomit, whilst the guy tried to sooth her with a lullaby from their native tongue, or he could have been reading her the last rites. Either way, she looked afraid.

The situation reminded me of what it must be like to wake up in hospital after a joint replacement. Pale faces shuffled from seats to handrails and off in the direction of the nearest toilet. The only thing missing from this equation was a physiotherapist and nurse to aid our rehabilitation to walk properly again.


Leaving the South Island was meant to be symbolic of our journey, moving on from a familiar port and out past the horizon. But at this stage the only benefit from the horizon came as a means of holding my gaze as the ferry lifts up and down.

But then, gradually, the movement lessens as we push into the harbour. . .

Irrespective of whichever Super Rugby team I may or may not follow, the sight of the Cake Tin signalled the end of our ride, much like the bungy cord being removed from ankles or the metal harness lifting off shoulders at Dreamworld's giant drop.

It was time to get off.

It was good to be in Wellington.

David Monk, wife Rachel and their two youngs boys have packed up their home in Blenheim and are travelling the world for two years, starting with New Zealand. Check them out online at

The Marlborough Express