Nature Gives us the Perfect Arrival into Auckland
From the rough seas of the day before, it all went calm around 1am yesterday. I was up on the bridge at 3am and it was a perfect night, the sky showing me every star possible, and the outside temperature not as cold as I was expecting as the thought of sailing to Fiji in a few weeks starts dominating my mind. Very soon the lights of shipping and the various navigation aids in the approach to Auckland made me realise Nature’s vast open sea wilderness was coming to an end and I was about to be confronted with Human’s ‘domain’: The Big City wilderness, where anthropocentrics can exercise their almost full control over a wee part of the surface of this planet.
Coming into the Hauraki Gulf, we cut speed to the required Whale respecting speed of 10 knots, and as the daylight broke the almost unspoilt natural specialness of the Gulf’s outer islands came into view, and a perfect cloudless, windless day opened up in front of us on the bridge. It was good time for savouring the last hours of life on the ‘Big Machine’, and in conditions like this it almost didn’t seem like the big brute of yesterday.
With hardly a bow wave as it seemed to be part of the mirror it was ‘gliding’ on. The vivid blue of the open Pacific sea was replaced by a nutrient rich, almost brownish hue, typical of these higher latitude southern ocean waters. As I looked down from the bridge I could see many jelly fish close to surface and was struck how things are changing for me….
Pilot Pic: Our first Kiwi!: The Pilot boat dropping off Matt our Pilot
There is a long and snaking channel into Auckland and so the pilot joins the ships quite far out and has a long ride in as ‘temporary captain’ of all arriving / departing ships. New Zealand and Auckland included can get some pretty wild weather, and so these pilots must have man a pilot story to tell…
In capturing the extent of ‘our perfect day’, Matt the pilot said: I don’t know whether today is better for a pilot to be at work or better to have the day off? Clearly a guy who enjoys outdoor recreations he was debating whether the easy job today was better than enjoying the recreational day off the easy weather would provide!
As we turned the corners of the channel, the views of Auckland changed and New Zealand’s largest city go larger and larger. Since 1995 when New Zealand ‘shocked the world’ winning America’s cup in San Diego, and Auckland became to host in 2000, Auckland has just exploded into a relative metropolis given the small size of the country and its 4.5 million people.
Auckland’s population is said to be around 1.4 million and I sense its changing values and ever increasing alignment with the highest level western ideals is causing some ‘values conflict’ with more traditional New Zealanders.
I’ll delve more into this in a future blog relating to New Zealand’s ‘REAL elite nation’ status as a rare member of sub One Point Zero club of nations. Exploring how long term sustainable that club membership is given these inevitably changing values in the increasing pursuit of higher Western Success.
In many ways but for totally different reasons, I put New Zealand and Switzerland together as countries that just ‘get on’ with what they see they ‘have to do’ for themselves, and ‘Just Do it’! Both seem to do it in a way that is ‘their’ unique way but seems also one that is inspiring and has many ‘values lessons’ for ‘the rest of the world’, yet they aren’t trying to change the rest of the world!
Clearly New Zealand and Switzerland are almost at the opposite ends of the One Point Zero scale, so in linking them above it’s not about that but more of a low key, yet strong almost independent clear identity and value system, that fits with their unique needs.
ANL Bindaree, Final Hours and Goodbyes
Each day it’s been building but today it was clearly visible that I was no longer part of the ANL Bindaree team, and these guys now saw me as a ‘traitor’ about to step off into freedom: To leave them to carry on with two or three more 22 000 kilometre circuits of the Pacific. I’d done one circuit albeit with a six week break in between legs. For these guys stopping in Auckland is a mere 10 hour period with a different set of work tasks.
Amazingly the ship was being partially unloaded / reloaded (about 700 containers each way I think) in just 10 hours and my home and new ‘ship friends’ of the past 16 days would be dropping mooring lines and heading back out that same Hauraki channel: Destined for Melbourne Australia, and crossing the sometimes treacherous Bass Strait.
In those ten hours in Auckland, even with the container terminal being almost right in the CBD, very few go ashore, either not wanting to, or because of work responsibilities, not able. I understand their reluctance, and need to stay in settled in ‘their ship world’, but Auckland and New Zealand was about to become my ‘new world’.
So all in all it was quite tough dealing with The Chasm between our ANL Bindaree motives and experiences. But these are tough guys, men of the sea, and they told me they experience crew members ‘coming and going’ all the time: Sometimes they are the one saying goodbye to their imprisoned buddies, and other times their buddy is like me saying goodbye to them and stepping to freedom. For me I didn’t see it like that, as I had had another very intense and special experience, and with One Point Zero occupying a lot of my focus our motives and goals were very different.
The ‘Goodbyes’ started the night before Auckland arrival, as I knew I may not see some of them on the day. So ‘one by one’ I made sure had a special goodbye, some exchanging email addresses, but in all I felt a strange ‘intimate stranger’ bond, as we knew our sharing had been intense but our paths were now seriously diverging. I sense for many I had been someone they could talk to about life, real life, and the things that matter in this world. I sensed that life on board almost forbade them going there, and in that unnatural, yet necessary discipline they realised they were preventing themselves accessing an important part of life’s intensity. I felt some human to human value in helping them see that….and in its absence of fellow passengers, this trip brought a much larger element of this intimacy of exchange.
Sorry there are no pics of The Crew, these guys are very anti photos, and being made passenger’s celebrities! I like that…..
Preparing for ‘The Shock’ of Civilisation
As far as cities go, Auckland in a great city, but my re-entry into civilisation will no doubt have some shocks over the next few days. I rode the short distance into the CBD and went straight to sort out accommodation for the night. I sit here typing this blog, in this Auckland ‘prison cell’ that cost more per night than my spatial cabin on ANL Bindaree!
There is not a single window to the outside world and on the one wall are three large adverts for Adrenalin activities. The one’s caption is: “It’s not the Last experience that counts, it’s the First”!! I wondered how this applied to my birth into this world! Another caption is: “Celebrate The Journey”! Is that celebration at The Destination or when? Sounds like maybe a ‘journey’ of a series of ‘conquests’ and to celebration each ‘milestone’ towards the final destination! But then is it a Journey or a Conquest! ????
Ha-ha, yeah I am at a CBD backpackers place, convenient location for the ship and bus, and this is all part of the exploring experience! Good to be around young people, they all international and on ‘Their Journeys’, yet it’s supposedly still New Zealand off season.
IF I’d ‘Taken the Plane’ I’d be ‘There’ by NOW!
Just a reminder: It’s been over three months of this Trumped by Nature adventure, and I’m committed to No Flying?! Part of the adventure is dealing with the struggle to really understand what living a One Point Zero life as a ‘financially independent’, traveller is all about?
Whether it is even possible, and whether it will still be enjoyable, or whether I have to curtail my planet explorations? These are all explorations with possible profound implications.
It has been pointed out to me many times that the Ecological Footprint of Ships is much worse than Aeroplanes. Yes, for kilometre travelled, Flying is very bad, and Ships even worse, I have been aware of that for years. From a personal Footprint, one has to look at the specifics: As I pointed out in the amusing (well I think so!) blog from Tahiti: Because I didn’t come on a Passenger ship, (rather a Container ship) the Ecological Footprint ‘accounting’ is quite different between me and cruise ship passengers and also the footprint of the cargo goods on the container ship. Passenger planes and Ships only ‘go’ if there are passengers, and as with both Cap Capricorn and ANL Bindaree, they ‘go’ with or without passengers.
I hope you can see that, and also that I’m not promoting Passenger ship travel over Air travel?!! My Tahiti blog should clear it all!
It’s been an intense 3 months, and good to get back to New Zealand. Yesterday it was very tempting to go on line and book a ‘quick’ flight to Nelson. If I had done so I could be writing this blog from Nelson, but instead I wanted the full experience of trying to live my One Point Zero life. So in a few hours I cycle to the bus station, board the bus for Wellington. After over-nighting there I’ll ride to the ferry terminal, take the Inter Islander ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island, and then the bus to Nelson…. I long trip you may say…?
Well I see it all as an experience in itself, and it’s like many of ‘you’ business travellers would do: Its away from home business travel, and I get to do my One Point Zero work on the bus, and ferry, and the many people I will no doubt meet along the way will enrich my life, and add perspective to my One Point Zero work. Importantly I get time to reflect on the past 3 intense months, and what this whole mission has been about. Time to savour the many and diverse moments: Their rich value to my life, whether they were good, medium or difficult moments. I used to be someone who always wanted to get ‘There’ as quick as possible, but long time back I realised it’s about the Journey and taking it ALL in, which includes reflection and learning from the reflection Maybe that’s what that “Celebrating The Journey’ above was all about?!
I know for many of I’m talking to the converted, and probably converted way before me, but this full on, competitive society we live in more often than not, puts the focus on The Destination!
Next one will be in a few days and once I have settled back in Nelson. That should be very interesting….!!!