Cyclone Cook bearing down on New Zealand
Cyclone Cook heading for New Zealand during Easter is kind of scary. In 1968 while I was on my pilots course at RNZAF Wigram two of the pilots were "chopped" as it was called in those days and sent home. Both were from the North Island and went on the Wahine which is the way cadets used to travel to and from the North & South Islands back then. Our course went down to Lyttelton to farewell them on the night sailing on the evening of Tuesday 9th April.
I wrote in my diary, "Went over to Lyttelton to the (see) Kevin and Dennis off. The boat (Wahine) left late and we stayed until it left.",
The next day was the Thursday and we were in the gym at the base for our last lesson of the day before the Easter break. The PT instructor came in to tell us that the Wahine had foundered on the rocks entering Wellington Harbour. We we stunned by the news.
The next day 10th April, "Today the Wahine sank in Wellington Harbour with Kevin and Dennis on board, Dennis has lost his car. There is no news of how they are."
I remember at the time having vivid images of the people on the boat as we farewelled our mates... families, older people and young children and wonder to this day whether they survived.
Thursday 11th April 1968 - "Kevin and Dennis are alive. Survived the wreck, 40 people and more have died..."
Both our mates did survive and I got letters from them. One was swept across the harbour entrance and was beached totally exhausted on the opposite and very isolated side of Wellington Harbour where he was picked up by a tractor driving along the coast towing a trailer of survivors. The other from memory was in a life boat but got tipped out but also managed to get ashore.
I recorded that the weather was "foul" for the remainder of the easter at Christchurch.