The Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor will be stepping ashore at a familiar spot next month when he returns to his old high school in Napier.
It will also be a return to the city he grew up in and an opportunity to meet up with present students, ex-students who were his schoolmates and general members of the community.
And an opportunity to present an evening talk about the voyage his life has taken — from growing up as a boy in Maraenui and his schooling years at Richmond, Wycliffe Intermediate and William Colenso High School — as it was then.
In 1986 he was head boy, which appeared to be a portent of the success which was to come in what has been an impressive naval career.
"We are absolutely delighted he is coming," William Colenso College principal Daniel Murfitt said.
Rear Admiral Proctor has scheduled a speaking evening at the college on Wednesday, July 17 at 7pm.
It came about while he was in Napier for the Art Deco Festival in February.
Sally Crown, from the Maraenui newspaper He Ngakau Hou, had asked several college year 7 and year 8 students to prepare some questions for the navy chief, given he was a Maraenui lad.
That led to Murfitt's PA Keyleigh Atkins also deciding to approach Rear Admiral Proctor through Navy Public Affairs to ask if he would consider returning at some stage to give a talk.
He agreed, and has fitted the evening into his busy schedule.
"He wants to meet with the student leaders and has some key messages for young adults," Murfitt said.
"And being an ex-student a lot of people will know him, and they are all welcome to come along."
Rear Admiral Proctor said he had always been proud to be a "boy from the Bay".
He remembers a couple of lads in his neighbourhood of Maraenui going off to join the navy and saw how their career choice had strengthened them, physically and emotionally.
Coming from a family which enjoyed boating it was inevitable that he would go to sea with the navy.
Which at the age of 18 he did, initially in logistic and supply roles — and he rose through the ranks.
He said he relished the opportunities to lead, and last November he was appointed to the service's top position.
"An inspirational man," Murfitt said.
People interested in hearing Rear Admiral Proctor at the free public event are asked to contact the college for catering purposes, as the Parents Association will be organising cake and refreshments.