NZ south Island – Stewart Island – South Arm, Port Pegasus April 9 – 16

47 14.610S 167 37.105E  – Disappointment Cove April 9 – 11

One of the attraction of Stewart Island is its isolation. Exploring untouched coast lines is one of the things that we love best about sailing and Stewart Island defiantly meets that criteria.  It is an island of 775 sq. miles and according to the last census we could find, with only 450 permanent residents, almost all of those live in the only settlement of Oban. It would hardly be worth only owning a car since there are only twelve miles of roads but over 750 miles of coast line. Better  have a boat, “eh”.

We arrived on a grey and windy day, the water was choppy and it all felt pretty unwelcoming. We were both tired from the passage so we had decided that our first anchorage would be the one recognized as the safest all-weather anchorage in Port Pegasus. As we motor sailed into the anchorage it didn’t appear very hospitable until we rounded the last little island and discovered a little hole where only a slight breeze could be felt. We dropped anchor and tied stern and bow lines to the existing mooring lines. We finally felt safe, secure and NO sandflies. We rested up and then did some exploring.

Landfall safely tucked away in Disappointment Cove

Landfall safely tucked away in Disappointment Cove

DSC_7936There was a clear-cut track at the head of the cove and after 20 minutes walking we ended up on a beautiful secluded white beach. By secluded we mean no human footprints on the sand except for ours but there seemed to be quite a few Hooker seals there taking afternoon naps and enjoying the warmth of the sun.

Seals oblivious of Dennis and his great fashion sense

Seals oblivious of Dennis and his great fashion sense

We walked around them all and got to the end of the beach and that’s when we woke a sleeping seal pair. They quickly scurried into the water and that made me feel a little more relaxed as these seals, especially the males were quite large. But the awakening of that pair of Hookers DSC_0319-1seemed to set off a chain reaction and the other seals became aware that we were there as we quietly tried to make our way back to the beginning of the track. We were almost home free but came across a very cranky bull. He was not the least impressed by our appearance on his beach and showed his discontent by huffing and growling at us. Each time we tried to pass him in order to get back to the trail head he made a very aggressive move towards us. I wasn’t sure we could outrun him and he seemed content to just wait us out so we had to bushwhack our way to where our dinghy was.

A little cranky after we woke him from his nap

A little cranky after we woke him from his nap

When we finally reached the river bed where we had tied our dinghy we realized it was sitting high and dry. What we thought was going to be a short excursion turned out to be much longer than planned and we were now at low tide. It was going to be a painful, long slug to carry the dinghy back to the water. But out of nowhere came a power boat with 3 big, strong men and they noticed our predicament. With the fine hospitality and generosity that we continually seem to encounter in the South Island, they quickly landed their boat and helped carry our dinghy back to the water. They were staying at a nearby hut and were exploring the area and hunting white tail deer. They indicated that our anchorage is usually occupied by locals or fishermen during scallop season which was now closed. As we dinghied back to the boat we did see the scallop shells lying on the bottom but had to settle for a meal of fresh, delicious mussels. While in Disappointment Cove I did a long kayak trip always being mindful of  how quickly the weather can change. Denny went out fishing for Blue Cod and we realized that the Blue Cod were very plentiful in Port Pegasus. And so, we feasted on mussels and cod through our entire stay in Steward Island.

Always calm in Disappointment Cove

Always calm in Disappointment Cove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47 12.405S 167 37.004E Evening Cove April 11 – 14

It was a stunning, flat calm motor to Evening Cove. The guide indicated that there were 2 all-weather anchorages in the cove, which as per usual required an anchor and a stern line to shore. The cove provided a good base from which to tackle tramps to some peaks that seemed to have some interesting rock formations.

The beginning of the track was well used and had some markings showing us the way but once we were out of the arboreal terrain, the track markings disappeared. We were on our own and had to make our way through the shrubs while searching for some rock piles here and there that could be a possible track marking.DSC_8004 Luckily, we were doing this hike during a dry spell otherwise we would have had to tramp through some squelchy bog land. It looked like Newfoundland blue berry picking terrain but there was not a berry to be found. After 2 hours of tramping we finally made it to the top for a spectacular display of Mother Nature’s rock art gallery. Well worth the hike. We couldn’t stay too long as it was getting near sunset time and there was no way we would be able to get back to the boat in the dark. It was also cooling off very quickly and the idea of spending a night in the bush didn’t appeal to me.  Denny’s keen sense of direction got us out in the nick of time. It was comforting to see Landfall’s anchor light during the last leg of the hike. DSC_7956-1DSC_0350-1DSC_7992

Evening Cove

Evening Cove

While in Evening Cove we got blasted by a gale wind. The guide may have described the anchorage as safe for any wind but we weren’t feeling very secure. As the wind started to slowly escalate from 10 to 50 knots we decided that more shore lines were in order. By the time we had consistent 50 knot winds we had 1 stern line, 2 bow lines and our anchor out. We felt somewhat safe but the sound of the howling wind all around us was a little unsettling. We had to endure 2 days of the foul weather but we had lots of movies, books, snacks, food and heat thanks to the unlimited supply of power produced by our wind generator.

DSC_8013

Collected a little kelp.

When it was finally time to make our move to the next anchorage we were prepared for the additional work we would have to wind up our 100’s of feet of shoreline. But what we weren’t prepared for was the amount of seaweed that the lines had collected. Denny had to sit in the dinghy with a steak knife and literally hack the seaweed off which took more than an hour.

 

 

47 11 689S 167 38.345E – Seal Creek April 14 – 16

It was Good Friday so we were anxious to get settled into our new anchorage and then head out to do some fishing for Blue Cod for our Good Friday ‘Fish and Chips’. Seal Creek anchorage required Denny to navigate through a narrow passage. I was on the bow and had to make sure that there was a clear passage. We made it to our anchorage spot with very little room under the keel. It was a swing anchorage so it was refreshing not to have to use any shore lines.

Seal Creek

Seal Creek

This was a beautiful spot for exploring by dinghy and by kayak.

We fished for our cod outside of the cove and met a couple in a power boat. They stopped to say hello and wondered how we had survived our last anchorage. They were vacationing at a nearby DOC hut and had seen our boat swaying from gunnel to gunnel during the gale winds. The huts are available for people interested in diving, fishing and hunting. We had a fine Easter feast of freshly picked cockles, mussels and cod bites. And for Easter Sunday I treated Denny to freshly baked cinnamon rolls. We missed our family and friends and managed to make a few satellite phone calls to squelch some of the homesickness that the Easter holiday gave us. Time was getting short so we decided to make the move to the North arm of Port Pegasus.

 

Plugging along

5/29/2017 Position 39 00.266S 178 13.387E We are moving our way up the east coast of New Zealand. It has been a hard trip so far with 30 plus knots of wind, rain, and big seas. but now as we get close to East Cape the winds have died and the weather has greatly improved. It is almost nice out. We have lots of shipping traffic around us so we maintain a very keel lookout. We are planning on rounding East cape tomorrow and then we head west, probably to Tauranga. But that is always up to change depending on the winds. we think of you all every day! Love ya Dennis & Barb ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com

Leaving Stewart Island

We have been in Little Glory Bay, for what t seems like, a loooong time. There has been a complex trough hanging around and the winds have been quite strong at times. Visually I have no idea what a complex trough is but I know what it is NOT and that is good sailing wind. So today we have a High with some Northerly wind which is not good if one is trying to head North but we are going to make a run or motor for it. The wind coming behind this High is not ideal either with another low moving in. We probably will only make it to Dunedin although our preference would have been Akaroa, but we will see. Stewart Island was beautiful and we had a few social nights with some hunters in a hut nearby and a single sailor on a boat from Switzerland. We believe we will have better wifi as we head North so we will be able to send more emails and our blog posts we have been writing while waiting for weather can be posted. We really miss talking to family and friends so hopefully in a couple of days we will have a phone marathon. Dunedin is a good days sail away but if weather is right Akaroa is a good 3 day sail. Talk soon Hugs Dennis and Barb

Hanging out in Stewart Island

Monday April 23 Posting by Barb: 46 54.348S 168 02.843E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:46%2054.348S%20168%2002.843E Hi to all, We have been hiding out in a very nice all weather anchorage while the wind has been howling around us at 25 to 30 knots. At least our wind generator is keeping us supplied in all the power we need. We have had our daily feed of mussels. We have yet to see if there are any Blue Cod in this bay. I went out and gathered a potful of Cockles and turned it into a whine wine and cockles pasta meal. I have done part of the Rakiura ‘Great’ walk and I found it challenging considering my legs have not had much a work out. Kayaking and sailing are great back, shoulder and arm workouts but legs get a little lazy. While I was doing my ‘Great’ walk Denny had a new boat project. Our ‘head’ or toilet seemed to be making funny noises when flush pumping so that got taken apart and he did find a problem and he did fix it. My walk return was well timed as I got back to the boat just as he was replacing the runner on the floor, the ‘head’ back in place and the boat back in order. As the winds are light this morning we will be moving to a new anchorage in Little Glory. 46 58.265S 168 09.375E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:46%2058.265S%20168%2009.375E We will be here until we get a weather window to start moving North to Akaroa, our only stop on the South East side of the South Island. It is about 300 miles away so it will be a 2-3 day window. The forecast up to Thursday are still predicting North winds and that is NOT what we want. So we continue to wait. But being in such a beautiful location it is not a painful wait. We will post an update when we start our Northward sail. Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall

Evening Cove, Stewart Island

Barb and Dennis are temporarily out of range of the single sideband e-mail towers that allow blog posting while away from Wi-Fi.  They will be in Oban, New Zealand in “a couple of weeks,” and will have Wi-Fi then.  They have some new SSB towers to try, so we might hear from them sooner than two weeks.

Barb reports the weather has generally been good, but with occasional high wind.  They sound good and are having fun.

Location as of 4/12/2017, 6 p.m. MSP time is Evening Cove on Stewart Island, New Zealand:
http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:47%2012.400S%20167%2036.999E

By the way, Oban is here,
not here, you souse.

Making our way

Sunday April 2, 2017 Posting by Dennis: 45 45.904S 166 31.371E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:45%2045.904S%20166%2031.371E Hi to all, We are now sitting in Luncheon cove in Dusky Sound. The trip has been totally amazing so far. We are pretty much living off the land, or should I say water. We have been eating lobster, fresh tuna, Blue cod, even Venison. The place is so incredible, every day is a new adventure, and no two are ever the same. But I will tell you the sandflies are also incredible. We have met so many really neat people. I really don’t know why more people don’t come here. yes yesterday we stayed hunkered down with fifty knot gusts rocking the boat but that is just part of the adventure. O and the day before that we run the boat aground but that was know big deal just part of the game. right now we are being serenaded by a couple of seals with their squeals. Life is good Later Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall

Cruising the Fiords

We have arrived in the fiords and so far have sailed through George, Charles, Nancy, Milford, Thompson, Bradshaw and are currently anchored in Doubtful Sound. Unfortunately we cannot post any blog updates while in the fiords as SSB does not seem to work while we are surrounded by he magestic heights of the fiords. We are currently in Teanau getting some supplies and have found some free Wifi. We are heading back to the boat shortly and will be off the grid for quite some time again. We will post our adventures when we have some reliable Wifi. We will say that we are having an amazing time and have many stories and pictures to share with you when we can. The only price to pay for our cruising through some unbelievable scenery is the hoardes of sandflies. Unfortunately for Denny they seem to like him more than me. But we have learned to adapt and now keep ourselves covered from head to toe, even while sleeping. So it’s all good.

Our next cruising plan will be Dusky Sound and onward to Stuart Island.

We will post our locations and stories when we can.

The Snail checking in

Friday March 4,2017 Posting by Barb: 43 03.712S 168 42.748E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:43%2003.712S%20168%2042.748E Well we have broken the 100 mile mark. It has been slow going but we expected the wind direction to be on the nose. And based on our weather watching we expected the lack of wind so we got what we asked for. The wind picked up the last 2 days and we got the usual South Land wind of 25 knots on the nose!! It was a little more of a challenging sail and it made Denny much happier. He came alive and stepped up to the challenge of maneuvering through wind, rain, bigger seas. We felt very cozy and safe in our little snail shell but not really warm. I guess that is to be expected. Temperatures dropped from 80s to 60s. Sorry Canada you will have to do the Celsius translation. Everything on this lovely American boat is in Fahrenheit. Suffice it to say a 20 degree drop takes a little getting used to. When we have less boat heel we will move our shorts to the back of the closet and pull out our long underwear!! Today we are back to the 10 to 15 knot calm wind sail and Denny is sleeping more!! We are now aiming at arriving in the wee hours of March 6th so we are ok with a 2.5 knot snail pace. Any faster and we will be arriving in the night and that’s not what we would prefer. We are excited to see Landfall. We will message you tomorrow night as once we are in the Fiords SSB email may not work. We are however visiting Milford first which is the popular tourist place so there may be cell phone or internet coverage. Barb and Denny SV Landfall