2019 Beautiful Lakes Entrance onwards to Tasmania

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After Bill left we continued waiting for a weather window to sail across the infamous Bass Strait. It has a reputation of being a trechorous body of water largely due to the shallow depths, strong currents, and the roaring seas and weather that come blasting out of the southern ocean. Fortunately we could wait indefinately in Port Eden as it offered great protection from the wind. But to get protection from the swell we had to sail across from one side of the bay to the other. It was here that we learned how quickly the wind could change. On one particular day I was sitting in the cockpit talking to my daughter on the Iphone when I noticed the boat starting to point differently, wind picking up and swell increasing. I quickly said goodbye and called out to Denny who was napping. Within minutes we pulled the anchor up and motored against 40 knots wind to get protection from the other side of the bay. We motored at full throttle and we were barely making one knot. With the wind howling and the rain drenching us, we eventually arrived at our anchorage point and Denny warned me that we would only get one shot to drop and set the anchor. If the boat got a chance to turn down wind we would quickly be blown straight into a  mussel farm.  The pressure was on but we did what was needed and got the anchor down without a hitch. We learned that sailing along Southern coast of Australia would require constant vigilance unless we were in an all-weather anchorage and these were hard to find.

We couldn’t  seem to get a weather window for crossing the bass strait and tired of waiting in Port Eden we decided to make a move to Lakes Entrance, a little further south along the coast. Halfway there we hit the notorious wind on the nose sail and we spent a night making very little progress again as we tacked back and forth.  But we persevered and by morning the wind all but died and we were able to motor sail to Lakes Entrance. The sand bar we had to cross had a reputation of being a little daunting. There is a sky cam linked to a website that boats can use to look at the opening swell conditions as they make their way to the entrance. But it was a calm morning when we arrived and we motored into the lake without any problem.

 

Click here for Google Map Link Lakes Entrance

Lakes Entrance

The lovely Sally Forth

Lakes Entrance is a beautiful sheltered lake with many offshoots to explore but it can be a little nerving as the channels can be quite shallow. It took us several hours to get to our final destination, Paynesville. This little town offered great protection from the wind, a public jetty where several boats could tie up and explore the town for a maximum of 4 hours and it was where our friends Mark and Sally on Sally Forth were. We arrived just as the sun was setting and Mark and Sally where at the dock catching lines and giving us a wonderful welcome.

The “people” is what makes a town a great place and we loved Paynesville. We were tied to a 4 hour maximum dock for 4 nights and the people didn’t seem to mind as they came for a visit and offered us compliments on our  well maintained boat. It felt good to have people recognize the hours of effort we put into the upkeep of our little home. We were invited for a glass of wine and snacks at a Joe Loci’s house, a local that tried to convince us to sell our boat to him. We spent and afternoon at his home and he served us a bottle of his own brewed Shiraz wine made from scratch. I can tell you it was one of the finest Shiraz wine I have ever had and Denny commented that if wine tasted like that all the time he would drink it more often. We will come back to visit Joe again as much for his company as for the divine wine!

Not too happy about having them hang out there

Besides hanging out with our friends on Sally Forth we took a quick ferry trip to nearby Raymond Island well known for the 300+ Koalas that live there. We celebrated Valentines Day there surrounded by the noisy Cockatoos that seemed to travel in pairs. We could have hung out here for weeks but in 4 days we had our weather window we needed to cross the Bass Strait.

Patiently posing for a picture

Black swans

A little curious

A little grumpy we woke him up. But then they seem to be always sleeping!

And one more Koala picture. We have many more

Crossing the BASS STRAIT

It was a tranquil motor sail across the straits, traversing past the oil rigs in the middle of the night and enjoying the dolphins visiting us by day. And still not a fish on the line. We couldn’t  anchor in the famous Wineglass Bay as the wind and swell were rolling right in.

Rounding the Passage Point to get to  Passage Beach

 

Click here for Google Map Link of Passage Beach

Navigating around the rough coast line

Our first Tasmanian anchorage was in Passage Beach. It offered a good night sleep, beautiful white beach to explore and mussels on the rocks ready for us to pick. As soon as we had our dinghy in the water and we were making our way to shore we were stopped by the water police. We learned that we were required to wear life jackets and have flares, a bailer, anchor, 150 feet of line and a fire extinguisher in the dinghy at all times. Denny had a good chuckle about the fire extinguisher and the police agreed it didn’t make much since in a rubber dinghy. But that was the law! He just explained the rules, gave us a fish ruler so we would know what the fish quotas and minimum catch sizes were.

Harvesting our first feed of mussels in Tassie

Not sure what these interesting creatures are. Macro photography is always fun

From Passage Beach we made our way to Spring Bay where we were scheduled to meet Ella and Bill. Anchoring in Spring Bay wasn’t easy as it was a shallow bay with lots of moorings. Landfall kissed the muddy bottom while we did our anchoring circle, it took a couple of times to finally set the anchor as the bottom had a lot of shells and weeds and the wind was gusting 30+.

Click here for Google Map Link Triabunna

We dinghied to the nearby town, Triabunna. It’s mainly a little town that services tourists wanting to get to book ferry passages to nearby Maria Island. The Island is designed for various levels of cycling tours and an opportunity for people to explore the historic ruins of the convict settlements. The information center offered public showers and for $8 had a glorious hot water wash. There were a few small grocery stores, very full campgrounds, a small tired looking hotel and a small fish and chips takeout (which we did try). We managed to secure a little berth for Landfall so we could do our road trip with Bill and Ella. Getting the berth wasn’t easy as the marina was full. The first call to the Harbor Master was a bust but as we walked around the place we met other cruisers that were leaving the next day. The second call to the Harbor Master resulted in him meeting us as he had some difficulty understanding us via the cell phone. Once we were face to face, able to have a social chat and with the promise of a beer and the understanding that we would take the berth of the boat that was leaving we were set to safely leave Landfall for a couple of days. I will say that coming into the marina and maneuvering into the little berth was a little intimidating  and we were glad that Bill and Ella were there to catch the lines. Next adventure, road tripping with our friends.

2019 Cruising Australia with Bill

Before we post anything further we have to clarify that although I do most of the writing, Denny does all of the photo editing and we both are contributors to the pictures as we both love toting our Nikon cameras around. So the blogging work is shared.

And our friend Bob also asked me to insert this picture he took while visiting us and add the comment:

Dennis working hard

Three generations!

getting ready to watch the Junior World Series Hockey Game at my Dad’s

After arriving in Australia we left the boat on the hard at “The Boat Works” and flew to North America to be with family for the Christmas holidays. This means that I am in Ontario, Canada and Denny is somewhere between South Dakota and Minnesota USA, although I did make a detour stop in South Dakota to get a little quality time with our grandson, Rhett. Besides the beautiful family time, which we can’t get enough of after being half a world away, I was fortunate to be able to drive across Canada with my daughter Allison. She was moving from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Port Hardy, Vancouver Island to start a new job. She needed help to move herself, her little car and her little bit of stuff to her new home base. It was quality time with my baby girl in a little car for roughly 3000 km or 1800 miles with stops along the way to reconnect with family and friends. Some of the mountain passes where a little icy and treacherous (Ally drove on those occasions) but otherwise it was pretty good driving conditions considering it was middle of the winter. Allison and I can now both say we have been in Canada from coast to coast.

 

 

CHRISTMAS FAMILY PICTURES ( Sad we didn’t get to see my son Dylan)

 

Bottom painting complete. Should have waited for Bill

2019

Denny arrived in Australia a few days before me. He left from  Minneapolis and I left from Vancouver, British Columbia. Once we were both back on the boat in Southport, Brisbane it was work, work, work. Five days of bottom painting, cleaning and getting Landfall back in the water ready for our friend Bill’s arrival.

What were we thinking!! We should have postponed preparations until Bill was on board, at least for the sanding and bottom painting.

We started provisioning the day Bill arrived so that he could have somewhat of a say on what we had in the pantry. But the only thing he really asked for was hot dogs and coffee.

 

First anchorage and the pelican was patiently waiting for an easy meal

Click here for Google Map Link

We spent one calm day at the Muriel Henchman Park which is also where we spent our first anchorage in Australia with Bob. That was our starting point for our sail with our goal to get to Tasmania.

Seas getting a little rough

Our first few days of heading South had it’s challenges. We caught a fish and after considerable amount of effort trying to get it on board we lost the fish; a wave crashed through our open galley ports dousing everything with sea water and Denny had to spend time fixing our water maker luckily with success! About 60 miles south of Coffs Harbor the winds turned and it was on the nose. We were making very little progress and unable to get a good weather forecast so we decided to turn back and duck in for shelter in Coffs Harbour

Safety in Coffs Harbour

Click here for Google Map Link

Once we were safely berthed in the marina Denny realized that one of the cars on the sail track was broken. He managed to find a marine store and order the part with only 10 minutes left before closing. It was Friday afternoon and the part would be shipped the next day. We enjoyed the marina hot showers, had a little walk through town and found a quaint little Mexican restaurant where we had dinner. The next day Denny and Bill worked  on replacing the sail track “car” and managed to fix that with some challenges. Before setting sail on our Southerly course, we grabbed a tasty burger and a fine pint of beer and we were off again.

“The Boys” working together doing repairs

Click here for Google Map Link

We had some strong northerly winds, found a current that helped us get to Pittwater before the prevailing southerlies hit us again. Pittwater was busy, hot and lots of activities as it was the Australia Day holiday. We spent a couple of days here, grilling hot dogs, relaxing and waiting for a weather window to keep heading South.

Note the fancy bandage on the finger. Not even coffee is making me feel better

From Pittwater we sailed to Port Eden before the Southerlies made us take shelter again. This wasn’t an uneventful passage either. First we caught the monster fish!! Can’t say what it was as we never did see it but when it caught the lure on the first fishing rod it pulled on the line at great speed and I managed to clip off the top of my left hand pointer finger trying to slow or stop the drag. The HUGE tuna or marlin managed to break free but then snagged the lure on the second fishing rod and went straight down taking the lure and all the line with him. Not a fish we wanted on board anyway but it would have been nice to at least get a glimpse of the fish. We put a new lure on the remaining fishing line but forgot to tighten the drag so somewhere along the way we caught a fish that took our remaining line and lure without us even knowing about it.

On a calm day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before arriving in Port Eden we were hit by a thunder and lightening storm like we have never encountered before. Not the usual wind but a lightening show that lasted for hours. With each lightening bolt we were thankful that it didn’t strike the boat. And somewhere between the thundershowers we also had a squall that caught us unaware as we were sailing with the large 160 jib. We managed to sail through it but Denny had to go forward to untangle lines on the roller unit and going forward during a squall is never a good thing.

This little fellow hitched a ride during the storm and hung around for a while

 

 

Click here for Google Map Link

Came across these little beauties

And then found these. Mussels for supper YUM

We waited in Port Eden for 10 days trying to get a weather window to cross the infamous Bass strait and finally get to Tasmania.  But we didn’t just sit on the boat and do nothing. We went on daily walks, had beers at the local pubs, had some Australian pizza and socialized with some of the locals and other cruisers.

Didn’t make it to the Wooden Boat show in Tasmania on time but saw these in Port Eden

 

 

 

 

An afternoon with Doug and brave Cloe

 

We had a nice afternoon with a man who volunteered to take us into town to buy sparkplugs for our dinghy motor that was acting up. His dog, Cloe was a sheep herder but was deathly afraid of cows.

Beautiful ‘ Sally Forth’

We had ‘happies and appies’ with Mark and Sally on their beautiful Nordhaven 52ft power boat “Sally Forth”. They were also trying to go to Tasmania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We visited the museum where we learned all about Old Tom, the killer whale. He was thought to be the leader of a pod which helped the whalers by herding the baleen whales into the bay. The killer whales were then rewarded with the tongue and lips as their share of the kill. We rented a car and did some day trips in search of the elusive Platypus and Koala. Never did see either one but we did manage to come across a Wombat road kill and stopped to have a look as we were desperate to see some Aussie wildlife.

Alas, NO Platypus

 

In the end Bill had to get a flight to Tasmania as his time was running out and Ella (his wifey) was due to arrive soon. He booked flights from a nearby airport with a final destination to Burnie, Tasmania. On his last evening we had a couple of drinks on another cruising boat. It was priceless to see Bill’s face as the local sailor exclaimed he had never heard of an airport in Burnie and further more would never fly there. Bill grudgingly left the next day but we had agreed that if we ever got a weather window we would try and meet again in Tasmania. As it would have it, Bill inadvertently forgot his wallet on Landfall so a meeting up with them in Tassie was a definite. 

More shopping. Where’s Bill?

Is there a resemblance?

The coast is not that friendly

Goodbye Bill, see you in Tasmania!!

 

2018 Cruising with Bob in New Caledonia and Australia

Bob arrived in Noumea after over  two days of flights originally leaving from Minneapolis. He was sitting at the marina restaurant with his bags patiently waiting for us while we walked the waterfront looking for him. Not sure how long we kept missing each other but we finally made the connection. It took several trips with the dingy to fairy Bob and all his bags out to the boat, maneuvering through some choppy seas trying hard not to get Bob and all his debris wet.  But that wasn’t to be and he got his first experience of wet salty clothes and life on Landfall.  It was like Christmas onboard as we unpacked all the goodies Santa brought for us including peanuts, candies, salsa and lots of other treats. We spent that night in the rolly Noumea anchorage and then we sailed directly to the island of Mato.

Click here for Google Map Link

Can you spot the reef shark. We know Bob can!

Mato is a beautiful anchorage among reefs, clear water and plenty of reef sharks. It was impossible to convince Bob to go snorkeling after the shark sighting even if it was only a little reef shark. We did a quick hike to the top of Mato Island and enjoyed a beautiful view of our anchorage.

Click here for Google Map Link

We spent the night at Mato but had to make a move as the wind was starting to get stronger and this anchorage was only protected by the barrier reef so we were getting the full force of the wind.  Our next anchorage at Ile Ouen was totally different. The water was murky and we were surrounded by red, mountainous terrain.  We explored the shores and after much coaxing managed to get Bob to go for a little snorkel. But it was quick and short. We all saw large grey shark and although they weren’t aggressively hunting they were lurking in close proximity.

Click here for Google Map Link

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENNY!!

Denny’s birthday was a day away and we were planning to celebrate it with our friends on Atlantis who were waiting in Ile Casy. So we had a great sail and grabbed a mooring close to Atlantis. We had bought humungous steaks and our friends joined us on Landfall. We had such a good time partying and eating Bob’s perfectly barbequed steaks that we didn’t even  think to capture the moment in pictures.

We spent a day exploring the island. There were some great trails which took us all around the island to some nearby wilderness campsites,  the ruins of the resort that used to be there, top of the island where we could see more of the Bay of Prony and found a plaque dedicated to Moose the dog that lived all alone on the Island.  Story has it that the owners of the resort and the dog left the island but the dog not wanting to live anywhere else jumped off the boat and lived on the Island all by himself. He was fed and loved by all visiting cruisers.

Hello to our friends on Atlantis

Click here for Google Map Link

I would rather a hot shower

We wanted to give Bob a good tour of New Caledonia before making our way to Australia so we never stayed more than a couple of days at any anchorage. Next stop Bai Du Caranage for some water play at the cascades and hot pools. Surrounded by all the freshwater it was time for washing clothes and showers.

Never imagined ever having to hand wash clothes

Yes its Denny pulling the dinghy. Maybe Bob had to wash clothes by hand but he traveled in style

Click here for Google Map Link

Its not just sharks to be afraid of

We slowly made our way back to Noumea with a stop in Baie Ue. We were anxious to get ready for our passage to Australia but we decided to slow down our return until after the independence referendum as we weren’t sure if there would be some unrest and violence after the vote. As per Wikipedia “The Noumea accord signed in May 1998 set in motion a 20-year transition that transferred certain powers to local government and laid the groundwork for an independence referendum in 2018.” The result was 56.4% for maintaining the status quo. New Caledonians will have 2 more opportunities in 2020 and 2022 to vote for independence. Luckily there was little fallout from the resulting referendum and we could continue on to Noumea and prepare to do the immigration checkout.

Not seeing any sharks here

Click here for Google Map Link

In Noumea we did the walkabout to customs, immigration and a final visit to Port Captain, last stop for coffee and chocolate croissants and then off to a mooring by Ile Maitre and wait for a weather window. It was a beautiful resort island and a great place to hang out. Denny and Bob jumped in and washed the bottom of the boat so we wouldn’t take any unwanted critters to the land of OZ. Bob was a little hesitant about being in the water but so long as he had Denny for company he seemed to be ok.

Click here for Google Map Link

Time to go to Australia

Our passage to Australia took about 6 days, 36 minutes and we sailed 782 miles. We had some swell and wind but also lots of calm motoring. We caught a Dorado on the way and Bob and Denny took turns for an hour reeling it in only to have to release when we noticed its mate swimming by its side. We just weren’t hungry enough for fish to break the pair as they do mate for life.

TO SEE VIDEO OF BOB’S SAIL TO AUSTRALIA CLICK HERE

Welcome to Australia

Once we were close to the Australian coast we were welcomed by a large pod of dolphins.

We arrived in Southport, checked in the next day and then made our way to the Boat Works where we had planned to haul out the boat.

 

Southport Australia

Click here for Google Map Link

The Boat Works is a great place to work and store the boat while we travelled to North America for the Christmas holidays.

One last hike

 

 

They offer free courtesy cars for use so long as you book them in advance. We took advantage of this and did a few road trips nearby to explore some of Australia before Bob’s return trip back to Minneapolis. We enjoyed Bob’s company, had a lot of laughs, took advantage of his cooking skills and we were grateful for his help during the passage to Australia. Until next time….

 

 

Australian turkey? Christmas around the corner!!

Couldnt leave Australia without a picture of a Kangaroo

 

Completed circumnavigation of NZ – June 7

Click here for Great Barrier Google Map Link

From Tauranga we made one stop in the Great Barrier islands. The anchorages seemed deserted and it was a quiet peaceful place to relax and reflect on what we had accomplished, our dream to circumnavigate New Zealand. We didn’t do much in the Great Barrier except collect a few rock Oysters. We loved it there and plan to return to this beautiful place in the New Year after the bustling holiday season.

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Cleaning oysters in Great Barrier

The dictionary’s definition for ‘circumnavigation’ describe the word as the action or process of sailing or otherwise traveling all the way around something, especially the world; the action of going around or avoiding an obstacle; the action of avoiding something difficult or unpleasant. It sure does define our entire experience.

It is impossible to describe how we felt when we passed the charted way point which signaled our completion of the circumnavigation. Feeling overwhelmed with many different emotions, we quietly reflected on our journey.

We made our way back to Whangarei, pulled the boat out of the water and spent a few weeks with great friends before heading back to North America. Landfall will be on dry dock until the New Year as we make plans for our next  sea voyage. In the mean time we will be visiting with the family and continue our road tripping in Japan and USA.

 

 

 

Translate circumnavigation to

 

NZ North Island – Tauranga June 1 – 4

Click here for Google map link

On our first attempt to leave the South Island, we only made it as far as Cape Campbell. The wind was whistling through the Cook Strait from the direction we were trying to sail so it made it almost impossible for us to make any headway. We finally decided to go back to Purau Bay and wait it out for a better weather window. We were disappointed but it just didn’t make sense to keep beating into the wind making very little headway.

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Landfall docked in Lyttelton marina

When we arrived back in Purau Bay we decided that we needed to get some fuel as we had used quite a bit trying to motor sail into the wind. We searched the harbor not finding the fuel dock so we headed into the marina in Lyttelton where we found out that the only place to get diesel was in Christchurch. Luckily there was a very lovely couple that volunteered to take Denny and our Jerry cans into town for our much needed diesel. We were invited  to spend a night tied to a temporary docking wharf free of charge and given the combination for the use of the hot showers. We walked to center of town and had a great meal at a cozy little restaurant, Freeman’s Dining Room. We had a goodnight’s sleep before going back to Purau Bay to wait for another weather window.

Sunrise welcoming us to the North Island

Sunrise welcoming us to the North Island

DSC_8494After a couple of days we made our second attempt to leave the South Island and this time we successfully made it to Tauranga but we did have some challenges trying to round East Cape with gusts of 40+ knots. We made it into Tauranga Harbor shortly after sunrise, feeling relieved and happy to be back on the North Island. We did have to get some assistance to tie up to the dock in the marina as there was a 6 knot current.

Tauranga Harbour was a large, well kept, modern marina and although it had everything that we needed it wasn’t a place where we, or particularly Denny, would spend a lot of time in. Landfall seemed a little lost among the large boats with no live aboard people only the occasional weekend cruiser.

We spent a couple of nights, long enough to purchase a few provisions and do a day hike to Mount Manganui. It was a 20 minute walk and a 45 minute bus ride to the  quaint little beach town with many little cafes and restaurants and a large outdoor sea water pool. We did the hike to the top of Mount Manganui and got to enjoy the fabulous 360 view. It was all so vastly different from where we had just come from that it took a while for us to acclimate ourselves to the uber touristy surroundings. We enjoyed the bustling town but we were really ready to finish our circumnavigation so as soon as we got a decent weather window we left the marina and headed for our final anchorage destination, Great Barrier.

The view from Mount Managanui

The view from Mount Managanui

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NZ south Island – Purau Bay May 11- 23

 

Click here for Google Map link

As we motored into Purau Bay it appeared that there were quite a few sailboats anchored there but as we came closer we realized that most yachts were on moorings. We did manage to find a fairly well protected anchorage away from the moorings in 10 feet of water. From this anchorage we were able to take the ferry across to Lyttelton and check out the earthquake devastated marina (which is only now being rejuvenated), the small grocery store and lots of quaint little restaurants. Lyttelton is only a short underground tunnel away from Christchurch which is where most people work and shop.

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Purau Bay, view from our boat

Sheffield Pie ShopWhile we were in Purau Bay we decided this was a good place to jump off the boat and do a little road trip. We rented a car in Christchurch and planned a route that would take us coast-to-coast traversing the Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass. Our first stop was the Original Sheffield Pie Shop as we have garnered a love for the traditional NZ meat pies. We were not disappointed, bloody good pies!!

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Arthur’s Pass

The road slowly wound its way up into the foothills of the Southern Alps and the scenery changed constantly. But the pictures can better describe that. To make our road trip a little more NZ authentic we did follow a sheep transport truck for a little way as we wound our way up through Arthur’s Pass and little did we know at the time that the stream of water being dumped out of the truck was actually liquefied sheep dung. After a while we started to get an odor in the car and during our first stop we realized the odor was very distinct outside of the car from even 10 feet away. Oh well, no worries, it’s a rental!

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Creative ways to divert water and rock landslides from the road

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Of course we saw sheep sheep sheep

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We managed to do a stroll on one of the many on the southern Alps treks

DSC_8330 DSC_8432 DSC_8428We made it all the way to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and by the time we reached there we were tired, it was getting late and we didn’t feel like driving anymore so we made the decision to spend the night there. We were a little anxious about leaving the boat anchored without us being on board but we checked the weather and there didn’t seem to be anything to worry about for the next 12 hours or so. Noahs ark

Noahs ark 4

Our room number !!!

Noahs ark 1

Our hostel room wall decor

We found a great Youth Hostel, Noah’s Ark. Each room was identified by an animal versus a room number. We got the keys for the ‘Pig’ room. Hmmm was it because we hadn’t showered in a week or more, looked a little scruffy or maybe had some sheep dung residue? Whatever… we had a great meal at a nearby restaurant,  took advantage of the hot showers and had a great night’s sleep. We made our way back to Christchurch via the same pass and made a few other pit stops along with another stop at the Sheffield Pie Shop. We made it back on Landfall before nightfall and all was well in Purau Bay.

We were fortunate to be back on the boat as the next evening a weather system passed through bringing with it gusts of 50+ knots of wind. It all happened very quickly. I was standing in the galley and could hear and feel the wind picking up. I suddenly felt the boat moving and at the same time the anchor alarm went off. Dennis was on deck within seconds and quickly started the motor realizing we were dragging the anchor. There was a large Otago University research boat anchored behind us and we were drifting towards it very quickly. Dennis had the boat in full throttle trying to keep Landfall from crashing into the research boat. I radioed the captain to alert him of our predicament and to determine where their anchor was in relation to our anchor. He turned his spotlight on us and advised us that it was safe for us to pull in our anchor. I quickly went on deck with a jacket for Denny as it was cold and raining very hard and he was out there with just pants and t-shirt. I ran forward and proceeded to bring in the anchor and luckily we were in shallow water so it didn’t take much time for the windlass to raise the anchor.  Thanks to Denny’s quick reaction to our predicament, we managed to avoid a collision. We moved to the center of the bay and re-anchored hoping that we could set the anchor despite the driving wind and rain. We put out about an 8 to 1 scope and we were successful in re-anchoring. The weather front only lasted about an hour and we were soon back in calmer weather conditions but we didn’t sleep well that night. All the while we were dealing with avoiding a collision and re-anchoring  we were aware that there was another boat in the same predicament. It was our first experience with the anchor dragging and we were thankful that we were on board when it happened despite the fact that we had a 4 to 1 anchor scope out in only 10 feet of water. It was also the other boats first time dragging anchor and we figured it may have been attributed to some very fine sand in spots. Incidents like that make us more aware of how quickly things can take a turn for the worst when mother nature unleashes it’s fury.

We had to wait a couple more days for a weather to make our way to the North Island and after the anchor dragging incident we were hesitant to get off the boat so that  made the wait seem to go on forever.

NZ south Island – Akaroa May 10

Click here for Google map link

We had to wait for the peak of high tide and motor sail our way out of the long harbor on a falling tide. This meant that we could not leave Dunedin until mid afternoon and it was an overnight and a full day sail to Akaroa. We entered Akaroa on a setting sun and had to anchor in the dark. This required me to stand on the bow with a flashlight so that we could avoid motoring over existing mooring balls.

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Beautiful Akaroa Harbour

DSC_8272We spent a day exploring the touristy little town with it’s French heritage. It was nearing the end of the tourist and the cruise ship season. Although it was a quaint little town, we had the sense that the locals were preparing for ‘down’ time and were a little tired of catering to tourists like ourselves. We had pastries and coffee at a café and made the decision to continue our way up the coast to nearby Lyttelton where we would wait for a weather window for our next puddle jump. size of hector dolphinWe left the next morning, shortly before sunrise and had a spectacularly warm, sunny motor to Purau Bay. Hector dolphins followed us all the way up the coastline, showing off their elegant blend of colours.  Again we felt fortunate to experience a rare gift of nature as Hector’s dolphin is considered the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin.DSC_8304 DSC_0533

NZ south Island – Dunedin May 02 – 09

Click here for Google Map Link

DSC_8133-1We finally had a weather window to leave Steward Island and cross Foveaux Strait, which  is in the middle of the roaring Forties and rarely calm.  With the diminishing effect of distance, Steward Island slowly disappeared. We felt some regret to leave this beautiful, isolated little patch of paradise.

My anxiety about crossing Foveaux Strait was unwarranted and our sail to Dunedin was uneventful. As we approached Dunedin we were again awed by the beautiful coastline.

 

After contacting Harbor control we were given clearance to traverse the 6+  miles of the natural harbor to our destination, the Otago Yacht Club (OYC). I used our Vodafone cell phone service and called the OYC manager, Barry, so that he could help us navigate Landfall to our berth as we arrived shortly after sunset.  DSC_0453He stood on the shore and used a laser pointer to ensure that we approached the entrance without any incident, although we did have to drag the keel through the mud. It was a little intimidating to motor to our designated spot in the yacht club with ‘0’ feet showing on the depth meter.

DSC_0459 It was somewhat of a treat to stay at a marina with hot showers, laundry facilities, access to fresh water, free Wi-Fi and use of the club house that included a large kitchen with  commercial grade appliances. DSC_0474_1I took full advantage and used the slow cooker to make  ‘pulled pork’ and the oven to roast a couple of whole chickens. We shared our oven cooked meals with friends from Dunedin. OYC is probably one of our favorite NZ marinas because of the people and the facilities. We took advantage of the available fresh water and thoroughly cleaned everything including the ‘miles’ of line we used for anchoring in the fiords and Steward island.

Early morning fog

Early morning fog

While in Dunedin we toured and enjoyed the grocery stores, restaurants,  city architecture, museums,  and public transportation. We visited the large Saturday market and came home with some NZ chicken and beef pies and a Venison smoked sausage stick. The ‘pie’ lady gave us a small complementary venison pie as a welcome gift once she heard how we had arrived in Dunedin.

Dunedin Train Station

We packed a picnic lunch and with the help of the great  public transportation, we made our way to Tunnel beach. Access to the coastline required us to tramp down a steep inclined coastline but it was worth it as the scenery was stunning.

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Denny taking a snooze in preparation for our return uphill hike

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Note the hiking trek to the top of knob where we had our picnic.

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After the isolation of Steward Island, it was a nice change to return to urban living!

 

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.

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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.

 

NZ South Island – Doubtful Sound March 21 – 27

Post by Barb.

Click here for Google Map Link – Precipice Cove

We finally left Nancy, third attempt to leave the sound was the lucky one. We motored to Thompson Sound. Once inside Thompson we could continue on to Bradshaw and Doubtful without having to go out into the open sea. As we had lots of time we continued on to Bradshaw always enjoying the surrounding scenery.

We did a day anchor in Gaer Arm. We really wanted to dinghy up the

Camelot River

Camelot River

Camelot River but with the low tide we just couldn’t go very far. So instead we did a little hike to a nearby waterfall. It was the first waterfall that we had attempted to or could get close to. I managed to scramble up to a higher level and it wasn’t easy as the ground was just moss covering rock. It was a slippery slog upward and I posed for a few pictures for Denny but I simply appear as a tiny pink spec if I can be seen at all in the picture.

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Waterfall in Gaer Bay

Trying to protect myself from sandflies. Even the fly dope wasn't working

Trying to protect myself from sandflies. Even the fly dope wasn’t working

 

 

We re-anchored for the night in Precipice bay. It was an anchor and stern tie to a permanent line type anchor. It was very protected and I had promised not to speak of the sandflies but I will mention it one more time as here they were more than ferocious. Sometimes all-weather anchorages mean hordes of sandflies as there is no breeze to keep them away.

 

 

 

Click here for Google Map Link –  – Deep Cove

Deep Cove with Helena Falls in the background

We dropped the anchor in Deep Cove and we were anxious to head into Deep Cove Hostel to talk to Billy the caretaker. We had a list of wants as we knew this may be the last place to re-supply until Oban, Stewart Island:

  • purchase some fresh veggies, bread, etc.
  •  get rid of garbage
  •  fill propane tank
  • do some laundry
  • get a shower
  • petrol and diesel fill up

All the normal desires after being away from civilization for a while. Billy was extremely helpful although not everything on our wish list could be accommodated but not that he didn’t try to. Fresh veggies and supplies could be ordered from Te Anau and shipped to Doubtful within a day for $5 a ‘Banana Box’. Garbage could not be left in Doubtful as they shipped everything out of there or burned it themselves. We didn’t know this until after we filled their garbage bin and Billy had to burn it for us. No propane tank filling and propane tanks could not be taken to Te Anau to be filled as the bus did not allow the carrying of propane tanks. Billy and Wilma, his wife, offered us the use of the hostel’s washer and dryer. Diesel and gas was available for much cheaper than in Milford. We didn’t ask Billy about a shower as we had already made our mind that we were going to head into Te Anau ourselves and stay for a night at a hotel. This would give us a chance to get off the boat for a little bit, avail of some decent Wi-Fi, get some fresh supplies and get our propane tank filled. Yes we did sneak the tank to town, unbeknown to anybody, and had it filled. It wasn’t an option if we wanted to get to Steward Island. Billy helped get us tickets on the next morning bus and ferry.

We left early in the morning and caught the bus to the ferry dock. It was the same bus used by tourists who were in Doubtful to do the Real Journey’s overnight Doubtful boat cruise. The bus stopped at a lookout and gave us a view of Doubtful Sound.

Our boat is anchored at the end of the fiord in a little cove on the right hand side.

Our boat is anchored at the end of the fiord in a little cove on the right hand side.

From the ferry dock we boarded the ferry and it was an hour across lake Manapouri. On the crossing we met a man that worked with the Environment Southland Regional Council. We talked quite a bit about how to  permanently exclude marine pests and other harmful marine organisms from being transported to the area in marine vessels. Their focus was small yachts as they had agreements with the large tour boats making them responsible for ensuring that they did not transport unwanted creatures into the Fiords. He wanted ideas on how to communicate the message to yacht owners and educate them on the importance of having good cleaning protocol including bottom painting, hub checks and cleaning. We agreed that invasive marine pests were a problem and are a problem in any waters where there is ship travel. We weren’t sure if this could ever be prevented.

Once the ferry arrived in the town of Manapouri the Southland Regional Council rep gave us the 10 minute ride to Te Anau. Te Anau was busy and there were ‘No Vacancy’ signs everywhere. We did manage to get a neat and tidy room with our own bathroom and free wifi at the YHA Te Anau Backpackers. We spent a few hours in the lovely Backpackers garden making phone calls and sending emails. We had a fine meal at the

Red Cliff Restaurant, the patio seating

Red Cliff Restaurant, the patio seating

‘ Red Cliff’ and enjoyed, as per their description,  ‘simple but tantalizing food with a definite kiwi essence’ . We had superbly cooked Venison, a glass of local red wine and some obscure good desert I can’t really describe. Once back in the room it was nice to luxuriate under a hot shower for a long time and sleep in a normal double bed, although we both had trouble sleeping. Maybe it was the noise of the town or the spacious bed in the four walled room. Early in the morning we were once again catching the bus, ferry, bus back to Doubtful with our filled propane and 3 boxes of ‘Banana’ boxes containing new, fresh produce! On our trip back we had lots of help and entertaining conversation with a lovely New Jersey couple and their grown up son and wife who now live in Australia. We have since heard from them and we may see them in Australia!

Waiting for the bus, ferry, bus back to Doubtful with our Banana boxes full of food

Back in Doubtful we spent an entraining evening at Billy’s house andwere constabntly interrupted by a knock on the patio door. It was their Kea pet that required feeding and attention. We did a day hike to Helena Falls. It hadn’t rained for sometime so the waterfall was tepid compared to what it usually is. Denny also made me accompany him to the Manapouri Power Station 10 km tailrace tunnel. We went there during a rising tide and all I kept thinking is being stuck in there as the water rose.

 Manapouri Power Station  tailrace tunnel. My two biggest fears being enclosed small, dark spaces like caves and deep water diving. We made it out alive!

 

 

 

Helena Falls

After a couple of days in Doubtful, our laundry done, propane and fuel topped up it was time to keep moving. We had said good-bye to Billy and Wilma a few days ago as Billy was gone on a fishing trip. He did give us a beautiful cut of Venison for us to enjoy sometime during our travel in the fiords.

Click here for Google Map Link Blanket Cove

Billy in his boat Wamea

Billyand his boat Wamea

We decided to make a stop in Blanket Cove as the wind was picking up and it had started to rain, heavily at times. It was an easy stop as there were moorings that we could grab. We were surprised to see Billy there in his boat Wamea with his friend. They were getting anxious to catch a Blue Fin tuna as they seemed to be jumping in the fiord but not grabbing the bait. He gave us a Crayfish, a couple of fillets of Blue cod and invited us to join him for a sundowner in First Arm. Blanket Cove was not a good place to be anchored for the winds that were blowing from the East.

 

 

 

Click here for Google Map Link – First Arm

Billy proudly showing his Blue Fin Tuna

Billy proudly showing his Blue Fin Tuna

As we were motring to First Arm anchorage we heard on the radio that Billy had caught his Blue Fin Tuna! He was waiting for us when we arrived at the anchorage and we just rafted up to his boat. He had caught a BIG tuna. We invited Billy and his friend on our boat as it was raining, cold and we had heat. He arrived with a bottle of wine, fresh tuna sushi which even included the soya-wasabi dip and Fiordland peanuts! It’s not peanuts so what are Fiordland peanuts you may ask??? We will tell you, stay tuned to the next blog posting. We had a memorable night and overindulged on wine and my favorite seafood tastes!

We woke up to a quiet, beautiful morning, said goodbye to the Wamea crew and left for Dusky sound.

Our last view of Doubtful Sound early in the morning