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.

 

 

 

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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 – 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 – 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 – Chalky Inlet to Stewart Island – April 7 – 9

Post by Barb

Click here for Google Map link – North Port

The view by the entrance to Chalky Inlet

The view by the entrance to Chalky Inlet

The wind was blowing 25 to 30 knots on the nose and the seas were rough when we left Cascade Cove. We were hesitating about continuing with our plan to go to Preservation Inlet but as we left the cove and got into deeper water the waves and wind seemed to be diminishing. We had to tack a few times to make it to Chalky and the entrance was a little intimidating but we made it through and managed to anchor in North Port just before nightfall. Anchoring meant dropping an anchor and backing up to an existing buoy for the stern line so we didn’t have to blow up the dinghy. We were both feeling pretty tired so we had an early night after feasting on fish chowder, mussels, blue cheese, olives and crackers.

Figure-1_-MetService-coastal-marine-areas[1]Whenever Denny and I listened to Bluff Radio for weather forecasts and a gale storm was predicted it was sure to be Puysegur, Foveaux and or Cook. We would have to go through Puysegur and Foveaux in order to get to Port Pegasus bay on the South East side of Steward Island. We knew that it could take weeks for a favorable weather window. The reason for the frequent gales in the Puysegur Region is that it is located near the southern end of the Southern Alps. When western winds slam into the mountains, not all the air manages to rise over the ridge line. Some pours around the ends of the mountain chain. So winds from the north-west or south-west blow fiercely on this coast. When we realized that we had a small weather window to go we went for it regretting the fact that we could not explore more of Chalky or make it to Preservation Inlet. But sailing is about compromises and Stewart Island was a must see for us.

DSC_7870-1As we left Chalky the Blue Fin tuna were jumping and the Albatross were flying incredibly close. So close that sometimes we felt we could reach out and pat their heads. Denny and I could just sit there for hours watching these graceful giants and their not so graceful water landings as they struggled to collapse their wings that sometimes spanned 7 ft or more.

The first 2 hours was a game of ‘dodge the lobster’ pot. We had a 10 – 25 northerly wind so it was on the rear quarter which meant a rolly sail. The winds persisted all through the day and night.  The waves built as we entered into the shallower waters of Foveaux Straits.  It is amazing how much bigger the waves get when you get into water that is under one hundred feet. As we rounded the South West Cape the sun started to rise the wind and swell seemed to diminish and we could make out the beautiful coast line of Stewart Island.  It made me a little home sick for Newfoundland with its harsh and rocky terrain. A place of beauty and solitude despite the unforgiving weather.

We had finally made it to Port Pegasus, Steward Island. What an awesome feeling that was for both of us!!

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NZ South Island – Dusky Sound March 27 – April 7

Post by Barb 

It turned out that the Fiordland peanuts was a bowlful of Crayfish legs. A night of crayfish legs and tuna sushi was special.

When we left Doubtful sound it was forecasted to be a motor day but we had 20-25 knots on the rear quarter as it funneled through the fiords so we had a beautiful sail out. Once we were back in open waters  the wind died down but the swell was still bad so it was a seasick day for me. But the good news was that we caught a Blue Fin Tuna, about a third of Billy’s Tuna so that was exciting. Denny had to reel it in and clean it while I tried to hold my breakfast. We ended up motor sailing to Dusky with the wind on the nose.  

Click here for Google Map Link  – Stick Cove

DSC_7675Our first anchorage was Stick Cove on the corner of Acheron passage and Wet Jacket Arm. It was a little cove well sheltered by an Island and it required shorelines but by this time we were getting pretty efficient with the typical anchoring process. Did I say I wasn’t going to mention sandflies anymore? Well this place was now our new worst sand-fly haven. But on the first night there we feasted on Tuna sushi and leftover crayfish again so we couldn’t complain too much. We spent 2 nights in Stick Cove and because of the sandflies we just did a dinghy tour down Wet Jacket Arm which was a marine reserve, although the only evidence of marine life were seals. DSC_0178-1We did another waterfall hike but ended up punching a small hole in the dinghy while trying to access the shore. We realized how little problems could escalate into an emergency as we faced a long dinghy trip against an escalating wind on the nose. Paddling back to the boat if the outboard failed would be a monumental task. But we made it back safely and had another wonderful evening with another Tuna sushi and fried Blue Cod on the menu.

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Click here for Google Map link – Supper Cove

DSC_0188AWe left the sandflies behind and did a scenic motor tour to the end of Dusky Sound. There DSC_0192-1were penguins and seals everywhere and the sunshine allowed us to sit outside in the cockpit without the pesky sandflies. Supper Cove is located at the very end of Dusky Cove and there we found a large mooring that we could tie to.

 

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Seaforth River. Haven for Kayaks

The Seaforth River nearby provided some great Kayaking opportunities giving us a different view of NZ temperate rainforest. On shore, there was a Department of Conservation hut, which was part of the Dusky Track. The 84-km track is often flaunted as being one of NZ hardest trails forcing its way through some impressive rain resistant landscapes. We walked part of the track, following the little orange triangles, sometimes sinking in inches of squelchy mud, imagining what it would be like to do the full 84 kilometers with a heavy pack on. The surrounding greenery of the temperate forest brought back memories of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and why it was the ideal, natural backdrop. Sometimes I even imagined Gollum sneaking around behind us. There were a couple of European boys from Hungary, Poland Germany and Czechoslovakia staying at the hut and they spent countless hours on the shore trying to catch some fish. They were probably tired of the eating the dried backpacking food. It turns out that Supper Cove was the major helicopter hub for dropping off tourists doing the weekly Dusky Sound boat tours. The tours catered to mostly to people interested in diving for Crayfish or hunting for deer. DSC_0209DSC_7738 DSC_7722 DSC_7716-1

 

Click here for Google Map link – Luncheon Cove

When we left Supper Cove we decided to take a different route through the Cook channel. It was a much narrower channel and parts of it unsurveyed so I stood on the bow looking for unchartered rocks or shallows. By the time I spotted the large shoal it was too late. I yelled to Denny to make a hard turn Starboard or full throttle reverse but the current was taking us unto the shoal no matter what we tried. We hit but managed to scrape off and we hit once more while trying to get out of there. We did manage to get back on track safely but we now have Fiordland battle scars to deal with when we get back to Dockland 5. As we got closer to Luncheon Cove the wind was slowly building and it started to rain as well. I was still feeling a little shell shocked from our last bottom hit. The passage to Luncheon got narrower and at one point we had to navigate through a very narrow opening with waves crashing on both sides while the wind was averaging 30 knots on the nose. The depth sounder suddenly went from 200 to 20 feet and I was in a knot of fear. Denny seemed calm enough and got us through unscathed. Luncheon Cove was well hidden and we had to navigate around a little opening to  enter a protected cove. There was a power boat, Dellamekyl, already there but they invited us to raft up to them and we joined them for a couple of drinks and a fine beef stew meal. We traded a bottle of red wine  for a couple of crayfish and as Captain Cook did many many years ago in Luncheon Cove, we also ‘dined on cray-fish’ there.

 

 Luncheon Cove was our favorite anchorage in Dusky and although it was touted as being an all-weather anchorage we did experience a rough night with a 50 knot northerly gale. This cove has quite a historical significance as it was used as a sealing base in the late 1700’s, it was the site of the first European settlement in NZ and the building site of NZ first European-style vessel. DSC_7755 DSC_7817-1Seals were plentiful here and we could hear them grunting and roaring any time of day while the babies played around in the cove. We woke up one morning to a different sound than the roaring seals and it turned out to be the screeching of a terrified Grey Heron that was being chased by a hawk. DSC_0251The hawk would not let the heron land anywhere except on our boat. Sitting on our lifeline was the only reprieve the Heron had. DSC_0239We have often tried to get close to the Herons to get a good picture but never could and now we had one sitting a few feet away from us. Each time the Heron attempted to escape the hawk would go after it. This predator and prey scene  continued for quite some time until the Heron landed on a rock outcrop. The hawk made a dive for the heron but was scared away by a seal that was playfully splashing near the heron. I guess the hawk didn’t like the idea of suddenly becoming the prey. 

We did a few tracks on the nearby shores and were followed by lots of curious birds. DSC_7777a DSC_7798 DSC_7763-1 DSC_0216-1 

We also made a couple of dinghy trips to catch our daily quota of Blue Cod for dinner. On one such fishing trek we punctured a hole on the dinghy floor. Not sure if this was done by the sharp Blue Cod fins or the knife I left on the floor after chopping up squid bait. We limped home with the air escaping out of our previous leak and now the dinghy floor was slowly collapsing. That evening, a tour boat named Pembroke came into the cove and they opted not to raft up to us but asked if we needed anything. I did mention our need for contact cement to fix our dinghy leaks and a couple of hours later they showed up with everything one would need to fix the leaks and a great bottle of white wine with a beautiful, delicious crayfish. Now that is Fiordland hospitality!!

DSC_7856As we were getting ready to leave Luncheon cove and to make our way to the next fiord we met a Henrietta or Henry, as she called herself, the kayaker. She was slowly kayaking her way up the fiords. All she had was her kayak well packed with her sleeping gear, tent, maps, compass, helmet, food and any other gear she thought she would need for the months it would take her to make her way North through the fiords. We admired her spirit and courage!  

Click here for Google Map Link – Cascade Cove

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Muktuk, Landfall and Henry and Kayak rafted together

Our attempt to leave Dusky was thwarted by a continuously increasing wind on the nose so we decided to turn back to Dusky and anchor in Cascade Cove. There was another sailboat there and they invited us to raft up to them. It was a red steel boat from Germany, Muktuk. I did a quick Kayak trip to the end of the bay while Denny picked a pail full of mussels for supper. Henry was also kayaking there so I invited her to spend a night on Landfall and have dinner with us. Birgit and Andreas from Muktuk had also asked us to come over for coffee and we brought Henry along who incidentally is also German although now lives in NZ. Muktuk have a nice little wood stove on their steel boat so it was cozy and warm while we enjoyed great coffee, freshly baked muffins  and entertaining conversations. Birgit and Andreas later came on board Landfall and brought with them a wood smoked Blue Cod. Andreas had built a smoker that he attached to the end of their wood burning stove pipe. What a treat that was!! It has inspired Denny to maybe try smoking meat when we get back to our South Dakota cabin. Next morning we said good bye to our new German friends and Birgit gave us a freshly baked sour dough bread for our trip to the next fiord or to Steward  Island, depending which way the wind wanted to take us.

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

 

 

NZ South Island – Nancy Sound March 19 – 21

Post by Barb.

Click here for Google Map Link – Toe Cove

Nancy Sound extends inland about 9 miles and was steep sided. The English name came from another sealing ship, The Nancy. The main feature of the sound is its shape which is like a leg and features have been named accordingly so as we were anchored at the end it was of course named Toe Cove.

DSC_0134-1When we left Charles Sound to go to Nancy we were escorted out  by a pod of Bottlenose dolphins. A special pair stayed with us for the duration of the motor out of Charles and we filled our camera memory card with pictures and videos. I stood on the bow pulpit and could look down at the beautiful mammals as they also stared up at me. Sometimes I could even hear them whistle to each other. DSC_0138 I later learned that the dolphins ride the surf of the ships not only as a source of entertainment but practice for more important functions such as communication, food herding and predator defense.DSC_0153

The anchorage was probably the least protected of all our anchorages and after the first day we decided to leave as we weren’t too comfortable about being here during a strong wind. We motored all the way to the entrance of the channel as the wind started to increase. By the time the wind reached 40 knots we decided to head back to the anchorage as we really didn’t want to deal with that kind of wind trying to enter the next fiord. We did re-anchor a little closer to the ‘Big Toe’ shoreline so we felt a little more protected. That night the wind howled and it rained furiously but we did manage to stay safe with the extra shore line we decided to put out. It did take us 2 tries to actually leave Nancy. While we were there we did some fishing and caught a few Snapper and Tarakihi and had one of many ‘All Fish’ meal with various sauces I made to compliment and add variety to the meal.

NZ South Island – Charles Sound March 16 – 19

Post By Barb

Click here for Google Map Link – Catherine Island

Charles Sound is about 7.5 miles long and separates into 2 arms. It was named after Charles McLaren captain of the Sydney Cove, a sealing vessel that was around the fiords in 1810.

DSC_7465We left George Sound in a blanket of fog. The fog seemed to create a certain kind of atmosphere of peace and tranquility and it heightened our awareness of the wildlife sounds surrounding us which was occasionally disrupted by the fog horn of the small cruise ship that left before us.

 

Leaving Alice Falls as the fog rolls in

DSC_7462 DSC_7461 DSC_7459AWe had a stunning sail from George Sound to Charles with the 160 jib poled out and the main sail wing on wing doing 7 knots. We were trolling the fishing line and caught a fish but we were going so fast we couldn’t reel in the fish and we couldn’t easily slow the boat down. We did loose the catch and I figured we must have yanked the lips right off the poor fish. The wind started to accelerate quickly to 25 knots when we got close to Charles and before we knew it we had back winded the main. Denny had to go forward to remove the preventer we had on the main while I steered the boat as auto pilot was a little overwhelmed by the amount of sail we had. It was a little nerving watching Denny on deck trying to hang on while at the same time struggling with the preventer and all I had to do was make sure I steered the boat in a straight line in 25+ knot winds. We were successful and soon we had reduced sail and we were back to making our way to Charles Sound. We are continually amazed and humbled by how quickly the wind and sea conditions can change here.

Catherine Island anchorage

It was calm inside Charles Sound and we motored all the way to the end of Gold Arm to Catherine Island and we tied to a permanent line between two Islands. During our 3 days here we did have stints when the wind picked up to 35+ knots and it blew all around us but we were well protected in the a little nook between the two islands.

 

DSC_7503-1We did have one beautiful calm day and I spent the entire day traversing the fiord in my kayak and Denny explored by dinghy. The fiords offers some spectacular kayaking but I have to be always mindful of how quickly things can change and Denny often reminds me that if it got really nasty I would have to find a place to wait out the weather as he probably wouldn’t be able to come and rescue me until the wind abated. It is a thought that is always there.

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NZ South Island – George Sound March 13 – 16

Click here for Google Map link – Anchorage Cove 

The narrow steep walls of the fiords offer spectacular views but it also creates a great channel for the wind and it accelerates as it blows through the fiords. George Sound is about 12 miles long and is recognized as being one of the most sheltered. The sound was given it’s English name by the famous sealing captain John Grono who made many sealing trips around the fiords.

Our exit from Bligh was a motor sail with 25 – 30 knots on the nose so it was a slow slug out. When we arrived in George Sound, it was getting late in the afternoon so we had to take the first all-weather anchorage tucked in behind a little island and close to shore. As it looked a little snug and close to shore I went ahead in the dinghy to figure out how this anchorage was going to work. There was a sturdy, permanent fixed line tied from the island to the shore, perpendicular to shore. There were 2 buoys marking the loops for a stern line and bow line. DSC_7436I explained this to Denny and we decided I would go ahead with dock lines and he would follow, bring the boat slowly to the fixed line and grab my dock lines. Denny slowly maneuvered Landfall past the island and the fixed line, did an almost 360 turn to face the exit of the anchorage and slowly made his way to the bowlines which I held. There was a moment of panic when he thought the bowlines were too close and he was stirring up the mud bottom with only inches to spare on the depth meter so he gunned it out of there. I shifted the dock lines further apart and further from the shore and we repeated the process this time with better success. Once we had Landfall securely tied to the permanent shore line we could relax. This was a new anchoring technique for us and one that fishing boats liked to use as we later learned.  

While anchored here we decided to try out our fishing skills. We took the dinghy to a nearby rock outcropping with a sandy beach and fished using our frozen squid bait. It took a couple of tries and lost bait before we knew how to bait the hook so that we hooked the fish not just fed them bait.

Red Gurnard

We didn’t know it at the time but this would turn out to be the best fishing spot we encountered during our South Island sail. Each time we baited the hook we caught a fish and we were never sure what it would be until we had the catch close to the dinghy. Some of the fish we returned to the water because of size restrictions and because we were not familiar with the fish we were catching. We returned to the boat with 2 Blue Cod, 1

Tarakihi

Tarakihi, 1 snapper and 1 Red Gurnard we kept for a taste. We actually quite a few Gurnards but we weren’t sure if they were edible as their appearance was a little odd with beautiful fins and 3 small lobster like legs on each side. We released the Blue shark which we didn’t want to bring into the dinghy and one octopus escaped just as we were about to pull it on board but not before he squirted water at Denny. We had  a BBQ grilled fish feast that night and the Gurnard turned out to be my favorite grilled fish. It would be the only time we caught these peculiar looking fish. Shortly after the BBQ ran out of propane on one tank and had to go to our spare tank. We regretted not thinking about this while in Milford so now we had to use the propane a little more sparingly and would have to do a refill in Doubtful or there would be no going Stewart Island.

Click here for Google map link – Alice Falls

We left Anchorage Cove on a beautiful, flat calm day. I used the dinghy to release the shore lines and push Landfall out of the little cove so Denny could motor ahead without getting the permanent line wrapped around the propeller.

Motoring to Alice Falls

Motoring to Alice Falls

We motored to the end of the sound and anchored in a neat little cove with Alice Falls flowing into it. It took a little maneuvering to get the stern lines tied just so while the current wanted to push the boat out. Current was definitely the challenge in this neat anchorage.

 

 

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Alice Falls just around the corner

While in Alice Falls Denny had a new boat project. The water maker was leaking whenever we tried to make water and as it is in the V-berth this was not a good thing. We basically had to move our sleeping quarters to the salon and the Water maker was  dismantled and re-assembled in the middle of the V-berth quite a few times during our Fiordland visit as Denny fixed one leak only to find another. It isn’t just luck that we have spare parts for fixing things that break. I would say it’s meticulous planning on Denny’s part, anal as he is! While he was working on this I made some Kayak trips and found the Department Of Conservation DOC cabin on the nearby shore. I was there when a tour boat appeared and offloaded a boatload of people at the same DOC. This tour boat followed us through a few of the fiords. It is a great way for people to experience the fiords although it did change our fantasy of being out here in isolation.

SCENERY DURING OUR MOTOR TO ALICE FALLS

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