NZ South Island – Milford Sound March 6 – 10

click here for google map link – Free Mooring from Milford cruises.

DSC_0028DSC_7339It was raining, foggy, and dreary when we entered Milford Sound. The waterfalls were plentiful and roaring. First thing we noticed was the number of tour boats queued up to give the all the tourists the same views of the falls and the seals lounging on the rocks.

DSC_0043aDSC_0080After finally making the motor sail to the fiords our next challenge would be anchoring and we knew that could be tricky.  We knew we would have to use shorelines, either entirely, or to set the anchor on the slope and use several stern lines – this way the anchor is being pulled uphill, in constant tension. As the weather is unpredictable most all weather anchorages would be in small coves necessitating lines because there would be insufficient swinging room (the norm). Fortunately the Cruising guides indicated that Milford would probably have available moorings. After a call to the Milford Lobster Company, we were advised of which mooring we could take and we could finally have a quiet, peaceful night’s sleep.

DSC_7289We woke up to a beautiful sunny day so we decided to do a tour of Milford. The waterfalls were not as plentiful as the day before and this is due to the lack of top soil in the in the fiords. Not much water is absorbed after a rainfall so waterfalls can disappear within 24 hours based on the amount of rain. But the scenery was spectacular. DSC_0062We were surrounded by cliffs that rose vertically from the waters and there were mountain peaks, some snowcapped, that scraped the sky. We were amazed at how close we could come to the cliffs, almost touching, and then look up and up and up at endless rock cliffs. We could almost visualize the glaciers slow process of scraping and chiseling … scraping and chiseling … causing the patterns on the rocky surfaces.

 

DSC_0060DSC_7356After our tour of Milford and we were comfortably moored again we wanted showers and we wanted to top up the diesel tank after our motor down the West coast. There were showers available by the Lobster Company and were free for us to use although not esthetically pleasing. We just had to make sure we beat the rush of dive tours tourists.  Diesel was expensive and required a couple of dinghy trips with jerry cans and after the first attempt to get fuel we were told not to show at the pumps until after 2:00 when the offloading of crayfish by local fishing boats slowed down. We enviously looked at the large crayfish holding tank but couldn’t buy a single crayfish as they were all destined for China!

There was a café 20-minute walk from the pier and it was the base where people booked their Milford tours. We this location to complete our Visa extensions as we knew once leaving Milford we would not have internet until the only town in Stewart Island, Oban. Obtaining our visitor visa extensions took 2 days using unreliable satellite internet which cost $10 for 100 megs, a few trips to the boat getting all the information together, frustration trying to get data and pictures contained on the either IPad or on the Microsoft Laptop when neither liked to talk to each other. Getting the visa extension applications filed meant we could comfortably continue our South Island sail without fear of being in New Zealand illegally.

Milford gave us a taste of the hordes of sandflies that would feast on us during the duration of our cruise through the fiords. I won’t mention the nasty sandflies again except to say that they were waiting for us at every anchorage and Denny seemed to be their preferred meal. We learned how to dress appropriately, showing very little flesh while outside and sometimes while inside, even during sleeping.

Oban, Stewart Island

Post by Barb – We have made it to Oban. So here we sit at a Youth Hostel doing laundry. It’s been long overdue and so has our showers. Denny finally shaved his face fur and looks like a new young fellow. Our sail to Port Pegasus and to here was fast considering the 25 to 30 knots on the stern. When we get back to some decent Wifi areas we will post our pics and stories.

Post by Dennis – Barbie was getting cranky, just because she hadn’t had a shower in a month or so, I just don’t know what the problem is.  So now she is squeaky clean so she should be good for another month.  It has really been an incredible trip and the stories we have to tell will be endless.  Fishing where your baited hook does not even reach the bottom before you have a bite.  Every day something new happens.  We have been eating mussels and cockles, that we collected, Was given a rear quarter of venison which we have been eating on.  The thing I am looking forward to having is a Sooty shearwater, which is a young sea bird and maybe an oyster or two for Barbie.

Laundry is done so we have to go. Stay tuned ….

NZ – North of the North Island

SV Nyon in Te Pahi

SV Nyon in Te Pahi

Our freezer has been fixed. Northfreeze may have been expensive but the repair man knew what he was doing. After a couple of attempts to use a vacuum pump to suction out the moisture and any oil out of the freezer system the freezer worked better than ever. The first vacuum pump nearly caught the cockpit on fire but luckily we were on board to see the smoke and unplug the machine. We spent a fine evening by the Te Pahi Islands with Rick and Kyra on Nyon (we met them in the Marquesa). It was a nice anchorage with just our two boats there.  Click here for Google Map Link

We left Bay of Islands and motored to Whangaroa. Out first anchorage was in Rere Bay nestled among rock outcrops and cliffs. It gave us a sense of what the Fordland’s may look like. Click here for Google Maps link. The bays are narrow and it’s hard to imagine what this place would be like during ‘crazy busy’ cruising season. We could see the famous Duke’s Nose and planned to do the hike up the peak but Denny walked on something sharp and got a cut on the bottom of his foot while climbing to knob which overlooked our boat anchorage. We did take pictures and capture the spectacular scenery. DSC_7219-1

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DSC_9984We spent an entertaining evening with a beautiful couple and their 4 young boys. Six of them on a 34 ft boat and you would think it would be chaos but not with those boys. They were funny, talkative, interesting, considerate and just all around great kids. We gave them a tour of our boats and talked a lot about how to prepare for offshore sailing which they would like to do in the near future. Maybe someday we will see them somewhere in the high seas!

Collecting wild Oysters

Collecting wild Oysters

We checked out the Whangaroa Harbour town, fueled up and disposed of garbage. There wasn’t much else here so we pulled up anchor and moved to Touwai Bay, a little bay near the Oyster farm. Click here for Google Map link . For the most part we were by ourselves except for the  late night arrival  early morning departure power boats and the many seagulls

waiting for a snack

waiting for a snack

that liked to hang around for the hope of some scraps. Denny of course checked out the Oyster farm and learned a few interesting facts and came back with 2 large oysters for sampling. They are harvested in June so the samples we were given were supposedly undersized. Denny shucked them ‘for his woman’ and it was the freshest, biggest oysters I ever had. Superb!!

 

 

I don't know

I don’t know

enjoying the moment

enjoying the moment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some facts that Denny learned about Oyster farming:

Oysters are grown in sacks attached to 2X4’s. Wild Oysters attach themselves to the posts as well because they tend to congregate and these are hacked off and also placed in bags for future but are worth less because of imperfections. Profit margin is very small and it’s hard work.

DSC_7260While Denny was Oyster farm information gathering, I finally managed to get my Kayak into NZ waters and explored the East side of Whangaroa Harbour.

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Our last stop North of the North island was Mangonui Harbour. Click here for Google Map link . On the way we caught a Kingfish and it took Denny 45 minutes to bring it to the side of the boat and then he got away. But we were sure that he was smaller than the legal 75cm legal catch. About an hour later we did catch a Skipjack Tuna which Denny easily brought it on board, cleaned it and cut it into nice Tuna steaks. Despite our fresh fish on board we still went out to dinner at the ‘world famous’ Mangonui Fish Shop. It was probably the best fish and chips we had in NZ and plenty of it as well. We sat next to a German couple who were touring NZ. Their goal in life is to complete all 6 world class Marathon races. So far they have completed 3 which included New York, Chicago and Berlin. It’s the Toyko marathon they are really looking forward to. Denny makes it a point to meet people and learn about their passions.

Today is Saturday, February 25th and we would like to wish our beautiful Allison a very Happy Birthday. Besides celebrating that very special occasion we are also starting our trek to the South Island. We will be leaving at 5pm so that we can round Cape Reinga in daylight. The weather window is not ideal for a sailboat and quite a bit of motoring is expected but we are anxious to get to the South Island. Hopefully we will be able to post our progress using our SSB. Denny replaced the cable while in Marsden Cove and it yet has to be tested. Other than SSB and a satellite phone we will be off the grid for probably a couple of months.

Fiji 2016 – Anchorage # 10 – Nukubati

October 10 – 14

16 28.139 S – 179 01.749 E

Link to Google Maps

Posting by Barb:

As we headed to our next destination the wind started to increase and it started to rain. At first we were both excited as we hadn’t seen rain since we started our cruising around Vanua Levu. The decks and everything on deck had layers of salt so a good rain was what we needed. By the time we were near our intended stop it was a torrential rain and we couldn’t see 10 feet in front of the boat. We nearly t-boned a local power boat that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. We had to wait and do circles with a constant eye on the depth until the rain stopped or lessened long enough for us to pull in and anchor. By the time the anchor was finally buried in good mud we were quite drenched but the boat was clean. We arrived near the Nukubati resort on our first anniversary day so we were in a good spot to enjoy a tropical drink at a nice bar. But that would have to wait until tomorrow as Denny felt ‘done in’ after a stressful passage.

dsc_9731The resort was beautiful and we enjoyed a couple of evenings chatting with the owner and some guests. But the staff were all very pre-occupied preparing for the weekend Fijian wedding of the owner’s son. Family were arriving every day and on Sunday the official Fijian wedding would take place with 400 guests invited. On the menu was a pig cooked on the spit and beef. Extra locals had been hired to prepare all the food.

dsc_9726We stayed out of the way and finally managed to put a coat of Teak Oil which was long overdue. Denny had to stand in the dinghy and float along while carefully brushing on the oil. I had to do the portion accessible on the deck, easier but damn hot with the deck radiating heat absorbed by the sun.

We had a visit from the school boat driver and his family. They were amazed at how good our de-salinated water tasted. They would cautiously take a drink expecting salt water. They were amazed at how our salon chairs could be pulled out and turned to a bed and the topper was Coke made by our Soda stream. dsc_6722They liked the taste but we knew it wasn’t something they had before when they proceeded to dip their cookies in their drinks! I made paper airplanes and boats with the kids and they left with extra sheets of paper so that they could show their friends. They left with lots of invitations to come visit their village.

dsc_9732We did a little bit of snorkeling but the coral was dead. I did however see my first close-up look of a turtle. It was feeding below me and it took a little while before he realized I was hovering over him then he disappeared pretty quick. We did a little exploring of the outskirts of the resort. We found some pretty large Mangos which Denny decided to devour. He was sorry he did once he realized he had no way to clean his sticky hands until we reached the salt water edge.

It was a busy anchorage with lots of locals going to and from the resort, probably as a result of all the wedding preparations, with the constant wave or ‘Bulah’ yell. We decided it was time for a quiet reef anchorage but we would return to do a visit of the nearby village Nasea as we promised we would. On a final note we would like to say that despite the busy, special family wedding celebrations, the Bourke family, owners of the resort, made us feel very welcome.

 

2016 Adapting to Circumstances

January 1 – August 17

Posting By Barb:

I love to have good Chinese Takeout. We always make a point of finishing off with the Fortune Cookies. We would each take our turn reading out loud the “fortune” but we would begin with ‘When in bed….’ And finish with the fortune cookie prophecy. It usually created some fun after dinner conversations. But a recent Fortune Cookie gave me an ‘A-Ha’ life moment. It read ‘A wise man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it’.

A HA!! That’s what living and sailing our little boat is all about to us. Adapting and shaping to circumstances. Maybe we are wiser than we thought we were!! So circumstances have taken us to in many directions for the first half of 2016 and plans have been continually changing.

IMG_0743In January we were back together again on Landfall in NZ. FirstIMG_0650 - Copy time as an old married couple. We travelled back with full ‘boat supply’ suitcases, including a box with our new ‘Oru’ kayak. (comment by Denny – I hope Barb is good at origami or it could fold up and down she will go).  DSC_9406 - Copy (2)The month was a whirlwind of visits with our new and old ‘cruising friends and local friends. We also managed to complete a short list of boat maintenance and did a little leisurely sightseeing. We weren’t very diligent capturing on camera the moments with our friends or our touristy adventures but we had some great memorable times together. And this moment I did capture; Denis unable to be a menace!!IMG_0648

 

DSC_6241 - Copy - CopyIn February we were back in South Dakota, USA. We worked hard on our cabin (the cabin is owned by Dennis and his 2 cousins). We finished the basement to include a bathroom, bedrooms, storage space and laundry room. We managed to do the rough work and contracted out the visually finishing work. It wasn’t all work; we did manage to spend fun times with Dennis’s daughter, Jenny and her husband Tyler and with his cousin Steve and wife Andrea.  The plan had been to work in South Dakota for a year but we were happy that circumstances changed and we were headed back to NZ to continue sailing.

But before heading back we decided to have some more family and friend fun time. Road trip with Denny’s Dad to my sister’s condo in Florida!! Denny did all the driving and Eugene and I took turns navigating or sometimes we both navigated at the same time with Eugene saying turn Right and me saying turn left and Denny going straight until we could agree to a route.

Franklin, Tennessee

Franklin, Tennessee

Along the way we made a couple of stops. First stop Franklin, Tennessee to visit the site where 10,000 died during the civil war. It was a must see place for me after reading the book ‘Widow of the South’. Next stop, Alabama to visit with Eugene’s and our friends Bernie and Randi. We stayed the night and had a great, late night discussion. It all started with a round table question to each of us ‘Are you happy’? IMG_0923It’s amazing how often people don’t stop to think whether they are truly happy or not! Denny has a knack of getting people into some deep, soul searching discussions. Last stop Florida Condo. While there we had a visit from Denny’s daughter Becky and her friend Rachel, my sister Caroline and husband Vic and finally we spent some time with my other sister Karen and George, owners of the beautiful condo. As we were there for Easter we decided to drop in and visit our friends Brad and Gloria from ‘Kindred Spirits’ who also have a condo in Florida. We danced the night away and enjoyed being Easter Bunnies as we traded chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday. We did a lot of tourist stuff including a tour of the Yuengling Beer brewery and a few other beer watering holes. What fun we all had!!DSC_9488 - CopyIMG_0925 IMG_0699 IMG_0133 - Copy

 

IMG_0704IMG_0826From Florida I headed back to Canada for a quick visit with family again while Dennis did the road trip back to Minneapolis by himself. He managed a quick stop to visit friends he met while in NL. They have since moved to Florida.

We flew back to NZ together to start our sailing plans when circumstances again changed our plans and I headed back to Canada for a family emergency. I stayed in Canada to help my parents while Dad recovered from major  surgery. So fortunate to have the freedom to stay and help my parents, to have been able to be there and spend precious family quality time  to have Denny  be so understanding while he continued working alone on Landfall in the NZ rainy winter.

But we are both back on Landfall now, docked at Marsden Cove and in the morning after a visit from Customs we are finally sailing again.

First stop Fiji, then New Caledonia and then back to NZ unless circumstances happen and like the water shaping itself around our boat we will shape ourselves to whatever the new day will bring.NZ to Fiji