NZ south Island – Stewart Island – Paterson Inlet April 20 – 28

Click here for Google Map link – Golden Bay April 20 -22

We knew leaving Lords River would be a challenge as the wind seemed to whistle around the point into the bay. As we started to make our way out of the pass the wind was 20 knots on the nose and we had a few steep waves and current do to the incoming tide. It all added up to a nasty retreat out of Lords River with only us only going 1 to 2 knots. The waves crashing on the nearby rocks seemed to be even nastier then when we made our way in. I was again feeling a little vulnerable and scared despite Denny’s reassurances. Two hours later and we were well on our way to Paterson Inlet.

Our first stop here was an anchorage that was a short dinghy ride and walk to Oban. The only settlement on Stewart Island and its main existence was catering to the adventure tourists interested in doing the beautiful hikes around Paterson Inlet and other tourists wanting to do some hunting and fishing nearby.

We found a Youth Hostel in Oban where we could do our laundry and for $5 we could also use the shower facilities. I can’t begin to explain how good the shower felt. Our last long, hot shower had been in Te Anau. We filled our propane tank and managed to get some fresh, expensive veggies and fruit at a small Four Square store. On one of our trips back to the boat we met a great bunch of kids who wanted to know if we were heading back to a boat after spotting our propane tank and backpacks. Once they found out that our boat was our home and realized how far we had sailed, they had a hundred questions. We invited them to visit us on the boat once they had their parents permission. Bright and early next morning they were waiting at the dock for us. We may have delayed their parents plan to get an early start for a nearby hunting lodge but they were really excited about coming on board Landfall. Great kids with great questions. Really enjoyed having the short visit with them.

Golden Bay anchorage was rolly and probably the worst anchorage of the trip but we had cell phone coverage which meant we had internet. This allowed me to file my income tax and it allowed us to confirm that our visitors visa had been extended and we could legally continue our way up the coast. But we were glad to finally make our move from this anchorage.

Our rolly anchorage in Golden Bay

Our rolly anchorage in Golden Bay

Our walk to Oban

Our walk to Oban

We loved their visit on our boat

We loved their visit on our boat

 

 

Click Here for Google map link– Kidney Fern Arm. April 22 – 24

DSC_0388-1It was great to anchor in a calm, protected anchorage.  This little bay had a barge that may have been used during the busy summer season and a rustic old cabin overlooking the  bay. It didn’t seem like anybody had been at the cabin although it was fairly well maintained.

 

 

Kidney Fern Arm was a great place to do some kayaking and hiking. I found a great spot with some cockles and we had our first cockle and pasta dish. The cockles are small so a  lot are needed for a decent meal. From here I had access to the Rakiura track, one of the 9 NZ  ‘Great Walks’ and NZ  ‘ End of the Earth’ track so I decided to do a day hike. Unfortunately  Denny had to work on the head as we could no longer pump to flush, not a good thing. I managed to get to the North Hut and got back just as Denny was putting everything back in everything in good working order.

A sneak peak inside the hut

A sneak peak inside the hut

Historic dam on the track. It was a little hard to find even though I knew it existed

Historic dam on the track. It was a little hard to find even though I knew it existed

Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track

Oystercatchers having a social moment  waiting for the low tide tide

Oystercatchers having a social moment waiting for the low tide tide

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Click here for Google Map link– Little Glory Bay. April 24 – 29

This would be our last anchorage in Stewart Island. we were feeling the pinch of time. From here we would wait for a weather window to make our way to the South Island. While we waited we had some company on Landfall. We spent an evening with a couple of hunters at a nearby hut and with Rene from the yacht Ata Ata. We did a few hikes on Ocean Beach hoping to see a kiwi but we weren’t so lucky. And we of course did lots of Blue Cod fishing but this time we had some company from a few hungry albatross. They were very bold and came so close to the dinghy we could again almost touch them. A 5 day wait for a good weather window to sail by past the infamous Foveaux Strait, good bye Steward Island, hello East Coast of the South Island.

Our friend on Ata Ata in Little Glory Bay

Our friend on Ata Ata in Little Glory Bay

 

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Tried to return an undersized fish but they had a quick eye and a quick beak

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Hike to Ocean Beach

 

All alone on Ocean Beach

All alone on Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach. Spectacular day

NZ south Island – Stewart Island – Lords River – April 18 & 19

Click here for Google Map link – The Nook

We left Port Pegasus on a beautiful calm day and had a beautiful sail. We decided we would go as far as we could allowing enough daylight to anchor. So our final destination for the day was Lords River. The passage into the bay was narrow and the waves crashing on nearby rocks made it seem a little daunting but once inside the bay it was calm and tranquil. A picturesque bay with a few huts all full with deer hunters.

The Nook was a comfortable, secure anchorage although the entrance was a little shallow. There was a hawser across the bay that we could tie to. We sidled up to it slowly and grabbed the line with the boat hook and tied the stern and bow lines to it. We always look forward to anchorages that do not require shore lines or anchor.

In the morning we inflated the dingy and headed up the river. It was a long dinghy trip up the river which we had to do slowly not knowing the depths as we followed the twists and turns. We went as far as we could and were surprised to see another dinghy there. It turned out to be hunters staying a small hunting hut and we were invited to come inside for a cup of coffee and a chat. We couldn’t stay long as we didn’t have much daylight left. As we were getting ready to go one of the hunters offered us a leg of venison. They still had a few days of hunting left and they had plenty of deer already cleaned and aging quickly due to the warmer than expected temperatures (no electricity so no refrigeration in the huts).

We love South Island hospitality!! Back at the boat we BBQ some venison and vacumn packed and froze the remaining roasts. A great treat after our daily feasting on fish and mussels.

The Nook anchorage

The Nook anchorage

Lords River

Lords River

Anyone for some Venison?

Anyone for some Venison? In case you didn’t recognize the face it is Denny!!

NZ south Island – Stewart Island – North Arm, Port Pegasus April 17

Click here to open Google Map link – Bens Bay

It was an easy departure from Seal Cove. pull up the anchor and go!!

There was only one great weather anchorage in the North Arm of Port Pegasus and didn’t take us very long to get there. It was an anchor and stern line tie as the bay didn’t offer much room for the boat to swing.

With only a day to explore we decided to do a dinghy ride to the old ‘Tin Settlement’. The settlement was the ruin remains of tin mining back in 1889 and included a wharf, post office, general sore and hotel. The tin rush did not last long and the area was then used for a fish refrigerating plant. We visited the old compressor and made it to Belltopper Falls which was well worth it. Our only regret was not having the time to do the ‘Tin Range Track’.

Denny did make out for a quick dinghy fishing trip and it was Blue Cod for supper. Can never have enough of the fresh seafood.

Old Compressor

Old Compressor

Made it to Bell Topper Falls

Made it to Bell Topper Falls

Bell Topper Falls

Bell Topper Falls

 

Layers and layers of clothing. It's a little chilly here

Layers and layers of clothing. It’s a little chilly here

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.