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.

DSC_7613

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

 

 

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