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