click here for google map link – Free Mooring from Milford cruises.
It 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.
After 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.
We 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. We 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.
After 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.
Click here for Google Map Link
We arrived in Dunedin on Tuesday. It looks like we will be in Dunedin until Wednesday for sure as there are North winds forecasted. It’s a nice place to be with free internet so we will begin posting our amazing cruise around the South Island. Our next stop after Dunedin will be Akaroa.
We have been in Little Glory Bay, for what t seems like, a loooong time. There has been a complex trough hanging around and the winds have been quite strong at times. Visually I have no idea what a complex trough is but I know what it is NOT and that is good sailing wind. So today we have a High with some Northerly wind which is not good if one is trying to head North but we are going to make a run or motor for it. The wind coming behind this High is not ideal either with another low moving in. We probably will only make it to Dunedin although our preference would have been Akaroa, but we will see. Stewart Island was beautiful and we had a few social nights with some hunters in a hut nearby and a single sailor on a boat from Switzerland. We believe we will have better wifi as we head North so we will be able to send more emails and our blog posts we have been writing while waiting for weather can be posted. We really miss talking to family and friends so hopefully in a couple of days we will have a phone marathon. Dunedin is a good days sail away but if weather is right Akaroa is a good 3 day sail. Talk soon Hugs Dennis and Barb
Monday April 23 Posting by Barb: 46 54.348S 168 02.843E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:46%2054.348S%20168%2002.843E Hi to all, We have been hiding out in a very nice all weather anchorage while the wind has been howling around us at 25 to 30 knots. At least our wind generator is keeping us supplied in all the power we need. We have had our daily feed of mussels. We have yet to see if there are any Blue Cod in this bay. I went out and gathered a potful of Cockles and turned it into a whine wine and cockles pasta meal. I have done part of the Rakiura ‘Great’ walk and I found it challenging considering my legs have not had much a work out. Kayaking and sailing are great back, shoulder and arm workouts but legs get a little lazy. While I was doing my ‘Great’ walk Denny had a new boat project. Our ‘head’ or toilet seemed to be making funny noises when flush pumping so that got taken apart and he did find a problem and he did fix it. My walk return was well timed as I got back to the boat just as he was replacing the runner on the floor, the ‘head’ back in place and the boat back in order. As the winds are light this morning we will be moving to a new anchorage in Little Glory. 46 58.265S 168 09.375E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:46%2058.265S%20168%2009.375E We will be here until we get a weather window to start moving North to Akaroa, our only stop on the South East side of the South Island. It is about 300 miles away so it will be a 2-3 day window. The forecast up to Thursday are still predicting North winds and that is NOT what we want. So we continue to wait. But being in such a beautiful location it is not a painful wait. We will post an update when we start our Northward sail. Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall
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 ….
Barb and Dennis are temporarily out of range of the single sideband e-mail towers that allow blog posting while away from Wi-Fi. They will be in Oban, New Zealand in “a couple of weeks,” and will have Wi-Fi then. They have some new SSB towers to try, so we might hear from them sooner than two weeks.
Barb reports the weather has generally been good, but with occasional high wind. They sound good and are having fun.
Location as of 4/12/2017, 6 p.m. MSP time is Evening Cove on Stewart Island, New Zealand:
By the way, Oban is here,
not here, you souse.
Sunday April 2, 2017 Posting by Dennis: 45 45.904S 166 31.371E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:45%2045.904S%20166%2031.371E Hi to all, We are now sitting in Luncheon cove in Dusky Sound. The trip has been totally amazing so far. We are pretty much living off the land, or should I say water. We have been eating lobster, fresh tuna, Blue cod, even Venison. The place is so incredible, every day is a new adventure, and no two are ever the same. But I will tell you the sandflies are also incredible. We have met so many really neat people. I really don’t know why more people don’t come here. yes yesterday we stayed hunkered down with fifty knot gusts rocking the boat but that is just part of the adventure. O and the day before that we run the boat aground but that was know big deal just part of the game. right now we are being serenaded by a couple of seals with their squeals. Life is good Later Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall
We have arrived in the fiords and so far have sailed through George, Charles, Nancy, Milford, Thompson, Bradshaw and are currently anchored in Doubtful Sound. Unfortunately we cannot post any blog updates while in the fiords as SSB does not seem to work while we are surrounded by he magestic heights of the fiords. We are currently in Teanau getting some supplies and have found some free Wifi. We are heading back to the boat shortly and will be off the grid for quite some time again. We will post our adventures when we have some reliable Wifi. We will say that we are having an amazing time and have many stories and pictures to share with you when we can. The only price to pay for our cruising through some unbelievable scenery is the hoardes of sandflies. Unfortunately for Denny they seem to like him more than me. But we have learned to adapt and now keep ourselves covered from head to toe, even while sleeping. So it’s all good.
Our next cruising plan will be Dusky Sound and onward to Stuart Island.
We will post our locations and stories when we can.
Sunday March 5th 44 02.493 S 168 03.791 E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:44%2002.493S%20168%2003.791E We are 30 miles from the opening of Milford Sound. So we are excited about exploring the fiord early in the morning. As usual we are motoring the last few miles under oily, flat seas. We may not be able to send updates while in the fiord but we will try. We are very excited!!
Friday March 4,2017 Posting by Barb: 43 03.712S 168 42.748E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:43%2003.712S%20168%2042.748E Well we have broken the 100 mile mark. It has been slow going but we expected the wind direction to be on the nose. And based on our weather watching we expected the lack of wind so we got what we asked for. The wind picked up the last 2 days and we got the usual South Land wind of 25 knots on the nose!! It was a little more of a challenging sail and it made Denny much happier. He came alive and stepped up to the challenge of maneuvering through wind, rain, bigger seas. We felt very cozy and safe in our little snail shell but not really warm. I guess that is to be expected. Temperatures dropped from 80s to 60s. Sorry Canada you will have to do the Celsius translation. Everything on this lovely American boat is in Fahrenheit. Suffice it to say a 20 degree drop takes a little getting used to. When we have less boat heel we will move our shorts to the back of the closet and pull out our long underwear!! Today we are back to the 10 to 15 knot calm wind sail and Denny is sleeping more!! We are now aiming at arriving in the wee hours of March 6th so we are ok with a 2.5 knot snail pace. Any faster and we will be arriving in the night and that’s not what we would prefer. We are excited to see Landfall. We will message you tomorrow night as once we are in the Fiords SSB email may not work. We are however visiting Milford first which is the popular tourist place so there may be cell phone or internet coverage. Barb and Denny SV Landfall