Saturday, January 31, 2009

To Bluff and beyond!!

After a month in Stewart Island enjoying the scenery, wildlife and catching up with friends we have moved onto Bluff. We had been calling Meri at Bluf Fisherman's radio and were given a berth on the fishing piers. We have managed to complete almost all of the 'stuff' we needed to do and are now ready to move on. Re-storing the vessel was completed with a few car loads of groceries being carried about 300 metres along the pier to our berth at the outermost end! Fuel and water were taken on in the
main port, and we managed to get some internet work done in Invercargill. A slow internet connection means the photographs are not good quality and we did not get much done in the way of email.

Our main purpose in coming to Bluff has been to complete our permit for the Department of Conservation. After a briefing fro staff at the DOC office and an visit to our yacht we are now ready to go (almost) On Monday we have a diver check to ensure our hull is free of greeblies and then we shall depart for the islands on Monday afternoon/evening before dark if all goes well

A steady flow of strong SW and W winds have been passing through. This has given us some reasonable rough conditions on the berth, let alone at sea! All going well we will have a reasonable period to make our departure and get clear of the islands around Stewart Island, and the reefs of the North and South Traps. The trip down to Auckland Island is only 240' so we may be able to manage this in two to three days weather and seas permitting. On completion of the hull inspection we have 28 days before
we must leave the waters of Auckland or Campbell Island. Our permit is valid to 15 March o we can return to Bluff for a second hull inspection and then return to the islands. We will see how we go at Auckland Islands and then decide how/if we visit the remainder of the islands and our route back to New Zealand mainland.

Once again friends in Auckland have been talking of 30 degree temperature and 5 knots of wind whilst we have more like 5 degree temperature and over 30 knot winds. The berth we have currently has a one metre 'chop' as the wind whistles past. The welcome we have received in Bluff has been great. We have a free berth, have had welding done on a broken part free and have been helped at all times we asked any questions. No denying the hospitality down here! Not something you get everywhere.


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