Friday, April 24, 2009

Leaving the mainland

After more than six months in the south we are now back in the North Island. In Mana marina to be precise. After leaving Nelson we spent a couple of days in Greville Harbour in d'Urville island. We arrived in blue skies listening to the bird song and spent the next day with 50 knots going past watching the williwaws and sea 'smoking' from the comparative shelter of our anchorage. We went back through French Pass and after a night in Catherine's Cove we headed for Port Gore to dive on the wreck of the 'Mikhail Lermentov'. Unfortunately the visibility wasn't great (or have we been spoilt by Fiordland?!) but we could still make out various bits including the wheelhouse, funnel, gangway, restaurant area and engine room etc but the scale was lost in the murk. The next day we contemplated another dive but the weather looked good for a crossing of Cook Strait. We had our best ever crossing of the ditch, previously we have either got snotted or motored across in flat calm! A pleasant sail was a nice change! We had to anchor until the tide was high enough to get across the bar and arrived later that night after a quick trip ashore to have coffee at a friend's place while we waited.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Photos: Dunedin to Nelson

Hector Dolphins playing by the bow on our way up the east coast

French Pass

Te Pukatea Bay in the Abel Tasman National Park

Jim sailing in Torrent Bay -our first busy anchorage for a long time! We were there over Easter with 40+ other boats, previously one or two was unusual for us!

We went for a dinghy tour and discovered this lot who were very curious and playful.

Getting flash with an underwater shot!

Waterslide at Cleopatra's pools. Somebody was too much of a wuss to have a go!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Lergy and Beyond

We have been taking it easy for a bit now. After a very brief stop up the coast we arrived in the Marlborough Sounds. Our brief stop was the point at which we managed to catch up on the bugs, illness's and nasty stuff that has been doing the rounds since we departed in September 08. I was down and out for a day and then was able to move about but not for long. Tori is still recovering now and spent the best part of a week in bed, although watches at sea as we came up the coast did get her up. We
haven't been ill for a long time and I guess we got all those lovely bugs at once.

Our trip up the coast was calm and involved about 30 hours motoring. The run into the Cook Strait was accompanied by Hectors Dolphins playing under the bow as we motored in a lovely light blue sea and under a cloudless sky. After a bit of bashing into 1 to 1.5 metre seas as we approached Tory channel we finally dropped anchor and settled down to enjoy the area. When we first met Tori and I visited this area on "Earenya" together with my cousin Bridget and her partner Pete (remembered as 'puking
Pete' after a rather rough trip across from Wellington). We wanted to head up to Picton to catch up with some friends (Tony and Sue Cooper) once we had recovered enough not to spread our germs. As we motored up the Sounds a big black RHIB approached us. This was full of guys in uniform and it was soon obvious they had come to visit! My secret chocolate stash had been discovered perhaps! Customs and Fisheries had a quick chat, and once convinced we had not just arrived in NZ packed with nasty stuff,
or removing large quantities of fish, they wished us well and departed. It's actually good to see this sort of patrol happening and we hope it continues.

We spent about five days anchored at Picton and took life easy (that's even easier than we already do). After getting rid of a few more of the multiple illness's we started to head out the Sounds on our way to the Abel Tasman National Park. This three day trip, as we did it nice and slowly, took us through 'French Pass'. This narrow Pass lies between the mainland and Durville Island. The pass is about half a mile (900 metres) wide but is blocked by reefs in all but one part which is about 50 metres
wide. A very strong tidal flow passes through here (up to about 8 knots)making the passage appear more like a river rapid than a passage for boats and small ships. We anchored nearby and walked up to the hill overlooking the pass, very impressive. After a walk back to the boat we proceeded to pass through the pass and anchored the other side. Next morning saw a nice sail across Tasman Bay to the Abel Tasman Park.

We are currently at Tonga Roadstead. Like most places in the park the sub tropical bush comes right down to the water. The coast comprising of many lovely sandy beaches and coves between sandstone cliffs. Very pretty and very popular. Luckily this is near the end of the summer and we have not had to share our anchorage with other boats too much.

Our plan is to spend a few days to weeks here before going to Wellington via Nelson and then Mana. We should be in Wellington for the End of April before heading up the coast to Gisborne and then Auckland.