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Having got over the excitement of our wedding, we quickly adjusted back into cruising mode and spent the rest of December mooching around in the Queen Charlotte Sound, enjoying the wet weather, walking the dogs and generally relaxing.



We were anchored back in Kumototo Bay with wonderful weather for Vicki's Birthday.



We finally finished off our Wedding Cake...




And tried to walk off some of it...






Christmas came around far too quickly. As a special treat, we spent Christmas at the Punga Cove Resort and went out for Lunch for the first time in 12 years... no cooking or washing up – married bliss !!! Unfortunately, we split our Main Sail again on Christmas morning so we will have to replace this before we head across the Tasman Sea but we can still use it for now with a couple of reefs in place.




We sailed around into the Pelorus Sound on the 28th December and met up with Jean & Matt on Superted in Snug Cove. We spent a couple of weeks exploring this side of the Marlborough Sounds and visiting a number of different anchorages before sailing up the Cook Strait to Wellington.












The weather had been quite windy with lots of williwaws – we even lost the seat of our dinghy when it blew over in appropriately named “Chance Bay”…The Cook Strait is infamous for its strong currents and rough waters and we had been waiting for a good weather box. We had a very lively sail and whizzed along the strait hitting 10.4 knots before Basil started feeling a little peaky…
 






We spent just over a week in Wellington, explored the Capital, caught up on our laundry and stocked up at the Supermarket for the next few months – we were down to our last 20 tins of chopped tomatoes !!! 



Akaroa



We left Wellington on 24th January at 5.30am and arrived in Akaroa at about 7pm on the 25th - not bad going for 190 miles although the Skipper was a bit tired as the sea state was a bit mucky with a nasty Southerly swell... We dropped our anchor in our “usual” spot in French Bay and the following morning we were greeted with a toot from the friendly Ferry Driver who clearly recognised us from our extended stay last year !!!



We ended up staying in Akaroa for only 5 days waiting for some decent Northerlies to take us further South. At least we didn’t have to wait for weather as long as last year !!! We had a great time, we saw a lot of people we had met last year and it was a bit like going home… We pulled up our anchor around 5.30am on the 31st – it was very, very muddy and seemed to take forever.




We passed the Dawn Princess Cruise Ship entering the Harbour as we were leaving to start the last leg of our trip down to Stewart Island. We had a pretty uneventful first day, saw numerous Hector's dolphins - the world's smallest and rarest dolphin found only in New Zealand plus 3 Cruise Ships lit up like Christmas Trees during the night and basically enjoyed the nice easy sail.


Unfortunately, the wind died off on the second day so we had to start the motor. We found that our engine gland was leaking at 2000 revs so we were limited to running the motor at 1700rpm which was ok but really limited our speed. In addition, our bilge pump became blocked so we were manually pumping the bilges – what fun !!






We ended up making very slow progress as we had managed to get caught in some foul current but on the 3rd February we picked up some good wind and had a lovely 20 mile sail until we were about 8 miles from the anchorage when we got hit by a 15 knot southwesterly (right on the nose).