The last part of our trip to Stewart Island from Akaroa was very slow and after plodding
along at about 2/3 knots, we finally entered Paterson Inlet on the 3rd February and dropped
our hook at around 4pm in Kaipipi Bay which was a beautiful shallow
inlet with great shelter and lovely flat water
An added bonus was that
there was a nice 6 km walk through the Bush from Kaipipi Bay to the
main village on the Island called Oban where there was a half decent
Pub which served chips with the jugs of beer…
Unusual Road signs...
Roger decided that it
was time to take a dip in the shallow water to clean our hull. He
spent 4 hours scraping the bottom and knocked off a strip of mussels
12 inches deep from the keel that we had presumably been carrying all
the way from the Marlborough Sounds – no wonder we were only making
3 knots and using 8 litres of fuel per hour !!!
We stayed in Paterson
Inlet for a couple of weeks watching the birds and not really doing
very much except enjoying the peace and quiet. We found some great
walking tracks and obtained a special Permit from the Department of
Conservation to visit the beach reserve at night to try and spot a
We got up at 4am to
prowl the beach in the dark and eventually waited until dawn when we
were finally rewarded with seeing 2 of them
scavenging around in the driftwood - much larger than
we thought they'd be. Quite cool really and then we went back to bed for a
few hours !!!
There were also a
number of Sealions in the area and one feisty lady clearly thought we
had kidnapped her baby. She started chasing Roger across the beach in
a very aggressive manner - needless to say, he didn’t hang around
We tried out 5
different anchorages whilst we were waiting for some sunny weather to
head further South on the Island.
There were thousands of Blue
Mussels in the bays and at low tide we were out mussel collecting by
the bucket load.
Roger has tested all
the Mussel recipes we have and it has got to the stage where he
really can’t bear to look at another mussel. Perhaps it was time
for us to go snorkelling for Scallops....
At last, we had a
gloriously sunny day and although there was a very nasty sea swell we
decided to leave our cosy inlet and sail to Lord’s River. We
anchored in “The Nook” with stern and bow lines tied to trees –
very reminiscent of our Patagonia days. It was very picturesque and
we could have stayed there for a number of days but we wanted to keep
going so we only stopped one night.
Our next stop was Ben’s
Bay in the North arm of Port Pegasus – another really quiet
anchorage. We stayed here for a couple of nights before moving on to
the West arm of Evening Cove in the South arm of Port Pegasus.
From here, we tried to
follow the track up to the top of Magog in the Frazer Peaks but
unfortunately it was so overgrown that we gave up after a couple of
On the 20th February we
arrived at Disappointment Cove which is immediately to the South of
the appropriately named “Fright Cove” and right at the bottom of
Stewart Island (47’ South). A tricky place to get in and out of
during heavy weather but we had picked a nice calm day and managed to
squeeze past Nelly Island and the adjacent rocks and slipped into the
cove using stern lines as well as our usual 2 anchors.
This is a pretty
bombproof anchorage which was just as well as there was some fairly
dodgy weather over the next few days (60/70 knots of wind). On our
third day, the bay was visited by a couple of huge RIBs each
containing a number of passengers. They were from the NZ Navy Ship
“Wellington”. Apparently the Ship was on a conservation mission
but had experienced 14 metre waves just South of Stewart Island so
had turned back to wait out the weather. They had about a dozen DOC
officials on board who were taking the opportunity to examine the
wildlife and habitats on this part of the Island. We were rather
pleased that we had been watching the weather quite closely as we
certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be caught out in those waves !!!
A cruising yacht
(Indian Summer) on it’s way back to Auckland was our next visitor.
They were a nice bunch of guys and gave us lots of scallops that they
had dived for in the next bay. In return, we gave them some Rock
The rain was getting
rather tedious. After 10 days in this anchorage, it was still very
cold, wet & windy and this was supposed to be Summer !!!!
We were also still
searching for that elusive yellow-eyed Penguin but instead we just
kept seeing more Sealions… not only had Roger been chased by an
angry Sea Lioness across the beach, we had now been chased in
the dinghy by one in the water - needless to say, Vicki clung onto
Basil & Monty for dear life while telling Roger in no uncertain
terms to row faster... as if he needed telling !!!! Not sure what
aftershave he is wearing but obviously those Sea Lions like it...
At last - a yellow-eyed Penguin...
Finally, on the 5th March
we had a weather opportunity to round the “second most Southern
Cape in the World” and, indeed, our second ‘Great Southern Cape’.
We left early in a light Easterly wind with 3 metre swells.
Unfortunately, our plan
to fly the Spinnaker (as we had done around Cape Horn) didn’t work
and although this Cape wasn’t as big and scary as Cape Horn, it was
still quite bouncy, so we were pleased to make it safely into
Murderers Cove on Big South Cape Island.
We couldn’t get
comfortable in the anchorage and there were too many shallow rocky
bits which we seemed to be swinging towards with alarming regularity
so, after a couple of hours, we pulled up our anchors and tootled
further up the West coast to Easy Harbour anchoring finally at dusk
around 9pm This was a lovely anchorage with a nice beach and plenty
of swinging room. Dinner followed at 10pm with a glass of wine and
all was well again !!
We would have liked to
linger here for a while but we needed to leave the following day as
there was a good weather window to get back around the Cape. (We had
decided that there were just too many sandflies to head North through
Fjordland). We had a lovely sail with 15 knots NWN and ended up in
Bulling Bay in the North Arm of Port Pegasus.
Actually, we thought
that we were in Ben’s Bay again but we had made a slight error and
had made a wrong turn into Bulling Bay…. Only the brave or the lost
go there – and clearly we were lost !! The following morning at low
tide we realised our mistake as we were nastily caught in between
rocks. After much toing and froing we escaped the clutches of the bay
and nipped around to Ben’s Bay to recover…
The next day we sailed
back to Lord’s River and stayed there for a couple of days enjoying
the peaceful tranquillity. Then it was off to Abraham’s Bosom where
we stayed for 3 days. Because of Vicki’s allergies, we do not
usually make any attempt to catch fish but, whilst we were here, we
caught some lovely Blue Cod – from a fisherman who threw it right
into our cockpit fully filleted and ready to cook !!!!
Roger was delighted and
it kept him fed for three days… Unfortunately, he had turned into a
decrepit wreck - not only had he knackered up his back (not sure how)
but he also twisted his bad knee very badly when he slipped in the
woods by the beach when we were walking the dogs. He couldn’t walk
and could barely move.... as you can imagine, his new wife's sympathy
knew no bounds !!!
After enjoying the
solitude of 14 different anchorages on the Island, we had to think
about leaving so, once Roger was fit enough to move, we stopped off
one last time in Paterson Inlet where we met up with Superted and
duly celebrated Matt's recent 60th Birthday.
This was followed by a
round of Golf at the Ringa Ringa Heights Golf Club (the second most
Southerly Golf Club in the World)….
It was a bit of an "old
crocks" game as Roger was still suffering with his dodgy knee, Matt
had a dodgy back and poor Jean was still recovering from the 3
cracked ribs she received while they were in Fjordland – Vicki was
the only healthy one and she wasn’t even playing !!!!
It was now time to head
North up to Nelson at the top of the South Island to get ready for
our passage across the Tasman Sea to Sydney.
Rather than stop in
Dunedin, we decided to use the Southerlies to sail straight to Akaroa
(292 miles) and to say goodbye to all the lovely people we had met
there. Roger had one last
Sunday race crewing on “Armalite” – they won which was a very
fitting finale to our visit and meant that a few beers were enjoyed
in the Clubhouse afterwards…
We left Akaroa on a
straight run up to Clifford Bay where we stopped for 1 night arriving
back in the Tory Channel on 11th April. Our total foray to Stewart
Island covered 1,217 miles and just under 3 months.
Luckily, we had got
back to Picton in time to meet up with Alan & Sheila Thoy who
were over in NZ on holiday. We had arranged to stay
in a Bach with them for 3 days which was great fun.
Roger & Alan
managed to squeeze in a couple of rounds of Golf, we had a few Beers
and even had beautiful weather for a lovely day sail in the Sounds.
Once they had left, we popped around to Waikawa Marina to collect our sparkling new Main Sail and say a fond farewell to Geoff.
Then we visited Kumutoto Bay
for the last time to say goodbye and for the dogs to have one last
romp through the woods. It was really quite sad to be leaving as this
Bay had become very special to us over the months…
We arrived in Nelson on
4th May ready to do
all those last minute jobs before we finally left New Zealand heading across the Tasman Sea for
Australia. This included a quick haul to scrub our bottom. We also had to say 'au revoir' to Jean & Matt who were flying back to the UK - not sure when our paths will next cross...