Landlocked in Havelock

With our guests gone we are back in the Havelock marina and all was very quiet. Not a sound in the house, not even a mouse.

Havelock is another coastal village similar to Picton at the head of the Pelorus Sound. The population is around 500 peeps and the road between Nelson and Blenheim passes through the town. And although they don’t have too many people, they are the centre of the green-lipped mussel industry in NZ (more on this later in the piece).  It was gold in 1864 that led to the growing township, then sawmilling and then dairying.

00 Havelock

What I found most interesting about Havelock’s history is that it is named after Sir Henry Havelock, known from the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion in 1857. The main street at that time was called Lucknow Street. With my father being born in Lucknow, India, it was a cool link!

Another interesting piece of trivia that the Malborough Marina group are very proud of is that Malborough only makes up 1% of the country’s population but they have 20% of the coastline.

09 Marlborough Stats

Today was boat maintenance time again.

Two key issues. Firstly, the hydraulics. B wondered if there was a leak in the system somewhere as the winch would let the anchor “creep” out. He also was still keen to explore a redundancy option should we lose the engine that pumps the hydraulic fluid for the stabilisers.

The other was the batteries again. These were still playing up and just didn’t seem to work as well as they used to. When we were in town with the kids, the chandlery Bow to Stern referred us to a company called the Owen Brothers who are known around town as the O Bro’s. They were fully booked up so they referred us to a guy called Mark. What a find! Mark and B sat down in the cockpit and talked through the issues at hand.

34 Mark's Number plate

Turns out that one of our house batteries (we have four) is dead. Another is dying and the other two won’t be far behind. They’ve been in the boat for about 5 years so it’s just one of those things. I would expect another five years out of them, but what would I know! However, I can’t help but think that this was the reason the electrics have been playing up and why the TV and lights kicked the bucket when we were in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. We ordered new batteries and decided to stay overnight to be here when they arrived the following day.

B was also concerned that we potentially had fuel in the oil – which is not good! He arranged with the local engineering firm to get an Oil Analysis Kit to send away a sample of the oil to get tested.  This needs to be posted to Christchurch for testing.

04 Oil Analysis Kit.png

Another guy Carl from FPS Solutions came to the boat to look at what was happening with the hydraulics. Unfortunately, after a day rummaging around swapping bits of componentry, he was none the wiser. The manuals were out but the puzzle remained.

01 Carl and the hydraulics

While all this engineering work was underway, I opted to get the washing done. We had a couple of loads and although we do have a condenser washer/dryer on the boat, marinas prefer that you use their facilities to keep the water as clean as possible. And their machines are commercial grade, big and do a great job. So, I went to the laundry where a load was already underway, but no queue.

02 Washing Room

For all those of you who have stayed at camping grounds with shared facilities, there is a certain etiquette. Following this, I put my bag of laundry at the base of the machine to clearly show that I was next. Not to mention we have a bright red laundry bag that can’t exactly be missed.

07 Inside the laundry

To help get me through these terribly mundane and domestic jobs, I often call my sisters while I work (and before you say anything you two, I call you other times too)! The machine was on the final spin, which is quite noisy, so I popped out of the room and stood beside it. I saw an elderly lady coming towards the room with a bag and an armful of what looked like toilet mats. I mentioned to her when she opened the door that there was a queue. I didn’t think I needed to explain that the red bag was next and the queue was me! She was taking some time so I told my sister to hold on and I popped my head back inside the door to see her putting another load in the machine. Huh? I calmly asked, “Are you putting another load on?”. Again, kind of obvious why I asked. Her response without looking around and hurriedly stuffing her mats into the machine said “Yes, I’m putting my next load on. It won’t take long. It’s only 20 minutes”.

Wow, the freaking cheek of it. Being in her 70’s I couldn’t say what I really thought but I was not happy. My poor sister got the download and her advice was for me to make friends with the woman and take her for a cup of tea. Thanks Tanya, but that was soooo not going to happen. When I returned 30 minutes later she was standing outside the room and quickly headed inside when she saw me. I opened the door to have her say “Sorry for holding you up but I’m done now”. My only thought was “If you were really sorry, you wouldn’t have pushed in young lady”. But my mother always taught me that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. It is very unlike me to say nothing, but I did just that.  As I walked back to the boat, I did snigger to myself about how something could annoy me so much when actually I had all the time in the world and had nowhere to be. I suppose that injustice in any setting gets up my nose. Where’s that Shakti mat?

There was a campground next door and I now think that maybe they share the facilities with the marina. There is a property (made out of caravans) that seriously looks like it has been there for at least 30 years.  All I can say is “Young lady, I know where you live”!

05 Washing Ladies House

It was time to get off the boat and go for a walk. I was keen to see if we could visit a Mussel Factory to see how they process them from the barges, many of which pass our boat all day heading to the factories form the many “farms” around the area.

08 Mussel Barge

And although poor Carl wasn’t able to resolve our hydraulic issue, he certainly knows about mussels! He, like many of the other locals here in Havelock, have some equity in the mussel farms. I was telling him that we got some mussels off a farm last week for dinner. He reassured us that the companies do not mind at all if people take the mussels. And here’s why…

There are 600 farms in the Marlborough Sounds alone. Each farm has 10 lines and each line is 160 metres in length. They farm 25 tonnes per line! If my math is working correctly, that’s 150,000 tonnes of mussels!  He said if the entire Havelock marina took mussels for every meal, there would still be plenty to harvest and the industry wants to preserve goodwill with the local boaties (shared use). The mussel industry in NZ is around $375 million and that’s out of a $500 million total aquaculture industry. The remainder being oysters and salmon.

If you are ever in Havelock, there are cruises you can go on that will not only take you out to the gorgeous waters of the Pelorus Sound but also educate you on NZ’s mussel farming industry. Here is one of the cruise boats that was on our pier.

17 The Mail Boat - Daily Mussel Tours

There are two main factories here in Havelock; Talley’s and Sanford’s. It was such a lovely evening we decided to head towards the water where the Sanfords factory was.

On the way, we found the Pelorus Boating Club. There wasn’t much going on and similar to a number of the local boating clubs, they are closed most days. I’m sure they have a club day when they open their doors.

Although the factory was in full swing, it was after normal working hours and therefore not that inviting. I think if the office had been open, we could have asked there for a tour. We decided to do our own tour around the outside of the factory and then walked down the other end of Havelock where the Tally’s factory is. There were guys working on cleaning and seeding ropes for the farms.

The winch issue remains unresolved. B hadn’t done the oil test kits yet and wanted this done so he could post them away in the morning! We had not eaten since breakfast (‪at around 9:30am) and it was now ‪7pm. A frustrating wait while B filled up the test kits and one was rather hangry by the time we headed out for dinner! It had also been another scorcher of a day reaching 28 degrees.

Even in our hungry states, we wanted to eat at the Captain’s Daughter again, only to be told on arrival that their kitchen stove was out of action and they couldn’t do dinner service. It was back to the Slip Inn. It was a beautiful evening and the hills of Havelock looked fabulous from the restaurant. The food was nothing to rave about unfortunately but the view certainly made up for it.

On the way into town for breakfast the following morning, I put another load of washing on. B being B, he had the Oil Analysis Kit in hand. As we walked up the street to the post office, B spotted the NZ Post Rural Delivery van. He booted it across the road and intercepted the NZ Post women emptying a post box. She didn’t seem to mind and added our oil to her pile. Job done, now we can eat.

28 B intercepting the rural post

It was back to the Captain’s Daughter for breakfast. We sat out on the back deck and, after putting my order in, I was able to use Brett’s Bridge behind the restaurant to go and switch the washing into the dryer after the 20 minutes it takes to do a washing load.

Bridge and Captains Daughter

There was slight confusion over our order and we ended up with only one meal. It was big enough to share and we were happy with that!

In walking back to the boat we went through the campground which is quite open. We noticed that a number of the trees had fruit on them – apples, pears and peaches.

30 Community Orchard 2

Then we saw the sign that it is a Community Orchard,

29 Community Orchard

What a great idea.

I got another blog out while B worked on trying to figure out the hydraulic issue.

The batteries arrived ‪around 2pm. The lovely Mark brought them to the boat in a couple of trolleys. What I didn’t quite appreciate is that these batteries each weigh about 45kg. To take the current ones out and replace them in the tight area in the engine room is no easy task. And it is certainly not a ‘one man job’.

31 Batteries

Both B and Mark had not seen the brand before and were concerned to know if they were the right ones and the best ones. After a number of phone calls to a number of the marine electric industry, we had some trusted feedback that they would indeed be OK. These are not something you want to install and then have to swap out again!

B got his activewear on and off they went! Poor Mark, like all the engineers working on the boats, he needs to comply with Health & Safety regulations and wear full length, fire resistant overalls. Ironically it was about 36 degrees in the engine room today, so he would surely die of heat exhaustion before a fire would get to him!

I made some chicken liver pate while these guys worked tirelessly in removing the old batteries and installing the new. They have to navigate onto the boat from the pier, down our stairs and into the tight spaces in the engine room. They have definitely had their cardio and weight training for the week at least!

The most astonishing thing of all was that when all the house batteries were removed, the gauge that we manage the batteries off, still read 23.4 volts! WTF?  We can only put it down to larger firms in Auckland using multiple team members and no-one checking the work thoroughly at the end of the job. They had hooked up the sensor of our house batteries to our starter batteries! No wonder we were confused about what was happening!

We ate dinner at Captain’s Daughter again and it was just as yummy as the first time! Missing my Asian food, I opted for a Thai Chicken Curry and B the Salmon Linguine I had last time. Unfortunately, my curry wasn’t exactly an Asian version – more like a Kiwi Curry.

The next morning I cooked breakfast on the boat including some of my favourite Black Pudding. When I was young and didn’t eat much at all, my mum got me eating ‘black sausage’. I had no idea what I was eating but really liked the taste. It wasn’t until about 20 years later that I realised what black pudding actually was. I’ve found that it’s become ‘trendy’ in a number of the cafes and I still love the taste.

37 Breakfast on 17th

It was clear that for some of the things I wanted on the boat, I was not going to be able to source them in Havelock. It was online shopping time! We were planning to be in Nelson in about 2 weeks, so that was the best option for a delivery address. It is strange not having your own address! I may have got carried away a little, but after an hour online, I had 9 parcels winging their way to Nelson Marina. So exciting!

As I’m sure many of you are aware, my blogs are not a twitter feed of up to the minute activity! I used the downtime (well maintenance time for the boat) in Havelock to get writing and get another blog published.

Mark was back to finish off the battery installation. B managed to give himself a huge shock while he was sorting out the battery charger! He forgot to turn off the circuit before putting the cover back on after checking that his work was successful. Youch! Maybe he’s not a fully qualified electrician just yet. But…. boy has he learnt heaps. I’m still trying to get over the fact that the battery reading that we have been managing our battery usage was attached to the wrong battery! I’d like to find the muppet that did that and get them to pay for the satellite TV unit we had to replace! I don’t know how B stays so calm in these situations. Best I leave him to deal with the maintenance!

34 The Electrical Team

The lid to the top of the box where the batteries live did not have any ventilation and Mark thought it should. B walked into town with the lid to see what he could get done. He discovered a Menz Shed. They let him use the shed and drill the holes himself.

Having never heard of them before, I googled it. In a nutshell “Menz Shed brings men together in one community space to share their skills, have a laugh, and work on practical tasks individually (personal projects) or as a group (for the Shed or community)”.  It turns out they have them in 14 regions around NZ. How very cool. B was stoked that he got to do his own handy work and proud of the outcome.

40 B happy with his handy work

I made a very random lunch of Bok Choy and Pork & Fennel Sausages. I was really just trying to use up the Bok Choy that was going to go bad soon if I didn’t. It’s the one thing I find when we are stuck in a marina – we prefer to eat out, but there is leftover food in the fridges that need to be eaten. Not my best work.

It was also now pouring with rain and not the weather to go out walking for the sake of it. It was definitely an online day – lots of emails, texts and phone calls.

I used the opportunity to see what other food we had on board that really should be eaten up. Rummaging through the freezer I spotted the crayfish from Ngawi. Yum! I made another simple crayfish salad mixture and we ate it on lettuce. So yummy!

Crayfish Salad 2

For dessert, we had blueberries with homemade yoghurt, chopped pistachios and maple syrup!

47 Dessert

We woke up the following morning and decided it was high time that we did our blood pressure checks. With my family history of high blood pressure, I bought an Omron blood pressure machine years ago and had it recalibrated just before we left. B’s blood pressure is always excellent which is also a good check on the accuracy of the readings on that day. Mine was not so good – definitely too high! Funny thing is that I’m not too sure what I’m supposed to do about it while I’m on the boat. I decided I’d book in to see my doctor the next time I was in Auckland – just to be on the safe side.

We skipped back to the Slip Inn for breakie. We both chose the eggs benedict with no bread but asked to have them served on mushrooms instead – mine with salmon and B’s with bacon. They were good!

Bellies full, it was time to get back out on the water. This time to explore D’Urville Island before heading to Nelson.

Final engine checks and we’re off.

49 B putting final touches on the batteries

It had been raining quite heavily overnight and the channel was brown and covered in logs and other debris. Not pretty.

56 Debris in the water

I cleared the fenders off the side of the boat

50 Leaving Havelock in the rain

while Captain B diligently navigated us back out into the Pelorus Sound. This time bound for D’Urville Island and beyond.

50 Leaving Havelock

Farewell Havelock! Thanks for having us.

Click here to see our ‘up to the minute’ track on the map




Let’s Rummy!

Having seen the kids off safely, it was time to prepare for our next guests, who were arriving tomorrow morning. Off to the supermarket to stock up on fresh food and supplies. Havelock has a small Four Square supermarket. It had enough basics but certainly not the favourites I like to have on board. So, for some special supplies, we would need to do some online shopping and have things shipped to the Nelson Marina.

We made a call into Greg from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. He had unfortunately needed some minor surgery in Perth and was home for a quick stint. It was really nice to talk to him and it kept B occupied while I wandered around the Four Square and shopped for what we needed. B’s favourite words to me at the supermarket when I’m provisioning the boat are “Do we really need that? We don’t have room!”. I like to ensure we have more than we need and that we definitely don’t run out of essentials. You know, things like toilet paper! We were heading to Nelson after this, so I only needed to worry about the next two weeks. Still, we bought enough to require a trolley to transport it all back to the boat.

The laundry is always an interesting one – most likely because I don’t do it very often! It’s always been a blue job in our house. I had the sheets, towels etc. in the laundry bag and walked up to the laundry room. It’s not that far, but we always seem to be on the end of the marina pier and the laundry room is about another 500 metres away! And it’s as I arrive that I realise that I need an access card to get into the room. I walked back to the Marina Office, halfway back to the boat, and ask them for a key. I walked backed to the laundry room to realise I’d forgotten the laundry detergent. Grrr…  back to the boat. Normally it’s the coinage you need to operate the machines that I also forget to take. At least, thanks to the advice from Ms. Wilson, we do have plenty of change on board, even if I do leave it on the boat. I finally get myself into the laundry room to find the machine already whirring away with someone else’s washing. “Really?”. Ah well, I put our bright red laundry bag on the floor in front of the machine to indicate that I’m next! So this chore took me about 4 times as long as it should have, but I got there in the end.

Havelock Laundry

With the boat all stocked up and the laundry done, it was now time to fill our bellies. We walked the supermarket trolley back to the store and found a restaurant for an early dinner. Our choice, The Captain’s Daughter.

Havelock is well known for their mussel farms and therefore the mussels on offer are always fresh as could be. I ordered a platter of mussels in their half shells and grilled to share. They included toppings were Parmesan, garlic butter, spiced coconut and plain. B, of course, had to try their chowder. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember to take photos before we ate the entrees but you can see from these that we liked them.

For the mains, B opted for the fish and I had the salmon linguine. Both were very nice.

The next morning we cleaned the ship. B did the bathrooms and bed making and I the vacuuming, galley and saloon.

Our next guests had flown all the way from Auckland to Nelson to come on board for only 2 days! With these two, I’d rather that than no days, but we all knew that we were going to make the most of it. The weather had been very grey and dreary and was still so on their arrival. Pete and Kirsten had been up since 5:30am to make the trek south. A coffee was definitely in order.

B and I had not had any breakfast with all the prep and excitement of our pending guests. Having had such a good experience there last time with the kids, we thought we’d go back to the Slip Inn for some sustenance.

Slip Inn.png

But before heading to the cafe we thought we better get our guests settled into their new home for the next two nights. Kirsten was so happy to find a life jacket on her bed that she came straight back outside wearing it!  “Safety first” she proudly announced! This was going to be fun.

Reso in Havelock Marina.png

They arrived ladened with wine and our order of a caseload of Nespresso coffee capsules! Thanks guys!

Breakfast at the cafe was a mixed affair but I really don’t think it would have mattered where we were. I tried ordering the Corn & Potato Stack with an extra egg to be told that I couldn’t get an extra egg. The meal only comes with one egg. I said I was happy to pay for an extra egg but that didn’t work either. Kirsten to the rescue, “Don’t worry, I’ll get poached eggs on toast and you can have one of my eggs. I only want one”.  Problem solved, waitress happy and off we went on our coffees. When the meals arrived, we both had two eggs! Hmmm…  ah well, you can’t win them all. Better than no egg.

Back on board and ready to roll we needed to head back out the crazy, shallow and zig-zaggie channel.

I was questioning Captain B if he had it sorted. Pete said not to worry as B was playing space invaders navigating our way back out again and watching the track dots from our previous path into the marina. Smart move!

Pete on the deck leaving Havelock

A number of the locals had told us not to bother going up the Kenepuru Sound as “there wasn’t much up there”. It was the only part of this area we hadn’t explored and I had always wanted to see Portage from the water. This was the place we walked over the hill to from the Queen Charlotte Sound when my tramping boots fell apart. We warned Pete and Kirsten of what people had said but they were more than happy to give it a go with us. And boy, were we glad we did! The sun had come out and we found our own little paradise.

Our first anchorage was in Ferndale Bay.  A gorgeous bay all to ourselves.

Ferndale on our own.png

It was only fitting that we start off with some bubbles. Accompanied by my ‘tortilla’ crackers and artichoke dip.


Pete and Kirsten wasted no time at all and started teaching us how to play Rummy. I had played a simpler version years ago but this was great. 7 cards in your hand, a pick up pile, a throwout pile and a number of face-up piles you make with everyone’s cards. The objective of winning is to be the first to get rid of all of your cards. Like any game, there are many other rules including what we now call ‘boat rules’ that are slight adjustments or additions to existing rules to make the game go smoother, faster or easier.  Once someone has ‘Rummied”, the rest of the players must count up the score based on the numbers on the cards left in their hand. If anyone ‘Rummies’ three times in a row, their overall score is set back to zero.

God knows how, but I managed to win the first game. 5 Rummies overall and three in a row late in the game. B managed a grand score of 249!

First game of Rummy

The sun had come out fully now so we all decided to get in the water for a swim. As for Captain B, he had to scrub the boat based on his card game loss!

No rest for the wicked and it was onto the next game of Rummy, appropriately accompanied by a beautiful Chardonnay.  And this time Kirsten had decided that the training wheels were off and she beat us big time and I was up for scrubbing the boat this time! Luckily for me, B had just done that and so there wasn’t much to scrub at all.

Jodi Pete and Kirsten

It was now dinner time. We had got some venison out of the freezer to cook on the BBQ and made a lovely mushroom sauce. While things were getting ready, I realised that I had cooked some sausages up at breakfast time for a snack. I’d left them in the microwave – ooops! They made a yummy pre-dinner snack with the even more gorgeous Karikari Chardonnay.

We made a lovely salad to go with the venison. Kirsten whipped up her Dijon Vinaigrette as a dressing – it was so good and I now have the recipe! Thanks!

The evening was filled with lots of music, discussions on current topics like #metoo (especially in the film industry, which Pete & Kirsten know all about), general chit chat and lots of laughter! The night was clear and the stars were shining brightly. Just like when you go camping, the stars are so much brighter when you are out on the water and away from all the night lights.

In the morning we cruised out towards Mills Bay for breakfast.

On the way, we started talking about the different foods we like and don’t like. Kirsten said she didn’t really like bacon and, actually, anything fried or processed. My plan for a breakfast fry-up was now out the window! I was planning on scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato and avocado. Hmmm… better change tack real quick. There was a lot of positive chat about granolas so this morning’s breakfast was homemade yoghurt with paleo granola and fresh fruit – apricots and blueberries.

Mills Bay also had a number of Mussel Farms inside it. We were all keen for a feed and especially one that was fresh from the sea. The sun was out in full force and the bay calm. We put the paddle boards in the water.

Action Shot

The boys decided to take the boards with a bucket to the mussel beds to see what they could muster. We were told years ago that the farm owners do not mind people taking the mussels from the top ropes as these are not harvested.

Pete and B off for mussels

After a wee while looking at clean ropes on the first farm, they headed off to another one. Kirsten and I went for a swim and relaxed a bit. One of my plans for exercising on the boat was to do some long swims. I decided it was time to try on my wetsuit to make sure I could still get into it! Not a long swim this time but all the gear checked out perfectly – phew! I even discovered a brand new Lululemon top that I had forgotten I had and it was perfect for paddle boarding. Stoked. Just like Christmas really.

The boys had a successful haul at the second farm and came back with a lovely bucket full of small, black mussels. B cleaned and “de-bearded” each and every one of them ready for our dinner.

Pete got in the dinghy and took some photos of the boat with his special wide-format camera. Thanks Pete!

Pete taking photos from the dinghy

It was a scorcher of a day so it wasn’t long before everyone was in the water. Luckily Pete has Lululemon swimming shorts so they dry the instant he gets out of the water! (Sorry, private joke there).

It was time to leave this bay and continue on our exploration of Kenepuru. We thought Taken-in Bay would be a good one for the night so headed that way. Kirsten and I sat on Teak Beach while we were underway and talked a lot. Funny that. Pete came to let us know that they were worried about us burning ourselves and did we have sunscreen on. Good point, thanks – until we got inside and realised that the boys were actually hungry and it was a ploy to get us inside to make some food. They both swear this was not the case and couldn’t believe we would even think such a thing. They had our best interests at the forefront of their minds! We’ll leave that one there.

We did make some snacks and decided to anchor by a point when we saw fish on the sonar in a hole. We threw a very lazy line out and got snacking. And look at that, it was Rose’o’clock too! Suffice to say we caught no fish.

Kirsten tried her hand at driving the boat to our next destination. Best done for the first time after a Rose or two I say!

Kirsten driving Reso

Take-in Bay was yet another stunning one and, again, we had it all to ourselves. I’m not sure why people were talking about Kenepuru Sound the way they were.  Our two anchorages were outstanding and we enjoyed the scenery as nice as any we had seen so far on the trip!

Best night ever in Taken-in Bay

Pete and Kirsten had also brought us a wonderful jar of gherkins. But not just any gherkins, they were the Bella ones. We had the famous Pam’s brand of gherkins on board and were informed that we were obviously a bit ignorant. So we went on to do a blind taste test. There was definitely a difference, I just couldn’t tell which was which! The gherkins connoisseurs were keen to educate our gherkin palates. It used to be all about wine, and then it was olives and now its gherkins?

Bella Gherkins.png

Anyway, I had seen a snack idea online about crumbed gherkins. Keen to give it a try, I crumbed a plate of gherkins to fry and served them as a snack with Peri Peri Sauce and some blue cheese. Both were delicious.

It really was one of the prettiest evenings we had experienced.

We were very excited about our mussel dinner but all agreed that another game of Rummy was needed before the meal. And this now brings me to the evil move mean people pull when about to Rummy! You can put down your final cards out and rummy whenever you choose.  A really mean person (or someone who is just really good at the game) will hold onto that last card until the person to their left picks up their next card. They’ll be stuck with it and the “evil one” will be hoping they have just picked up a picture card or a ten! Note to self – never, ever sit on the left-hand side of Kirsten! Pure evil, girlfriend!

Kirsten going in for the kill

Pete was our water boy tonight. We agreed that we should have one glass of water for each glass of wine. He was a very busy man. My quote of the night “Pete, I need another glass of water please.”  That became a proxy for “I’m having another glass of chardy”! But thank you Pete, as I’m sure you helped us feel better the following morning!

The girls made a salad while B prepared and cooked the mussels in what we all said was the best broth we had ever had (I think a whole bottle of white wine disappeared into the pot as well as a few other ingredients). The mussels were truly divine. Fresh as could be and oh so tender. We had a Misha’s Pinot Gris to wash them down.

Mussel Pot

Ok, we’d enjoyed the best mussels ever, the sunset and the stunning views but it was time for another Rummy challenge. Being a quick learner, I made sure I sat on the right-hand side of the evil child. This was war! The conversation and laughter continued all night long.

To help things along, B opened up a Stony Ridge Larose 2008 for the occasion.

Larose 2008

The following morning was a little slower than the one before. A good coffee and everyone was ready to roll again. We still had some of the Kenepuru Sound to explore and that included driving past Portage. Before we headed out, it was agreed that we’d have the scrambled egg breakfast planned for the day prior minus the sausages.

We cruised past Portage and around the remainder of the Kenepuru Sound.

Kenepuru Sound - Heading to Havelock

Kirsten and I sat on Teak Beach again the whole way back, having some great conversations about friendships, relationships and life. This time we put sunscreen on so we wouldn’t be called inside again!

Jodi and Kirsten on Teak Beach

The channel was now quite familiar to us now, however, Captain B remained cautious as I would expect as Chief Safety and Compliance Officer. I managed to get some photos of him parking the boat this time.

Thank you, Pete and Kirsten for the most fabulous fun filled 48 hours. I wish it were longer but, then again… I’m not sure that would be a healthy option for any of us! We really loved having you on board and can’t wait to see you again! x

Pete and Kirsten at Ferndale

Click here to see our ‘up to the minute’ track on the map


Whanau fun in the Pelorus Sound

The ‘kids’ arrived in the A1 Shuttle from Blenheim airport.  It was so lovely to see them and, after hugs all around, it was on to the good ship Resolution.  When I say kids, we have Katie, and her partner Sam, who are 26 and Jen who’s 23. B’s mom still calls us the kids, so I’m figuring it’s ok.

The weather was not forecast to get any better overnight so we decided to stay at the marina for another night.  Everyone had lived it up over the New Year period so no one was complaining about a chilled evening.  There was the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club down the other end of the marina and we hadn’t had a chance to check it out yet.  Sam and Jen were up for a walk so we headed down to take a look.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to look at in terms of a sailing club but taking a look in the water from the wharf was fun. Jellyfish everywhere!

There was another entrance to the walking track that we had taken a few weeks back, so up we went. Not really prepared for a full-on walk and all in jandals, we just kept on walking.  We ended up in Bobs Bay.

The tide was low and we all thought a walk around the shoreline would be the best way back to the boat.  Jandals and wet rocks angled into the sea do not make a great combination.  B blew his jandal apart, however, I was able to stick it back together.  It was a slow walk home!

We took the kids to Oxley’s for dinner and everyone was more than happy with their meals.

When we got back, Sam managed to get himself stuck in the bathroom.  The bathroom door shut just fine but re-opening was a problem!  It was very funny at first but when it became clear that it wasn’t an easy fix, things got a little serious.  B and Sam worked through the problem for a good hour, got some tools out and finally Sam was released.  Sam is a builder so it was kind of ironic for him to be the one stuck in there.  B got to use his electric tools and that always makes a boy happy.

The following day, Jen, B and I hiked back into town to head to the supermarket.  From our marina berth, we would use the over-bridge into town.  Quite a steep number and it gave you a great view of across the marina. Tonight’s high tide is what they call a King Tide. This occurs when there is a full moon or a new moon and the moon is closest to the earth. The extra gravitational pull creates a very, very high tide. From the bridge, we could see that it had started to flood the car park and it looked like some boats were parked in it!

Shopping requirements – 5 people on board for 8 days before we’ll see another shop. I always start my provisioning plan with breakfast and eggs. 5 people each eating 2 eggs per day is 80 eggs and a few more for crumbing fish and making other eggs based meals.  That’s at least 7 dozen! I did a similar calculation of the other fresh items we wanted. I miscalculated on the fresh corn and asked Jen to get 10 corncobs. In my head, I had thought one cob cut in half for each person would be plenty. I now had double what I thought. Two trollies full later, we were through the checkouts and done.

This time the supermarket’s van service with a driver and one passenger seat was all go.  We misunderstood where we were to meet him exactly. It was taking a while so I went back in to check. Sure enough, we were on the wrong side of the supermarket (not knowing there was a side door and a back car park!) and he’d already been and gone!.  We raced around and waited for him to be called back up to return to get us.  He was not a happy camper.  Jen and I were quick to say that we’d walk back to the marina. We agreed that if anyone could cheer up such a grumpy sod, it would be Mr. B. Jen and I got to the marina just as B was offloading the bags into the trolleys. Perfect timing. In checking in with B to see if he cheered the fella up, it was a definite no. The guy was not into speaking at all.  So I think the supermarket has the service they provide ‘on point’ in terms of function but just forgot about the customer service element.  It was free so no complaints.

The weather was still not playing ball so it was one more night in the marina.

But in the morning we were leaving Picton, and this time for good. The plan was for one further night in the Queen Charlotte Sound and then off to Pelorus Sound the following day.

Having heard people on the VHF radio all day, every day, calling up Lochmara Lodge, we thought we better go and take a look.  We had starved ourselves – well, that might be a slight exaggeration – we basically didn’t have breakfast and decided on an early lunch at the lodge.


Like Ferneaux Lodge, they have a number of moorings for guests and a tender service. The lodge also has a Marine Observatory and a Wildlife Recovery group. Where were they when Shaggy needed them? Lochmara Lodge is nestled in Lochmara Bay directly north of Picton. There is no way to get to the lodge by road so water taxis, private boats and jet skis are it.  There is a 3.5km walking track that meets up with the main Queen Charlotte Sound walkway. They also have a number of accommodation options. They have a saying about Lochmara – “Once discovered, never forgotten”.  I’m sure these memories are different for all but I can definitely state that they are very welcoming and we will remember our visit fondly.

We radio’d up our lift and within minutes we were on land. We were a little early for the lunch but they were happy to take our orders and get us some drinks.  It is funny having Aucklanders in “un-metro” places like Lochmara when the coffee order is taken.  “Almond milk flat White please”, “Soy milk flat white please”, “Decaf long black please”, “The strongest coffee you have please – triple shot flat white in a mug would be great”.  Wow, are we diverse, different or downright annoying? They didn’t even blink so I’m sure it’s becoming the norm. Still makes me giggle though.

Family shot with Reso

Lunch was divine. Katie, Jen and I had the chicken and quinoa salad, B had the Seafood Chowder and Sam the burger.  Everyone was stoked with their meals.

Now that our bellies were happy we all agreed we needed to check out the Marine Observatory. The next session was in about an hour’s time. We bought tickets and used our spare time to look around the property. There was the parrot, Banjo.


We all tried our hand at speaking to him so he would talk back. No results. We continued to watch other visitors come and try their luck too. Until we realised that the parrot doesn’t talk at all but the lodge had put a sign up for everyone to try. Cruel. There were punga trees with ‘faces’ on them, hammocks and a bit of touristy information on the area.

The time came to see the Marine Observatory. We started in the lagoon area with the marine biologist who put some fish in the water to attract the stingrays that hang around. And who wouldn’t if you got hand fed three times a day? They came over our feet and we were able to feed them from our hands. Very cool. We even got to pat them and they were so much softer than I would have thought. I have a very different view of stingrays now. Rather than swimming like a maniac away from them if I did ever come across one, I’d simply swim my normal slow pace back to the boat. I wouldn’t try to hand feed them out in the bays that’s for sure!

After the stingrays had their fill, we were into the observatory. It’s only been going for about 18 months and will develop naturally over time.  I was very impressed by the marine life that it already had within it. We finally got to see some crayfish in the Sounds!

There was even a greedy little King Shag who managed to dive down to the feeding tube and gobble up the most by miles!

We wanted to go around the top of Cape Jackson and Port Gore to travel into the Pelorus Sound the following morning, so we opted to anchor back in the bay past Patton Passage where we stayed a week or so earlier in similar conditions .

Given we had so much corn we put that at the centre of our meal plan!.  The kids have always loved fajitas and we had all the ingredients. Tortillas, chicken, avocado, tomato, sour cream etc. Which has just reminded me that we also had this with Leah on her last night.  We didn’t have salsa so we made one – worked a treat. B has a favourite recipe for the corn. Jen cooked it slightly in the microwave and then B finished them off on the BBQ slightly blackening them and rubbing them with Peri Peri Mayonnaise and Parmesan. So yum!

It couldn’t have been better weather for our passage from Queen Charlotte Sound around to Pelorus Sound. We got a great look at the lighthouse on Cape Jackson too.

As we entered Pelorus Sound we saw a boat fishing along cliffs off of Cape Lewis. Everyone was keen for a fish so we went to check it out. Also looked like a great dive spot but with all the travelling we had done, we decided fishing was enough for today.

The weather was stunning and everyone had a go at catching some dinner. Fishing was fruitful and we took 3 Blue Cod and 1 Terakihi.

Cod and Terakihi.png

We headed into Bulwer Bay for the night. Absolutely stunning evening. The girls got the paddle boards in the water and they were off.

Girls Paddle Boarding in Wiona

A wonderful afternoon of sunbathing, reading and chatting. And an old favorite on the boat is a good game of Bananagrams. Serious stuff.


B filleted the fish on the back of the boat. Keeping all the ‘yikky’ ‘smelly’ stuff out of the cockpit.  We have a fiberglass bait/filleting board that was custom made for the wood railing on our boat that sits there permanently (although it can be removed if need be). It has a plastic chopping board inside it, a hole for the salt-water hose and a hole for a knife. Both the baseboard and the chopping board have the official catch size measure sticker across them.

I decided to crumb some of both the cod and the terakihi and do the remainder in butter. We added a Rocket, Pear and Walnut Salad for “our greens”.

A perfect evening for a wee rose and chats after dinner.

Jodi and B in Bulwer Bay at night

Waking up the next day, the water was as flat as it could be. You can’t have this and not go for a paddleboard.

I was keen to check out the salmon farm on the other side of the bay. It was only about a 15-minute paddle before we were alongside the farm. Quite different from the mussel farms, which you would expect given they are a cage of fish and not simply seeded ropes. But what really surprised us was the presence of 6 seals lounging around on the nets above the farms. Captain B surmised that there was nothing the fishery could do as you’re not allowed to disturb them.

Nicely warmed up from the paddle, I jumped in the water to cool down. It was so much warmer than it had been in the Queen Charlotte Sound.

While we were gone, Jen made us all breakfast. Love it when that happens. Thanks Jen!

After breakie, Jen did some “paddleboard yoga”. Very impressive.

Jen doing yoga on the paddle board

We anchored in the most gorgeous spot called Duffers Reef. B and I were keen to go for a dive while the kids sunbathed and read on Teak Beach.

Our dive again produced no crayfish. We found lots of scallops but with the current ban on them, we weren’t allowed to pick them up. Very disappointing. A number of people had said we’d find it hard, if not impossible to find crayfish in the inner part of the Sounds. And they were right. Tons of friendly blue cod though!

After the dive we moved closer to some rocks with better shelter for lunch. The weather was still stunning and our boat was empty of fish again. We opted for more! This time we got 6 fish in quite a short period of time and thought it was plenty. Our quota with 5 on board would have been 10, but we only like to catch what we are about to eat.

Our anchorage tonight was in Wiona Bay – a little settlement of baches and farms (both in the water and on the land). B filleted the fish while the kids played games, laughed and hassled each other a bit. Just what siblings do. As the girls were spending lots of time together, Sam got to do a lot of reading. I think he nailed 3 books while on board!

Sam Reading.png

The bay was beautiful but like so many in the Sounds, it was full of jellyfish.

Fish tacos for a very late lunch or an extremely early dinner – take your pick.  Sam is not a great seafood fan so we did some Venison kebabs as an alternative. Both were yum. I made some homemade tartare sauce.

Another great evening for sitting on Teak Beach with a rose.

With our electrical issues, we are now being very diligent that if we need to use the microwave or use the jug (230-volt appliances), we must turn the generator on first. I did this and after a while, a very high-pitched alarm started. So high pitched that, with the music going, it was really hard to hear it. We finally clicked on to it being an alarm and looked on the panel. The generator raw water flow light was lit up red.

B had an idea of what it might be and jumped into the lazarette where the generator lives. Sure enough, he discovered that there was something blocking the strainer on the inlet of salt water used by the generator to cool. It was completely clogged by a jellyfish! There were so many around, it actually wasn’t surprising. But, it was a mess to clean up. The poor jellyfish are literally mostly made up of water. So… one going through a filter like that was rather mushed. I’d like to say in clearing out the strainer that we had rescued it, but I’m not sure the sludge we put back into the water would constitute a jellyfish.

I called for B’s famous omelettes for breakfast the next day. I chop up and prepare all the fillings – fried onion & peppers, chopped ham, tomato, mushroom and grated cheese. Then it’s B’s turn in the galley to whip up individual omelets. Still amazes me just how many ways you can cook eggs. And these omelettes are to die for.


After breakie we traveled to Cissy Bay in Harlem Cove for a look. We picked up a club mooring even though we had no intention of staying for very long.

It was really windy so we moved to Penzanze Bay in Tennyson Inlet, which was quite suburban. Much more shallow, different waters, and no cell coverage. Again we picked up a club mooring.

Katie had let us know that she had a work call to make at 1pm and could we please be by some cell or internet coverage. At the time she asked we were pretty sure there would be some service near Tennyson Inlet, given it was so suburban, but absolutely nothing.  At 12:40pm we dropped the mooring and ventured out into the middle of the channel until we picked up a signal. I spent that time with my nose in the comms cupboard under the pilot station until I could see 4 bars on the router. As soon as we had a consistent reading I called to Captain B to drop the anchor!


Kate got to make her call and 20 minutes later we were off again. This time to Ngawhakawhiti Bay which was one of the most stunning bays so far.

We put the big tender in the water and the kids went for a spin.

Sam and Katie on Tender

B & I went for a paddleboard around the bay. We saw a number of stingrays and fish. There was another couple on their boat across the way. The lady kept taking photos of us which at the time I thought was quite odd. When we chatted with them she explained that she was doing a photography course and her theme was Sport. I cracked up laughing and said that I wasn’t sure we would be her best models. She said if we were to fall in it would make a great action shot. Thanks love, but no.

Last week Leah had been saying to me that she loves watching people getting off paddleboards, especially straight onto a boat. Mean girl. But when B went to grab the side of the boat and the board went from under him, I could see why. I did make sure he was ok before laughing hysterically. Sorry B. Since he was already in the water, I decided I might as well go swimming too.

We needed another dinner that would go well with corn as an accompaniment. It was to be a super duper pot of Chilli. B is a whiz at chilli but instead of him making it, I did so under instruction. And of course the recipe calls for some red wine. B chose a bottle that would be good for the chilli and even better to go with it. One for the pot, two for Captain B etc.

The one thing we didn’t stock up enough of, was milk. We had read in the guide that there was a lodge relatively close to where we were heading that had not only a shop for supplies, but also a bar. Surely that means a pool table too! Ti Ora Lodge. Keen as mustard, we headed that way. It had started to rain and clouds were coming in. A little gloomy. After ensuring we’d go back and get her if we wanted to stay a while, Jen opted to stay on board while the rest of us got in the dinghy and headed over.

As we got close to the wharf, we could see a closed gate with a sign on it. It asked us to call a number before entering. With no cell coverage, we took it upon ourselves to go right in.  Ok… I can only explain this place as a little weird, odd, or strange. There was no one in sight. We found what looked to be a reception area but still no life. And then I heard a dog barking. By now, we had convinced ourselves that there was something quite wrong and jumped like crazy when I heard the dog. B had entered the building and was trying to find some life. Just inside the door was a rack of animal skins. The only positive in my mind at this point was the fact that they were not human skins! I said to Katie and Sam that I better go inside and make sure B was ok. It was like I’d walked into a bar in a ghost town. There was nothing in the beer fridge and the pool table, although it looked to be quite old, looked like no one had played on it since 1977.

I then heard some voices and tracked them into a side room next to the ‘bar’. The guy with B explained that they no longer have a store and the bar is not open. They are a lodge and had two guests fly in the day prior. We had seen the landing strip to the right of the lodge from the boat. He walked us through the kitchen and out to a deck where the couple were having their lunch. I said we totally didn’t want to intrude and should be on our way. If there was no bar, even a milk bar, we’re out of there. But no, he announces to his wife that he’d like to take us around the property. The strange feeling was still very much present and I quickly had a chat with Sam to make sure he was on full alert in case this got a bit funny.

After a circle of the property and lots of commentary about how amazing it was, we ended up looking up the hill where there was a massive white cross. Even though I asked, he wouldn’t go into any detail about what it actually was, and just said that there was a walkway ‘up there’.  Hmmm… ok. Then it was down to the lodging area where he has Woofers staying.  (Apparently, Woofers are volunteer organic farm laborers that give their time in exchange for food, lodging, and learning).  We got to meet two of the Woofers and could identify them easily as they all had long blue overalls on. Ok. We had to be quite persistent and say we really must get back to Jenny. The lady Woofer offered me peacock feather as a memento. I politely declined saying that we really can’t clutter the boat up with things. I think I may have offended them.

The owner walked us all the way back out to the wharf where, thankfully, our dingy was still tied up. I insisted he get back to his guests but no, he wanted Bennett’s name, the name of our boat and then continued to take photos of us taking off in the dinghy! We all know that noise travels with the wind and sometimes quite far out on the water, so we all just gave each other knowing looks until we were back safely on Reso. Ironically, Jen came out and said “I was just starting to get worried about you guys”. Of course, we were like “And you should have been”! After relaying the story to Jen and adding each of our stories as to what that place is really about, there was laughter all round and an agreement to get the hell out of the bay. I thought it was a commune, Katie a swingers retreat and B a Christian organic farmstay. A bit on the dramatic side, but I added that perhaps the Woofers wanted to give us a peacock feather so we could see their note attached to the end saying “Help us”!

The guy did ask me to tell everyone about their lodge, so this is me telling you all about the lodge. Not somewhere I would recommend myself unless you want to be a blue overall suited Woofer of course.

The next bay around, Wilson Bay, was also in the guide (I must get the publishers to update the guide about stores etc!) and said it had a store and a bar. A bit afraid of what this all means in this neck of the woods, we decided to give it a go. We were in need of milk after all. It used to be called the Boatel but has recently changed its name to the Lodge at Te Rawa. What a difference this place was.

Firstly, they had an ice cream sign, which got everyone (except me) excited. We were welcomed on the wharf by a lovely Scottish lady Anne and she showed us straight to the ice creams. It was raining so into the bar we went. This one even had drinks in it!  What a difference a bay makes. Anne and her husband Robert had been living in Dubai for the last 17 years and bought the lodge after last season.  It is all very new to them they were still finding their feet.

Te Rawa Lodge

Another couple of groups turned up and there were ‘hellos’ all around and drinks started flowing. B and I decided to have a bottle of Rose to join in. We started chatting with one of the groups. We met Andrew, Jo, Andrew, Jo, and Mary. Mary apologised to us for being from Auckland. I laughed and said “no need, so are we”. That made her feel comfortable. Andrew and Jo (the first couple, yeap they were both called Andrew and Jo) and their dog Leo was lovely. B and I set off asking them for local knowledge about the area. Andrew’s family are descendants and early settlers in the area and they have had their property for about 30 years.

After the first bottle, the kids went back to the boat and Sam said he’d keep an eye out for when we were ready to come back and he’d pick us up in the dinghy. We had our own private tender driver! By this time it was teeming with rain.

When we got back to the boat the kids explained that they went to use the jug to make a cup of tea, started the generator first and the alarm went again. This time, they knew exactly what it was and turned the generator off immediately. Given the bay was carpeted with jellyfish, we were pretty sure it had sucked up another one. A quicker fix this time knowing what it was. Another jellyfish turned to slush. Sorry dude.

They had heated up the leftover chilli for their dinner and were now right into reading.

After talking with Jo and Andrew we had planned to anchor in Stafford bay where their house was. Heading into the bay it was obvious that this plan was not going to work the wind was howling right into the bay. We went to Mary’s Bay (not the Mary we just met but the bay) across the way.  Once safely anchored, B and I had the rest of the left-over chilli. It always tastes so much better the following day! And a perfect meal for a grotty day outside.

Rainy Weather

After an episode of Black Mirror completely freaked me out, it was off to bed to be awoken in the middle of the night with nightmares!

We had talked with the hosts at Te Rawa about coming back for breakfast. Next morning we all agreed that we should give it a go. Support the local guys trying to make a go of it in their new venture. No cooking for me and no dishes for everyone else. Perfect plan. They were pleased to see us.

Reso outside Te Rawa.png

After yet another complicated coffee order and a review of the menus, it was ordering time. Sorry, we have not fruit. Sorry, we have no sausages. Hmmm… ah well, all good. It wasn’t the most gourmet breakie but we woofed it down and didn’t need to do the dishes! Enough said.

We didn’t stay long after breakfast and it was our last day together. We went over and looked at the famously cute Dillan Bell Cove, but decided not to stay there. B chose another one called Chance Bay. A very weird area that was big, open, much shallower and with the current weather, very moody. The Harbour Master was anchored there until they got called away. A few other boats were around but otherwise a very, very quiet place.

With the weather not being that kind to us, we decided on a game of Monopoly. These games can end in one of two ways. Appropriately ok or in tears! Not really tears but we have had some games on board that end in what you would call close to a family disaster. Katie became the banker (through having the box of money on her lap rather than volunteering) and off we went. We won’t go into details but the game was not without its excitement, drama and frustration. A victory to Captain B this time! Sam spent his money in record time and was out the back door first. Jen couldn’t get over the new rules of not putting all the tax money in the middle and collecting it when you land on Free Parking (I’m with her on that one), I was getting annoyed that although I had prime property that no one was landing on it and Katie just thought we were taking it all a bit too seriously.

Monopoly Challenge.png

While dinner was getting ready B thought he’d start the generator to help top up the batteries. When we do this, we also get the water-maker going. This takes in seawater and desalinates it into good quality drinking water. No extra purifying required. Another piece of gold on the boat. And with three girls on board, water is certainly something we need more of.

Dinner was ready and B thought he’d turn the water-maker off so we could also turn the generator off. It’s actually not a loud generator, but it does make enough noise to ruin the tranquil environment. B went down to the lazarette and started making noises that something wasn’t right. Water was pouring into the lazarette! As much as we love having water on board, we certainly don’t want it coming in and filling up the hull of the boat. The fresh water hose from the water-maker to our tanks had somehow popped off and was spewing 200l/hour of fresh water everywhere! So while we thought we were filing our water tanks, we were actually filling up our boat!

Fortunately, it must have only recently occurred as it hadn’t filled the bilge and triggered the bilge pumps! B got into ‘fix it’ mode which unfortunately including removing everything from the lazarette to dry out!

Soon, the hose was reconnected, most stuff was packed away in the lazarette again and those things that needed drying out remained in the cockpit for the night. Well, that was annoying! Not to mention a delayed dinner!

To get into Havelock the following morning we needed to navigate our way through a very long, windy and shallow channel. Entering at high tide makes the most sense but we didn’t have another 6 hours to wait for that. We followed another boat in which funnily enough gives you a sense of security – it can so often be a false sense and that boat may have never entered the channel before either!  The channel markers are very clear and so are the patches of land just beside them! With all the logs and other debris in the water, it made the trip an interesting one for sure. We had 3 sets of eyes on everything to ensure nothing popped out to surprise us.

Once the boat was safely into the berth and the kids all packed up, we walked up to the Slip Inn restaurant, sitting at the base of the marina for a late brunch. A walk into town to check it out and to walk some of our meals off. It’s subtle, but obvious at the same time, that when we arrive into a new little town and go walking, we are also scouting out where to buy food, and where the closest chandlery, post office and pharmacy are. The kids got a little bored and opted to head back to the boat.

The Shuttle turned up around 3pm to collect the kids. They had a road trip to Blenheim and a flight home to Auckland. Hugs all round again and they were off.

It was a wonderful 8 days guys and I’m glad you got to see a different area of NZ from the boat.

Arohanui whanau. x



20 years on from the tragic case of Oliver Hope and Ben Smart, who went missing after leaving Furneaux Lodge on New Year’s Eve, here we are anchored outside the lodge about to go onshore.  Leah was coming out on the Cougar Line Boat service that travels around different bays in the Sounds ferrying people to lodges, picking up trampers and day walkers and dropping off supplies to the lodges.

Leah and the Cougar

Ferneaux has always been famous for their New Year’s Parties and, unfortunately, for the disappearance of the two 20-year-olds.  But we thought it would be fun to try it out.  Leah’s boat was about an hour late, which gave us an opportunity to take a look around the place.

Leah arrived with lots of gear and treats.  Her dive gear weighed the most but her other parcels were ever so exciting.  I had put an order in for some Lewis Creamery Butter that I discovered I couldn’t get in smaller towns, including Picton.  Kept cold with ice packs and a sacrificial pack of peas and corn from Leah’s freezer, the butter arrived in perfect condition.  Thanks, chicky!

Lewis Creamery Butter.png

Captain B also received a present.  He had ordered a Fluke circuit tester from my brother-in-law and my sister kindly dropped it off at Leah’s the day before – thank you all.

Fluke Meter

And some fresh Cherries from the locals.

B and the cherries.png

Ferneaux Lodge has moorings that their guests can use and they have a full-time tender service, picking people up from their boats and dropping them back after their time on the property.  The skipper Harry was a lovely English chap holidaying here in NZ (and to Leah’s disappointment with his girlfriend).  He explained that on New Year’s Eve itself, they much prefer that everyone uses the service so the wharf is not full of tenders but also so that their happy patrons aren’t trying to get themselves back to their boats totally pissed!  Made perfect sense.

Harry at Ferneaux

Once Leah was settled in and the butter was safely in the freezer, there was only one thing to do.  And that was to go back to the lodge for some bubbles. Here was our menu to start the night off.

Bubbles Menu at Fernaeux

We had initially anchored off from the lodge as the big mooring was not available.  B called Harry up again and it was now free.  So we grabbed the mooring and Harry was alongside to pick us up in no time.  The sun was shining and the gardens inviting, so we took our drinks out to the water’s edge.

Bubbles at Fernaeux

Dinner was booked in for ‪6:30pm so we finished our bubbles off at the table.  It was a lot quieter in the restaurant than we would have thought which was going to be a challenge.  Especially when we saw the table next to us of mum, dad, son and daughter holding hands and saying grace before they ate.  Leah is a bad influence on our already self-indulgent selves.  We ordered all 5 entrees so we could try them all out.  And then we still went for a main each.  Leah and I continued with the bubbles while B ordered matching wines for our food.  Total over-indulgence, but wonderful at the same time.  It wasn’t long before we were in the restaurant on our own.  Our gorgeous waitress Katie was said girlfriend of Harry.  Sorry Leah!

After dinner, it was straight to the pool table.  Jodi and Leah against B – the best of 5.

Leah on the pool table

A few shenanigans on the way out before asking Harry to take us back to the boat.

Jodi trying out the wheelchair

The last day of 2017.  We decided to stay put on the mooring and chill before the big night.  Well, that’s what I was expecting.  I discovered on this trip that Leah is as competitive as I am.  And maybe even more so.  We decided to play a game of scrabble.

Scrabble Board.png

We made Low Carb Pizzas for lunch.  Best hangover food ever!

With Pumper 1 not on board, Pumper 2 got relegated to the dishes.

Leah doing Stus job

As there was no cell coverage in Endeavour Inlet, we made a call on the VHF to Harry around 3pm to get a lift to the lodge so that we could use their wireless. A couple of glasses of Rose, a few games of pool and a full-on wireless session to let friends and family know that we wouldn’t be able to call at midnight which we normally do.

Back to the boat for another game of Scrabble and some light snacks.  We decided to take up the option of a BBQ dinner back at the lodge.

New Years Eve.  It was time to call up Harry and get the night started. At the bar, we met up with Dee and Matt who were on the yacht in front of us in the Picton marina. After a scrummy dinner B and I spent most of the night sitting and talking with them while Leah went on the prowl. She found a few candidates! She does seem to like guys in uniform.

There were some awesome people there and the band was great – The Steeps from Picton who were billed as “a self-described high-powered, upbeat, funk-roots-blues duo”.  There were nowhere near as many people as I would have expected and the band even moved inside to the bar having initially set up outside in the marquee.

NYE Band

It was a great night and we saw the New Year in with lots of conversation, laughter, and bubbles. And a little nap at 2am!

Sleep after midnight.png

B was a legend and made Leah and I paleo bread toasted sammies for a post-midnight snack.  They were the bomb.

The Cheese Toastie.png

The first day of 2018.  To Leah’s amusement B got me vacuuming.  Vacuuming is not fun at the best of times, but with a hangover it’s torture. That’s the price of cheese toasties I suppose.

Jodi Vacuuming in the NY.png

Once the chores were done it was definitely time to get out and do some boating.  We farewelled our mooring.

Farewell Fernaeux

Leah and I were keen on a dive but quite rightly Captain B strongly suggested we waited until the following day.  It is not advisable to dive hung over!  We opted for a fish.

We anchored off of Edgecombe Point and got fishing.  We’ve been having an issue with the anchor whereby the chain is slipping (like an occasional burp) on the gypsy wheel as it goes out.  The whole anchor story is a bit of a debacle and I might get Captain B to write about that one.  I won’t mention that he was sold an anchor about 20kg too heavy and that the new chain we bought required a new gypsy wheel and the new chain didn’t match the other half of the chain and so on…  that can wait for a B blog.  And although the anchor is called ‘The Boss’ and looks pretty spectacular, putting it up front has caused us no end of issues!

The weather was glorious and one of those days you could spend all day fishing.

We wanted our quota and then we’d be done.  A number of smaller cod were caught, some reef fish and I managed a barracuda.  The worst fish in the world to catch. They are pure evil.  One fish B pulled up out of the water and a barracuda jumped out of the water to take a snap at it.  When a keeper was caught it was obvious by looking at the colour of the fish that it was mature (yes we measured all to be over 33cm).

B and Leah had caught 5 keepers between them and I just kept bringing in random species.  We had 5 cod in the ‘livey’ tank when we ran out of bait. Having caught a kingfish on a piece of cheese years ago, I’m not one to give up when there is a quota (2 per person) at stake.  Today’s decision was to see if blue cod like salami.  And voila, they do!

Cod caught with salami

Burt had let me know that Dougal was going to be on board over New Years. Wanting to catch up, and now that we had some fish on board, we called up Shamrock on the VHF to see if they wanted to have dinner with us.  Game on! We met up with Shamrock later in the day in Kumutoto Bay.  Another pretty bay. Actually, everywhere in the Sounds is absolutely stunning to the point you eventually get used to it and a bit blasé.  I also feel that photos do not do the beauty justice.

Reso in Kumutoto Bay.png

To keep up with tradition (of one day last week), we tendered over to Shamrock and went on board for some Rose and a cheese platter. Introductions were made around the boat and we were off.  Sue was still on board Shamrock with Burt, and Dougal the new addition. From memory, I think Burt has been cruising the sounds for about 21 summers and these guys have been friends well over that length of time. It was such a stunning day that B decided to give his drone flying a go. He launched it from our boat and came over to stalk us on Shamrock.

The Drone and Reso

A wonderful evening catching up with a very special friend and his friends!

Dougal and Jodi

For dinner, we had baked cod with lemon, thyme and feta, Roasted Broccoli and Bacon salad and a green salad.

Burt was sailing to Endeavour Inlet the following day so we followed them out and got some pictures of them with their sails up.

Today was diving day.  We could either go to Long Island which is a Marine Reserve – would be scenic but no food.  Or we could try for a spot that we thought looked like where cray like to live and do some foraging.  We opted for the latter and anchored at Motuara Island (off of Ship Cove).  With the dive flag up and our gear scattered around the cockpit, we started the process of gearing up.

The one thing with diving is it does take a bit of time to get all the gear on. When we did a lot of work on the boat when we first bought it, we made sure it was diver friendly.  The boarding platform was remodeled to remove one of the two live bait tanks and in its place, we put a space for two dive bottles to sit and some very cool stairs. Often on boats, they have a thin metal ladder that goes straight up and down and is near impossible to climb up – especially if you have dive gear on.  Our setup has proper full-size stairs built into the hull of the boat and continue as carbon stairs that fold out into the water.  It really was one of the best mods we did to the boat.

We also installed a dive compressor so there was no need to find a dive refill station after each dive. At places like the Barrier where you can go into Port Fitzroy to get air, but when you are diving around the other side of the island, this can still be an inconvenience.  So the Dive Compressor has always been a welcomed addition.  And now doing this trip around the country, it is essential if we want to be diving.  And as with everything that B does, he does it well. The starboard cupboard in the cockpit is our dive cupboard.  We have four large holes for each of the dive tanks that sink into the lazarette, the ability to use the dive compressor from within the cupboard and room for all of our dive gear.

Dive Cupboard.png

Once Leah had sorted out her reg that kept free-flowing and borrowed B’s mask as hers was leaking, we were set to go.  Leah had just had her gear serviced so the reg issue was really annoying.  This so often happens when you get gear serviced.  Happens with the boat as well, which we are learning all about!

Our dive plan was to swim halfway between the boat and the cliff and descend. We would then head right along the coast for half the dive and return for the second half.  It looked so pretty.

But…what a disappointment!  It was a very boring dive and after about 10 minutes we chose to ascend.  There were lots of kina and starfish – all the things crayfish like to eat.  And the reason there were so many of these things was that there were certainly no crays down there eating them!  The water was extremely cold too.  We agreed it was great to get wet but it was a very disappointing dive. Maybe we should have gone with the scenic option.  B was happy taking us to another spot but we decided enough was enough for the day and we were simply going to chill.

The bean bags were out on Teak Beach and the girls lay back and chatted while we traveled. It’s such a wonderful place to sit when underway as you can’t hear the motors but you can hear the bow riding over the waves.  Leah and I decided to get into discussions around what purpose we wanted to have in life and what we’d need to achieve it.  No small conversation!

We headed to Ship Cove for a look.  Ship Cove is just west of Long Island.  The name Ship Cove was given by Captain Cook on 15th January 1770.  He anchored his ship, the Endeavour, there to replenish supplies of food, water, and wood.  He made a headquarters on shore and ordered the planting of vegetable gardens and construction of an enclosure for pigs.  He returned to the Cove a further four times over the course of his first and second voyages to the Pacific.

Ship Cove is also one end of the Queen Charlotte walk.  Leah explained to me that the closest place from Ship Cove was a 7-hour walk away.  So the trampers and day visitors would not want to miss the ferry at the end of the day.

We rendezvoused with Burt and co in Endeavour Inlet at a little bay near the entrance called Tawa Bay.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  Burt had done a beautiful job of his stern lines.

Shamrock at Kumutoto

We simply anchored out a bit.  Leah and I had not moved from Teak Beach but were now in need of a G&T.  But before we got these on the go, Burt had come to visit.  He explained to us that he has picked mussels off the rocks for their dinner.  What a fabulous idea!

Leah and I jumped at the opportunity to actually do something, so in the dinghy we got.  It wasn’t long before we had a bucket full for dinner.  We got the smaller black mussels rather than the few green-lipped ones that were dispersed amongst them. Burt said he prefers the smaller ones as the green-lipped ones were far too gynaecological.  Hilarious.

Burt also gave us a fennel bulb and some Oozo (I think the recipe calls for Pernod) to use in the broth.  His brother, David is a famous foodie and has written a book – NZ Food and Cookery.  I’ll have to get a copy of that onboard.

Kumutoto Mussel Haul.png

We invited the good folk from Shamrock over to join us for a gin on the bow of the boat.  Again, a lovely time chatting and basking in the sun.  Burt is smart and chooses anchorages that have the sun until the last minute before it sets. After a couple of G&T’s, everyone dispersed for dinner.  We said our farewells as they were getting away early in the morning to get Dougal back to Picton.

Leah, B and I stayed on Teak Beach with some wine to chat and chill before dinner. Our mussels were delicious but unfortunately, a number of them did not open. Just meant a smaller meal for us all, which wouldn’t be a bad thing with all our recent indulging.

The sun going down this evening created a beautiful light.

Lovely Shot of Leah.png

Tomorrow we would need to drop Leah back off in Picton so we planned to head to a bay closer in than Endeavour. A 1.5 hour journey into Ruakaka Bay.  Good traveling day for another game of Scrabble. These competitions were getting intense and hilarious all at the same time! Leah would crack up at my comments like “OMG, I have such a good word.  I could spell Utopia if only I had a P”.  And it took me a while to switch onto the fact that Leah would watch my eyes to see where on the board I was looking when I got all excited. Cunning.

With so much chatting and so much laughter and maybe a little wine, I can’t even remember what we ate for dinner! Being Leah’s last night and having played about 5 games of Scrabble over the last 4 days, it was time for the serious stuff. Trivial Pursuit came out.

And we thought Scrabble was competitive. We alternated in getting a piece of pie each until we both had the 6 required to finish the game.  Leah still got to laugh at me with some of the guesses I made. But 3.5 hours later and another bottle of chardy, it was I who had the last laugh. My question, History of course, because young Leah had worked out that I sucked at it, was “Which George was on the throne when the American colonies declared independence from England?”. Hmmm…. being way better at math, I figured there must have only been 5 or 6 King Georges, so I assumed 6 and split it down the middle and went for King George III. Leah was not a happy camper and I think this will stay with her forever, or at least until we meet over a Trivial Pursuit game again. A well fought battle young lady!

The following morning, we steamed into Picton and back into berth J15. It was straight into town to try out the pies that Leah had been raving about. The Bakehouse Cafe is a very unassuming place with the most wicked food.  Of course, we needed to order a few to try.  I went for Butter Chicken, B a Lamb Curry and Leah the Chicken, Cranberry and Camembert, which was the pick of the lot. Leah also went for the traditional kiwi lamington.

We rolled back down High Street to be back at the boat in time for Jennifer’s A1 Shuttles to drop the kids off and pick Leah up.  Thanks Leah for the most entertaining and fun-filled four days.  And for the chats about life too!

Happy Jodi and Leah

UTOPIA (Poem by Leah Davey)

After getting supplies and eating the world’s best pie, it was chicken cranberry and cheese, I arrived at Furneaux lodge to a brisk sea breeze

My beautiful friends Captain B and Jodi picked me up, happy to flee and go aboard Resolution three

Ashore with Harry we went for drinks and dinner, reflecting on 2017 and deciding it was a winner, we were happy and content so back to the boat we went

As we celebrated the start of a new year, I’d found a willing sailor and could have had far more fun after, if it weren’t for the shining light and laughter

We caught blue cod using salami as bait, the key ingredient to the dinner, we were later to create.

Shared with the wonderful souls from Shamrock, we chatted about life to take stock and concluded amongst much laughter that we all rock

There were many a game of scrabble and lots of meaningless banter and babble.

With endless possibilities and declarations of glee, I have the best word ever, says Jodi if only I had a ‘P’!

Chilling and chatting on ‘teak beach’ with a G&T, singing to Whitney Houston, annoying Captain B and admiring the beautiful sea

Delicious meals whipped up by Chef Jodi but it was Captian B took out the title of best cheese toastie and without Stu cleaning up in the galley, it was me who had to rally

Foraging for mussels, it got all psychological as Bert declared that the green lipped mussels are way too gynaecological

Off for a dive we went, so full of confidence and hype, but returned nine minutes later with nothing but a gripe

From Kumutoto to Resolution bay, we failed to get cray so drank some Chardonnay and enjoyed a bloody great day

From the sun setting sky afar, we saw the brightest shooting star, a rare sight to see, how bizarre, how bizzare

On the stern deck, it was neck and neck, we thrashed out the most competitive game of trivial pursuit, we laughed and nearly cried, what a hoot

There are moments in life you want time to stand still, away from the hustle and bustle and thrill

A time to sit and time to reflect of what ones life has to offer you yet.

As I sat pondering in the Sounds, reminiscing and admiring the beauty all around, myself I think I had found

As we started 2018, there was no place I’d rather be, with beautiful people, in the country I love and on the sea

It’s once been said that “the noblest art is that of making others happy”, Captain B and Jodi must be smart, because they have mastered this beautiful art.

Click here to see our track on the map

The Secret to Happiness

To B’s joy and with Brian’s farewell it was time to depart Picton marina.  There was just one final challenge to encounter – the trawler style boat that Brian arranged to be parked in front of us on the pier.  It was a very wide berth and it did look like we could drive past in between the boat and the poles on the right-hand side of the berth.  There was however, another very large and empty berth on the other side of the poles, and it looked much better for us to go diagonally out into that berth to exit.  That was our plan.

The lines were thrown and Captain B eased us out and toward the adjacent berth.  About 10 seconds into it, I could tell from the back of the boat that this was not going to work.  The stern of our boat would definitely hit the one in front and potentially also the pole to our starboard side.  We have an agreement when doing such maneuvers not to yell anything out unless it was urgent or a pending disaster.  Wisdom from the time I yelled our “Look, dolphins!” and B thought he was about to smash into something.

I calmly shouted “We are going to hit, we need to alter course and go straight out”.  B got it straight away and turned us to port.  It turned out that we did have a fair bit of room beside the boat to exit that way.  Phew!  Once the stern was clear and I could yell “Clear”, we were off.  Happy to be back out on the water.  Enough of this land nonsense 🙂

We headed to Flipper Bay (another of Burt’s suggestions).  Such a cute little bay.

Flipper Bay

There were two guys fishing from a dinghy but other than that, we were on our own.  We anchored for breakfast knowing that the wind was going to turn and Flipper would not be suitable for an overnight anchorage.  The poached eggs were a little limp today but I did manage to use two of our homegrown spinach leaves.  Suffice to say the plant needs a little more nurturing and growth before we have a spinach salad!

Captain B noticed a number of lines on the shore that people use for their stern lines.  It was relatively calm so he thought he’d try his hand at using our stern line for the first time.

B looking into a stern line

Not a bad attempt but it did pull the boat into a position whereby, in my opinion, it was too close to the rocky shore.  B agreed and wanted to try to anchor further away and try again.  From my perspective, we weren’t staying there the night so this was all ‘practice’.  I strongly suggested we practice another time.  Just as we were lifting the anchor a ‘kackle’ of kayakers arrived into the bay.  Not sure what you call a group of kayakers but it was too dangerous to re-anchor with them about, so we were off.

This time we thought we’d head back up Tory Channel and try out Opua Bay which is right up in the head of the Onapua Bay.   It was still very windy and the ferries were still going back and forth on the Tory Channel.

Ferry in Tory Channel

I was imagining what the crossing of the Cook Strait would be like on a day like today.  People are often ill even on a relatively calm crossing.  There would be a fair number of sick bags used today I’m sure.

As we entered the bay, it reminded me of Assassination Cove, Opunga in the Bay of Islands.  Kind of a safe haven when big winds are blowing outside of these sheltered bays.  This was a very large area with what looked like residential places.  Holiday homes maybe but some looked quite established and ‘lived in’.  One of the bays had some logging activity and was not pretty at all.  We found another good bay for shelter that was also prettier and got the anchor down.

I made some low carb Salmon Cakes and salad for lunch.

After some relaxing and a bit of reading I decided to try my hand at some low carb bread rolls.  My sister Tammy sent me the recipe and away I went.  To my surprise they not only held together, they were delicious.  I’d been trying to find a recipe that would provide us with some low carb bread for our eggs benedicts and fish rolls!  These would do just nicely. Based on almond meal, psyllium husks and eggs, they are flavoured with chives and cheese.  They would also be perfect for my pate.

Meanwhile in Auckland…

Auckland Traffic

I sometimes need these little reminders that racing back to the city shouldn’t be something I’m desperate to do just yet.

We had some Buffalo Mozzarella that needed to be eaten so I created Prego’s Caprese Salad Resolution style.  Whenever we eat this it always reminds me of the 3 people (you know who you are) who refused to eat tomatoes.  Couldn’t stand them.  I took each of them separately over the years to Prego and got them to try this salad.  Two now grow their own tomatoes and the other is an absolutely foodie, including tomatoes!  A very light dinner (ok, we ate some of the rolls and pate) accompanied by a Misha’s Vineyard Pinot Gris.

Today I finished my third book of the trip.  I love reading onboard and actually thought I would be reading a lot more.  With so much to see, friends being on board and blogs to write, reading has taken a back seat.  The book was “South Sea Vagabonds” by Johnny Wray.  If you are into boating or kiwi adventures at all it is well worth the read.  Astonishing how these guys travelled to the islands on a homemade yacht in the 1950’s with very little navigational equipment.  Johnny was a local Auckland boy so the local places and surrounding islands he described were familiar.

In the morning, we ventured out into the wild weather again.  Captain B found a sheltered spot (still ‘out of the bays a little’) in a bay to the east of Patton Passage.  There was a runabout with two guys who were getting ready to go fishing.  Their partners opted to stay in comfy chairs on the beach, chat and have a wine or two.  Smart women.  The guys were only gone for about half an hour (unfortunate for their women folk) and we saw them sorting their fish out on the back on the boat.  They packed up to leave the bay and B called them over to ask about the fishing.  They had just gone around the corner to the point and said they basically put the bait down in 25m and got their quota straight away.

We were keen to give it a go but thought we ought to have some lunch in our bellies before we ventured out.  Sausages, Avocado with my boat grown sprouts and a Pear and Walnut Salad.

Another thing I have started growing on the boat are sprouts.  Either a Stir Fry Combo mix of chickpea, lentil, mung bean and aduki sprouts or just plain old mung beans.  Whenever I’ve bought already sprouted sprouts, they don’t seem to last long at all.  This way we can use them fresh and not worry about wasting them or running out.

However… being a new thing I’m still not convinced the effort and time vs. goods produced ratio is quite right.  It’s fun making them (it takes about a week) and it’s good to have some on hand for salads rather than have the fresh ones go of off early on in the trip, but…  the jury is still out.

When we arrived in the Sounds we realised there was not only a ban on scalloping but also cod fishing.  The cod fishing ban ended on 20th December.  There are also really strict rules about the catch.  Firstly, the fish must be at least 33cm in length.  Secondly you are only allowed 2 per fisherman.  And thirdly, and most intriguing to us, is that you are not allowed to fillet the fish until you are ready to eat them. So, you are not allowed to fillet the fish and put it in snaplock bags in the fridge or freezer for use at a later date.  We have often done this with snapper and kingfish on long trips.  If you are to keep the cod onboard, you must have them whole so the Fisheries team can witness that they were of a legal size.  You are however allowed to kill and gut them.

As we left the bay we decided to go and see if we can catch some cod.  Now here’s where life can get interesting on the boat.  I am all for fully-fledged stinky bait.  B on the other hand prefers to keep things as ‘clean’ as possible on board and uses soft bait.  To my surprise, B had actually bought some squid bait at the supermarket. Stoked!  We didn’t catch anything this time but we certainly couldn’t blame this on any bait.  We were sitting in very high winds and the tide was completely wrong.  It was uncomfortable and to this point, unfruitful.  Not ideal fishing conditions but fun all the same.  We decided to move on and get to a sheltered bay.  On the way earlier, B captured a wind gust of 59.4 knots on the wind graph.

We headed to Wharehunga Bay.  It was quite exposed and we both agreed that the little bay we were just in, and the one before it, looked much better.  So back we went.  There were still crazy gusts hitting us now and again.  The bread rolls were such a hit, I decided to make another double batch and get some into the freezer.

Low carb Bread 4

Here’s the view from the galley.

View from galley window

The following morning we thought we should try our luck at fishing again but this time at the right time for the change in tide.  On the way out to the fishing spot, we emerged back into cell coverage.  I don’t think the excitement of hearing all the ‘bings’ of new messages will ever wane on this trip.  I had a txt from Burt.  He was in a bay in Blumine Island and wanted to know what we were up to.  I said we’d try and catch some fish and we’d go and meet up with him.

It was deep but we decided to anchor rather than one of us having to control the boat the whole time.  We were anchored by the reef from Pikersgall Island and all ready to drop the lines in when the Harbour Master boat (called Resolution!) came up alongside us.

I thought they had come to see if we were ok out in these big winds and right next to a reef.  But no…. they wanted to put a diver in the water to check our hull.  Really?  Bad timing boys.  But being the good little doobies we are, we said “Sure”.

Diver checking our hull

When you travel around the country there are differing restrictions and compliance requirements for boats.  For example, when you go to marinas or different waterways, you must prove that you have a current EWOF (Electrical Warrant of Fitness) and appropriate insurance.


Some marinas insist that you have proof that you have had the hull of your boat cleaned in the last 6 months.  Fiordland demands a “clean hull pass”, including an inspection (can do that yourself) just before you head down there.  This is to avoid contaminating the local waters with pests such as fan worm.  Auckland is considered the center of all evil in this regard!

Apparently, our butt was looking great so, once the officials left, we got fishing.  We got some small cod and a gurnard but no keepers.  It was worth a try but let’s go and see Burt and his mates.  Being an extravert, I’m always seeking social interaction with others to restore my energy!  B can obviously provide some of that but 24×7 for months on end, I think we both need some ‘socialising with others’!  Not to mention that Burt is such a nice guy and it would be lovely to see him again.  Especially now that we were in the area that he gave us so many recommendations about.

We arrived into the bay and saw Burt’s yacht Shamrock beautifully sitting at the shore of the bay.  A few arm waves before we anchored and hopped in the dinghy to go and visit.  Burt had his friends Sue, Alan and Alan’s kids Charlie and Ella.  They offered us a drink and of course we felt terrible as we hadn’t taken anything over with us as we didn’t want to look too presumptive about drinking Rose at this hour!  I accepted of course but also invited them all to dinner on Resolution that night.  It would have been good to have some cod to cook, but Burt had some lamb out and I had some to add to it, so we were sorted.  Sue presented a lovely cheese board with pate and crackers and a couple of hours later, we all thought it was time to find our anchorage for the night.

Burt suggested a spot along from Bakers Cove in the entrance of Endeavour Inlet.  B mentioned that he’d like to try the stern line out (anyone picking up on someone’s OCD here?) and Burt said it would be perfect for it.  We left ahead of the others and said we’d see them over there.

When we arrived, Captain B anchored and was getting very excited about the potential use of the stern line.  The theory behind a stern line is that it holds the boat in one direction (stern to the shore) to stop it from swinging all around on the anchor in the change of winds.  You anchor first and then connect the stern of boat to the shore with a line. Then you pull it tight by bringing in some anchor (pulling the boat forward against the stern line).

We anchored and B went to shore in the dinghy with the line and tied it around a tree stump.  He came back to the boat and tightened the line.  Ping!  It unraveled itself and went slack.  We then tied it again this time the wind took us the complete opposite direction.  The winds were not playing ball.  I then went ashore to untie the rope. From my perspective our boat might just be a bit too heavy for this parlarva!  Just as we were bringing the line back into the boat after the third and final attempt, Shamrock with Burt and his crew came around the corner.  B and I had a quick laugh thinking how lucky we were that they didn’t get to see all of that!

Shamrock 1

Burt agreed the wind in the bay was not ideal and that we should try the bay across the inlet.  This also proved to be the wrong winds.  This place is very fluky in that regard.  B suggested the bay that we had stayed in the week earlier by Mahana Lodge – south east of Camp Bay.  Although a little too busy for Burt’s liking, he agreed it was at least calm.

Mahana Lodge

Burt came over in his dinghy to ask what time we would be accepting visitors.  Such etiquette!  “Right now” was my response.  When they arrived Burt mentioned he wanted to see the engine room.  I took him down to see the big green engines and there was water all over the floor and some still dribbling out of the Port Engine.  That darn Port Engine again!  I went to get B and he diagnosed it to be the gasket of the raw water pump.  We turned the seacock off to stop any further water coming in and carried on with the evening.  That would have to be dealt with tomorrow.

We started the night off with some bubbles, much chat and laughter.  What I love about socialising on boats is that you often get into discussions with others, sometimes those you have only just met, about life.  Tonight’s discussion was on happiness.  What does happiness mean?  And what is the secret to happiness?   We talked about the Miguel Ruiz theory of the Four Agreements – Always do your best, Don’t take things personally, Don’t Assume and Be impeccable with your word.  Then there was the theory from a Samoan lady – Have something to do.  Have someone to love and Have something to look forward to.  All good stuff.  But then Burt topped it off in terms of how one should be in life to generate happiness – Be kind, be calm, be generous and be optimistic.  Well I’ll drink to that.  And that we did.

A fabulous dinner of BBQ’d Butterflied lamb with a mint marriage, Lamb, Pepper and Onion Skewers, Pear and Walnut Salad, Zucchini Salad and an Avocado, Tomato and Pinenut Salad.

I woke a little dusty in the head around 8am and no B.  I knew exactly where he would be!  Sure enough he was sitting in the engine room with tools all around him. Oh dear!  He had got up at 6am to fix the issue with the engine.  Just finishing up, he had replaced the impeller and gasket and cut and re-attached the raw water hose that goes back to the stern gland as well.  It had a hole burnt in it from the impellor housing – that’s how hot it got when it blew its gasket!  The problem was fixed.  He was totally chuffed that he could do such a thing.  Well done Mechanic B.

It was one of the most stunning mornings we had experienced so we tidied up the engine room and ventured outside to have a cuppa and enjoy the view.

Morning View with B

Burt came over for a visit and a cuppa.  Thank you Burt for such a great night and for sharing your friends!

Coffee Visit from Burt

Today we were picking up Leah from Furneaux Lodge at 2:30pm.  Since we had time on our hands we thought it would be a good opportunity to go and check out Resolution Bay.  We did a tiki tour right around the bay. There were a few houses, a DOC camp and walkway and some lovely scenery.  There were a number of bays that would be worth revisiting when circumstances allowed.

But for now it was off to Furneaux Lodge to pick up Pumper 1 – that crazy chick Leah!



Back on land

Booked into Picton Marina for 3 days to get some electrical work sorted.  Neil from Wave Electrical assessed the issues when we were last in town and needed to order some parts and a new Satellite TV box.  Not the cheapest of visits but worth the outcome – to be able to see at night and watch the news now and then.

Neil wasn’t due at the boat until the afternoon so we decided to hit the town. Walked up the main street called High Street and headed to Gusto cafe for lunch. B has decided to order Seafood Chowder whenever he sees one so he can compare them around the country.  This one was ok, but had too much potato and wasn’t worth a photo.

We arrived back at the boat at the same time Neil arrived.  He was pretty confident about what was needed and got to work.  B and I went for a walk to the ‘Dangerous Substances Bins’.  Supplied by the marina, they were about 500 metres away.  Captain B had cleaned the bilges and the water was contaminated with various oils.  Obviously not something you would want to put into the sea and the Picton Harbour Master (who is also the local Coastguard leader) would be more than aggressive enforcing the law on that one!

Bad oil disposal

I had wanted to go to my family Christmas in Auckland if I was near an airport. Originally we thought we’d be heading toward Fiordland by this time but with our log delay in Wellington, we hadn’t even really started exploring the Marlborough Sounds.  Given the flights to Auckland from Blenheim were so easy and we were on land, I knew I could make it happen. I decided to surprise my family.  B was not keen at all on taking more time out of our trip to go back to Auckland, but he does know how much my family means to me and especially on Christmas day.  And I know deep down he loves being with the family!  I think there has only been about 3 Christmas Days in my life of 46 years that I haven’t been home for Christmas.

On the way back from the bad substance bin, we popped into the Marina Office to get the key to the marina and the washing machine and dryer facilities.  We had met Brian (guy in blue in the photo below) the last time we were in Picton and he is quite a hard case.  I thought I’d try one of B’s tactics while he was on the phone and asked Brian if he thought I should go home for Christmas.  He said “Absolutely”, so when B arrived back into the office, I told him that Brian agrees that I should go to see my family.  Poor B felt a little stitched up but had a good laugh with Brian about how his life is managed.  It was straight online to book flights and a shuttle.

Picton Marina boys

To B’s horror It did mean staying in the marina for the next 5 nights.  This created a conversation between us that left us with a different perspective on our current boating that we are doing.  At home we would try and get out on the boat as much as possible and often the only reasons we wouldn’t go out would be severe weather, social engagements that we wanted to attend or Coastguard duties (hear that one Coasties!).

Our boat is now our home and we should treat it that way.  It doesn’t matter that we are not out at anchorages (although we do prefer this) every night. It’s totally ok to chill in a marina now and again and enjoy some time on land. Funny how circumstance and conversation can alter ones perspective!

I was now so excited and I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop smiling until Boxing Day! B soon got into the spirit, especially once we were able to arrange our traditional dinner and breakfast with the kids!

Luck would have it that a parcel that had been following us all around from Auckland finally arrived.  It had been couriered to the Seaview Marina the day after we left and it was supposed to have then been forwarded to the Picton marina but it had never shown up.  When we called to follow up they said it was coming across the strait with a yacht from Seaview.  Given the terrible weather, we weren’t sure exactly when that would be but they thought this weekend for sure.  We didn’t know the name of the vessel it had been sent on or the names or numbers of the people who were kindly bringing it to us.

We were sitting on the back of the boat doing some computer work and a lovely lady came up to our boat and said “Are you Bennett and Jodi?”.  It was our parcel!

Mystery Delivery

Hand delivered by Jan.  Couldn’t believe it and even better, we didn’t actually know what the secret parcel was.  Jan asked to have a look around the boat so B did that while I got into the parcel.

Oh my,… couldn’t have been a more lovely gift.  Two bottles of Bollinger!  Who on earth was this from?  And why?  At the bottom of the card it read “from Pumper 1 and Pumper 2″.  Leah and Stuart – you really needn’t have, but THANKS! In getting hold of them to thank them, Leah had informed me that she had couriered the parcel 3 weeks prior!

Wine Delivery

Our lights now worked and the Satellite TV was allowing us to connect with ‘Dan the Weather Man’ again.  Oh the joys of life in the modern world.

Having really enjoyed the experience last time we dined there, we returned to Oxley’s for dinner.  This time we sat outside and had a very pleasant evening.

Friday morning and we thought we ought to get some exercise.  There was an entrance to a number of walks right by the boat.

Walk Time for Picton to Waikawa

We decided to walk to Waikawa via the ridge track. The views were magnificent and lots of hills to get our hearts working.  I hate how easily you lose fitness when you stop exercising on a regular basis.  I had plans to do a lot of long distance swimming while I was away on the boat but with temperatures around 15 degrees, the water has not been terribly inviting.

Waikawa is often seen as an extension to Picton.  They do flow into each other but Waikawa has a separate marina which is much larger than Picton, though there are no 20m berths there.  Actually it is one of the largest in NZ – 600 berths! It was their boating club that we joined to get access to the tri-club (Waikawa, Pelorus and Mana) moorings.

We walked for about 1.5 hours before hitting Waikawa.  We were hungry and we had joked about the path taking us straight to their finest restaurant.  Funnily enough the path did lead us to their only eating establishment, the Jolly Roger.

Jolly Roger Restaurant

We sat down and ordered some lunch.  It was a lovely meal.  B opted for the Seafood Chowder and I had Orange Roughy and salad.  Both meals were beautiful.

After lunch we visited the local Chandlery store, Oddies Marine.  We prefer to support local businesses when we can rather than always go to the larger ones like Burnsco.  We were in search of valves for the fenders.  The guy explained that the older fenders have valves that can’t be replaced once they tire out. And therefore the fenders can’t keep the air in them.  Our fenders are pretty old so we decided to buy the boat some new ones for Christmas.  They guy in the shop Aaron was fabulous and helped us put socks on them all.  I find it a bit crazy with certain purchases where the covers cost about a third of the item. Our small tender was like this too.  Best not to worry about such things and just ensure what you get is going to work well.  And look good of course!  The good news with the new, more expensive fenders, is that the valves are metal and last longer.  One bonus!

New Fenders

We asked Aaron if he could order us a taxi as we needed to go back to Picton. He said “Absolutely not.  I’ll take you”.  We said we wanted to go to the dive store and the boat club so would be about half an hour.  “Absolutely fine.  You just come back and let me know when you are ready”.  This south island service is above and beyond.  And what a lovely guy.

The visit to the Dive Shop was really to find out where to get crayfish, especially as scalloping was currently banned in the Sounds area.  To our disappointment the lovely girl in the dive shop explained that you basically have to go back out to the Tory Channel or Cook Strait to get crayfish.  What? You’re joking aren’t you?  But no.  Ok, well that just put another spin on our diving expectations.  They did have Long Island which is a nature reserve – oh yes, that would have crayfish but you can’t take then.  And there was the famous Michael Lumatov wreck that can be dived.  It was a very short trip to the dive shop.

Next on the agenda was the Boat Club.  B had been in communication with their office manager, Sue.  She was there and very welcoming.  In terms of going to Fiordland, it was John Jackson that we would want to talk to.  He takes a “flotilla” south each year.  We noted that down and headed back to the Chandlery.  Oh, and Sue also offered for us to take her car anytime if we needed to get supplies or anything!  These Southerners really know how to make you feel welcome.

Aaron needed to drop two batteries off to another boat so we went along for the ride and B helped him carry them before being dropped back off at our boat.  A big thank you and a bid farewell to Aaron.  One thing we are having to get used to is meeting amazing people for very short periods of time and then having to say goodbye, not knowing if we will ever see them again.  I’ve never got used to this feeling but this trip is certainly giving me practice.  It’s also a weird situation that generally, when we leave a place in the boat to continue you on our journey, we know we will never be back – on the boat at least.  They do however say “Never say never”.

Although we have a lot of storage on board, we don’t have a huge amount of excess space and fenders do take up quite a bit of room.  Rather than discard them (which I would never do), we put the old ones at the end of our pier with a sign saying “Free to a good home”.  They were gone within about 10 minutes.  An older guy who owns a very flash boat couldn’t believe we were giving them away and took one – go figure – he could afford his own.  The other two went to our neighbours on our finger, which felt good.  If we’d known, we could have saved ourselves the walk to the end of the pier!

As you would expect the Picton marina is incredibly busy at this time of year. We were lucky enough that Brian worked some magic and juggled boats around so we could stay for Christmas.  But he did say we had to be gone by the 27th.  I think this time he was helping B by getting us away from Picton.  To accommodate us and everyone else needing a little refuge from the Sounds, they put a couple of vessels on each of the long piers.  We had a yacht in front of us for the first few days and then a trawler style launch.  They weren’t leaving until the 28th and no one was going to be on the boat.  We now had a challenge of how we would get out past them.  We thought we’d worry about that at the time.

A pretty basic Chicken and salad for dinner.  Not worthy of any photography!

We decided to get into the Christmas spirit.  I got the Santa hats out that I had hidden and played Christmas music.  B even got into the spirit of things while he did the dishes.

Dishes Christmas Style

24th December and we were flying out around midday.  To keep up the charade of surprising the family, we had a present opening session on the boat and I posted a video of B being Bah Humbug on Facebook.  It also meant we didn’t need to take them all the way to Auckland and bring them back again.  Thank you to our lovely friends who gave us presents to open!!  Love them!

Our Auckland trip was worth every minute.  We even got to surprise Kirsten for her birthday – it was straight to Prego from the airport to have bubbles with her.  Christmas dinner at Azabu with the kids was a little different from our normal Christmas meal but by golly that food is amazing.  Best dumplings ever!

Christmas Day with my family was a hoot as always and I loved spending the time with them.  I helped cook the My Food Bag Christmas meal and drank champagne all day. Thanks Tammy, Warren and Mikayla for having us stay.

And by the way, for those of you who left early, Tanya and I won the beer pong! Thanks Jack and Mikayla for the final challenge.

The trip also meant that we could brunch again in the morning with the kids before heading back to Picton.  Sam had come over from London to surprise his mum and sister, so it was a super great treat that we could see him again too.

Arrived back to Picton around 1pm and we had not missed anything in terms of weather.  It had been raining and it was blowing 38 knots inside the marina! The winds were so powerful that one gust hit the boat around 3am and woke us both up!

Next morning was food shopping in the howling winds and rain.  Wet weathers were in order.

Wet Weathers for the supermarket

We asked the supermarket to order us a taxi and they said “You don’t need one, we have a shuttle that can take you to the marina.  Only issue is it only has one seat for a passenger so someone will have to walk back to the marina”.  That would be fine and we were totally impressed that they offer this service.  As we went to leave and we asked them to call the shuttle, they suddenly realised that the guy had gone home!  They gave us some numbers for the other taxi and shuttle companies.  Called the first one and they said they’d call us back.  As B hung up the phone, I saw the A1 Shuttle van drive to the petrol station across the road.  That was another one of the numbers they had given us. B ran across to see if they could help us out.  I guarded the food!  She had a passenger to drop off and she’d be right back.  On her return I looked at her and said “I know you.  You were at the Bay of Many Coves”.  It was Jennifer, the Shag women from Bay of Many Coves.  It turns out that A1 Shuttles is her business.

Given we had such good internet service, we decided to get some computer work done. We had picked up our mail while we were in Auckland and had some documents that needed signing and both needed a witness.  I asked the guy from the boat in front of us if he wouldn’t mind witnessing our signatures!  He laughed and said “Nothings really free huh?!”.  He was referring to one of our fenders he picked up ‘Free to a good home’.

The winds were still hitting 40 knot gusts inside the marina so we were very happy being tied up in a safe place.  I’ve always thought Wellington was the windiest place in NZ, but these Sounds certainly give it a run for its money. Maybe something that Cook Strait has to answer for?

Hot Chicken and creamy sage mushrooms for dinner.  Another bonus of excellent internet coverage is the ability to watch Netflix.  Tonight’s choice – A Handmaid’s Tale.  Thumbs up to Rural Broadband!

It was time to get a good night sleep.  We needed to get back out there!

Click here to see our track on the map


Funnelling winds, fried phone and a furry friend

After battling the pre-Christmas crowds, stop-start traffic and our favorite eating spots in Auckland, it was back to the calmness of the Sounds. The simplicity of jumping off the plane and being transported by shuttle from Blenheim airport to the marina is such a great service.  Makes regional travel so much easier and reliable.

The Sounds

There was a much-needed walk to the supermarket in Picton to pick up fresh veggies and salad.  Captain B also found a pin to use to pump up the fendors that were looking a little flat and sad squished between the boat and the side of the marina.  All stocked up we did a much better departure from the berth than we did when arriving.

Based on the wind and a recommendation from Burt, we decided on Mistletoe Bay for the night.  Absolutely stunning!

A couple of G&Ts and simple snacks for dinner, consisting of homemade seed crackers and low carb tortilla crackers with hot Artichoke dip, pate, salami and stuffed peppers.

G&T w Mint and Cucumber

A couple of red wines while we waited online for our friend Greg to arrive into Sydney on his Clipper Round the World Yacht Race boat –  He had been out at sea for 14 days.  They had a live feed so we even got to see Greg’s wife Gerry riding past in a tender going out to see them in.  What a crack up!  Well done Greg.

Slept in quite late this morning – one of the quiet bonuses of being on a boat and no need to be anywhere in particular within a forced timeframe.  I’m sure we were recovering from our big trip north.  Potentially to make up for the perceived laziness of sleeping in, we got up and did our 30-day challenge exercises.

Excercise Mat

Captain B cleaned and pumped up the fendors.  Well… so we had thought.  Unfortunately, the next time we went to use them, they were more deflated than they were before we attempted to pump them up!  Frustrating for sure and something on the list to get sorted.

Egg salad on paleo toast with tomato for breakfast.

Egg Salal on Paleo Toast

Got another blog out and wrote a letter to Grant (Professor specialising in Low Carb, High Fat lifestyles) and Miki (Nutritionist) asking them about the effects of this eating regime for people with hereditary heart conditions.  Anyone who knows my family knows we all suffer from the Mitchell Curse!  Really looking forward to their advice and I can pass this on to the rest of my family.

One of my favourite spots on the boat is to sunbathe on a bean bag on teak beach.  I did this until we headed off to another bay due to the forecast wind turning from North to South overnight.  The guide says the bay we had chosen on the charts would be good in both northerly and southerly winds and it was quite close to Resolution Bay, which we were keen to go to.  It is our boat’s namesake after all!  It was an hour and half journey to get there.  We were astounded how unbelievably windy it was out of the shelter of the bays.  Captain B caught a gust of 56 knots (112 km/h) on the wind graph!

The plan was to head to Dryden Bay but when we arrived the wind was funneling in from the East.  It would not be a comfortable night.  We took a look at Bakers Bay and Camp Bay before finally settling up by Furneaux Lodge.

After dinner, the wind had completely died so we went back to Bakers Bay, but this had the swell coming in.  Feeling like we were never going to find a settled bay in Endeavour Inlet, we went back towards Camp Bay and stopped in the little bay to the east of it.  It had a resort called Mahana in the cove.  A dead calm and comfortable night.  We do find it worth taking the time to find just the right bay for the night.  There have been times in the past when we would anchor in a bay and the wind would become very strong and change direction overnight.  It would see us awake, freaking out a little about if we would drag the anchor and eventually deciding to move at 3am.  Not fun!

More Paleo toast with egg salad and tomato for breakfast – opting for the easier options at the mo!  Another bay with no service.  We both have phones with 2Degrees plans and we have installed Rural Broadband to provide our internet capability.  We had swung around with the wind and the tide was very low.  We were a little close to the shore, nothing to be concerned about but we thought it best to up anchor and head off.  We both decided we may as well head to where we had coverage and better shelter.

Out of the bays and in the middle of the sound we still had gusts of over 40 knots.  It wasn’t too rough so I opted to do my exercises on the way.  The movement of the boat just makes them a little harder!  Captain B found a beautiful spot with a club mooring in Double Bay and we had service!  I spent the day blogging and reading while B got his exercises done.  Although we had some service, it wasn’t quite enough for B to sit in on his Coastguard Board meeting via Skype.

By ‪6:30pm the southerly was dying out as forecast and we moved to Arthur’s Bay in the Bay of Many Coves which also has a resort of the same name.  I had never heard of the lodge but it did look fancy.


Captain B called them on the VHF and they allowed us to use one of their moorings outside the resort.  To “return the favor”, we went onshore and had a bottle of chardy.  We were met at the jetty by a lovely guy who showed us the way to the bar.  Alone, we sat on a beautiful deck overlooking the bay and our boat.  The guy had encouraged us to dine with them so we were figuring that the restaurant was upstairs above where we were sitting.  We were happy to have dinner there but when we asked the waitress she returned and said that the chef was more than happy to have us but they didn’t have enough tables!  Slightly odd but a bottle of chardy it was.  Dinner was back on Resolution – Chicken with Feta, Oregano and Lemon accompanied with a coleslaw for dinner.

Boat outside BOMC

Given we didn’t get dinner at the resort, we thought we’d try for breakfast the following morning.  We were again met by someone at the jetty and ushered to the ‘day’ area of the resort.  It was right by the water and although still a lovely spot, we couldn’t help think something seemed a bit strange about being segregated off to the ‘side’ of the resort.  Funny how you can ‘feel’ these things.


If there’s one thing that isn’t great on the boat, is the state of one’s feet.  It’s great not wearing shoes and being free, but the damage to the soles and the dryness of the skin is not always a pretty sight.  I’ve even been told that wearing no shoes on a boat for a period of time can see you struggle to fit and wear your normal shoes once back on land.

I decided to give myself a pedicure.  After soaking my feet in warm, soapy water, drying them off and lathering them with copious amounts of medicinal moisturiser, I was starting to feel human again.  As I was about to tidy up the workstation (I’m sure there’s a better word for that but hey, I‘m on a boat), I heard a flapping noise in the sea. Looking behind the boat about 4 metres out I could see an animal in the water, whitish in colour, flapping madly and going nowhere.  At closer inspection (not that I was that close to it) I could see that it was a bird, upside down and swimming in circles.  It looked like a shag upside down.

I couldn’t just leave it so I jumped into the dinghy, connected the oars and went to see if I could help.  After a few attempts of trying to flip him over which did nothing but freak the guy out, B was now at the back of the boat wondering what the hell I was doing. “I’m trying to save a shag” I answered his unasked question.  He suggested I come back and get a net, which I did.  It wasn’t like the shag was going anywhere apart from being swept away with the tide.  He was now about 20 metres away from the boat.

Back out and a few power struggles later, I had the shag sitting in the net inside the dinghy.  I calmed him down as much as I could (with my bird whispering skills from god knows where) before rowing back to the boat.

I’m always a bit hesitant to pick up wild birds but we got a towel and B gently sat him on his lap to calm him down and try to see what the problem was. It wasn’t obvious apart from us knowing he was lopsided and couldn’t flip himself over in the water.  We were laughing about how ironic it was that here we were trying to save a shag when all we do when they get in our way fishing is to curse them.  The worst thing in the world is for a shag to chase your bait and sometimes get hooked on your line.

To the Bay of Many Coves’ horror, we decided to take Shaggy onshore to see if they have a bird rescue place in the Sounds. There was one particular guest, called Jennifer, who seemed to know a lot about birds in the region.  She explained that this was a baby King Shag which is both native to NZ and protected.

Jennifer had been kayaking around the point earlier and said the nests were very high up on the rocky cliff and they do sometimes fall out.  Falling out of nests, getting caught by a fishing line, maybe these birds don’t have a very large brain?

Shag Nest - BOMC

We had met the caretaker guy from the resort the day before on the dock. He anchors his boat in the bay and works at the resort during the day.  He had said to me that if Shaggy (had to give the little fella a name) was not to survive, it’d be his job to ‘take care of the body’.  I did hope that only applied to animals.

I asked if they had a bird rescue place in the sounds to call.  Jennifer said that with the shag being a native bird, the Department of Conservation (DOC) would be interested and should come and pick it up.  In calling DOC, they were on their lunch break.  They said they’d call back later but we will never know if they ever did.

We had to get back to the boat and probably to the resort’s horror, we left Shaggy sitting calmly in one of our towels and inside one of our plastic boxes.  I’m sure the resort was not that happy having little Shaggy greeting visitors and guests but I actually think they were all interested in his recovery and liked seeing the bird close up.  One of the team from Bay of Many Covers did mention that we had just done a shark out of an easy meal.  Then everyone got talking about catching a fish to feed the shag. Hmmm… this circle of life thing was a ‘little in your face’ right now.

Our plan was to go back in the afternoon to see how Shaggy was getting on but the afternoon sea breeze picked up big time.  We didn’t want to go in the little dinghy and it was too windy to put the big tender in the water, so unfortunately, we didn’t make it back.  We’d have to go back in the morning.

There was still something not quite right with our electrics.  Captain B knows that he will need to learn a lot more about the boat in terms of the mechanics and the electrics, in case things go wrong when we are not near a port.  Today was electrics day.  He even read a book on the subject.  B played with the electrics all day.  And if anyone knows Mr B, he’ll be a fully-fledged electrician by the end of the day!  I did my exercises and stood and lay on my Shakti mat (no, not at the same time)!

Wanting to see how Shaggy was, we jumped in the dinghy and headed back to the resort for breakfast.  We were greeted by the caretaker, who sadly told me that Shaggy had gone to Bird Heaven.  Jennifer was there also and explained that he was too damaged and it wasn’t due to lack of food.  A number of the resort team, who like most of the resorts, are young travelers on an overseas experience, working in lodges and hospitality to save money before they head off around the country.  They were super friendly and happy to chat.  Another German couple who had been on the wharf the day before stopped us as we walked by “we must ask, how is the bird?”.  We got into a long conversation with them about downsizing your life to go travelling and experiencing things while you are young and healthy enough to do so.  We were starting to feel like locals.

This time for breakfast we decided we wanted to eat in the restaurant proper and see what all this fuss was about.  The view would be way better from up there.  The team that greeted us said “sure, it’s up this way”.  We chose a lovely table right on the edge of the restaurant looking over the water.  There was that feeling again.  There were murmurings, discussions and it was obvious that we were not supposed to be there.  We figured they were trying to keep it exclusive to the guests.  Sure enough, we had the manager by our side within a couple of minutes.  He explained that they don’t ever want to run out of tables for their in-house guests so keep the restaurant exclusive for that purpose. Well… that’s awkward. I said it was totally fine but they really must learn to just say that rather than create an awkward situation.

As we do, we got him talking and explained what we were doing on the boat and were mainly dining with them to pay them back for letting us use their mooring.  He had calmed down at this point and said there was absolutely no problem if we stayed and dined.  We hadn’t actually shown any signs of leaving anyway.  He even let slip that they quite like having ‘a boat likes yours’ out in front to the lodge.  Oh dear!

B couldn’t resist then asking him what software they run at the lodge.  Whatever it was called they hated it, so we introduced him to Preno ( – Hotel Management Software for small boutique hotels)!  A business card was presented and we now had a new friend called Grant!  In asking him how Preno reaches the likes of him he said they were part of a group called ‘Luxury Lodges of NZ‘.  There are only 32 places in the group and they are all pretty flash!  Once I realised it costs between $1,500 and $3,000 per night to stay there, I now understood what all the fuss was about!  And at least Shaggy got to stay in a 5 start resort before heading to heaven.

While I was in Auckland, I managed to completely fry my iPhone by plugging it into my brother’s charger in his car.  Weird, sad, but true.  I got myself a new one before coming back to the boat and the next morning I managed to lock myself out of it.  Frustrating!!  Wrong password, you can try again in 1 minute.  Wrong password, you can try again in 15 minutes, 60 minutes and then ‘gone burger’.  We had no coverage where we were so I couldn’t even reset the damn thing.  I am not a patient person and I hate been disconnected from the world so I was finding this quite hard.  I really must learn to get over this!

After breakfast and our excursion to the Bay of Many Coves we moved across the bay to an absolutely gorgeous little cove which also had service.  I needed this to be able to reset my phone.  I spent the next hour or so on Chat with an Apple Advisor named Ashley.  He was originally from Connecticut but now lives in Tampa, Florida.  I sent him a photo of the Queen Charlotte Sound.

Ashley Bay

I was his first ever customer from New Zealand which made his day.  Even as a technologist I still find it amazing how the world is so connected and technology allows us to do so much from any remote place in the world.  I now have a working phone again.  Phew!  Although I have most of my digital world in the cloud, I had lost the last days worth of photos.  Hence the reason you don’t have any to see of Shaggy.  I had also taken some great shots of the resort.  We were just across the bay from the Bay of Many Coves so I asked Captain B to go back so I could get some shots.

After all that excitement we headed to the east arm of Double Cove.  We had read that most people use stern lines in this bay.  When we got there, we could see why!  The wind was funnelling into the bay and producing a much stronger wind in a different direction that what it was actually blowing.  Talk about confusing!  Not wanting this to be our first ever stern line attempt, we anchored away from the shoreline to try and avoid it.  And although it was  relatively calm, we still experienced huge wind gusts.  One even overturned the dinghy!

Dinghy Upturned 2

I cooked Cauliflower Rice with Tomato, Coriander and Chilli for dinner while B got his exercises out of the way.

Cauliflower Rice 2

It was a good looking cove and had a lot of properties within it.  More than we had seen to date.  I saw one group sitting on their pontoon with bean bags having their afternoon drinks in the sun before retreating up to the house for dinner.

We didn’t like the anchorage for an overnight stay so we moved to a bay close to Lockmara, opposite West Bay.  Lockmara is another famous lodge in the Sounds that you hear people on the VHF going to all day.  Either for coffee, lunch, dinner or drinks.  It was somewhere we knew we’d need to try out at some stage.

It was another G&T afternoon with calm water.  It was however very cold from the southerly winds.  Overnight low of 9 degrees!  Socks and jackets were in order.

We had service so we were able to watch the news!  Always an exciting time on the boat.  Makes us feel like we are connected to the world in some way.  We had a yummy Cottage Block Chardonnay with our dinner.  Today was a great day.
In the morning it was off to Picton to get our satellite TV and strip lights fixed for good.  There were some parts required after the initial review so it was back into the marina for a couple of nights.

Click here to see our track on the map



Perfect Bay, Portage & Parking in Picton

Queen Charlotte Sound is the easternmost of the main sounds of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of NZ’s South Island.  Unlike fjords, the sounds are not glacial.  Instead, they are drowned river valleys.  Queen Charlotte runs southwest to northeast before joining the Cook Strait.  For many years I have assumed they run from south to the north.  And I have always been surprised just how north you travel after leaving Wellington to enter the sounds.  On the map, Picton looks directly west of wellington.

The Marlborough Region has a great guide that boats live by in terms of what the anchorages are like and in what conditions.  They also have a mobile app with the same information on the different bays and moorings on offer and services around the sounds.  It also includes information on fishing, boating, flora and fauna and general information for tourists.

We woke up in the beautiful Torea Bay.

We decided to get on with our exercises early and with the sun shining hopefully get back in the water.  I managed a longer swim of about 5 minutes this time.  A quick breakfast of yoghurt, muesli and fruit, we put the big tender in the water. It sits on the flybridge and we use a hydraulic davit to get it into the water.  It was the first time we had even put it in the water this trip! Inside somewhere like the Bay of Islands, it usually stays in the water and we tow it behind us, but with all the travelling we had been doing, this had not been possible.

Having brought my tramping boots on the trip, I was hoping to try them out before doing any of the big walks.  I love my boots but hadn’t used them for a number of years.  Although we were only planning to walk over the hill to Portage Lodge (15 minutes up and 20 minutes down the other side) I decided to give those boots an outing.  All dressed up and ready to go, we jumped into the tender and drove to the head of the bay.  As we were travelling, I saw lots of little black pieces of rubber flying around and could not for the life of me figure out what they were.  Once at the dock, I jumped out with the rope to tie us off and something felt quite strange underfoot.  I looked down in the boat and could see both soles of my boots sitting either side of the seat.  Lifting a foot up to look at the sole, it was gone.  The adhesive between the boots and the soles had perished.  It was a sad day to say goodbye to those boots!

Luckily I’d packed my trustee jandals and quickly made the transition to have something to walk in.  It was a gorgeous walk over the hill and a very average meal at Portage.  We chose the chicken with salad, seafood chowder and greek salad. We have stayed there before on a cycle tour and it makes us cringe every time we see how the lodge is in such a beautiful spot of NZ and the quality of service and food is so poor.  A shame for the tourists of NZ.  I will thank the for taking my boots in a plastic bag and throwing them away for us. I’ll give them that!

Luckily I’d packed my trustee jandals and quickly made the transition to have something to walk in.  It was a gorgeous walk over the hill and a very average meal at Portage.  We chose the chicken with salad, seafood chowder and greek salad. We have stayed there before on a cycle tour and it makes us cringe every time we see how the lodge is in such a beautiful spot of NZ and the quality of service and food is so poor.  A shame for the tourists of NZ.  I did thank them for taking my boots in a plastic bag and throwing them away for us. I’ll give them that!

The rubber of my boots had not only fallen off into the tender but had also melted in the sun while we we’re at lunch.  There was quite a cleaning up job to do when we got back to the bay, which included turpentine!

With some lovely music playing we finished the day off sitting in the sun with a gin and tonic or two.  I still had some cray and shark in the freezer from our expedition to Ngawi.

Shark and Cray

One of my favourite treats is a lobster roll, which we have every time we visit B’s mom in Martha’s Vineyard.  It dawned on me that we could do the same thing with the crayfish.  Basically you put chunks of cooked cray into a mayonnaise dressing with some celery, spring onion, salt & pepper.  It was delicious!

Crayfish salad

Although we can, we try not to watch too much television while onboard.  It is however, always nice to watch the news, and of course the weather.  We sometimes leave it on while I cook dinner.  After our crayfish entree we put the News on while I prepared our fish for dinner.  I needed to use the electric jug and, as I turned it on, the TV went all weird and we all of a sudden had no jug, no TV, no Satellite which the TV runs from and the strip lighting in the saloon went pffft!  Ooops!  It shouldn’t really do that but there was something faulty going on.  For some reason the inverter had a hissy fit, presumably due to the shock demand of the jug and perhaps insufficient battery left.  So no TV nor bright lights tonight.

For dinner I put the shark into a baking dish on a tomato base with olives, basil, capers and lemon juice and served it on zoodles (zucchini noodles). People often say that shark (lemon fish) is under-rated and is actually a good eating fish.  It is what is served in fish and chip takeaways after all.  Well, maybe it’s because I didn’t batter it and serve it with chips but I did not like it at all.  The bottle of Cottage Block Chardonnay made up for taste of the dish.

The evening was to die for so there was no room for complaints.  We simply put some beautiful music on and drank red wine while the sun went down and darkness set it.

Gorgeous evening in Torea

The southerly winds were still incredibly strong out of the bays so we decided to stay put in Torea Bay for a couple of nights and it was definitely a ‘stay in the bay’ type of day.  I boiled some eggs ready for an egg salad, which is another of our favourites to have in the fridge to snack on.  As you can see, I obviously have too much time on my hands drawing faces on the boiled eggs!  That way they will not be mistaken for raw ones.  In hindsight, what I should put on them is a date! Always room for improvement so I’ll remember that next time.


People have been asking me to put more photos up of ‘life of board’.  Here are a few of the interior of Resolution.  We’ll work on getting some ‘life’ in them next time.

For lunch we had the popular Prawn Cakes with lettuce leaves, avocado, cucumber, lime, chilli and coriander.  One of my favs and goes so well with a cold Rose.  And at least it was warm enough to eat outdoors.  The food always tastes better out on the cockpit table!

Next up was Mr B doing some work on the computer.

B working on the puter.png
And he also got some washing done.  I’m figuring his shirt needed a wash too!
B doing the washing

My late afternoon effort went towards a hot artichoke dip and homemade crackers.  Perfect accompaniment with G&T for happy hour.  Happy hour is generally anywhere between 4pm and 5pm.  Rose’a’clock can be earlier on hot summer days and especially if we have others onboard or visiting from other boats.

One thing we had to learn real quick here in the sounds is that the wind is not easy to predict in terms of its direction once you are in a bay.  Normally, for example, if you have a southerly wind, you select an anchorage on the southern side of the bay, close to the shore.  In the sounds the wind funnels down the hills and around the points of the bays so once you get in there it can be the opposite of what you would expect. This being so foreign to us it has taken us by surprise a number of times and has required us finding a new spot to try and get clear of the wind.  We saw gusts of up to 56 knots travelling between the bays.  Despite the wind, the sun was out and the beauty of the sounds could still be enjoyed.

Captain B had been on the phone trying to find an electrician for when we are in Picton.  Not a great week to do so being so close to Christmas and we didn’t hear back from anyone.  We were booked into the Picton marina for 3 days while we were in Auckland.

Picton is the main town near the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound.  It is 25km north of Blenheim and 65k west of Wellington.  We were heading into the Picton Marina to grab a berth for a couple of nights while we flew back to Auckland for some meetings (and of course some socialising)!  Picton is a hub for the transport network of NZ, connecting the South Island road and rail network with ferries across the Cook Strait to Wellington.  The town is named after Sir Thomas Picton, the Welsh military associate of the Duke of Wellington.


Heading into the marina we used the binoculars to spot the berth we had been allocated.  We were given a huge berth that could have had a boat twice the size of ours, with tiny little numbers identifying it!  There were either no ropes available, or they were the wrong size for our boat, or in the wrong place.  After a few wonky turns and expletives between the front and the back of the boat, we got alongside.  What a parking nightmare!  We decided afterwards it was one of our worst.  Felt like we were doing a three-point turn to get in and the boat just about sat sideways in the berth!  I had connected a rope that was in the wrong place and Captain B wasn’t aware that I had attached it and was wondering why the boat was behaving so weirdly and why his first crew mate was yelling at him.  All’s well that ends well.  Once we were parked and tied up nicely, we were able to leave the boat to head into town.

Here was Captain B’s explanation of what went wrong!  We made sure we had wine in hand while we had this conversation.
Berthing explained by B
We met Brian and the team at the Marlborough Sounds Marina who have been fantastic to deal with.  They gave us some recommendations for lunch and we were off.  Ended up selecting Le Cafe where we tried out their Gazpacho, Mussels and Red Gurnard with accompanying salad.  Very nice lunch.  Walked up the main street called High Street to buy a few little pharmaceutical supplies (namely insect bite ointment) and some Marmite for my nephew who is currently in Whistler.  It was his request for his birthday present.  Back to the boat via the marina office to get the marina key and some KleenSocks.  When we fuel the boat up, we use old rags around the fuel inlet to catch any spillage.  Generally the rags have to be thrown away if there are any spills. The KleenSocks have special stuff inside to help soak up the diesel and they wrap nicely around the inlet.

Also, we finally found an electrician that could come to the boat and see what’s going on.  It felt like we had to stalk these guys!  One guy, who is apparently fantastic, hadn’t been answering his phone or returning messages.  Asking Brian for an alternative, he promptly called the guys father and asked him to call his son and say someone needed his help!  Poor guy is so good at what he does and, so much in demand, that he has been too afraid to answer his phone coming up to Christmas!  Unfortunately he was too busy.  We then saw a vehicle with Wave Electrical printed on the side, along with a cell phone number.  Neil was the guy for us.  He was at the marina and came straight down to see us to review what had happened.  He’ll be back while we are in Auckland to fix everything!

Wave Electrical

Auckand was filled with the Cat Stevens concert, some socialising, a Board meeting and catching up with friends and family.  Taking the shuttle from the marina straight to the Blenheim airport, flight to Auckland and Uber to our storage unit couldn’t be easier.  I asked our driver Brian to talk to me about Blenheim, and more specifically, about the key areas of trade.  Wine was quite an obvious answer, but I thought I better check. His view was that if they didn’t have the vineyards, they would have dairy farms.  We agreed that vineyards aren’t such a bad thing to have to look at, no offence to the cows of course.


Wellington to the Sounds – Finally!

After three weeks of perfect weather, Murphy would turn up again and threaten to rev the wind engines up for our trip across the Cook Strait.

It’s one of those passages we had been looking forward to, being able to say “we’ve crossed Cook Strait in our own boat”.  Captain B had ensured that we had very calm conditions and wind against tide etc.  Nonetheless, I was still a little apprehensive after everyone pointing out how rough it can get around the “Karori Rip” and what the tide could be like entering the Tory channel.

I knew the waves would get worse so decided to cook some breakfast before this happened.  Scrambled eggs and fresh tomatoes.  Simple but healthy and tasty.  Certainly, enough to get us to the Sounds.

Leaving Wellington there was a ship waiting to approach the Harbour.  The Pilot boat screamed past us heading out to meet them.

Even after three weeks of amazing weather and therefore, relatively small swells, it was still an interesting ride. Waves crashed against the boat as we headed directly into them.

It was never uncomfortable.

Captain B’s plan was to hit the Tory Channel a little before the top of the tide, which happened to be around 12:15pm.  We didn’t leave until around 8am but whether it was because of our new shafts and repaired props or that the tide was also going our way, we went 1-2 knots faster than expected, which would have us arrive in front of the Tory Channel an hour early.  For the last hour or so, Captain B slowed the boat down to 6 knots. I’m thinking “Really? We’re going to slow the whole thing down? Wow!”.

Half an hour before high tide we decided it would ok to enter.  Following the white pegs they have on the hillside to navigate your way into the channel, we entered the grandeur of the sounds, with the bow pointing a good 10 degrees port of our actual direction of travel.  The strength of the tide was visible on the surface of the water.

Entering the Sounds 2

I remember doing this trip many times from the ferry but never in our boat. It was gorgeous.

Having had a fantastic trip over and feeling pretty good about it all, we anchored in Ngaruru Bay.  It was a gorgeous little bay still in the Tory Channel.  It had become extremely windy out the bay.

First Anchorage

It is more common practice in the Sounds to use moorings rather than anchoring.  We joined the Waikawa Boating Club, who also have partnerships with the Pelorous Boating Club and the Mana Cruising Club.  Together they have about 100 moorings that, as a club member, you can use.  These are throughout the  Pelorus, Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sounds, Tory Channel, D’Urville Island and the east side of Porirua Harbour.

There are certain protocols in terms of putting fenders on the side of your boat ready for others to come and ‘raft up’ next to you.  Some know that I couldn’t think of anything worse!  Luckily the moorings can take up to about 4 to 5 boats but the total tonnage cannot exceed 35 tons.  Which happens to be what we weigh so there will be no ‘rafting up’ to Resolution on this trip!

We took the opportunity to use the mooring that was available.  It is less hassle than anchoring and it was fun to try something new.

I couldn’t wait to celebrate our arrival to the South Island but knew we needed to do our 30-Day Challenge exercises before any alcohol was consumed.  We had started these while we were ‘stuck’ in Wellington.  B had downloaded three different 30-Day Challenge apps.  One was for Squats, another for Push Ups and one for Abs that consisted of Sit-ups, Crunchies, Leg Raises and a Plank.  Each day the number of exercises increases.

I asked B to look up what we were up for…. 40 squats…. no push ups.… no ab work…. no plank.  They were all rest days!  Yee haa!  Elated, I did my 40 squats in the galley as I cooked Crab Cakes.  They ended up being deconstructed crab cakes, which we ate in some lettuce leaves.  And now that the exercises were done for the day, our lunch was accompanied with a Wooing Tree Rose.


A gorgeous Bay – we listened to music, read books and talked shit.  My perfect day.

We also got to see just how many ferry sailings there are in a day as we watched the Interislander and Bluebridge ferries go up and down the Tory Channel.

For dinner, I cooked the favourite from our first leg with Tanya and Alison.  Using some salmon bought from Wellington New World the night before we left, it was Chelsea Winter’s Sticky Hoison Salmon.

Next morning I got a txt from Carolyne who was with Spence in Nelson/Blenheim for the weekend.  They wanted to know if it was possible to visit.  Very excited to have spontaneous visitors, we headed into Waikawa Bay to meet them.


Captain B arranged a berth on the 35m long visitor’s dock at the marina and within a couple of hours we were tied up and drinking champagne and snacking on goat and sheep cheeses at the back of the boat.  Given the high winds and cold waters (i.e.: not really that inviting for swimming) we decided to stay put at the marina and have lunch there.  We had got into the water the day before and were not in for long!  I think my total swim was about 30 seconds long.  B stayed in and went around the boat cleaning it with a brush.  God knows how he could stay in for that long.  We checked the temperature once we were back on board and it was a chilly 14.5 degrees!  I know in my Tri/Ironman events, if the temperature was below 14 degrees it was mandatory to wear a neoprene hood!

While I was cooking, and the others were sitting on the back of the boat, a launch came into the marina, not at full speed but way too fast.  The driver did a hard turn to spin his boat around and then full forced the motors towards the empty berth opposite us.  My god, I was sure as he did his initial spin, he was going to take us out in the process.  After a few heart thumps and a very wide-eyed stare, he managed to maneuver it into the hole, bouncing off the poles a few times on the way in.

Once tied up he turned around and apologised to us – it was his first time berthing the boat!  I did feel for him as it was unlikely that a boat our size would normally be on the pontoon opposite making it way more tricky and scary for him.  I told him in the nicest possible way that he scared the shit out of me!  But I was glad he berthed the boat ok and didn’t hit us or anything else other than the poles around him.  B reassured him, suggesting 3 knots and idle revs only, noting that the wind and our unexpected presence opposite would have made it difficult for anyone.  B suggested that he only needed to do it 20 more times before he’d be used to it.  I’m not exaggerating; the poor fella was literally still shaking.

I’ve started cooking chicken dishes but with fish instead of chicken. It is referred to as the chicken of the sea so why not? Risky but worth giving a go.  Today’s choice was Donna Hay’s Baked ‘chicken of the sea’ with lemon zest, feta and oregano.  We used the Blue Cod we had caught in Ngawi that Max had kindly fileted for us.  This was served with a simple salad for a late lunch. I think the flavours worked well without taking anything away from the beautiful fish.

It was a lovely visit and we even got taken for a little spin in their new little classic Citroen – fun times!  Thanks so much for visiting guys!

Captain B did a fantastic backing maneuver to take us all the way out of the tight marina against the wind.  From there we went and anchored in a great little NW / SW friendly side cove in Torea Bay.  Lovely!  Thanks Burt for the suggestion!

My blog is still a little behind reality but you can use this link to see where we actually are:  Click here to see our track on the map.

Can’t beat Wellington on a good day!

So having no boat is one thing… waiting for it to be fixed is another. Especially when parts need to be engineered, couriered between two cities, couriers not turning up when planned, props and shafts split up between Auckland and Wellington etc etc.  We decided to be incredibly grateful for a few things – no-one was hurt, the damage to the boat could have been a lot worse, we could have been somewhere where they didn’t have the ability to haul the boat out and fix it and…. Wellington is not a bad place to be ‘stuck’. So it was a matter of sucking it up and making the most of our time on land.

Our first outing the week before was to meet Tracy at Hangar.  Tracy Morris is a very dear friend and used to work with B and I many years ago.  And we used to cycle together when she lived in Auckland.  Hangar is a very cool and funky place to meet, eat and hang out. Their coffee is out of this world – and that’s coming from a decaf drinker!  Each cup comes with a card explaining where it is from, the blend and what it tastes like.  I haven’t even seen this much detail when buying wine.  As always, Tracy, B and I had a wonderful catchup.  Doesn’t matter how much time we are away from each other, you just start off where you left off and in no time at all, you are all caught up. Before the end of the night we had arranged a dinner for the following week at the Hillside Eatery.

That night we couldn’t resist going back to Charley Nobles for dinner. The delicious Te Makatu Oysters were calling my name. Half in tempura batter and half au natural with some chardonnay vinegar and shallot.  I also tried their Chicken Pot pie – a small array of heaven in a bowl of pastry.  Seriously good food at this place.