Centre of New Zealand

We had arrived in Nelson after 5pm and unfortunately too late to head to the office. Christmas will have to wait until tomorrow!

I have always known Nelson to be the centre of NZ. Geographically, I believe that is true. Well known for being the origin of the World of Wearable Arts awards, it has quite a colourful and ‘artsy’ feel to the city.

What I didn’t know about Nelson was that is was the oldest city in the South Island and the second-oldest settled city in NZ. It was established in 1841.

Once we had the boat tied up satisfactorily, we ventured into town for dinner. I used a combination of Yelp and Trip Advisor to find the number one eating spot in Nelson.

Urban Oyster Bar & Eatery sounded perfect. One reviewer started his review with “I realised pretty soon this was a little bit of Ponsonby hipster in Nelson” and described it as “All up, imagine Depot, without the steam and airy hustle”. Kind of made me giggle but The Depot is one of our favs.

001 Uban Sign

It lived up to its review and we couldn’t have asked for a better spot. Seated outside, we ordered a bottle of the local Greenhough 2008 Pinot Blanc and a variety of tapas. Each and every one of them danced in your mouth. We had found a little foodie paradise here in the centre of NZ. The team were awesome too and before we left we had made friends with Nicole one of the waitresses.

They had the Te Mataku oysters from Waiheke that have become a favourite of mine, behind Bluff of course! But… you can get them all year round. I ordered half natural and half in tempura batter.

003 Oysters

The next tapa was my absolute favourite. Fish Tacos. Made with kingfish ceviche and served with a coconut foam and chilli salt.

001 Urban - Fish Tacos

Then it was the Shaking Beef with the Son-in-law’s Egg which has a bit of a story behind it. In Thailand, this is a meal that a ‘mother-in-law to be’ serves when having her soon to be son-in-law around for dinner. It’s a bunch of lettuce leaves that you pick up and fill with the beef filling and fresh herbs. There is a soft-boiled egg to share and include in your parcel. In serving it, the mother slices it violently with a knife to show the son-in-law what trouble he would be in if he didn’t look after her daughter. Hilarious.

005 Son in law Egg

Then came the Kung Poo Popcorn chicken.

006 Karegee Chicken

A very successful evening. Our only issue was that it was so good that we were not keen to try other places in case they weren’t as good!

Each time we walked into town from the marina, we followed a path beside the river. The park is where they have their Wednesday Farmer’s Market and has a skateboard park and lovely bench seats with sculptures to sit by the river. It was about a 1.5km stroll back to the boat.

As we got to our pier, there was a guy standing at the window of his boat. We introduced ourselves and learnt that he was Des, a live-a-board at the marina. We had also met Linsday earlier in the day who has his yacht, Cool Change, two boats over. Des works at the meatworks locally in Nelson which is why we hadn’t seen him during the day. We invited him over for a drink after work the next day. Here’s a picture of Des’s Boat the following morning.

009 Des' Boat

We were right down the end of L Pier.

010 L Pier with Resolution at the end

It was breakfast time so we headed up to The Anchor Restaurant & Bar. A much more casual place than those in town but a very large establishment and only 50 metres away. It was already 19 degrees and set to hit a scorching high of 29 today. We opted to sit outside and as it turns out, along with all the seagulls in the marina. They don’t need to clear the plates at this place – the seagulls do a fine job of it at the end of your meal.

We had a lovely view from our boat and behind us was the road to the marina office.

011 View from our boat.png

It was time to go and collect our parcels. B put the dinghy in the water and put my motor, Orville, on the back and we were off. The trip only took about 5 minutes and we tied up the dinghy and went in to meet the peeps. Bruce was on duty and was pleased to finally meet whom all these parcels belonged to.

012 Parcels at marina office

It really was like Christmas and I couldn’t wait to get the parcels back to the boat to open them.

Although I received my low-carb tortillas, pork crackles, cashews, popcorn, Blue Dude shirt dress, Lulu Lemon shorts and Coola sunscreen, there was one serious and a very special piece of mail. Captain B received his official ticket as a Commercial Skipper. Congratulations dude! Very proud of you!

016 B's Skipper Ticket

Later in the day, the office called again to say another parcel had arrived for us. Well, this was exciting. Back in the dinghy and back to the office.

013 Jodi with P&Ks parcel

It was from Kirsten and Pete. Such a lovely surprise. It really was feeling like Christmas now!

Thank you so much guys! It was very unnecessary but appreciated all the same. We LOVE the goodies. And for you to find chilli infused gherkins, what a treat!

Around 4pm, Lindsay and Alan turned up for drinks. Alan owns the yacht Irish Mist and although he doesn’t live-a-board, he does spend a bit of time down at the marina and goes out racing on Wednesday nights. Lindsay was dressed up as a pirate – what a hoot!

020 Alan and Lindsay

Then once Des was home from work, he popped along too. I put out some homemade pate and crackers out to snack on.

021 Bennett and Des

Then, just like the pied piper run, other live-a-boards came out of their boats, walked along the piers and joined us for drinks. There was T who was staying on Amuri, a beautifully renovated bridge decker style boat.

022 T from Amuri

It was a stunning evening for a drink session at the marina and we couldn’t complain about the view.

023 Gorgeous Evening

As it happens when you meet a new group of people like this, that all know each other, the banter is hilarious and you slowly learn a lot about each of the characters. And if anyone is looking for a cheaper option in terms of housing, the live-a-boards at the Nelson Marina only pay around $105 per week and this includes water and electricity! You do have to pay $2 a pop for a shower or a load of washing if you don’t have these facilities on board. Oh yeah, and you need a boat!

We still had two cod in the top of our freezer and knew we were going to eat out most nights (if not all), so we offered it to the guys. Lindsay was stoked and said he’d take it. We put them in a plastic bag and he was off. He turned back up about 5 minutes later with a pack of his venison he had caught. Fair trade!

We hadn’t eaten and Alan suggested we go to Nahm which is around on the waterfront. It was about a 30-minute walk and although it was around 8:30pm, it was still unbelievably hot. We arrived at 9pm to be told that the kitchen was closed. I said we’d walked half an hour to visit them as we were just told by a local how good they were. I negotiated that if we put our order in immediately, could they perhaps let us stay. They caved! We had been talking about how much we love Asian food and Alan said that Nahm was Thai with a twist. It did have a twist, but I’m not sure I could explain it. It wasn’t the best Thai food but we were very grateful to be eating! The restaurant is upstairs and adjacent to the Yacht Club. We were sitting outside on the deck and could watch the sailors put away the boats after a night out sailing.

028 View from Nahm Deck

There were some lovely sights on our walk to and from the restaurant.

Here is the Marine Rescue Centre including the Coastguard and Surf Life Saving units.

026 Marine Rescue Centre

The next morning we walked back to Hardy Street (which is where Urban is) and found the famous Morri Street Cafe. We had been here before and thankfully it hadn’t changed. The meals were fabulous. B ordered the traditional Eggs Benedict to rate the quality of the cafe (just like you do with a Pad Thai dish at a new Thai restaurant) and I ordered two poached eggs, avocado and salmon. I have noticed that the salmon around Nelson is delicious. We must be closer to the source!

035 Morri Street Cafe.png

There were some cool murals on the way:

But I wasn’t sure what to make of this notice hanging in the window of the Nelson City Council building:

031 Nelson City Council notice

Not a great HR advertisement that’s for sure.

And not quite sure why this guy chose the upper part of the bridge to walk over? Maybe he works at the council?

032 Maybe this guy did work for them

Another thing making the centre of Nelson pretty are the beautiful flower pots hanging in the streets. These are watered daily with an irrigation system which you need to avoid walking under at the time of watering! I noticed that the pots above Urban’s outside tables don’t get watered at dining times!

041 Flower in the streets of Nelson

Today was ‘let’s focus on the anchor again day’. We had agreed that we were not going to head south to Fiordland with our anchor playing up the way it was. Fiordland is incredibly deep and although we may only anchor in 30 metres of water (there aren’t actually too many places this shallow), we would want to put out about 70 to 90 metres of chain. This time the focus was on the anchor winch hydraulic motor. I’ll leave B to blog on the engineering details of the anchor debacle, but today the guys removed the motor to take back to their workshop. Removing it and transporting it to their vehicle was no easy feat.

About an hour or two after the anchor winch had left the boat, Owen from Fluid Power Solutions (FPS) called to say that we better come in for a chat. Now, this didn’t sound good. Their workshop was only 10 minutes away so we got walking. We signed in and got some cute little fluoro vests to wear. Owen came to meet us and took us out the back to see our baby.

The original plan was for Owen and his team to refurbish the winch. Having looked inside the casing, this was no longer possible. The casing they were going to weld turns out to be aluminium, the motor they had wasn’t the right size and spec and the cost to refurbish vs. getting a new one was becoming less and less attractive. So we made the decision to get a new one and get this anchor system right once and for all. The parts would need to come from Tasmania and they would work on this while B and I were in Auckland for our next lot of meetings.

A guy Gary had left his card on our boat and he was kind of like a ‘Hire a Hubby’ for a boat (or a boat handyman). We liked the initiative he’d shown by spotting a new boat in the marina and making an effort to come visit. B had some odd jobs that needed doing so gave him a call. What a lovely guy. His team focused on replacing the split salt water hose at the back of the boat, valeting the outside of the boat and organising us to be able to refuel the boat.

Another issue that seemed like it wouldn’t go away, was the problematic 12-volt battery. We had lost our main VHF at one point on the trip to Nelson and this didn’t make sense now that our house batteries had been replaced. And just when you think nothing else could go wrong, the 12-volt battery was also dead.

I had been talking with my sister earlier in the week and they were off to Cooks Beach this weekend for the annual Whitianga Concert. This year Alanis Morrisette (who I love) was playing, along with Coin Hay from Men at Work and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Three of my siblings were going with a number of their friends, as well as my dad’s cousins. I had been the year before and absolutely loved it. I so wanted to go. It was now clear that we weren’t going anywhere fast in the boat while all this work was underway. That was it, I was off to Cooks Beach to surprise my family! Now I was really excited. B had no interest in going and was keen to be on the boat to help coordinate what was going on. My sister Tanya was the only one who knew I was coming – I did have to make sure I had a bed to sleep in!

With all the excitement – for B with the anchor and me for my trip to Auckland, it was only fitting to head back to Urban. Not that we really needed an excuse.

The view of the marina from the walkway was stunning.

037 View of Marina from walk to town

Tonight’s choice of wine was the Californian Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay. This is one of B’s mom’s favourite wines and always reminds us of her when we drink it. The weather today was a low of 20 degrees with a high of 30 degrees! It was sweltering. We even used an ice bucket for the chardonnay, which isn’t usually required.

We tried a new dish –  Escabeche, which was B’s favourite – crispy sushi rice with tuna and a special sauce.

037 Escabeche

But… having such a fun night, we decided to treat ourselves to some dessert. It was unbelievable yummy. It was called Pop n Fresh – popcorn ice cream, lemon thyme meringue, berries and kettle corn!

040 Popcorn Dessert

When we walked back to the boat, just before the riverside path, we pass the Nelson Movie Theatre. It had been so long since we’d been to the movies that I suggested we go. It was quite late so we agreed that if there was a movie that we wanted to see about to start, we’d go for it. We have a naughty tradition of popcorn, ice cream and wine with our movies. Tonight was no exception. We watched The Greatest Showman and loved it.

Some friends had written to us saying they were missing our faces.  I sent them this:

042 Selfie of the happy couple

With the decision to order a new anchor winch system from Australia, Owen decided to put the existing system back on the boat so we could still head out to the Abel Tasman before our next trip to Auckland.

Another top restaurant in Nelson, that has been there for years, is Hopgood’s. It was time to give it a try. We got a lovely table outside and got ordering.

The food was good. Instead of ordering entrees and mains, we chose a number of starters and entree size meals to share. We started with the Duck Liver Parfait with Pickled Cherries, Toasted Brioche & Late Harvest Riesling jelly.

048 Duck Liver Parfait with Pickled Cherries, Toasted Brioche

This was followed by the Beef Tartare with Potato Skins, Fried Quail egg, Pickled Mushroom & Black Garlic, Twice Baked Goat’s Cheese Soufflé, Apple, Celery, Beets & Candied Walnuts,

048 Twice Baked Goat_s Cheese Soufflé

and the Cured Ora King Salmon, Beets, Piccalilli Salad, Avocado, Lemon & Dill Yoghurt.

048 Salmon

These were accompanied with sides of green beans with feta and pomegranate and some crumbed broccoli.

All were as good as they sounded.

Halfway through the meal, I spotted two cyclists riding in between the row of restaurants. They caught my eye and when I had a second look, I realised that I recognised them. Joyce yelled out my name and over they came. It was so lovely to bump into these guys. Joyce is an old squash teammate. She and Nicky have been coming to Nelson and holidaying in the Abel Tasman and Golden Bay area for the last 14 years. Funnily enough, I had bumped into Joyce on one of my recent Auckland trips so her obvious question to me us was “Are you guys ever on your boat?”! Cheeky!

049 Joyce and Nicki and J

Another fabulous evening in sunny Nelson.

046 View from Hopgoods

Today was an exciting day. I was off to Auckland and then on to Cooks Beach. Bags packed and ready to go, I took a taxi to the airport. Nelson airport had an Air NZ Koru Lounge upstairs but I had to leave after about 15 minutes as the air conditioning was too cold – go figure! I wasn’t used to being out of the warmth. The flight was pleasant and I got to see a view things out of the window.

50 View from the plane to Auckalnd.png

This one is of the marina where the boat was sitting.

51 View of the marina from the plane

And a nice shot of the Marlborough Sounds.

52 View of the sounds from the plane

I landed in Auckland, Ubered to my storage unit to get my car. The only risk in my plan was that my car didn’t start. But that wasn’t to be, so I was rearing to go. I had some chores to do in Newmarket and Ponsonby. It hasn’t been that long, but I had forgotten about traffic in Auckland – manic! And that humidity – far out! Chores done, it was a quick supermarket shop for food and wine and I was on the road south. Tanya had written saying that our cousins were coming over for a drink at 4:30pm. I wasn’t likely to make it until 5pm at the earliest so she promised to keep them there until I arrived. As I drove through Tirau, one of my cousins had messaged me a photo of her drinking a big glass of Rose and saying that she wished I were there.

052 Deb with Rose

I wasn’t sure if the secret was out or they were just trying to tease me. It was the latter! I arrived about half an hour later to the surprise of everyone except Tanya. My brother Shane simply shook his head. He had said at Christmas time that he’s seen me more since I’ve been ‘away’ than he did when we lived in the same city. It was so good to be there and I had an absolute blast of a weekend.

The morning of the concert I was also able to meet up with my friend Gerry who was staying at her bach in Whitianga. So lovely to see you Gerry and thanks for the hat Ashleigh!

053 Jodi in her hat

I got some messages from B to say that he was doing well and being naughty without me!

The morning after the concert, I got up at 4:30am to drive back to Auckland. With limited time, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in long weekend traffic back to Auckland for 4 hours. Instead, I was back in Auckland by 6:45am! Even too early for most of the cafes. Bambina in Ponsonby opens at 7am, so I headed there with my laptop and had some breakfast and did some emails and wrote some blogs.

I managed to get hold of Katie and Jenny for a catchup at Kohi Cafe. It was so lovely to see them and have a good natter. And thanks for the mail delivery too!

It was time to put my car back into its little storage unit and Uber back to Ponsonby.

The next big excitement for today was heading to lunch with my girlfriends, Hannah and Carolyne. And Prego it was!

055 Hannah and Caro

The girls arrived in style:

055 The girls arrived in style

They have a new Oyster Bay garden bar that we had all to ourselves. It felt like our own little Prego!

I Ubered back to the airport and flew back to Nelson. I made sure I’d be back in time for a meal with B. He had booked a table at Harbour Light restaurant down on the waterfront. Again we walked the 30 minutes there in the heat of the night. Until the trip back to Auckland, I hadn’t quite appreciated just how humid it was there! It was still 28 degrees in Nelson at 8pm, but it was a dry heat.

The restaurant was pretty average but we did have a lovely view over the water.

You could also look down on the famous Boatshed Cafe that we said we must go to soon.

057 The Boatshed Cafe

Now that my adventure up north was over, I was now keen to get out into the Abel Tasman. It is one of the areas I was most looking forward to spending time on the boat. B mentioned a storm on its way at which I, quite uncharacteristically, responded: “It can’t be that bad can it?”. B laughed and showed me the weather report that he had reported.

061 Storm Winds.PNG

Ok, that is a rather large storm heading our way. Best we sit tight in Nelson until it passes. And what a fabulous part of the country to be ‘stuck’ in!

Not related, but potentially influencing the impact of the storm, are the tides. With a new moon arriving, these were king tides which are higher and lower than normal tides. You usually walk down to a pier, steeply in a low tide and slightly on a high tide. The high tide was so high that we had to walk up the ramp from the shore to get onto the pier. And the boat ramp and the carpark were flooding on high tide.

Here’s the ramp at low tide.

060 Low Tide

And here at full tide.

060 Flooded Marina

Down the boat ramp on this marina is an area where boats can go to do anti-fouling and other maintenance required below the waterline. At high tide, you park your boat alongside the poles and tie it up securely. On low tide, the water drains out and allows you about 3 hours to get your work done. Lindsay from the boat Cool Change used this to clean the bottom of his yacht.

B and I agreed that we couldn’t see ourselves doing that with Resolution – we’d be way too scared!

We spent the day walking around the boat service companies and sorting out what was still required to be done, who we needed to pay and looking for a few parts. One thing B was keen to get was another personal AIS (Automated Identification System) for my life jacket. A worldwide system that allows boats and gadgets to send out your location. B had one on his already and we figured it would be good to know where both of us are if we end up in the water!

061 MOB1 AIS

There was an upholstery place right next to the marina. We went and enquired as to whether or not they could make some round insect screens for the Dorades (air vents for the cabins). They let fresh air into the boat and of course, in Fiordland, that also means sandflies. The ones we had made in Auckland were really thick and didn’t let the air in either! We have full covers for all of the windows to allow us to open them up for air without getting the sandflies. There has been so much yap about sandflies in Fiordland that made me think ‘it couldn’t be that bad could it?’. I’ll have to wait and see.

It was Farmer’s Market day the following morning in the park beside the river. I wandered in to shop for fresh herbs and veggies.

061 Basil at markets.png

I found a number of lovely vegetables, some stinky cheese and some sausages and bacon. I had to call B to come and meet me to help carry it all back to the boat.

It was sailing day and Lindsay had come by to see if we wanted to go racing on Alan’s boat. Such a nice offer, but we still had much to get done.

While B was working on boat stuff, I decided to start getting ready for the rest of our trip. After the Abel Tasman, we will be heading south to Fiordland and there would be less opportunity to get access to things like fresh herbs. One herb I like to cook with is coriander and I hadn’t managed to keep that plant thriving. I picked up a huge bunch of fresh coriander at the market and processed it up with olive oil and put it in an ice cube tray to freeze it. Once it’s frozen, you can take them out of the tray and put them back in the freezer in a snapback bag.

063 Coriander.png

I also picked up a huge bag of peeled garlic to freeze as well. You freeze them individually laid across a tray and then put them into a snaplock bag. This way they don’t stick together when you first freeze them.

063 Garlic

It was Rose’o’clock so we had a lovely glass of Rose accompanied by some of the stinky cheese we had got from the market. It was divine and one of the best cheeses I think I’ve ever eaten. But boy does it smell. The unfortunate thing with this is that every time we opened up the fridge with the cheese in it, the smell was horrendous. I’d have to find some good containers for it before we head away.

062 Stinky Cheeses.png

It was time for the racing so we got to wave at everyone leaving the marina. The wind had already started picking up ahead of the storm so it would be interesting sailing for sure.

With the weather getting worse, we decided to simply walk to the end of the pier to The Anchor Restaurant for dinner. It became B’s favourite while I was away as they served him pancakes for breakfast and ice cream sundae for dessert! He assured me he didn’t order such things but they knew he was on his own and wanted to look after him. Hmmm…  He ordered a chicken roll with risotto, which looked like it could feed about 4 people, and I went for 3 small dishes of mussels, prawns and scallops. The food was average from my perspective but it was nice to have a meal looking out over the marina, albeit inside this time!

The storm had well and truly arrived. And poor Nelson was getting battered big time.

Here were the winds in the Cook Strait:

064 Storm in the Cook Strait

It was quite weird that there was a sunny, calm hole in the weather pattern, which was the eye of the storm.  Here are two photos taken from each side of our boat at the same time.

Before the really bad weather was to arrive we decided to get some exercise and walk to the office. Another parcel had arrived. I had left my swimming togs at my sister’s bach in Cooks Beach. Fabulous service to have them couriered to the marina office in just 3 days – thanks Tanya!

065 Jodi with togs

We were also planning to leave the marina in a couple of days, so we paid up our dues, thanked them very much for looking after us and let them know that we’d be back on the 14th February. I had some meetings in Auckland to attend over two days. B had meetings early the following week, so I decided to stay up over the weekend and B would join me on Sunday.

With the very high and low tides, some of the berth rings had got stuck up on the poles.

066 Berth Ring Stuck

Nelson took the brunt of the storm majorly and it was weird watching the news and weather on TV in the marina and realising that the footage of flooded streets, ruined restaurants and buildings were just around the corner. The Boatshed Cafe got damaged and would be closed for the foreseeable future – damn, we wanted to try that one.

The next day was busy busy busy. We had lots of people coming and going working on the boat and some visitors. Our last visitor was Pauline who used to work at Airways where B is on the Board. She and her partner were looking at a yacht a few piers over and planned to buy it and sail around the world in it. Pauline had a large corporate role at Airways so was another person making a huge life change to follow her dreams.

It was another one of those days where we didn’t eat breakfast thinking we would walk into town or a brunch. With work still being done on the boat and people visiting, we didn’t get away until around 2:30pm. I was so hungry it was ridiculous (totally my fault of course as I have a boat full of food) and I demanded we get a taxi into the Morri Street Cafe rather than waiting another half hour to walk and then eat. Chatting away to the taxi driver and saying goodbye, I just about left without paying – so used to Uber! I paid the fare and jumped out of the car to see my phone go flying and land face down on the concrete. Youch! I have dropped it before, but not quite as harshly. I picked it up and sure enough, the screen was cracked in a few places. I rubbed my finger on it to see if it still worked and if it was the cover or in fact the screen. It worked but I managed to get a splinter of glass in my finger – duh!

065 Munted Screen.png

Now I’m not just hangry, I’m upset. Beside myself in fact. Not wanting to cry over such a thing, I stormed into the cafe and found a seat. I couldn’t believe I had done something so stupid and especially the night before we were heading away. My phone is my camera and this was going to be annoying. B was adamant I should get it fixed. I called PB Technologies where we had bought the phones to see what my options were. I won’t go into the detail of the conversations as they didn’t go well for the most part.

In parallel to my discussions, B called a local phone shop to see how much it would cost to get a new screen. $800! Jeez, that wasn’t going to happen.

Cut a very long story short, the lovely Vicky at PB Tech said if I was to courier the phone to them in Auckland, they would arrange for Apple to replace the screen for only $344. Jeez, still not happy with that, but running out of choices. This is definitely one of those moments that things become a lot harder not having a permanent address or at least staying in the same city for a period of time.

Our original plan was to head to Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay, past the Abel Tasman, and launch from there for Fiordland. Everyone in Nelson was asking why we would do that and why would we not come back to Nelson (it’s only a couple of hours), refuel here, stock up at the supermarket and launch from here. This made a lot more sense, especially as we still had the anchor job to get done and also crew were flying down to join us and flying into Nelson would be a lot easier.

At least I knew we would be heading back to Nelson so there was a good chance that my phone would be returned by then. Vicki said about 10 to 14 days so it would be tight. It was now 5pm on Friday afternoon and the Post Office was well and truly closed. Now what? I called the after hours number and they informed me that the CourierPost Depot would be open in the morning at 8am and I could courier my phone from there.

While the phone transactions were taking place it was time to go supermarket shopping for the big trip south. I decided that today we would get all the dry stock items and ensure we had enough for the next 2 months. This meant bulk purchasing of toilet paper, handee towels, cleaning supplies, tonic water, mayonnaise, olives etc. I had a list on my broken iPhone! I could still see the screen but just had to watch out for getting another glass splinter. B was there and I asked him to go and sort all the bulk stuff out while I gathered up everything else on the list. The butchery had black pudding and organic chicken livers, so I was stoked. We were coming back to Nelson but only wanted to stock up on our fresh goods if possible. This was the big shop. Three trolleys, a taxi back to the marina and a few trips up and down the pier; we had the goods on board ready for packing.

We had never packed this much stuff on the boat before so it was going to be interesting. B found some great storage under berths and before we knew it, it as all stowed away. I made sure I updated my master checklist (a spreadsheet of course) so I knew where everything was. We were ready to rock.

The guys were still working on the anchor but it was going to be ready for our departure the next day.

7:45am the next morning, I was off to the CourierPost Depot. Letting go of my phone felt like I was cutting my right arm off. B had lent me his old iPhone that has a battery life of about 5 minutes. Gee, thanks B! So I was still beside myself not knowing when I’d see my phone again and now heading to one of my favourite places without a camera. These are still very much first world problems and a good opportunity for me to learn to deal with them!

And although we were keen to get away, I had not had a chance to go to the main Saturday morning Nelson Markets. B had gone the weekend before while I was at Cooks and thought that I should go. It was on the way back to the boat so I headed directly to the market and picked up a few treats – stinky cheese which we bought at the Wednesday market but had eaten already!  It is one of the nicest have ever eaten, so I bought four!

062 The Harnett Stinky Cheese.png

I bought some pate, terrine and the seafood shop I had found earlier in the week was right there. I bought some beautiful salmon, snapper and squid.

069 Fish Shop.png

I was only gone about an hour but I rushed back to the boat all the same.

It was finally time to leave the big city and head out to the Abel Tasman.

999 Nelson Central.png

Click here to see where we are now

 

d’Urville Island

Having left our landlocked location in Havelock, we were back out on the Pelorus Sound bound for d’Urville Island.

Turns out that d’Urville is the eighth-largest island of New Zealand and has 52 residents! It was named after the French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville and is called Rangitoto Ki Te Tonga in Maori.

As we departed, a very large super yacht was behind us. They were the talk of the marina before we left. For us, it was beginning to become a rare occasion for us to even see another boat, let alone a one this big!

01 Leaving Havelock

After looking into a few bays we decided to anchor in Snug Cove in Ketu Bay. Thinking we would be alone in the bay, we were soon joined by the superyacht itself. Far enough away that they couldn’t see in our windows though, so all was ok.

We had run out of the homemade tortilla crackers – they must be good because they don’t last long! I use Gerry’s brand of “Go Low Carb” tortillas.

Interestingly they are a Christchurch based company but you don’t see their Low Carb tortillas in the supermarket’s outside of Auckland and Wellington. Which is why I made one of the online orders in Havelock to Gerry’s, and now we have 25 packets winging their way to us!

02 Gerrys Go Low Carb

To ensure the crackers lasted longer this time, I also made some seed based crackers out of Sunflower, Sesame and Chia Seeds. Mixed with a packet of parmesan cheese and some olive oil, they make for another great cracker for cheese and pate.

I had some Buffalo Mozzarella balls in the fridge that needed to be eaten, so I whipped up a deconstructed Caprese Salad for lunch – another Prego inspired meal.

After the inspiration from Pete & Kirsten to get back into card playing, it was time for the two of us to battle it out. You need at least 3 for Rummy so a game of two-handed 500 was in order. It took us a few google searches, a few ‘discussions’ of how you play with only two players and one change of mind to find the way in which we could play it successfully. We each had a hand of 10 and a dummy hand of 10 in front of us with 5 of the cards exposed at any one time. B got this hand and thought the game was bullshit.

06 First game of 500.png

We decided the first game was just a practice – which killed me because I actually won! B opened a bottle of Taylor’s red ready for the next game.

06 Bottle of Taylors Red

The game ended up taking a very long time. So long that we had a break for dinner and an episode of Black Mirror (about killer robot dogs that totally freaked me out) in the middle of it.

Dinner was a marinated roast of beef with mushrooms, broccoli and bacon.

07 Beef with Mushrroms and Brocolli.png

B beat me fair and square in the marathon effort. It was time for some zzzz’s.

Next morning was absolutely gorgeous!

13 Gorgeous Day 19th

Alone in the bay, we had a breakfast salad including black pudding and boiled eggs!

11 Salad for lunch

We didn’t get away until around midday. I think we were too afraid to lose coverage so we did a few online chores to ensure we’d be ok and then got underway. The plan was to head to D’Urville. It was such a stunning day we decided to check out the Chetwood Islands, which are just north of the Pelorus Sound, on the way.

We found the most glorious spot where a yacht was drift fishing on the point. It’s called Ninepin Rocks. After anchoring, we kept an eye on them for a bit as we saw them pulling fish out of the ocean. They soon departed – not sure if we scared them off or they were worried about taking undersized cod. Or maybe they had just got their quota already?

27 Nice view from fishing spot

We couldn’t decide to go diving or to fish – it was mid-tide which is not ideal for either. We are also very careful with the fact that there are only two of us on board and therefore no ‘boat boy’ keeping an eye on things while we are underwater. Always an anxious feeling about how far away from the boat we will ascend. Given we saw fish being caught we thought it best to go with the ‘a bird in the hand’ theory. So, we lifted our anchor and Captain B controlled the boat drifting while I caught cod.

Oh my goodness, I had the BEST time! I caught our 4 limit in about 10 minutes. And that included me freaking out having no net to help hold the fish. And although I’d grabbed a fish towel, I’d forgotten the pliers to help me get the hook out. I decided to lift open the live bait tank and let him swim in there. He was still connected to my rod, but better than losing him. B manoeuvred the boat away from the rocks so he could come and help. Maybe we do need a boat boy after all?

The conditions were just too good not to go for a dive so we anchored further along the rocks beside a very scenic area.

40 Gorgeous spot for fishing 5

The rocks of both sides came down to a beach and when we came up from our dive there was a seal sitting in the middle of it. The dive was scenic but not fruitful.

44 Seal after diving

Later that night a discussion arose about how much wine we had been drinking and after a quick hand-shake, we agreed not to drink for 3 days. Hmmm… Let’s see how that goes.

Feeling great for having fish on board and having been for a dive it was off to Catherine Cove to anchor for the night. There were some spectacular views on the way.

Catherine Cove is another beautiful bay.

And, of course, we had Cod and Salad for dinner.

There is a small lodging and a restaurant onshore at Catherine Cove, but we decided we’d had enough adventure for the day and stayed onboard Resolution.

61 Chetwood Islands anchorage

It was the most stunning morning to wake up to.

63 View from Anchorage

Today’s breakfast creation were Paleo muffins. A base of bacon and filled with egg, onion, peppers and cheese. Yum!

We headed out of the bay and went across to the opposite side to check our Cherry Tree Bay.

66 Farewell to bay on 20th

As expected it was very windy but it was good to take a look. The Pelorus Boating Club used to have a mooring there but it had been struck off the list.

This was the big day we were going through the French Pass.

d’Urville Island is separated from the mainland by the dangerous French Pass, known to Maori as Te Aumiti, through which water passes at up to 8 knots (15 km/hr) at each tide. To put that into perspective, that’s the speed our boat travels at. Several vortices (whirlpools) occur near the passage. d’Urville investigated the passage for several days in 1827, and damaged his ship passing through it.

The whirlpools are bodies of swirling water produced by the meeting of opposing currents. They can be small like you see when you drain a bath or sink but the more powerful ones in seas or oceans may be termed maelstroms. Vortex is the proper term for any whirlpool that has a downdraft. In oceans, in narrow straits, with fast flowing water, whirlpools are normally caused by tides.

We had been pre-empting the trip through French Pass with a bit of trepidation. So many stories and not all of them good. Being good little doobies on the safety front, we studied the weather, the tides and the overall conditions to ensure we had avoided any risk of having a bad experience. The slack tide was going to be at 1645 hours and it was only 1100 hours so we had some time to kill for the day. It worked out well as we wanted to go and check out Elmslie Bay which is just around the corner before the Pass.

Before stopping at Elmslie, we continued on to Deep Bay which is in the large Admiralty Bay. They had mussel farms there and I was keen for another mussel feed. We anchored and hopped into the dinghy to go and explore the farms. Unfortunately, they had already been harvested so there was no free mussel feed today.

This bay was also quite windy so we decided it was time to go to Elmslie Bay for lunch before the big crossing. Can’t be doing these things on an empty stomach!

Elmslie is a cute little bay with a campground, a service station and a tiny shop.

70 Village

While we were anchored we saw them transport a four-wheel motorbike onto a tin boat which we assumed they were taking out to one of the properties on the island. It makes you stop and realise how difficult logistics can be for these guys when living on remote islands.

It was time for some lunch – Beef, Bok Choy and Tomatoes. There must be something about how I cook bok choy but again I didn’t really enjoy it. Very average meal. Let’s hope it’s not our last!

67 Lunch - Beef, bok choy and tomato.png

We took the dinghy to shore to have a little explore. Talking to the guy at the service station he informed us that they were shutting up shop for good in a months’ time. He said his father had owned it for 50 years and no one else wants to take it over. Quite sad really.

He also let us know that we could walk up the hill for only 5 minutes and see over the Pass itself. It was pretty exciting to see it from above. The tide was still moving and you could see the multiple whirlpools.

It was also interesting just how skinny the entrance was between the two navigational markers.

87 French Pass Entrance from boat

This explains how small the channel is and therefore why the tides cause so much current.

I’m not sure if this made us feel better or worried us more!

It was also an opportunity to get some nice photos of Resolution on the other side of the hill down in Elmslie Bay.

78 Reso in Emslie Bay

It was time for us to take on the Pass. We got to the entrance slightly early so slowed ourselves down a little. Captain B asked me to go up on the bow and video us going through. I discovered later that he did this so I wasn’t inside freaking out while he was trying to navigate it. Rude! Anyway, after all the hu-ha to traverse the French Pass, it was a total non-event. I don’t think the boat moved an inch either way away from our set course. Disappointing – just a little bit. But… a number of vessels have been taken by the current and they have turned 360 degrees out of the control of their skipper. That would not be fun.

At the end of the pass, we were greeted by some huge dolphins.

We couldn’t have been happier with our passage and were feeling pretty chuffed about it.

86 After French Pass

About half an hour later, we turned around the bottom of d’Urville Island and got slammed with a 3 to 4-metre swell head-on with winds going the opposite direction. This changes big swells into crashing waves and not pleasant to travel over. Given we had focused so much on the Pass, we hadn’t anticipated this rough sea and hadn’t put the Anchor Lock on.  This holds the anchor firmly to the bow when underway.

As we fell down a big wave, the anchor would lift up and crash back down. This was not a good situation. B wanted to go up on the bow and sort it out. We both put our life jackets on. I wound in the fishing line that we had put out to trawl for a fish as neither of us were interested in having to stop in this sea state if we did hook up.

It was dicey and all I could think of was what I would have to do if he went overboard. B steadied the ship by taking back the revs and the boat rode well in the big seas. It was decided that we’d keep an eye on the anchor but for now it was fine. It wasn’t worth the risk of B having to go out onto the bow.

There was a big bay coming up on our starboard side that we decided would be home for the night – Opotiki Bay in Manuhakapakapa Harbour. Otherwise, it would have been another hour or so to our originally planned anchorage at Greville Harbour. Once we got into the bay there was much relief!  Farm country with a farmhouse, jetty for the boats and lots of sheep. We hadn’t heard sheep on our trip yet, so that was novel.

98 Opito Bay Farm Land

When we arrived, we were ‘in need of a drink’. I was still shaking a little and so we thought a couple of Gin and Diet Tonics had to be better than a bottle or two of wine. Not bad for our second night not drinking.

Homemade crackers, pate and artichoke dip accompanied our drinks. We reflected on how spoilt we had been travelling inside the Marlborough Sounds for the last month and how we had forgotten about what it was like in big seas.

90 Well deserved Snacks

B fileted a fish for dinner. We had it crumbed in Panko with a lovely salad. Thankfully it was about 100 times better than lunch!

Absolutely no cell or internet service so we opted for Satellite TV to watch the News and Weather. This was followed by the craziest fishing show I’ve ever seen. It was a reality TV Show following a number of guys fishing swamps for alligators!  Oh my, there is another side to America I hadn’t seen. I might be jumping the gun, but I think I could tell who these folks voted for. They needed subtitles in case we couldn’t understand what they were saying. And who knew that they catch alligators just like we catch fish. The hooks are bigger and the bait is a whole chicken, but it’s attached to a line that they hand pull into the boat before the partner shoots the gator dead. Those American’s sure know how to shoot guns. Enough said.

Winds were howling overnight and we moved around on the anchor quite a bit.  Being a ‘Boss’ of an anchor, it held on tight. Here ‘s the anchor watch movement.

080 Anchor Movemenet

We decided to move while the winds were low in the morning and headed off with no breakfast! It was a much more comfortable ride up the coast of d’Urville this time. What a rugged coastline. Lots of caves and high stone cliffs.

Greville Harbour is split into four arms at the end of it. To get to the arms, you need to navigate through a breakwater with a narrow channel called Boulder Spit Point!

995 Greville Harbour Entrance

We read up the tricks about getting in safely and soon we were in paradise in Mill Arm.  It felt like having the whole of Port Fitzroy to ourselves. Absolutely stunning. All the cliffs were covered in beautiful green native foliage. We grabbed a tri-club mooring and had the most idyllic setting for the day.

998 Mills Arm

Brunch – some more cod fried in butter with lettuce, tomatoes and a homemade tartare sauce.

103 Cod, salad and homemade tartare

We spent the day blogging, listening to music and drinking coffee…. bliss. Our only annoyance of the day were wasps. There seemed to be quite a few around the place. Someone in the marina in Havelock has some beehives and explained to me that the wasps and bees sense how you are feeling. If you freak out and wave your arms like a crazy person, the wasp will respond accordingly. Best to stay calm and ignore them. I gave this a go and it seemed to work. They were much calmer too. They were with us for the cod – I’m thinking the butter on the cod!

119 Wasp

After another game of 500 and I made some chicken liver pate and some more no carb crackers.

106 Another card game of 500.png

Cod again for dinner. This time pan fried in butter accompanied by a walnut and grape salad.

The nights are much longer the further south you travel in NZ. The sky tonight was particularly spectacular in its colour.

123 Night sky at Mill Arm

This bay was something to behold. One of those ‘pinch me’ moments to make sure we were really there.

I got B to make his super-duper omelettes for breakfast.

131 Super Omellete

After breakfast, we planned our departure up to Port Hardy. Just as we were thinking of leaving another boat entered the bay. This time they came right up close to say hello.

132 Sapphire Alongside

Their boat was called Sapphire and they were also from Auckland and heading around the country. They rafted up next to us and came on board for a coffee. They were planning a figure 6 around NZ to end up in Havelock. Their plan was to head south in a couple weeks’ time. We weren’t sure of our exact timeframe at this point so just said that we’d hope to see them. They were keen for the mooring we were on so we left and let them have it.

998 Sapphire in Mills Arm.png

On the way into Port Hardy, we decided to try our luck at some more cod fishing. Such a fun time.

Port Hardy also had some beautiful bays. There were two other boats in bays as we travelled in but we decided on Skeggs Bay which was right down the end and on the left. The theory here is that we’d have the sun for a lot longer than the other side of the bay. And, once again, we had the bay to ourselves. There was a tri-club mooring all ready to receive us. We were getting used to this type of service and happy not needing to use the anchor.

It was a beautiful evening!

And surprise, surprise, we had blue cod and salad for dinner.  Again, with some homemade tartare sauce.

Another stunning morning.

154 Skeggs Bay Pano

Egg salad and tomatoes for breakie.

156 Egg Salad

And then we farewelled our beautiful mooring.

156 Leaving Skeggs Bay 2

The original plan was to go into Croisilles Harbour for one night before heading into Nelson. However, the weather was spectacular for travelling and Captain B had more maintenance planned, so we decided to continue on and head all the way to Nelson. I was also keen to get back to the online world and call friends and family.

Speaking of the online world, we would have our packages, including some parts for the boat at the marina office. I was pretty excited about another Christmas upon arrival!

The weather was stunning and I took advantage of being able to lay in the sun on the front deck and read.

A salad on the run as we continued to travel south to Nelson.

999 Salad on the way to Nelson

Txts, emails and messages pinged on our phones. By now we were back in cell phone coverage! Wahoo!

We were trawling for fish as we travelled and we got a hit. It was a kingfish but unfortunately slightly too small, so he went back for another swim. We still had a cod on ice so weren’t too fussed about not catching a keeper.

 

160 B with Kingfish

The entrance into the port is through the “Boulder Bank” and bends around a dogleg corner. The marina is behind the port and tucked right up back towards the city.

999 Entrance into Nelson Marina

We had been allocated L47 which was at the end of the L Pier. It was really close to the Anchor Restaurant and Bar and the walkway beside the river into town. The Marina Office was on the other side of the marina. It was a 20 minute or so walk around to get there but only 5 minutes in the dinghy. What a great way to travel around the marina!

With the work required on the boat and a trip to Auckland for some meetings, Nelson Marina was our new home for the next wee while.

999 Nelson Marina

Click here to see exactly where we are right now!

 

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.

Bubbles

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.

Lochmara

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.

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.

Banarama

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.

Omellete

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!

Router

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

 

Utopia!

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!

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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 ne