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.
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!
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.
And some fresh Cherries from the locals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few shenanigans on the way out before asking Harry to take us back to the boat.
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.
We made Low Carb Pizzas for lunch. Best hangover food ever!
With Pumper 1 not on board, Pumper 2 got relegated to the dishes.
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.
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!
B was a legend and made Leah and I paleo bread toasted sammies for a post-midnight snack. They were the bomb.
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.
Once the chores were done it was definitely time to get out and do some boating. We farewelled our mooring.
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!
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.
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.
A wonderful evening catching up with a very special friend and his friends!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
UTOPIA (Poem by Leah Davey)
After getting supplies and eating the world’s best pie, it was chicken cranberry and cheese, I arrived at Furneaux lodge to a brisk sea breeze
My beautiful friends Captain B and Jodi picked me up, happy to flee and go aboard Resolution three
Ashore with Harry we went for drinks and dinner, reflecting on 2017 and deciding it was a winner, we were happy and content so back to the boat we went
As we celebrated the start of a new year, I’d found a willing sailor and could have had far more fun after, if it weren’t for the shining light and laughter
We caught blue cod using salami as bait, the key ingredient to the dinner, we were later to create.
Shared with the wonderful souls from Shamrock, we chatted about life to take stock and concluded amongst much laughter that we all rock
There were many a game of scrabble and lots of meaningless banter and babble.
With endless possibilities and declarations of glee, I have the best word ever, says Jodi if only I had a ‘P’!
Chilling and chatting on ‘teak beach’ with a G&T, singing to Whitney Houston, annoying Captain B and admiring the beautiful sea
Delicious meals whipped up by Chef Jodi but it was Captian B took out the title of best cheese toastie and without Stu cleaning up in the galley, it was me who had to rally
Foraging for mussels, it got all psychological as Bert declared that the green lipped mussels are way too gynaecological
Off for a dive we went, so full of confidence and hype, but returned nine minutes later with nothing but a gripe
From Kumutoto to Resolution bay, we failed to get cray so drank some Chardonnay and enjoyed a bloody great day
From the sun setting sky afar, we saw the brightest shooting star, a rare sight to see, how bizarre, how bizzare
On the stern deck, it was neck and neck, we thrashed out the most competitive game of trivial pursuit, we laughed and nearly cried, what a hoot
There are moments in life you want time to stand still, away from the hustle and bustle and thrill
A time to sit and time to reflect of what ones life has to offer you yet.
As I sat pondering in the Sounds, reminiscing and admiring the beauty all around, myself I think I had found
As we started 2018, there was no place I’d rather be, with beautiful people, in the country I love and on the sea
It’s once been said that “the noblest art is that of making others happy”, Captain B and Jodi must be smart, because they have mastered this beautiful art.