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!

Sleep after midnight.png

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

The Cheese Toastie.png

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

Jodi Vacuuming in the NY.png

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

Farewell Fernaeux

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

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

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

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

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

Cod caught with salami

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

Reso in Kumutoto Bay.png

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

The Drone and Reso

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

Dougal and Jodi

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

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

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

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

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

Dive Cupboard.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shamrock at Kumutoto

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

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

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

Kumutoto Mussel Haul.png

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

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

The sun going down this evening created a beautiful light.

Lovely Shot of Leah.png

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Jodi and Leah

UTOPIA (Poem by Leah Davey)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to see our track on the map

The Secret to Happiness

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

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

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

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

Flipper Bay

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

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

B looking into a stern line

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

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

Ferry in Tory Channel

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile in Auckland…

Auckland Traffic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Low carb Bread 4

Here’s the view from the galley.

View from galley window

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

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

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

Diver checking our hull

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

EWOF

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shamrock 1

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

Mahana Lodge

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

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

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

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

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

Morning View with B

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

Coffee Visit from Burt

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

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

 

 

Back on land

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

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

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

Bad oil disposal

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

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

Picton Marina boys

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Delivery

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

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

Wine Delivery

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

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

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

Walk Time for Picton to Waikawa

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

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

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

Jolly Roger Restaurant

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

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

New Fenders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dishes Christmas Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wet Weathers for the supermarket

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to see our track on the map

 

Funnelling winds, fried phone and a furry friend

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

The Sounds

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

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

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

G&T w Mint and Cucumber

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

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

Excercise Mat

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

Egg salad on paleo toast with tomato for breakfast.

Egg Salal on Paleo Toast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOMC

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

Boat outside BOMC

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

BOMC 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shag Nest - BOMC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashley Bay

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

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

Dinghy Upturned 2

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

Cauliflower Rice 2

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

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

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

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

Click here to see our track on the map

 

 

Perfect Bay, Portage & Parking in Picton

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

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

We woke up in the beautiful Torea Bay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shark and Cray

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

Crayfish salad

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

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

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

Gorgeous evening in Torea

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

Eggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picton

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

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

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

Wave Electrical

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

Vineyard