Abel Tasman Paradise

After 11 days in the Nelson Marina and the post-Fehi cyclone storm, we were on our way – heading for Adele Island. Just as we were about to drop lines and go, two yachts came out of the pier behind us. One of them was live-a-board Steve and his wife Monique. He asked when we were leaving and I said: “as soon as you go past”. I said we were heading to Adele for the night. He responded, “It will be really rolly in there, we’re going to Anchorage”. I relayed the message to Captain B and off we went.

It was only 1.5 hours to get to the island. The sights on the way consisted of beautiful golden sand beaches and gorgeous green foliage. Having been in the Marlborough Sounds for so long, it had been a while since we saw white sand beaches.

Due to the storm, the debris in the water was extensive! In fact, there was an official navigation warning from the Harbour Master advising to avoid going out at all due to this hazard. We had to dodge around logs, branches and all sorts of other stuff. The storm had really made an impact out here. So here we were thinking how random it was that we actually managed to hit a log outside of the Wellington Harbour and surely that wouldn’t happen again. And now we can see just how easy it is to have “bad luck” underway. We’d have to be on full alert from now on.

002 Debris in the water

As part of our anchor story, which B now informs me we categorise under the name of “Ground Tackle”. Just like my shoes I responded! The magnet B so proudly bought in Whitianga was not up to the job. It had actually already starting to corrode. This is used to sense the revolutions of the gypsy wheel and calculate the amount of chain that has been put out. We needed to figure out how we can put the anchor down and in doing so know exactly how much chain we had put out. Using our mathematical minds, and while we were underway, we decided to put a red dot sticker on the top of the gypsy wheel, remove the chain and record how long it took to do 10 revolutions. We did this 3 times and the results were all between 10.5 and 11.5 seconds.

002 Jodi timing anchor

We settled for 11 seconds. Next step was to measure how much chain there is on one revolution. One was too short so we chose to measure 2 revolutions.

001 Chain Counter

With all this information, we worked out that we were putting out 14 metres per minute! Perfect!  When we anchor, we put out between 3 to 5 times the depth that we will be in at high tide ie: the maximum depth. The worse the weather and conditions, the more you would put out. The disadvantage of putting too much out is that you swing in a much larger circle in the bay and if every boat does the same, collisions can occur.

I made breakfast underway. A Breakfast Salad with boiled eggs, bacon, spinach, avocado and tomato. A little balsamic and olive oil drizzled on top. Inspired by Bambina Cafe!

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It was a relatively calm trip up to the Abel Tasman with some nice scenery.

The Abel Tasman National Park is located between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay at the north end of the South Island. It was named after Abel Tasman, who in 1642 became the first European to sight NZ and who anchored nearby in Golden Bay. The National Park was opened on 18th December 1942 to mark the 300th anniversary of Abel Tasman’s visit.

Ignoring Steve’s advice, we found a lovely spot at Adele Island and dropped our anchor. After weeks of it playing up, and now having arranged to get it fixed in Nelson when we return, it dropped without issue. Freaking Murphy!

I made some chicken liver pate with my new livers from the supermarket. I get B to keep an eye out when I lit the brandy to flambé the livers. I put the pan on a wood board on the floor of the galley to keep the flames from hitting the beautiful wood ceiling we have.

We were very happy with our anchorage and although there was a bit of rocking going on, most of it was from the commercial water taxis picking up kayakers, walkers and day-trippers from the surrounding bays.

 

002 Kayakers

I cooked dinner with the boat rocking from side to side, but still, we thought it was ok. I did a Sundried Tomato and Macadamia Nut Crust for the fish with a Cauliflower Couscous Salad with an Orange Dressing.

Tonight we treated ourselves to some dessert. Yoghurt with fresh raspberries, blueberries, pistachio nuts and maple syrup. Yum!

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The rocking did not subside. B thought that having been in the Sounds for so long and the marina for 11 days, that we needed to get used to the real ocean again. Oh my, would I be cursing him at 1am and 3am and 4am and 4:30am. It was a disaster! The residual 2-metre swells from the storm that hit NZ, were still rolling on in.

If the breeze is either a northerly sea breeze or southerly, the swell bounces off the coast and goes back towards the island. Either way, the boat turns around and ends up beam on (sideways) to the swell.

First thing in the morning, we moved to the other side of the channel to Stillwell Bay.

003 Moving away from Adele

We had breakfast without any rocking. That was until about 9am when a cavalry of boats came heading by from Kaiteriteri. These were the day trippers heading out to the different bays around the Abel Tasman to go kayaking, walking or lounging for the day. In the space of about 15 minutes, there were at least 30 boats going by – from small run-a-bouts to large ferries.

As soon as we’d eaten we decided to head out to Torrent Bay at The Anchorage. On the way, we saw some golden sand beaches that looked glorious and some cool rock structures.

 

And then we arrived in Torrent Bay. What a spectacular spot. We had visited Anchorage with B’s mum and the kids many years ago and I always remember standing on the beach at Anchorage dreaming of being there on our own boat. The beaches are golden, the water warm and very blue. It really is paradise and here we are, about 15 years later, living the dream.

 

Just after we anchored, Mark from Aqua Packers came by on his tender. Aqua Packers is a backpackers lodge on the water. People arrive around 4pm, have dinner, stay over and leave again around 9am. Mark was lovely and welcomed us to the bay, which was an unexpected gesture. He said to come over and visit anytime.

As we were chatting to Mark, a goose appeared – honking away.

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Mark explained that Goosey has a family of ducks. Apparently, geese mate for life and when they lose their loved one, they can often lose their identity. This ‘lost’ goose had adopted two families of ducks. He said we’d see them around sooner or later.

007 Goosey and her ducks

We had been told about a walk on the left-hand side of the bay – a walk to Te Pukatea Bay via the cliff to Pitt Head.  It was only a 1.5-hour loop but we were excited to be able to get some exercise. And of course, it was an opportunity for me to try out my new tramping boots.

 

Beautiful picture of Resolution looking back into Torrent Bay from the start of the walk.

 

Another stunning part of NZ. The walk out to Pitt Head provided some beautiful shots and then all of a sudden we could see down to Te Pukerau Bay. Wow! A perfect beach with golden sand and blue blue water.

006 Te Pukerau Bay

 

When we got down to the bay we were greeted by a cheeky little Weka. We got a photo of him just before he strutted off to explore the inside of someone’s tent. He just bowled right on in there!

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The views were magnificent and well worth the walk.

When we returned to Anchorage, we continued walking to the other end of the beach. It was like someone had dropped a couple of hundred people into this little piece of paradise. And actually, that’s exactly what happens every day to help feed our tourism industry. It was time for them to be picked up again and the cavalry arrived, boat by boat. Some were dressed like they should be heading into an office rather being on a beach in the middle of NZ in the summertime.

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On the way back to the boat, we saw Steve (live-a-board in Nelson marina) on another runabout with a guy filleting some fish. We went over for a chat and he let us know that the large mooring in the little bay over was available for use. It is used some days by a charter boat but they hadn’t been there the last couple of days. The guy filleting the fish was Patrick.

A bit later on Steve came for a visit with Monique. We had not met her at the marina. We had a drink and some snacks and of course, I let Steve know just how right he was about the swell at Adele Island. He just had a little laugh to himself. They said if we were heading further north, we should go to Shag Harbour, which is a cool inlet and often has baby seals there. And another walk to do from The Anchorage was up to Cleopatra’s Pools. We made a mental note of both. They invited us for dinner over on their boat. We said ’thanks but no thanks’ as we already had a plan for dinner and they also already had 6 people going and we thought it might be a bit much.

For dinner, I made Salmon with Chelsea Winter’s Sticky Hoisin Glaze, Cauliflower Couscous with a lemon dressing.

It was a beautiful evening.

 

After dinner, we sat up on the bow with a wine to watch the sun go down. Lung Nu (a cute little yacht) had a young couple on board and they were also enjoying the view. I took a photo of them hoping I’d be able to say hi and find out where to send it.

009 Nung Lu at Anchorage.png

Lung Nu up anchored relatively early and headed away. I raced out to ask them how I could send the photo to them. Steve gave me his email address. He had taken a photo of Resolution too, so we got this one back!

008 Resolution from Lung Nu.png

It was another stunning morning. And so warm. We were able to sit outside and enjoy it all. I finished the book I was reading – The Sellout by Paul Beatty. I loved it at first but I did feel that it dragged on. An interesting read for sure.

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I was excited to be able to start on The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne – another Rochelle and Tim recommendation which are always so good.

We had yoghurt, fresh fruit from the Nelson markets and granola for breakfast.

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The sun was shining and the water was nice and calm. I just love it when the conditions are like this.

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As we were sitting outside eating, we saw Mark from Aqua Packers, Patrick and Steve all in their dinghies moving a log from the bay next door to the main beach. It was a rather large piece of debris from the storm and needed to be beached so it wasn’t submerged under the water for a vessel to hit.

011 Locals moving a log.png

The wind was due to get stronger later in the day so we decided to take Patrick’s advice and move onto the mooring in the next bay.  It was perfect!

Once we were moored, he came back to say that it was good that we moved as the tide was lowering and it dries out a lot further out than you would expect it to. He said we were quite close to shore where we were previously anchored. These people are really looking after us, which was a nice feeling. We invited him on board for a beer and a chat.

It was a very windy afternoon, even tucked up on the mooring.  We saw a couple of yachts drag into each other and another re-attempt anchoring many times.

We didn’t eat any lunch until 2:30pm! Crumbed Squid, homemade tartare and an avocado and tomato salad.

It went beautifully with an Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay. While I was crumbing the squid I also crumbed some zucchini and gherkins for a snack later on.

About an hour later Patrick came back for another visit! This time to invite us over to Ta’Ahine for dinner. Ta’Ahine is Steve and Monique’s boat. He said he and his wife were going and his wife’s sister and her man and a couple of others.

Not long after Patrick rowed away, Steve came by and invited us again! He said nothing flash, but they’ll cook up some meat and have burgers. This time we had to say yes! And I was keen to meet some other folk and have a social evening.

As we watched the news I threw together a Zucchini, Garlic, Chili and Mint salad. Well… that would be after B had cooked all the zucchini on the BBQ ready for the salad. I figured people could either add it to their burgers or eat it on the side.

We popped the motor on the dinghy, and with some wine and the zucchini, we headed over to Ta’Ahine. What a fun dinner with a great group of people. There was Steve and Monique, Patrick and Bridget, Bridget’s sister Bonnie and her man Martin and two guys Geoff and Phil.

Monique was calling for a game of murderer. She explained that as the murderer, you need to wink to kill your opponents. Unfortunately for her, by the time everyone got to the point of listening ready to play, the sun had gone down and you couldn’t see each other, let alone their eyes. Not wanting to give up on some fun, Steve suggested we go and see the glow worms in the caves on the beach. I personally didn’t think it was a great time after so much booze had been consumed but knowing B was a Coastie, everyone made sure they had life jackets on and a torch for each dinghy. It was so much fun and the caves were amazing. I had never seen glow worms up so close. The stars were out in abundance and after a walk along the beach back to our dinghies, it was bedtime.

We woke to another lovely morning. It was definitely looking like summer was here to stay. We went for a swim and the water was so warm compared to the Sounds. It was reading 21 degrees on the boat’s sonar! A bit different to 15!

Soon after the big commercial catamaran arrived and was looking to use the mooring so we had to vacate. We were talking about heading further north before breakfast anyway so this just got us moving a bit quicker!

Today’s plan was to head up to Awaroa Bay. There is a lodge there that we also visited 8 years ago for Sam’s 21st birthday and a few years before that for our friends’ wedding. On the way to Awaroa we took a look at some beaches and bays along the way.

I was trying to rendezvous with Joyce and Nicki who we’d seen in Nelson. They said that they may head to Medlands Beach in Bark Bay. That was to be our breakfast spot. A gorgeous little beach.

There was only one couple camping on the beach and us in the bay. No one else to be seen. We were about 2 minutes into our breakfast and the next minute there were literally 6 to 8 boats around us – and some big boats at that. Dropping walkers, kayakers day trippers and packs off to trampers. It was nuts! The bigger boats had loudspeakers and their captains were explaining about the area and this particular beach.

Most of them saw the humour in it too. Our romantic little anchorage was not very romantic after all. One of the larger vessel captains continued to look at us and shake his head as if to say “What the hell would you anchor here for? You turkeys”. Ah well, you can’t win them all. Grumpy bugger.

One of the smaller boats came over to say hi as he was waiting to be able to offload his group. He explained to us that the main beach in Bark Bay had been closed for surveying after the storm so they had to use this little beach in the meantime. Now that made a lot more sense as to why they would try and have so many boats all come into such a small spot.

After breakfast and still having a laugh at the situation, it was off to Shag Harbour with some sightseeing along the way.

 

I thought this looked a bit like Split Apple Rock.

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We anchored out of the harbour and took our dinghy in.

014 Reso outside of Shag Harbour.png

It is a tiny inlet into a very interesting and pretty looking harbour that heads up a river.

On the way out, we went along the rocks and found the baby seals – so cute!

Next stop was Awaroa. The beach looked lovely from the boat as we got near.

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There was only really one place we were able to anchor and even this was a little exposed. The wind wasn’t too bad but we knew it was going to come up stronger later in the evening.

We were down the end of the beach with the ramp up to the lodge. Unfortunately, when we got to shore and tied up the dinghy, we saw that the ramp had been closed with storm damage.

We had to walk right to the other end of the beach where we found a small walkway that led up to the airstrip. We walked up the airstrip to the lodge – luckily we had been there before and knew where we were going. This is where we had flown in 8 years ago. The weather was still unbelievably warm and we did feel a little clammy when we arrived.

They do have a Pizzeria which was tempting but we had planned to go to the restaurant in the lodge and went with this. I ordered Prawns and B had the Gazpacho for entrees.

 

For mains, I had lamb and B the beef.

We washed it down with a Pegasus Bay Chardonnay. Tonight was so hot we needed one of those ice buckets again!

016 Pegasus Bay Chard

B finished the meal off with some sort of cheesecake flavoured dessert with ice cream. It looked better than it tasted.

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A nice meal and a nice time reminiscing about times spent here in the past. We had also been here for Marcel and Deanna’s wedding. After dinner, we wandered down beside the lodge to the landing by the water where they had their ceremony.

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On our way back to the boat (the long way), although it was tempting to head down the path we knew would take us along the walkway to our dinghy.

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We met a couple who were heading to the DOC camp and who didn’t really know where they were going. They had been to dinner and it was obvious that they were happy from having had a few drinks. And quite possibly, newly in love. We had walked past the sign to the DOC camp so told them to walk with us. A lovely couple and it was one of those lovely meetings but incredibly brief! We pointed them in the right direction, they thanked us a lot and went on their way.

Once we got back to the beach, it was another long walk to the other end of it. It was a lovely evening so certainly not something to complain about. It was also good to walk off some of that dinner.

It was a bit of a challenge to get back into the dinghy and get the motor started with the waves that were coming in. The wind had picked up and the swell was coming right into the beach. B got in and got the engine going and I jumped in and up onto its bow in a very unladylike manner. I got drenched, but it was still very warm so no big deal.

Once back at Resolution, we could tell that the swell was coming around the corner and moving the boat. I wasn’t comfortable staying there the night so we made a decision to go back to the Anchorage. It meant a night passage back, focusing on the radar to guide us, and anchoring in the dark on arrival. They were big waves as we left the bay. There was a moment or two when we would question our decision to move but I still think we were doing the right thing.

When we arrived into Torrent Bay we used the radar and anchored right in the middle of a number of yachts but still quite a way out of the bay. We didn’t want to cause any commotion so late at night. It was time for bed.

It was nice to wake up without the boat being thrown around. We did, however, move the boat closer to the bay now that we could see what we were anchoring around.

Had a yummy breakfast to kick off the day – herbed scrambled eggs with tomato, avocado and black pudding.

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Today we walked to Cleopatra’s Pools. Another excuse to wear the tramping boots! Some spectacular views from the hills:

At the junctions in the walks, there are often a few people having a rest or deciding which way to go. An Asian couple in full-length pants and tops were trying to decide to go to Bark Bay via the low tide option or the high tide track. The tide was low but rising and by the time they would get to the estuary, it would have been at least to their waists. We explained what the tides meant and that they would be walking through water. Thankfully they took the high road. A little longer, but definitely a drier walk.

The scenery along the way was nothing short of breathtaking. So many different vistas, watercolours, rocks and trees.

The pools at the end were fun. Freezing cold but fun. We braved the water and went over to the pools at the back of the rocks for a sunbath.

 

B had heard about a rock slide and, being a boy, wanted to try it out. All I could think of was his back bouncing along the rocks and damaging himself! I really should stop being a nana! I offered to be the photographer. A fun afternoon.

When we got back to the Anchorage, we came across a couple whose boat was about to beach itself and they were having trouble getting it back into the water. They had anchored it on the beach and not realised the tide was heading out. B jumped into Coastguard mode and went to help. I followed a little slower and helped too. They were very grateful for the assistance. And that was our random act of kindness for the day.

On the way back to the boat, we decided to pay Aqua Packers a visit. Mark makes me laugh as he hates the look of his boat and is hoping to be able to upgrade one day. He calls it the cataract! Another couple Steve and Sarah from Awanui visited too. They are based in Christchurch and have their boat moored at Motueka. They have become good friends of Mark and Jane over the years and often help them with water runs and other tasks in the bay. They had come on board for a drink so B headed back to our boat to pick up some wine, pate and crackers.

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Back at the boat, we went for a swim. The water is ridiculously warm compared to the sounds. 25 degrees this time!

For dinner, we snacked on Crumbed Zucchini, Crumbed Gherkins, Pate, Cheese and Celery.

Next morning B needed to have a phone call before his 9am meeting. We left the bay to find some service. We found some just out of the bay but it was patchy and the swell was rocking us around uncomfortably. We decided to head back to Adele Island for the day where we knew we had good coverage. B had his board meeting, I blogged, and we both organised catch-ups and meetings in Auckland for the following week.

And the best news of all was that Vicki from PB Tech had messaged me to say that my phone screen was not broken after all. The screen protector they had put on was itself glass and that was all that had smashed. $35 to put a new one on and send the phone back to me. I now only needed to wait 6 days to get back to Nelson to retrieve it. What a relief!

With all our online and connected work complete, we went back to Torrent Bay around 4:30pm. The mooring was free again so we grabbed it. Mark from Aqua Packers had said that the guy Vic who drives the big catamaran whose mooring we were on was the expert on all things about Fiordland. We decided the best way to meet him would be for him to kick us off the mooring again. Unfortunately, that never happened.

There was a sailboat quite close and with the wind dying off completely, their boat drifted in our direction. As with anchoring etiquette, whereby the last person to anchor is responsible for moving should a collision be imminent, moorings have preferential treatment whereby their space rules. So it was really up to the yacht to move even though they were anchored there first. It seemed like a bit of a stalemate for a good 2 hours when they finally moved. They hadn’t hit us but were too close to be there overnight. I thought we had been a bit arsey but we were offered the mooring and everyone knows that you don’t anchor close to moorings.

For dinner, we had chicken thighs on the BBQ and an Avocado, Tomato and Pine Nut Salad.

Another gorgeous evening on the mooring with our little rock behind us.

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We were still sitting on the back of the boat having a drink when Peter from Watermark came to visit. He had seen us in the Nelson Marina and wanted to say hi. We offered him a drink and he said he better not as he was in trouble with his wife Jill and had had a few already. B suggested he go back to the boat and bring Jill back with him. He thought that was a good idea and got up to get into his dinghy. The next minute all we heard was a large splash at the back of the boat and Peter was in the water! Oh dear. He still went back to his boat, dried off and returned with Jill.

As Peter left, Steve and Sarah came for a visit. We had told them to come over any time. When they saw Peter, they said they could come back another time and I said “No, no, we don’t actually even know that guy. Come on up”. They had their two dogs with them, Stella and Billy.

At one point in the evening, Mark from Aqua Packers came over on his tender and dognapped the pooches to entertain his guests. They were dropped back to our boat around 10pm.

Peter and Jill didn’t stay long and we sat up chewing the fat with Steve and Sarah until about 12:30am. These guys have a property development business in Christchurch, which provides them with the flexibility of how long they could stay away for. The weather had been so amazing after the big storms, they had decided it was too good not to stay and enjoy for a few days more.

After some scrambled eggs, avocado and tomato for breakfast, we headed out on the big tender to go and find some service. It was good to take it for a run as we hadn’t used it much recently. It was also my sister Tanya’s birthday and I wanted to call her. I’d get one bar of service and then nothing – hopeless. I took the opportunity to get some nice photos though.

We gave up on this idea and thought the next idea would be to walk back to the Pitt Head lookout. Steve and Sarah had said there are a couple of spots where you can get some coverage. Anyone would have thought we were missing an office.

Close to the turnoff to the lookout, we had some service. Enough to call Tanya and sing her Happy Birthday. We carried on to the lookout and found that service there was good. I synched all my devices and B made some work calls.

The view from our new office:

024 View from the office

Back at the boat, we lay in the sun and read our books. I’m reading The Heart’s Invisible Furies and loving it. The warmth was wonderful. To cool down we went for a swim. The water was still incredibly warm.

B had put some washing on and the machine started beeping and displaying an error message. The error it was displaying required us to “Call your service company” – not that helpful really. It was not draining the water out. B got into plumbing mode, pulled it apart and cleared out the filter, which didn’t have much in it at all. But, voila it worked the next time we used it.

We played a few games of Sequence before cooking lamb rack and roasted broccoli, garlic, onion and lemons for dinner. We matched it with a Martinborough Pinot Noir.

020 Lamb Racks and Broccoli

After dinner, we played a couple more games of Sequence until it was too dark to see the board properly.

Mark from Aqua Packers had said we could go over for leftover pancakes in the morning if we were keen. We hadn’t met his partner Jane and she was now back on board. B was very excited about the prospect of pancakes and set the dinghy up to head over. Jane was lovely and we had a great chat before we thought we ought to let them get on with their work, which in some regards never ends with having guests every night. They were having problems with their modem setup so I offered B to help. I’m good like that. He stayed on board to work on it and I went back to the boat to make myself useful.

While B was being tech support, I decided the ship needed a clean. Dusting, vacuuming, polishing, cleaning and a general tidy up.

B arrived back and joined in by cleaning the dinghy. He had fixed their issue so he had paid for his pancakes in services! They had had so many people looking at their modem issue so it was nice to sort it out for them.

Neville and Stacey arrived into the bay on Spellbound. Neville had been doing some work on our boat in Nelson and not only were his engineering skills amazing, he was also a really nice guy and we had hoped to catch up with them in the Abel Tasman.

Our toilets onboard macerate the contents that you flush into a holding tank (Black Tank). By law, boats must have a holding tank and these can only be discharged out at sea and at least 500 metres from shore. I personally think it should be more than that, but that is the law. However, I do remember the first yacht I owned before this law was introduced and what you flushed when straight out! Our tank can cope with approximately 50 flushes and it’s never a good thing to fill it up!

We had to go and ‘poop’ the boat and get some internet and phone service, so we headed out and told Neville and Stacey that we’d be back later on that day.

It was calm as could be so we stayed bobbing around for a bit but there was so much wake from boats going by that we decided to go back and anchor at Adele Island again. It was quickly becoming our choice of office location.

Another online session and some phone calls, we were restored again!

When we got back Neville arrived on his dinghy and asked us over to visit them on the beach for a gin. Stacey being pregnant refrained from the booze but we took over a Swell bottle with a pre-mixed gin and tonic. I made guacamole and we had that with some corn chips. Their son Connor is 2 years old and gorgeous. He played with the ducks and some seagulls.

The weather was still beautiful, warm and very calm. A lovely summer’s evening.

For dinner, we had steak with a mushroom and spring onion sauce flambéed in brandy and a Spinach, Cucumber and Pinenut salad.

We were playing some Sequence outside in the cockpit and heard this terrible yelling. There was a guy who had his boat tied up alongside Aqua Packers and he was going off his nut. Swearing, screaming and then he picked up a fishing rod and smashed it in half on the back of his boat. I did hope it was his own boat and gear that he was trashing and not anyone else’s. Wow. We looked through the binoculars, as any good, nosey boatie would. To be honest, it was more to see if Mark needed any help rather than simply being nosey. Mark seemed to have it all under control. A kid was taken off the angry man’s boat and put onto Aqua Packers by Jane. They obviously know these guys but it was pretty wild and nothing like I’d ever heard out on the water before.

When Katie was on the boat with us in the Marlborough Sounds, she showed us the game Wordscapes and now we are slightly addicted! They have a daily puzzle so it’s often the second thing that gets done in the morning – after the coffee is made of course. Our trustee little Nespresso machine gets a good workout each day.

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I decided enough was enough and we needed to get back into our exercises. I started the 30-day challenge again. I added some extra sets with the 15kg weight bag. Then a stand on the Shakti Mat for 5 minutes and a lie on it for 10.

Blogging time!  Still a month behind. I’ve realised that writing is one thing and takes time, but it’s actually the photos that are the most time-consuming. But as you know, a picture tells a thousand words, so I’m not going to cut down on those! The weather had turned nasty in terms of torrential rain. It was definitely time for some indoor activities – pizza’s, corn crackers, blogging, colouring and cork mat ripping up! (The cork mat was already ripped, but Connor had a great time tearing the rest of it into little pieces).

We headed out of Torrent Bay and back to Adele Island. Happy to have coverage, I also made some phone calls and did some emails.

When the weather had improved, we went to the beach on Adele Island for a relax with Neville, Stacey and Connor, and I swam back to the boat. The water was lovely and warm but a bit green and brown from the big rain downpour and the mud from the land being washed into it. It was amazing just how quickly the water colour changes. It tasted a bit muddy too!

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As I was getting closer to the boat, the dinghy was getting closer to me! B had forgotten to tie it on and it was running away. I tried to swim with it but wasn’t making much headway as the tide was quite strong. I decided to get into the dinghy, which sounds a lot easier than it is from in the water. Not to mention that B had pumped it up beautifully which again made it harder to mount. The first attempt I did from the back of the boat as it’s lower to the water.

However, I was worried that I would tip the entire thing over and, with the motor on it, that would have been a disaster. So I used the seat in the middle of the boat to pull me up. I just hoped it didn’t do what poor Peter’s did when he tried the same technique! His seat came right out! I managed to get up on board, start the engine and get back to the boat safely. B was laughing and tried to convince me that it was a drill to see how I’d cope. Whatever boyfriend!

We had invited Neville, Stacey and Connor over for dinner. They brought a salad, which was so lovely after having finished all of our lettuce. I marinated some chicken and steaks. The steak was not good – another of the items we had in our freezer a bit too long me thinks! Neville still liked it so all good. I also did some roast broccoli, cauliflower, onion and garlic with lemon – yum!

027 Dinner with the Shields

Connor needs to be in bed by 8pm so it wasn’t a late one. We had arranged to meet them again in the morning to go for a walk on the mainland.

027 Connor

Neville has a saying “If you’re not sure of the knot, tie a lot”. Connor put this into practice in tying up the dinghy.

027 Connor's Knot

Before bed, we watched a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy until it stopped about 10 minutes from the end.

The next morning we put our big tender in the water and followed Stacey, Neville and Connor to Coquille Bay on the mainland. We can’t beach the tender, so we anchored out a little bit and Neville came out and picked us up in his tender and took us to the beach.

The walk to Murahau was about an hours stroll. Such a cool walk.

We even got to see a Weka.

029 Weka.png

When we arrived we found the very cool Park Cafe. We had breakfast, muffins and Connor got to have ice cream.

I had a Bagel with Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Eggs. B had Bacon and Eggs.

Connor was so sweet as B was teasing him and saying he might steal some of his ice cream. He turned to B after about 5 minutes and said: “I’ll save you some, don’t worry”. Very cute.

029 Connor, B and Nev.png

On the way back to the boats we found a seat the perfect size for Connor.

Spent the afternoon blogging, reading and snoozing in the sun. We invited Neville, Stacey and Connor over for a drink before they headed back to their boat for dinner, as we were thinking about returning to the Anchorage to say farewell to Aqua Packers. It was really calm at Adele so we decided to stay for the night and head over in the morning.

We heated up and ate a naughty pie for dinner. A “Who ate all the Pies” Angus Beef and Mozzarella. God, they are good!

While it cooked, I did my exercises, went for a swim and showered off the back of the boat. We probably should have had some veggies alongside it but instead, we had a bottle of Taylor’s red.

That night we tried watching some TV. We managed to watch the last 10 minutes of Greys Anatomy but had to wait about half an hour to get it downloaded. My blog crapped out too.

First thing in the morning we headed back around to the Anchorage and had a ‘leftover’ breakfast when we got there. 1 egg, zucchini and peppers, sausage, chicken, lettuce on paleo and coconut bread. A weird mixture but a good way to clear out the fridge.

030 Breakfast.png

We got some washing on and did some reading before bidding farewell to the good folk on Aqua Packers and headed back to Nelson.

030 Leaving the Bay.png

As the boat was abeam the Motueka river entrance, again we came across a huge patch of debris in the water. More logs! I had to stand on the bow of the boat and point out the logs, sticks and crates to B so he could avoid them. There were so many that my arm signals would have looked more like a bird flapping its wings. I tried to show B the size of each as well so he could decide on the best track to take when there was debris all around us. He’d slowed the boat down to minimise any damage if we did hit something. It was not a nice feeling but after about 10 minutes, we were clear of the bulk of it and I was allowed back inside.

Other than the debris, it was a non-eventful trip back to our berth on L Pier in the marina. Exactly how you want the voyages to be.

I reminded B it was Valentine’s Day and we should go out to dinner to celebrate. He expectantly rolled his eyes into the back of his head. Such a charmer!

Centre of New Zealand

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

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

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

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

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

001 Uban Sign

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

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

003 Oysters

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

001 Urban - Fish Tacos

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

005 Son in law Egg

Then came the Kung Poo Popcorn chicken.

006 Karegee Chicken

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

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

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

009 Des' Boat

We were right down the end of L Pier.

010 L Pier with Resolution at the end

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

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

011 View from our boat.png

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

012 Parcels at marina office

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

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

016 B's Skipper Ticket

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

013 Jodi with P&Ks parcel

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

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

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

020 Alan and Lindsay

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

021 Bennett and Des

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

022 T from Amuri

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

023 Gorgeous Evening

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

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

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

028 View from Nahm Deck

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

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

026 Marine Rescue Centre

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

035 Morri Street Cafe.png

There were some cool murals on the way:

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

031 Nelson City Council notice

Not a great HR advertisement that’s for sure.

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

032 Maybe this guy did work for them

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

041 Flower in the streets of Nelson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The view of the marina from the walkway was stunning.

037 View of Marina from walk to town

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

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

037 Escabeche

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

040 Popcorn Dessert

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

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

042 Selfie of the happy couple

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

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

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

048 Duck Liver Parfait with Pickled Cherries, Toasted Brioche

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

048 Twice Baked Goat_s Cheese Soufflé

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

048 Salmon

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

All were as good as they sounded.

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

049 Joyce and Nicki and J

Another fabulous evening in sunny Nelson.

046 View from Hopgoods

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

50 View from the plane to Auckalnd.png

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

51 View of the marina from the plane

And a nice shot of the Marlborough Sounds.

52 View of the sounds from the plane

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

052 Deb with Rose

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

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

053 Jodi in her hat

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

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

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

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

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

055 Hannah and Caro

The girls arrived in style:

055 The girls arrived in style

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

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

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

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

057 The Boatshed Cafe

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

061 Storm Winds.PNG

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

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

Here’s the ramp at low tide.

060 Low Tide

And here at full tide.

060 Flooded Marina

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

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

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

061 MOB1 AIS

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

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

061 Basil at markets.png

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

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

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

063 Coriander.png

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

063 Garlic

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

062 Stinky Cheeses.png

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

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

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

Here were the winds in the Cook Strait:

064 Storm in the Cook Strait

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

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

065 Jodi with togs

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

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

066 Berth Ring Stuck

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

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

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

065 Munted Screen.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

062 The Harnett Stinky Cheese.png

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

069 Fish Shop.png

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

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

999 Nelson Central.png

Click here to see where we are now

 

d’Urville Island

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

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

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

01 Leaving Havelock

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

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

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

02 Gerrys Go Low Carb

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

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

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

06 First game of 500.png

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

06 Bottle of Taylors Red

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

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

07 Beef with Mushrroms and Brocolli.png

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

Next morning was absolutely gorgeous!

13 Gorgeous Day 19th

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

11 Salad for lunch

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

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

27 Nice view from fishing spot

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

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

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

40 Gorgeous spot for fishing 5

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

44 Seal after diving

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

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

Catherine Cove is another beautiful bay.

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

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

61 Chetwood Islands anchorage

It was the most stunning morning to wake up to.

63 View from Anchorage

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

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

66 Farewell to bay on 20th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

70 Village

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

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

67 Lunch - Beef, bok choy and tomato.png

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

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

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

87 French Pass Entrance from boat

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

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

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

78 Reso in Emslie Bay

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

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

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

86 After French Pass

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

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

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

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

98 Opito Bay Farm Land

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

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

90 Well deserved Snacks

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

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

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

080 Anchor Movemenet

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

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

995 Greville Harbour Entrance

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

998 Mills Arm

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

103 Cod, salad and homemade tartare

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

119 Wasp

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

106 Another card game of 500.png

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

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

123 Night sky at Mill Arm

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

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

131 Super Omellete

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

132 Sapphire Alongside

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

998 Sapphire in Mills Arm.png

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

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

It was a beautiful evening!

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

Another stunning morning.

154 Skeggs Bay Pano

Egg salad and tomatoes for breakie.

156 Egg Salad

And then we farewelled our beautiful mooring.

156 Leaving Skeggs Bay 2

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

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

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

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

999 Salad on the way to Nelson

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

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

 

160 B with Kingfish

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

999 Entrance into Nelson Marina

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

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

999 Nelson Marina

Click here to see exactly where we are right now!