01/31/2012, Nelson, New Zealand
Anchorage Bay is a beautiful, safe spot to lie at anchor for a while. Located in Torrent Bay at the southern end of the Abel Tasman National Park, there is a campsite for hikers doing the Coast Track and kayakers that paddle in. Water taxis zip in and out all day long but cannot put a damper on this idyllic place. A narrow beach of fine sand gives way to dense bush and verdant mountains veined with trails.
Our new inflatable Sea Eagle kayak had been tied above the dinghy on the foredeck for the daysail down from Tarahoke Marina. We easily lowered it over the side and used it as our sole transport. Each day we explored the shores of the bay. On either side of the long sandy beach are steep walls of granite and lots of trees. There is a 4 meter tide range so most of the small sandy beaches disappear at high water and many rocks appear at low water. We love our new kayak! It's even possible to stand up and use it as a paddleboard although that is a quite a thigh burner. Perhaps with some more experience I'll relax a little and the muscles will get a break.
Paikea Mist and Jackster were already anchored there when we arrived. The following day we joined them on a hike to a waterfall. We walked through the forest until we reached Falls River. Over and around giant boulders and slabs we scrambled until I reached a point where I didn't have a good hand hold and the pitch was too steep. So there we stayed. The warm granite slabs baking in the sunshine seemed like a great place to wait for the others. When Gloria returned she immediately went for a dip in one of the pools. Great idea! I was right behind her. Aaahhh... Jim doesn't share my enthusiasm to jump into any body of clear water so he happily stayed perched on his rock.
After several days of working fine, the watermaker had a problem. Of course it was a weekend. Jim did everything he could think of to fix it but couldn't. So into Nelson Marina we came looking for a technician and hoping for some insight from Spectra in California. We figured we'd buy some water jugs and a funnel in case we needed to make some sort of water catchment system. Well, sure enough, it seems to have fixed itself. Jim's not sure why and that's not a perfect solution. But at least it's working again.
A high will settle over the South Island tomorrow for several days so it is the window we've been waiting for. In a few hours we will head off to Milford Sound. We should be there in 4-5 days.
01/22/2012, Tarakohe Marina, Golden Bay
Yep, that's what we remember about the South Island of New Zealand - the beautiful scenery, the really, really nice people, and Mother Nature's fury. It was blowing a hoolie as a low passed over, and another bigger one was fast on its heels, so we headed into Golden Bay at the northwestern tip of the South Island for refuge rather than continuing down the west coast to Milford Sound.
From the churning sea a vibrant panorama lay before us. Folded green mountains rise quickly from the shore with interesting limestone outcroppings scattered about among the stands of pine trees and dense bush. Above us billowy clouds tumbled along beneath a brilliantly blue sky.
Perhaps it was the wind or perhaps it was my American accent that prompted Alan, the harbourmaster at Tarakohe Marina in Golden Bay, to meet us at the berth and help tie us up. On the phone he'd said space was very limited but he could put us on a pile mooring so we were happily surprised when he ushered us into a berth.
As we were settling in we met Darrel who assured us he could fix our tattered headsail. Up to the yacht club he and Jim went with the big jumble of jib. D set up a dozen banquet tables, pulled out his sewing machine and got to work. He sewed while Jim taped. A couple of hours later Tenaya was ready to go again.
Daniel, on the wonderful wooden boat next door with his young family, offered us the use of his car on Saturday. We drove into Takaka, a town we'd discovered and loved last year on our land tour. (See Gerty Goes Round New Zealand on our Tenaya Travels website). It's an artsy, bohemian town with fabulous cafes, healthy food and unique shops. A county fair was on complete with farm animals, equestrian events, rides and a wood chopping contest. Local flavor at its best.
Today the sun is shining and the wind has calmed. We're fueling up now and are headed off to explore some anchorages along the Abel Tasman Park. It looks like we might be in the area for a week or so. Time to play!
Because we will be in New Zealand more than 12 months out of 24, we each had to have another Chest X-Ray, a physical, and blood tests to submit with our request for a Visitor's Visa Extension.
HIV: Negative ... Syphilis: Negative ... Hepatitis: Negative
We weren't too worried about the first two, but are relieved by the results of the third. After all the kava we drank in Vanuatu from coconut shells that had passed the lips of entire male population of several villages which, we are certain, had never been washed, we were half expecting to contract hepatitis. Looks like we dodged that bullet.
When visiting Vanuatu some people load up on all the vaccines and prophylactic drugs they can force into their bodies. We chose to take none. Mosquitoes that carry both dengue fever and malaria are present on most islands and hepatitis is a concern in places without decent water supplies or satisfactory hygienic practices. Nothing can be done for dengue fever except avoiding bites in the first place. We feel that is our best course of action for malaria as well. The mosquitoes that carry it are most prevalent during the summer months and bite only at night. We were there in winter. The three main prophylactic drugs recommended by the CDC all come with potentially unpleasant side effects and no guarantee of actually keeping one safe from the disease. Should malaria be contracted, there is a cure. The vaccines for Hepatitis A, B and C seemed somewhat ineffective as well.
We decided we would always carry and drink our own water, use bug juice with the highest concentration of DEET, cover up if mosquitoes were present, and be back on Tenaya at dusk. All good intentions, but in reality, we failed miserably. Usually the DEET and our lightweight pants and long sleeved shirts remained in our packs while we found ourselves engaged with locals on shore way past dark. We often ingested local food and water offered to us by generous hosts, and drank kava that had first been chewed.
So it is with a sigh of relief that we received the results of our blood tests. No diseases, no infections, no liver problems. We hope the Immigration officials here in New Zealand deem us worthy to remain in their enchanting country well into 2012.
See pictures and the story of our passage from New Caledonia to New Zealand on our website: http://www.tenayatravels.com
10/27/2011, 90 miles from Opua
Sunshine, smooth seas, light winds, sailing nicely on a beam reach. Cloudless, moonless nights with billions of stars. Pink, red and orange sunrises and sunsets. What could be better for the feared passage to New Zealand? Two tuna! We've been feasting on sashimi, seared tuna topped with mango, and fish tacos with shredded cabbage and tomatillo salsa. Do we have to stop tomorrow?
10/23/2011, 150 miles SW of Norfolk Island
It's Monday, Oct. 24 at noon (local time) and conditions are ideal. The wind has shifted more to the NE allowing us to head toward New Zealand rather than directly south down the center of the Tasman Sea. Sailing close reached in 10-15 knots with a moderate swell. Last Katie had dolphins swim over and ride the bow waves for a while. Clouds are shading the sun today as we pass into the high. Each day grows a little cooler as we move further S. The stars are shining more brightly as the moon wanes. What a nice passage!
10/21/2011, 250 south west of New Caledonia
We left New Caledonia 2 days ago. For the first 24 hours we sailed into the 20 -25 knot wind and fairly large waves, about 8 to 12 feet high. Very bumpy ride! Over the past 24 hours the waves have become a little smaller and our ride is much nicer. Both Katie and I have been sleeping well between our 5 hour shifts. It is still hard to believe how well you can sleep when your bed is bouncing all around and rolling you back and forth.
With the trade winds still blowing hard we will continue to go west as we go south. it's never fun to be going west when your destination is to the east! But when we get further south (we are at 26 degrees now, so maybe in another 250 miles at 30 degrees) the wind will shift and come from the west. That will push us back towards New Zealand.
We are having a great time, with nice weather during the day and many stars at night.