And we’re off!
03 January 2022 | En route to D’Urville Island
Simon Graves | Hot and sunny
I haven't changed the title of the blog from our last voyage as 'The Next Adventure' seems as relevant now as it was then.
We have 3 months off, we’ve sorted things at home and we are free to head where the winds take us. Stewart Island has been the named destination, but to be honest, we’ll be happy just to be at sea with no clear plans. Over the last few years, family and work commitments led us to local sailing for a few years and then a gap year, sailing to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Eastern Australia. The intention of that trip was to attend the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart, which was a real highlight (see previous blog posts). We thought about crossing to Bluff and Stewart Island from Tasmania, but weather conditions and a sense that coming back from Tasmania to Nelson would complete the trip, saw us go straight home.
Getting ready for a trip takes a while.
Boat maintenance - haul out, new headsail, repairing the dodger, engine overhaul, painting, fixing things (thanks Paul for use of the terrifying but amazing Sailrite!), replacing things...there is a lot to do. To be honest, you could just keep on doing the jobs and never go anywhere, so at some point, you just need to go and take the rest of the 'to do' list with you. This leads to the real priority jobs getting done first and others getting forgotten. As ever, new jobs crop up and so there is never time to get bored.
One of the big jobs for a trip is stowage. We are blessed with many lockers and box after box of supplies soon disappear under the floorboards, under and behind the saloon seats and under bunks. Over the years we have worked out the best places for things - some needing to be accessible regularly and others worthy of a bit of patience to get them out. I was surprised how I could put most things away in their correct place without a thought, although some things have still to be worked through... a large bag of potatoes and 4 cabbages from the garden and my ukulele, which I am determined to master while we are away. Probably a good thing we are staying remote.
We set off yesterday in hot sunshine. We motored out of our home port of Tarakoe and headed up to Separation Point. We had thought about only going as far as Taupo Point, but it was so good out on the water and it looked like the sea breeze would kick in and we could have a bit of a sail. Our fridge also runs off the engine, so it was good to get that cold as we set off. The wind picked up as we headed down the coast of the Abel Tasman National Park, the greens of the bush climbing up from it's golden sandy beaches. Again we noticed just how quiet it is. There a few fizz boats and maybe a dozen or so yachts, but the water taxis are missing, the campsites seem emptier and there are only one or two kayaks. Normally in early January, rafts of them would be passing by and circling Tonga Island like bees round a honey pot. The local tourist industry is certainly feeling the impact of the Border closure.
Our new headsail worked like a dream (thank you Pirate Pearl) and we came into Onetahuti, one of our favourite anchorages, at 7 knots. Yee Haaa! By this time the breeze was 15 knots, but we soon had the anchor down and tidied up. First swim of the trip and a test of our new pressurised solar shower. Very impressed so far - a power shower on deck, rather than a dribble of water from a bag slung on the mast. I hope it lasts. Dinner in the cockpit in the warm evening light and then a very early night.
None of our trips would be possible without the support of friends and family. There were a few logistic challenges this time that we didn't have when we rented out our suburban house in 2014. Our steer has gone on holiday to the farm next door, thank you Robin. The chickens have gone just up the road, thank you Katie and family and the plants are at NJs, thanks to you too! Karen and Brian have provided practical woodworking help, support and encouragement, garden oversight, meals and car transfers. Thank you. It all means so much. The refit team when we hauled out were amazing - thanks to Andy, Pete and Hannah...I hate to think how long it would have taken without you. Thanks to Mike and Heather for accomodation, meals and fetching and carrying. We wouldn't be here without your help over the boat years so far!
Thanks as always to Katie and Angus. Your encouragement, love and support and your enthusiasm for our adventures keeps us going. Really hoping we can catch up soon. We just need the wind to come to the party!
Plan now to head across Tasman Bay to D'Urville Island and through the infamous French Pass. But first, some breakfast! Now where did I stow the porridge oats?