Otago Peninsular

 Superted V

Blog & Photos - April 2014

1 - 6 April - After a good sail up from Stewart Island, we arrived in thick early morning fog at Port Chalmers on the Otago Peninsular. As we crept along using radar towards the entrance to the channel we had a call from a fishing boat asking if we wanted to follow them in - turned out to belong to the son of a fisherman (Arte) we had met in Stewart Island who said he would keep an eye open for us when we arrived at Port Chalmers! Arte arranged for us to have one of the fishing boat berths (free c/w electricity and water) and then gave us a loan of his car for the afternoon so we could have a look around Dunedin (10 miles further up the Otago river). At the Settlers Museum we came across lists of settlers - amognst them a couple of 'Findlays' who came to Dunedin in the mid 1800's. Great start to our visit which in fact lasted longer than we originally intended as we waited for good wind to go further north. There was plenty to keep us occupied. Port Chalmers is now a small fishing town with a large, busy container base but has in the past played host to many historical figures. It was here that Scottish settlers landed to populate the region and from here that Scott left on his fatal South Pole expedition. After a day's walking around Port Chalmers and hiking up Mt Cargill we hired a car for the rest of the week and had some great scenic drives around the Otago Peninsular - including the only land colony of Royal Albatrosses. As we wandered along the beaches we came across Yellow eyed penguins and fur seals. On a drive into central Otago, we visited the historical village of Middlemarch and on our way to see the last working gold mine at Macrae's Flats, we passed a most bizarre sight - a line of animal skins strung on a wire fence - about 1km long! Later in the week a fancy motor boat arrived - it had been shipped in from Sydney and was being taken down to the Fjords to meet up with the mother ship (Sarissa - a 43M yacht) - belongng to Lachlan Murdoch and family who were coming to sail in the fjords for a week! (When we arrived back in Nelson Sarissa was there - it never made it down to the fjords due to bad weather - holiday cancelled!)

7/8 April - Good overnight sail to Akaroa - a small tourist town with a french history and a great welcoming yacht club! We had planned to stay a few days but when we saw a good weather opportunity a day later we decided to take it.

9/10 April - Great overnight sail to Queen Charlotte Sound - got a tad windy from the early hours of the morning (30+ knots) with around 3 metre sea as we entered the Cook Straits. We arrived at the Tory Channel as an Interisland passenger ferry was coming out - so we hove-to to wait for it as the channel is quite narrow and the tide rushes through it and with those seas.... Found a great anchorage out of the wind and swell further into the Tory channel.

12 - 19 April - Spent in foul weather in Picton marina - we had gone there originally to meet up with Geoff the rigger but the weather was so awful with the remains of Cyclone Ita together with a low from the Tasman Sea that we decided to sit it out in the marina. We did get out for a couple of walks and Geoff lent us his car for the day so we headed out to Blenheim to the Omaka Aviation Centre - quite impressive - the sets have been made by Weta studios (of Peter Jackson fame). Had a very nice lunch at Wither Hills winery (where the Royals ate the previous week) - got back to floods everywhere and to learn that many roads had been closed.

20 - 21 April - Had a windy sail down Queen Charlotte Sound to Resolution bay followed by a beautiful sunny day so we headed out over the hill on a 5 km walk to Ship Cove where James Cook moored his vessels - he made 5 visits to the area - named it Queen Charlotte Sound in honour of George III's wife and proclaimed sovereignty over the south island for Britain on nearby Motuara island.

22 - 23 April - Visited a 'friend of a friend' - Davy Jones in Whakatahrui bay - a once-thriving community with a boat building yard, engineering shop, post office and school. Several ships have been dismantled here many years ago and the foreshore is still a graveyard for a couple of wrecked ships and a host of interesting bits of nautical machinery, anchors etc. Davy is a Lister diesel fan and there are lots of bits to prove it. Davy spends his time on his fishing boat between there and Nelson and makes everyone welcome - we were invited for tea and pikelets to meet other members of his family - his wife Maureen and son Lloyd and other yachtie friends Dick, Pat and Ernst. After a stroll along the coastal path above the bay, we had a good night on board Irene, a gaff rigged ketch belonging to Dick and Pat.

24 -25 April - Decided to complete our 'round the south island' tour by visiting Port Hardy at the north end of D'Urville Island for a couple of days before heading back down to Nelson to complete the circle! More gales forecast whilst we were there. Over the 3 months we were away, we listened to the weather forecast every day and on only 3 days were there no gale or storm warnings for anywhere in the south island!

30 April - Back in Nelson

Position on 30 April S41.15.70 E173.16.88