With McMurdo behind us we face the long spring pause between jobs. We are here in NZ for a month from the 3rd of Feb to the 6th of March. Jesse also, coincidently, is flying back to the states on the same day we are.
We arrived in CHC according to schedule and immediately got a message on our phone from our friend Matteo from Valle d’Aosta, Italy who is here in NZ traveling. He is on a Round the World trip and is here for a couple of months. He bought a van and offered to let us travel with him for a while. We got out of Christchurch as soon as possible as we know well the power of that City to suck you in. After sorting out our visas and storing excess baggage at the Antarctic Center we took off south to the Dunedin area. We had a good time hiking to remote beaches,watching seals surfing, and seeing the Moreaki boulders.
After a couple of days around Dunedin we went west to Wanaka. Wanaka is the base-town for access to Mount Aspiring. Matteo is a mountain guide in Courmayer and has a client coming to climb next week and he wanted to have a look at the area beforehand.
After a very brief stop in Wanaka the magnet pull drew us back into the Christchurchmosphere. Jesse was scheduled to arrive and I had lined up a car for him. It is a little 4 door job that suits him well. We spent the day helping him sort out the details and showing him around the city before heading North the Marlborough Sounds for our boat charter.
We arrived late in Portage, the town where the charter began. So we paid up and got down to the boat to start loading up our provisions. We quickly realized that the boat was going to be far too small for the three of us. We spent the evening trying to figure out what we were going to do. IN the morning we decided to talk to the owner and see if he could work something out for us. We had to wait most of the morning for him to come in to work but in the end he set us up on a bigger boat for the same price and only one day less. So we left Portage just before lunch and headed out into the Kennepuru Sound.
It was a pretty dismal day (typical of NZ). It was raining and not very windy. We did a little sailing, took a long lunch and dropped anchor early. The next day was sunnier but the morning didn’t offer up any winds. We went for a hike instead until the sea breeze picked up in the afternoon. We dropped anchor in a beautiful bay surrounded by reserve land that night. The weather for the next couple of days forecast strong winds. In the morning the winds were moderate inside but when we rounded the point into Pelorous Sound, the bow was blasted by winds and chop. While rounding Tawero Point the windlass that was being held on by a thread came tumbling to the deck. From that point on we were sailing by feel. We motored for a time until we could shoot down the sound on a beam-reach. That evening we picked up a mooring. Some fisherman gave us Blue Cod for dinner and we saw rays and seals before the full moon rose. The next day was the best of the whole trip. We had 20 knot winds on a sunny stern and we went wing-in-wing the whole way down Pelorous Sound to Tennyson Inlet. That night we met some kayakers who shared some mutual friends with us from the Ice. But, the weather was destined to go bad again. We had a great morning sail. The shifting wind allowed us to run back down the Sound in the opposite direction with both the current and chop on our tails, dodging rain all morning. We had a sunny lunch while watching the scattered storms pass all around us. The next day we had to have the boat back to Portage so we needed to cover ground which meant sailing into the bad weather. We sailed on a close haul with a reefed main until flukey winds forced us to drop sail and motor into a safe harbor. Moments after we dropped sail, the torrents of wind-whipped rain started up. The effect of the winds ripping down the hills was causing little waterspouts to pop up all around us. To make matters worse we were working against the current as well. We were barely making headway into the storm but, ultimately made it to a welcomed mooring and hot dinner. For our final day in the Sounds we had light, mostly head winds. We were able to put up the main which helped us along a little but for the most part we motored back to Portage.
So now Luci and I are in Nelson and Matteo is working with a friend for a few days. Tomorrow we are going to meet him and get a ride back down to CHC to meet Jesse. We plan to do some traveling with him for a while. We are looking at maybe getting another sailboat, do some kayaking, and/or go for a hike.
Tags: New Zealand 2004