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New Zealand: Marlborough Sounds 16.2. - 23.3.2003

updates:  16.2.  20.2.  2.3.  8.3.  16.3.  23.3. 

16.2.2003 Havelock, New Zealand
The web of sounds, bays and capes in the northern tip of the South Island is as fine as it's reputation: beautiful landscape, shelter anchorages, nice walking tracks and rich fish and clam waters. We have enjoyed the nature for a week, and also have been isolated from the rest of the world, because there is no GSM reception and the satellite phone is still under repair. That's also the reason for the delay in updating the homepage.
The passage over the Cook Strait was nice in light southerly breeze and we entered the Tory Channel in perfect time. After a couple of hours there would have been a 7 knot current against us. After two nights in Tory Sound we motored into the Queen Charlotte Sound - the most famous in the area. Here you find Resolution Bay and Endeavour Inlet - named after captain Cook's ships. He visited this place five times, on his all three trips, and used every time a same bay, nowdays named the Ship's Cove. There is a Cook memorial. We spent one night in the bay, wondering tame weka-birds and walking up to the hill, from where there is a great view to the Resolution Bay.

From the Queen Charlotte Sound we continued to the Pelorus Sound, which has tens and tens of safe anchorages. There are just a few houses here and there, but several green-mussel farms, and a some salmon farms. There are basically no roads, the traffic is taken care by boats. The hills near the open sea are yellow and pale, burned by sun, but further inside the sound, the scenery is green, dense forest.
You don't have to buy clams or mussels here, you can collect them by yourself. It's easiest to find blue-mussels sitting hard on the rocks, and among them you can find a few green ones, escaped from a farm. During the low tide we were digging on a beach, and found small, white clams. There are a lot of wrinkel-shelled "oysters", but we have let them be.





Boys washing mussels

Found under the sand

We also have had good fish luck, but most of the catch has remained unrecognised. Our fish directory only had the deepwater sea perch, bright orange colour with spines. The most odd catch was an octopuss, which didn't let go a fish, although Antti was pulling them both up. Who ever catch the fish first, but the octopuss remained second in keeping it. It was hissing (really: hissing) on the deck for some time before it slipped into the water. We let it go, we didn't even know how to kill the creature, not talking about clening it. An other fish making odd, croaking sounds was a small, pink "butterfly" fish with fins like wings. We let it also go back to the sea.

Sissling octopuss

Croaking butterfly fish

20.2.2003 Picton, New Zealand
Updating our homepage has turned out to be impossible. We are totally dependent on internet places, because the satellite phone is still under repair. We tried updating in three towns, but in Havelock the use of diskettes was forbidden, in Nelson the firewall hindered updating, and in Blenheim only a browser programme was available. The fourth try will be tomorrow in Picton.

2.3.2003 Picton, New Zealand
After five weeks visit Antti started his long journey home from the tiny Picton airstrip (grass!). We were alone again since a long time - two months. We headed back to the beautiful bays of the  Pelorus Sound. A week there went quickly: tramping, eating mussels and clams, going through closets. Hannu cleaned the outbord half day after our dinghy went upside down one night - with the outboard. Also the sheltered bays are gusty when it's blowing hard, and the wind got us that night. Yes, we know that you should not leave the outboard to the dinghy over night, but...We found the oars after two days. We though they sank, old wooden oars, but there they were, on the shore. It's a relief, because it has been impossible to find oars to our old Zodiac, we have been looking since the US.
Andy and Lisa (Indefatigable) spent a couple of days in the same bay, after them arrived Canadian Robert with his Cinnabar. A lot of talking and planning the Alaska route.

Cape Jackson. Ahead waves caused by current at otherwise calm sea.

On Sunday 2.3. we watched TV in Furneaux Lodge (Endeavour Inlet) when the Swiss Alinghi took the fifth and final victory in the America's Cup. The Team New Zealand lost  5-0, and the "old mug" goes first time to Europe.
In Picton we'll take Kristiina up for bottom painting and checking. So we will have internet access and cell phone cover again.

8.3.2003 Picton (Waikawa), New Zealand
On Tuesday 4.3. Kristiina was houled out on a boatyard, and the familiar work begun. The bottom was in good condition keeping in mind the 19.000 miles we have sailed, only the waterline and rudder were dirty, mosty because of the Greenland ice that had scrubbed the Jotun paint away. The sides over waterline are still like just painted, hard and shiny, also where fenders have been.
We washed and rubbed with watersandpaper the whole bottom. Auli started painting the antifouling and most of it is done already. She also painted the blue waterline stripe, it was partly faded. Hannu got an idea (after 17 years!) of changing the rudder: he has removed the "wing" above the rudder, which Duncker originally had ment to be above the waterline, and is making the rudder higher. 
In addtion, we have removed the old holding tank, which was luck: it was rusty and almost breaking apart. A new, plastic tank has been ordered. We are ment to use it as a spare fuel tank (100 litres) during the long sailing, and change it to a holding tank when we arrive to the other shore of the Pacific.
Working has been a welcome change, although we are tired in the evening, limbs aching and Hannu's eyes red and watery after welding. Franklin's is a nice boatyard, small enough to make us feel comfortable, people are friendly and professional. All this made us homesick thinking of our own boatclub Sindbad and it's busy yard with all the nice people.
Now it's time to stop writing and get back to work, photos will tell the rest.

16.3.2003 Picton, New Zealand

In a week we managed to get the boatyard work, painting and rudder, done, and now Kristiina is floting again. To those who are interested in prices: haulout 90 euros, waterblast 28 euros and hardstand 10 euros/day (inc. water and power). There are cheaper boatyards in NZ, but none at the moment on this area. The only surprise was the price that one of the workers wanted for the short loan of his private blowpipes: 60 dollars (30 euros)! We are still waiting for the plastic holding tank and a canvas door cover ordered from a sailmaker.
For the weekend we wanted to get out of Waikawa. We motored to the nearby Ngakuta Bay, where a Finnish-Kiwi family, artist Sirpa, her husband Paul, Zack (4 years) and Zara (2 years) are living. We spent a relaxing afternoon in their garden with barbecue and Finnish-English chatting.

After three months the satellite phone has finally arrived back to NZ from KVH in the USA, where it has been under repair. We have to pick it up from Nelson, 140 km from Picton (by car).

On Sunday, NZ went back to standard (winter) time. Clocks were turned backwards, so the difference to Finland diminished with an hour being 10 hours now. On this side of the globe it really begins to be autumn: evenings are shorter and nights cold. Some mornings it has been just 10 deg C inside the boat. We have not turned the oil stove on yet, because the sun is warming up during the days. 
Soon it is also our time for departure. According to statistics March is less windy than April and May, but there is a danger of late cyclones to come down south. Yesterday tropical cyclone Erica (972 hPa) passed the tip of North Island, today it was well past in the east and weakening. We are planning to start in April, around Easter. The preparation to meet the roaring forties is continuing. Hannu has secured the roof hatches and cockpit windows. We have been planning a way to fasten the sea-anchor's rode to the bow, bringing it then to the cockpit, so that we could deploy it from the shelter of the cockpit. We also have to fasten all the floor boards and storage covers under the seats in case of going around. A little less dramatic preparation for the long times at sea was the purchase of a joghurt "machine", i.e. a termos with a cup to fit inside. You put joghurt powder and water to the cup, warm it, and in 24-hours the joghurt is ready. 
Although there is still time to the departure day, we are getting to feel the excitement! No doubt that we have until now our most challenging sailing ahead.

Sirpa's works are found at

23.3.2003 Picton, New Zealand
We visited Nelson, the biggest town in the Marlborough Sounds, by Sirpa's car. We collected the satellite phone, and the next day we went kayaking with Andy and Lisa. They have two inflatable kayaks, which we packed in the car. We drove out from the town, to the Motueka river. It was an easy river, suitable for us beginners, but had though a few rapids to make the paddling interesting. Auli has once been in a double-kayak at see, Hannu has done some paddling 30 years ago. Hence Andy's tutoring came in need. It seemed easy when he was finding his way between the rocks, but when I grabbed the paddle, the kayak wouldn't go where I wanted. It turned easily sideways, near to capsize. Sometimes Hannu and I were bouncing over several rocks, fortunately they were round. But the sharp branches and hidden logs by the river bench were more dangerous, and caused a few furious paddling episodes.

Andy taking Hannu down... 

...and then Auli.

In the slow spots we were able to look around: kingfishers, paradise ducks, geese and storks. The water was clear. Sometimes trouts were swimming towards us. And in some spots fishermen were standing in the water with their flyfishing poles. When Hannu and I had survived a couple of rapids, we started to look forward to some more. After a quiet strech, we became immediately alert when we heard the promising noise ahead. Then you had to decide the route between the rocks and just go! Water was splashing, it was fun! These kayaks are open, so everything has to be packed watertight. But we got wet in the first rapid. The day was warm and sunny, so it didn't matter. And the fresh water dries quickly. A couple of times we had a break and a bite to eat. After six hours, arms were aching and we were tired. We got the kayaks up and the boys went hitchiking for the cars. We had come 20 km down the river. What a great trip!

We got our satellite phone back in Nelson after three months repairement. Hannu installed it right away when we got back to the boat. Technically it seems to be ok, but calls are not possible.
On Friday we got our new, plastic holding tank in Waikawa. It is leaking. So, we won't get bored, hopefully the remaining month in NZ is enough time for everything.

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