Sailing around New Zealand

Emily is sailing solo around New Zealand on her 32 foot yacht Honey, from Lyttelton south down the east coast, around the bottom of Stewart Island, up the west coast of the South and North Islands and down the east coast back to Lyttelton. The whole adventure is expected to take 3 months. This blog will provide updates as I travel (when I have mobile reception to upload).

Thursday, 28 February 2013

And I'm off – Milford Sound to Tarakohe Harbour, Golden Bay (25 February)

It took a while to get to sleep, the excitement of knowing I was heading off the next morning. I told myself, it will be a few days of being tired and surrounded by blue seas and little else, marking off my progress, so I should really get to sleep, not that that did much to quell my excitement. I did eventually fall to sleep and woke up just before my alarm and hopped into action. Ken arrived at Honey before 7.30am, nice and early to make sure I was fueled up in good time – I was on the way back from the shower (making the most of that luxury). We sorted out my fuel and I had a cup of tea with Ken – a really nice chap, asking if there was anything else I needed before I leave or if there was anything he could do for me, and asking that I call him up on the VHF when I get out of Milford Sound so he knows I got there safely. With everything I needed, there was a little bit of final stowing and then I was off, clearing Deep Water Basin by 9am and steaming out of Milford Sound, again among the stream of tourist boats and kayaks, no planes to farewell me at this time of the morning with cloud hanging over the mountains. With Bluff Fisherman's Radio VHF coverage ending at Big Bay, the northern most part of Fiordland, I reverted to Maritime Radio for my skeds, and will now maintain 0800 and 2000 skeds until I arrive in Tarakohe, conservatively estimated for Friday 1st March at 1700. Meri Leask at Bluff Fisherman's Radio has done a fantastic job of looking out for me over the last few weeks, but unfortunately I could not reach her today or yesterday on the VHF to thank her.

I have had a fantastic time in Fiordland, its a place that I have come to absolutely love. The scenary is absolutely stunning and as untouched by humans as can be, the weather has been kind to me, and the people have been amazing. All the Southlanders I've met have been so welcoming, friendly and will do anything to help, from the cray fishermen, to Rosco and the guys on Aries/Sanvaro, to Billy the Deep Cove Hostel manager, Ken at Fiordland Lobster Company, Meri Leask, the folk at Real Journeys, not to mention the fellow yachties and boaties too. And I had a wonderful and totally memorable week here with Tim, fantastic to be able to share a part of this place with him. And then a couple of days with Dad too which was great. I had only planned to spend about two or three weeks in Fiordland, but that has turned into four, and I'm sure I'll be looking back and saying those were the best weeks of my trip!

So far today I'm making great progress, mostly motor sailing. The winds have tended to be very light north west, for a while I was making 4 knots under sail alone, but mostly it has been too light to sail without the motor. If I get anything much under 4 knots, progress is just so slow so I motor and sail. I had originally thought that I would anchor in Jackson Bay tonight, but my plan now is to keep going and hove to at some time in the night for a few hours. This cuts a small distance off my overall journey, and will mean I travel a little further out to sea, which will be some comfort when I do decide to stop and hove to. But at the pace I'm travelling, with Big Bay and Fiordland already disappearing behind me and Cascade Point and Jackson Head appearing on my starboard bow, I should get a reasonable distance beyond Jackson Bay before I need to stop – I guess that means I've left Southland behind and I'm now heading into West Coast territory. It's another very hot day, with the barometer reading 1032 hPa, virtually no swell, with the sun now blazing late in the day. This means I've been able to do a lot more than can usually be done on a coastal passage – I don't normally unpack the computer when the boat is rolling from side to side. While I have been sitting watching the mountains slide by, I've cooked up the crayfish I was given yesterday and feasted on that for lunch, things aren't all bad!

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