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).

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

From Kenepuru to Queen Charlotte Sound (14-15 March)

It was soon after midday when Honey and I headed away from Chunda Cove, with all clothes and perishables stowed back on board. A breeze had just started to come up and we sailed under the headsail out of the bay and across to Schnapper Point, where the wind reduced to a very gentle puff and Honey drifted to the start of the Kenepuru Sound. Rounding into Hikapu Reach and the start of the Pelorus Sound, the wind picked up to about 20-25 knots head on, and I started motoring. The wind turbine started whirring – it was obviously generating, although something wasn't quite right – it wasn't feeding any charge into the battery and I couldn't lock it (which I do when the wind gets too strong). Also the revs on the engine weren't steady – they kept dropping and sounding as if the engine would cut out. The engine obviously wasn't getting enough fuel. I turned back into the Kenepuru, where it was calmer and I could reach Tim on the mobile, and we talked through the engine problem. This was the first good run of the engine I had done since we serviced her and there was an air blockage stopping the fuel to the engine. I cracked one of the bleed screws and got rid of the air, and she sounded much better. I motored Honey up and down part of Kenepuru Sound, and happy that her engine was running well, I turned to head back up into Pelorus. And then the revs dropped again. I hadn't got rid of all the air and again turned the lift pump over until only fuel was being pumped through the line. And then finally I headed into Pelorus Sound, motoring through Hikapu Reach. Honey's engine didn't sound fantastic, but she was running ok, I hoped if there was just a little air left that it might clear itself. Rounding Turn Point, I unfurled the headsail and motor sailed almost to Tawero Point where the wind picked up and I cut the motor. When Honey's engine restarted, it still didn't sound right, so I headed for a mooring in Bulwer, one of the outer bays in Pelorus, where I would take a better look in the morning.

In the morning, I changed the wiring on the wind turbine, removing the regulator which we had installed, hoping that would solve the problem. But there was no wind to check if it worked. And then I looked at Honey's engine. I found that there was air leaking through the O-ring between the primary fuel filter and the bulb. A quick discussion with Tim, and he said I really should remove the bulb to deal with the leak, and if necessary replace the fuel filter if that was causing the problem. This would mean bleeding the fuel lines, and I was rather loathe to do this as it had been very difficult to do the other day and I didn't want to be stranded out in Bulwer if I had no success. I drained and removed the fuel bulb, the filter looked fine but there was muck on the O-ring. Replacing the fuel bulb with a new O-ring, it proved to be a quick and easy job to fill the primary filter with fuel using the lift pump (perhaps we'd had so much difficulty previously because of the air leak). With all the air out of the fuel lines, the engine started with no problem and ran well when I motored Honey out of the bay (and I have had no problems with it since). Feeling quite pleased with myself that I had managed to diagnose and solve the problem, I headed out of Bulwer bound for Queen Charlotte Sound at 11am.

The wind picked up and I found that my re-wiring of the wind turbine hadn't worked, something to sort later. When I was out of Bulwer and had turned towards the end of Forsyth Island, I raised the main and unfurled the headsail. The wind was gusty, typical Sounds wind, calm one moment and 20-30 knots the next moment. I had my first round-up as I passed the West Entry Point outside Port Ligar, one of many I had that day – I was over-powered with the amount of sail up. I reefed the main and carried on at a sedate pace of 4 knots, rounding Culdaff Point at the end of Forsyth Island. With Honey's speed dropping to around 3 knots, it was back up to full sail and I carried on passing a few metres from Titi Island, close enough to hear the birds chirping on the island – it was beautiful. The coastal shipping report gave a speed of 15 knots at Stephens Island and 32 knots at Brothers Island in Cook Strait, and with a line of wind approaching beyond Titi, I reefed again. The wind picked up to about 25 knots and it was lovely sailing – nice winds, no swell, and Honey's speed quickly picked up to 6 knots, then to 7 and 8 knots. This was the Marlborough Sounds, what could go wrong? I had to remind myself not to be complacent. I covered the ground in no time past Cape Lambert and onto Cape Jackson. With the wind picking up to 30 knots and another round-up, I thought it best to put a second reef in the main and partly furl in the headsail, particularly as I didn't want any round-ups while I negotiated the gap between Cape Jackson and the old lighthouse, and the tidal currents around the headland. Around Cape Jackson, with a fantastic view of Cook Strait and the North Island, the wind appeared to drop and Honey was back up to full sail. And then a 35 knot gust hit and another good round-up. I chuckled to myself about being complacent as I reefed the main back in and partly furled the headsail. The gusts kept coming, up to 40 knots with willy-walls (with the wind turbine without its 'lock' working, whirring so I thought it was going to fly off). Down to 2 reefs in the main and the headsail fully furled away and I was still rounding-up. When I had replaced some of the sail slides for the main, I had mistakenly looped the third reefing line around one of the sail slides – I wasn't going to be able to get the third reef in easily. But I got it eventually and sailed into the outer Queen Charlotte Sound with 3 reefs in the main, no headsail and at 7 knots. Until I was between Ship Cove and Motuara Island, when my speed quickly dropped to about 2 knots. The wind was coming in gusts – nothing then about 25 knots – back to 2 reefs and partially unfurling the headsail, and as I passed the southern end of Ship Cove it was back to full sail. Sailing in the Sounds sure keeps you on your toes! The wind died as I passed Resolution Bay and I motored a short distance, until it picked up outside Endeavour Inlet, and then died again off Kurakura Point. I pulled the sails down and motored into Cuttle Cove, a lovely little cove in the north eastern corner of Bay of Many Coves. There was another yacht in the bay, tied to the club mooring. I dropped anchor and pulled Honey's stern in, tying it to a tree on the western side of the cove. The couple on the yacht, Mike and Vicky, were impressed and when they saw I was on my own invited me over for a drink and then dinner. They were in Queen Charlotte Sound on their honeymoon, having sailed over from Mana earlier in the week – they were just coming up to their 1 week anniversary and had a number of useful tips on getting married. With a good catch of blue cod on board, they were eager to eat it all so they could catch their quota again the next day – I was only too happy to help – it was a yummy meal, the blue cod crumbed with corn on the cob. Then it was farewells and I went back for a good sleep on Honey after another very good day on the water.
Beautiful Titi Island
View from Cape Jackson across Cook Strait (between gusts)

Boat maintenance in the Kenepuru (11-13 March)

It was another warm and sunny day in the Sounds, and we had a nice relaxed start on Treasure, leaving her to head into the Kenepuru and back to Honey early in the afternoon. I was lucky to have Tim there, and we spent a full day on Tuesday working on Honey. We serviced the engine, replacing the oil in both the engine and the gearbox, and replacing the fuel filters. The set up with Honey's engine makes her quite difficult to bleed, but we got the engine fired up and running well while she was tied up on the floater and I gave her a quick turn around the bay to check all was well. We reconnected the head of the autohelm unit and connected the new battery. I had lost the sleeve that went between the wind turbine and the post it sits on when I had removed the turbine a few days previously. With the very low spring tide, I got lucky in finding it on the sea bed and we reinstalled and wired in the wind turbine (being unable to test it as it was hot and sunny with absolutely no wind). Tim jumped into the water and checked out the prop and shaft and was quite comfortable that not too much damage had been done with my mooring-line-around-the-prop incident. Having looked over the engine, he also felt that there was a reasonable chance that the gearbox seal would hold out if I wanted to continue with my circuit around the North Island.

Servicing Honey on the floater
I hadn't given up hope completely that I would complete a sail of the whole of New Zealand before I came back to Lyttelton. If I did continue and sail around the North Island, it would take 6 weeks, if the good weather held up. And if the weather turned, it may be well into May before I arrived back. I had planned to be back in Lyttelton by the end of March/beginning of April. With time running short, and with the days drawing in (the wonderful highs we have been enjoying would likely move further north as winter approaches so I may face more unsettled weather), I made the call that I would return to Lyttelton, spending a couple of weeks around the Marlborough Sounds. This would mean that I arrive back in Lyttelton by the end of March as per my original plan. It has still been an absolutely fantastic trip, one of the most amazing things (if not the most amazing thing) I have done, and I have learnt so much about the sea, handling Honey in all sorts of conditions, seen incredible places, met wonderful people along the way, had a blast, and not to mention being able to share a good part of it with Tim, and also with Dad and Mum. The North Island isn't going anywhere, I can sail around there another day.

After a relaxed morning on Wednesday, Tim headed back to Lyttelton in the afternoon and I got ready to carry on my adventure the following day. I had spoken with my best friend Sandra (Sands), and she was keen to visit me in Queen Charlotte Sound, particularly as I no longer planned to stop into Wellington on my travels – she was looking to arrive on the ferry from Wellington in the middle of the day on Saturday and return the following day. Tim also said he would try to come up for the weekend – this would give him an opportunity to have the weekend on Treasure, meet Sands and catch up with me! I just needed to get myself around to Queen Charlotte by Saturday. The weather forecast was good, not so good on the west coast of the North Island thanks to Tropical Cyclone Sandra, I had obviously made the right decision.

Back to Lyttelton (7-10 March)

Its getting light a lot later in the mornings, and it was 7am before it was light enough for me to shift Honey onto Dad's mooring. It was high tide, the mooring clearly hadn't been used for some time and it was covered in muscles and sea growth – it was rather heavy work and took me longer than planned to get Honey safely on the mooring and all the sea growth removed, so I was still rowing back to the shore when Jill arrived to pick me up. A quick change – I was mucky – and then in to Blenheim, with wind turbine, autohelm and gas bottle to refill. Mum met me and Jill and I was left with Mum's car while she went back to work for the day. It was quite a nice day spent in Blenheim, mostly nosing around the bookshops, (a real change from being by myself on a boat) before we headed down to Christchurch and Lyttelton. As we approached Christchurch, Banks Peninsula was shrouded in cloud – I had imagined that the next time I would see Banks Peninsula would be approaching by sea from the north, so I was quite pleased that it was hidden. I kept a low profile while back in Lyttelton – Dad arranged for the wind turbine to be fixed, Tim gave me a charged battery to replace my house battery, there was not much that could be done with the autohelm but we did find out that changing the orientation of the compass could solve the problem. The trip down also gave us an opportunity to share with family our exciting news – Tim and I are getting married! (We had been keeping this quiet since Tim visited me in Fiordland). Having visited various family members so we could let them know in person, I headed back up to the Sounds with Tim who had managed to take a couple of days off work. We stayed on Tim's yacht “Treasure” in Waikawa on Sunday evening, my first chance to see her since he bought her at the start of the summer.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Into the Marlborough Sounds (5-6 March)

With the large high still lingering over New Zealand, it was another beautiful sunny and calm day. I had a slow start to the day – the best window to pass through French Pass was around 2-2.30pm – so I spent the morning doing a tidy up in the cabin and reading my book. At midday I pulled up anchor and noticed the other yacht in the bay had dropped their mooring, they obviously had the same plan as me to take this window through French Pass. The tidal flows run at great speeds through French Pass and generate eddies and whirl pools so its recommended that yachts pass through at the turn of the tide when these are least strong, particularly as yachts generally do not have high powered engines to counter the tides and eddies. Today is a neap tide day, so I would have a slightly longer tide window. The wind was blowing lightly from the north east, in the direction I was travelling, so I motored up to French Pass at 5 knots. The yacht that had moored in the same bay as me the night before passed through the gap between Channel Point and the rock in the middle of the pass a few minutes ahead of me, and then I came through at 7 knots thanks to a bit of assistance from the tidal current. There were no whirl pools, but there were a line of white caps at the other side of French Pass, presumably generated from the tide moving against the wind. I had arrived into the Marlborough Sounds! With the wind still light and on the nose, I motored across Admiralty Bay towards Clay Point, back into territory that I know well. Rounding Clay Point, with Trio Islands and Rangitoto Islands off my port side, I unfurled the headsail, although this provided very little assistance if any with the very light winds. As I passed Chetwode Islands and rounded into Pelorus Sound, it was a strange feeling to be arriving from sea into the Marlborough Sounds – a strange mix of satisfaction and also sadness, not because my plans to also circumnavigate the North Island were unlikely to be fulfilled at this time, but because I was seeing the Sounds through fresh eyes and it seemed touched to such a great extent by humans. I had always seen the Pelorus Sound as such a beautiful and remote place, but what I saw when I arrived today were hillsides that had been stripped of their natural bush for farming and for forestry plantations, with great naked areas of hillside where the trees had been harvested, lines and lines of mussel buoys in each bay and large gaudy houses sticking out like pimples on prominent headlands. There were also a number of lovely baches nestled into the bays, but the large houses were certainly the ones that stuck out! I had to remind myself that I have spent most of the last 8 weeks in some of the most pristine national parkland in the world, with Stewart Island, Fiordland and then Abel Tasman, and very little of the Marlborough Sounds is park land. Still, it was an emotion I had not expected, and it was disappointing for me that a place I loved so much didn't seem to cut-it in my eyes against the other places I had visited. I motor sailed down through Waitata Reach, a barge passing close by me. It was stacked high with logs that I doubt it could see me until we were passing abreast. I passed Maud Island and all the bays I know well. The forecast was for northerly 15 knots, and as the sun set and it started to get dark I pulled into Fairy Bay and dropped anchor. I was still working to set the anchor when some locals arrived in their speed boat and kindly suggested I pick up one of the moorings in the bay, which I did and settled in for the evening.

It was another fine morning, with just a little cloud that quickly dissipated. I left Fairy Bay just after 9am, keen to get into Dad's place in Kenepuru Sound – I knew there was quite a lot that I needed to do before I got a ride down to Christchurch with Mum the next day. There was a little wind and I sailed across to Turn Point at the start of Hikapu Reach, and then motor sailed to the start of Kenepuru Sound. Turning into Kenepuru Sound, it was beautiful, touched by humans but still lovely and I was definitely pleased to be here! I motor sailed until Schnapper Point where I cut the motor and sailed at 5 knots under the headsail towards “Chunda Cove”, as Dad's place is known as. Passing Te Mahia, the wind speed reduced and I headed into Chunda Cove at 2-3 knots. By the time I got close to the beach I was sailing/drifting at 1-2 knots, and rounded up and drifted onto the floater at the end of the jetty. I was here! Rather strange to arrive from the sea to a house that is fully shut up. I tied Honey to the floater and headed up to fetch the keys from Brian Clark at the top of the driveway. The rest of the day was one of busyness – I did four loads of laundry (with it being sunny, calm and 29 degrees, the previous load was dry before each of the following loads were hung up), moved all my perishable food into the house fridge, cleaned up Honey, removed the wind turbine, autohelm and my gas bottle that had run out the night before, replaced some of the sail slides that had broken on the main sail and a few other jobs. I had forgotten about the census forms the night before, so I filled these out retrospectively – my address being “Yacht Honey, Fairy Bay, Pelorus Sound, Marlborough”, and then completing the dwelling form for Honey. A kitchen, living room and bedroom countered as one room each, even if there were in a studio unit, so Honey now officially has 4 rooms – 2 bedrooms, a galley and a living space – I thought this was quite funny! Jill Edwards, who lived a few bays away, was heading into Blenheim the next morning, and offered to give me a ride – fantastic! After dinner and the luxury of a shower, I headed back down to Honey on the floater, ready for an early start into Blenheim the next day.

Sailing across Tasman Bay (4 March)

I woke up feeling content with my decision that a sail around the North Island was not likely to happen at this stage. I had decided that I would make a quick trip back to Lyttelton with Mum who was travelling down from Blenheim to Christchurch on Thursday afternoon for the weekend – this would give me an opportunity to catch up with Tim and see what could be done to repair the wind turbine and the autohelm. I thought I would head into Nelson the next day, and catch a bus from there through to Blenheim, but it was rather pricey to moor in Nelson Marina and Honey would potentially be there for almost a week. I spoke to Dad, and he suggested I leave Honey on his mooring in Kenepuru Sound, and catch a ride into Blenheim from there. This sounded a much better plan, and with the wind blowing SW 15 knots and forecast to continue for the rest of the day, it would be a lovely sail across Tasman Bay. I pulled up anchor at midday and was heading out from Adele Island when the harbour master came alongside – “did I have my census forms?”, he was handing them out to boaties who may not have access to them. I had heard that there was a census when I was in Fiordland – Meri Leask had put out a message on the VHF to fishermen who may not be able to pick up the census forms – but that was a few weeks back and with no other means of keeping up with the news I had completely forgotten about the census. I took some forms and headed on my way. With the main fully raised and the headsail unfurled, it was a lovely sail for the first hour of the trip, and then the wind petered out and Honey was wallowing in the small slop that remained. I guessed that the day breeze from the north was exactly countering the SW winds, hopefully the day breeze would pick up more later in the afternoon. I furled up the headsail, pulled the mainsail in tight and motored for a bit over an hour. By this stage the day breeze had picked up sufficiently that I could just make 4 knots. Back out with the headsail and I sailed across to Croiselles Harbour – I had thought about heading through French Pass and anchoring in Elmslie Bay, but I wouldn't make the tidal flow window. With the winds picking up, our speed increased and by the time Honey and I reached Croiselles we were moving at 6 knots. Turning into the harbour, the wind eased off and I dropped sails and motored the last mile into Whangarae Bay (next to Okiwi Bay). I anchored close to a sandy beach – it was a little after 7pm by this stage. It was a lovely warm and sunny evening, time to do a little handwashing (enough to keep me going until I found a washing machine) and dinner and bed.

Abel Tasman, with Mum! (1-3 March)

I slept well for the rest of the night, until 4am when I woke up hungry and got up to heat the remains of the stew that I didn't finish yesterday. With a full belly, I went back to bed and slept until about 8am. Then it was up, a shower on the deck and on my way to Marahau in Sandy Bay to meet Mum and Kai. It was another stunning morning, warm and calm with wall to wall blue skies. I motored south towards Sandy Bay, calling Mum on the way. Unfortunately Kai was not coming, he had got tied up with work, so it was just Mum – she was passing through Richmond and we decided it would be easier to meet up in Kaiteriteri. Mum had just pulled into Kaiteri when I motored into the bay and dropped anchor. She sat on the beach while I pumped up the inflatable dinghy to go and pick her up. There was entertainment on the water while she waited – a rather strange looking contraption – a person was being propelled out of the sea to a height of quite a few metres via jets of water from below their feet and hands, powered by a jet-ski/wet-bike! I presume a new product of Kiwi ingenuity that neither of us had seen before! I got a massive hug from Mum when I got to shore, a hug from her and several others that had asked to pass on a hug. Then we made our way out in the dinghy back to Honey, with a big load of mostly food for the weekend. This included a large and very heavy chillibin, which proved to be a little challenge to get on board – we used the pulley for the dinghy outboard to hoist it aboard. A light lunch and we headed out with a plan to anchor at Adele Island, a close distance in case Kai was able to join us tomorrow. We headed out of Kaiteri and were met by a nice sea breeze, blowing 15-20 knots, perfect for a sail up to Adele Island. We hoisted the main and unfurled the headsail and headed out on a port tack to almost 5 miles into Tasman Bay. The wind picked up a little and Mum was slightly alarmed when I suggested she take control while I go down for a little sleep in the cabin! Mum wasn't sure what it meant to hove to when I took a sleep on the way up the west coast, so we hove to in the middle of Tasman Bay. We tacked back towards Adele Island and it was a fast beam reach to between Adele Island and Fisherman Island, where we turned up into the wind and dropped the pick in the anchorage tucked beside Adele Island. It proved to be a very popular spot, later on that evening it was a little town of anchor lights, with about 15 yachts anchored in the bay – it was a lovely sheltered spot with a sandy beach, and probably easy to access for those who had taken to their boats for the weekend from Nelson.

A nice and relaxing start to the day, unfortunately Kai was still tied up with work and unable to join us, so we decided to head further north into the Abel Tasman, up to Bark Bay about 4 miles north. It was another lovely day, sunny with just a few clouds and calm – we motored up to Bark Bay and unfurled the headsail as the day breeze kicked in as we rounded into Bark Bay. We dropped anchor in the middle of the bay, very idyllic with only one other boat there when we arrived and a number of kayakers sitting on the long white sandy beach. Tiredness from my trip up the west coast was catching up on me, so I had an afternoon snooze and Mum sat in the cockpit reading her book. We rowed ashore for a walk. DOC have created a rather flash campsite at Bark Bay – a shelter with sinks and running water, flush toilets and camping and BBQ spots (although there is a fire ban so no BBQs could be lit), plus a small solar array across the lagoon presumably for water pumping. Mum and I walked a section of the Abel Tasman track, to Tonga Bay, a lovely walk over the hill. When we were there I pointed out to Mum where I had anchored two nights previously, the evening I had arrived into Tasman Bay, and we briefly chatted to a Belguim couple – they had 3 young children, one who was still a baby, and had been travelling around New Zealand as a family on a tandem bike for the last few months – how awesome is that! With the day drawing in, we headed back to Bark Bay and Honey and a yummy steak dinner.

Sunday was another relaxed start and another lovely day with just a few more clouds. I had been buzzing from my trip up the coast over the weekend, and although the lack of sleep was still catching up on me, I was dead keen to carry on around the North Island. I had decided that I would wait until I had safely arrived in Tasman Bay and until after the weekend, to determine whether I would now head further north or return to Lyttelton via the Marlborough Sounds. I plotted the route from Tasman Bay to New Plymouth and then from New Plymouth to Houhora Harbour, which is the first main harbour after rounding North Cape. The longest stretch from New Plymouth to Houhora was 320 miles, about 40 miles less than the stretch I had just completed from Milford Sound to Tasman Bay. With good weather, it was certainly doable! Although there were a few issues with Honey – the main autohelm was still not working properly, the wind turbine was not working, my one house battery was on its last legs, the “bath” in the cockpit continually filled with water weighing down the stern, but most troubling was an oil leak from the gear box that I had discovered the morning after I had arrived in Tasman Bay. Putting aside the passage planning, we had a stretch of our legs in Bark Bay and decided with it now being early afternoon it was time to head back to Kaiteri. Mum was keen to see what it was like to pull up the anchor, and got it half way up before she needed a rest and asked me to pull up the remainder – she was impressed that I had done this day in and day out, and said no wonder I had developed strong arms! With the day breeze picking up, we cruised down under the headsail at 4-5 knots. Mum cooked up a yummy late lunch of lamb, and getting a little concerned at the speed that the tide was heading out and not wanting to get stranded, I hurriedly dropped her off into the beach in the dinghy. We had quick good-byes after a lovely and relaxing weekend, with lots of catch up time, and I headed out in Honey back to Adele Island. Being a Sunday evening, there were only a few boats in the anchorage. I had a long discussion with Tim on Honey and the work that would be required to sail her safely around the North Island. Our biggest concern was the gear box (we think my mishap with wrapping the mooring line around the prop in George Sound was the cause of the oil leak). As Tim had led the work on Honey's engine I knew he would know what needed to be be done. There was a chance that the gearbox would hold out for my circuit of the North Island if I kept an eye on the oil levels and topped it up when needed, but there was also a chance of the seal giving way completely and being stuck in Auckland with major and expensive repairs, or worse still on the west coast in worsening weather and no engine. It was clear that a new gearbox seal would be required if I was to continue around the North Island, which meant removing the engine to access the gearbox, potentially an expensive exercise up in Nelson, particularly if we found other problems when the gearbox was out. I made the difficult decision, or perhaps more the reluctant decision, that a circuit around the North Island was probably not going to happen on this trip, and went to sleep a little despondent as I had been so excited about completing my New Zealand circumference.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Arrival into Abel Tasman (28 February)

Very light, almost no winds continued up to Cape Farewell, so it was motor sailing all the way, with a beautiful sunrise to greet me as I rounded the cape.

Just before sunrise a rather large ship approached Honey from behind, passing about ¾ of a mile inshore. I hadn't been expecting to see anything other than fishing boats on this leg, and had only been concerned about potentially running into a fishing boat with its sea anchor out while I was taking a nap during the night. (Up until then I had only seen three fishing boats on the west coast, one that was 10 miles inshore from me and I only spotted on the radar. All the other yachties I had spoken to had encountered no ships and only the odd one or two fishing boats on this leg). It was a lovely morning, very calm easy conditions for the final part of this leg, with the odd seal basking on the surface of the still and warm water. I had been told that Farewell Spit was a very very long stretch of sand, and it certainly was, taking the rest of the morning to round. Ro (from Pacific Flyer) had given me a waypoint for the spit, and it seemed I had to travel miles further than the end of spit before I turned into Tasman Bay. Farewell Spit continues beneath the water surface with the depth only gradually deepening sufficient for a deep draught boat to clear a few miles out – I can see how many unsuspecting boaties have been caught out and ended up high and dry on the sand seemingly miles from land.

I made good timing with rounding the spit, soon after midday, heaps of time to find an anchorage in Tasman Bay, so I headed south towards Tonga Island in the Abel Tasman area. It was still really calm, and with my headsail flapping I furled it in and continued motoring with my mainsail. It was only when I was approaching Tonga Island and was pulling in the mainsail that the sea breeze picked up, too late for me as I was almost there. I pulled into a small bay close to Onetahuti Bay with a small sandy beach and dropped the anchor at about 4pm. I wasn't really sure how much chain to put out – the anchorages are very shallow in Abel Tasman and with a large tidal range of about 4m. It is usual to put at least 3 times the length of chain down as the depth of the water, but if I put out 3 times the the depth at high water, with the bay being so small I would probably swing onto the rocks at low water! As it was close to low water and with high water being at night when the sea breeze would have died off completely, I settled for a little less chain than usual, and as I was rather tired turned in for a good sleep. I woke up at 8pm, and got up to check out how far from land I was, the course I was sailing and that there were no boats about, and then saw rocks only a few metres from Honey. Jumping into the cockpit I saw the bay surrounding Honey and the beach and it all came back to me – Honey was safely anchored, I could relax and go back to sleep!