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).

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!


  1. It's great following your journey Em and we're hoping to see you as you come past Whitianga. I haven't got your contact details so text me on 021 0248 2738 when you get a chance.
    Nick Kember

  2. It's all gone quiet, presume you are enjoying the Sounds too much to post?

    Stephen and your MWH followers