Saturday 8th April was a beautiful day – sunny and with a dying southerly, and fortunately the worst of my fever had passed through the night. Matt and Laurie were heading across Cook Strait too, planning to spend some time in the Marlborough Sounds before they sailed onto Nelson, their final destination where they hoped to pick up work. Another convoy and more company on the water!
We sailed out from Royal Port Nicholson just after 9.30am, our timing planned to suit the tides across the strait and into Tory Channel. After two hours we had motored out of the harbour and turning west I unfurled the genoa, rather ragged after its battering down the Wairarapa Coast. We slowly moved past the southern Wellington coast, staying at least 3 miles offshore to skirt around the worst of the Karori Rip. We had the tide against us and the remnants of an uncomfortable sloppy 2m swell, and it was not until we were due south of Cape Terawhiti that the tide turned in our favour, shooting us across the strait at 6-7 knots. Despite the dying southerly it was still bitterly cold, and not being very well I felt a bit shakey and vulnerable out in the strait – I was pleased that Honey knew what to do, and after pointing her in the direction of Tory Channel she gamefully crossed the sea back to the South Island.
At 4.30pm I crossed over the track that Honey and I had set 3 months earlier when we had sailed to the Sounds from Lyttelton. I had completed my circumnavigation of New Zealand! Huddled in the cockpit I didn't have the energy to celebrate, instead focussing on reaching our anchorage in Tory Channel – I figured a circumnavigation probably doesn't count until safely reaching port.
King Billy I shot through Tory Channel into the Sounds just after 6pm with Honey following closely behind. With the day drawing to a close we motored through the channel, heading to Hitaua Bay where I was hoping we could pick up a club mooring, and enjoy a last peaceful night aboard, sheltered from the wake of passing ferries. It was dark when we arrived in Hitaua Bay and I picked up the mooring, with King Billy I rafting up alongside Honey. We had made it back to the South Island! After a celebratory meal with Matt and Laurie, I turned in early for my last sleep on Honey.
It was a stunning day when we woke the next morning – blue skies and calm seas, the Sounds at its best! After hugs and good-byes to Matt, Laurie and King Billy I, Honey and I were on our way by 9am. As I motored around Dieffenbach Point and the short distance to Waikawa, I reminisced on all the fantastic times that Honey and I had enjoyed over the last few months, and on our previous circumnavigation of the South Island and Stewart Island. From my time on Honey I really felt like I had grown into an accomplished sailor, she had seen me safely through all sorts of weather, and I had had some of the best experiences of my life with her. I had already decided I would put Honey up for sale when I finished my circumnavigation – I had bought her so I could do sail around New Zealand, and now that was complete I wanted her to go to someone who would take her on new and different adventures – this short run into Waikawa marked the end of an era.
|Looking back at where we had come before entering Waikawa Bay|
|Waikawa - the end of the adventure|
Mum and Kai wanted to greet me on the breakwater when I arrived. I slowed Honey to a stop in Waikawa Bay until they arrived and got into position, and then Honey and I motored into the marina enjoying the waves and cheers from my small welcoming party. I had officially completed my solo circumnavigation of New Zealand on Honey!!