Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dusky Sound

We sailed yesterday from Beach Harbour in Breaksea Sound to Dusky Sound, and are tucked into historic Luncheon Cove. Dusky is the largest of all the Sounds, and is reported by Billy Williams from Deep Cove Hostel to have as many islands as there are days in the year – but we have heard more than a few Kiwi tales, and are not yet convinced. Captain Cook sailed by here in 1770 and returned to explore in 1773, when he made 5 weeks of astronomical observations across the sound at Astronomer Point. Cook dined on Crayfish in this cove, and went on to explore and name many parts of the sound He named many features and discovered a "New Passage", later named Acheron Passage, that connects Dusky to Breaksea.

Yesterday we met Toby and Kath on the Kiwi sailing yacht "Solstice" visiting Fiordland from Keri Keri, returning for the second year in a row. They bypassed Milford/Doubtful areas this year and sailed directly to Dusky, explaining that this, Chalky, and Preservation were their favorites last trip, and they wanted to maximize their time here. They were kind enough to share local knowledge and led us through the narrow passage into the cove. This part of Dusky reminds me of many areas in Penobscot Bay or the Boothbay region and the gut – many islands with slim passes between and enough intervening rocks and obstructions to keep you honest.

Toby and Kath showed us a spot to dive for Crays, and gave us three large ones, stating that they were "sick of them" at this point. They also showed us where to hunt for Paua (Bruce found two that we enjoyed for appetizers last night), and there was a tiny cove nearby with a seal colony and loads of frolicking pups. This part of Dusky is a popular area for commercial fishing boats to work from. The vessel "Loyal" arrived from Bluff yesterday to tie alongside its permanently moored barge, complete with a supply hut, secondary storage barge, and satellite TV. I am not kidding. That was the second satellite TV antenna we spotted. The first was even more peculiar as it sat shore-side next to a simple large vertical granite face which the boat side ties to.

Today is the first rainy day in several, and we are well "spider tied" in this small cove; wind is due to shift from North to South today as this weak front passes. Hopefully rain will end by afternoon. Everyone has enjoyed the cove so far as it seems to be a "sand fly free zone", and there is much to see and do. We will likely "share a beer" with the crew of Loyal late this afternoon.
All is well.

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