AIS Positon

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hello from 47 south

Thursday 1900 hours
Easy Harbour
Stewart Island
47 09S
167 34 E

We had an easy and uneventful motor sail today, passing south across the entry to Foveau Straight and the Solander Islands down to the west coast of Stewart Island. Easy Harbour indeed is a well protected spot - perhaps the only protected anchorage (except I would think in a SW gale) on the west coast of Stewart.

We celebrated with appetizers of fresh baked bread in the sunny and warm cockpit as we enjoyed the spectacular scenery including green hills, smoothened rocky peaks, and many islands.

Tomorrow we will head with a moderate NW breeze and a following the tide around the SW Cape - to Port Pegasus on the SE coast.

All is well.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday 8PM
Preservation Inlet
Kisbee Bay

We have had 2 great days in "Prezzie" as they say locally, and hoped for one more before moving on to Stewart Island. We have been watching our weather window and days ago, Johanna said "I don't know about Friday...it doesn't feel right" as we discussed Thursday vs. Friday options. As usual, her instincts were right on and it is best to depart tomorrow.

Clearly, one secret to a happy life is to have a Johanna watching over you...and lucky me... I've got two!

Winds should be light and weather should be fine for crossing the entrance to the Foveaux Straight. We tentatively plan to head to "Easy Harbour" on the west coast, unless tides and timing allow passage around the Southwest Cape to Port Pegasus. This will be our first foray into the Southern Ocean.

Everyone is well, and all is fine. Next update will be from Stewart Island late tomorrow.

Bill

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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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Friday, February 3, 2012

A Four Sound Day

We left Alice Falls Anchorage in Thompson Sound Wednesday with plans to move to Anchorage Cove, and stage ourselves for departure the next day to George Sound. We found Anchorage Cove to be small and poorly protected from southerlies. There is a strong river current and visible rip with wind against current. We left after dropping anchor twice, unable to lie in a safe position allowing a stern line to the island.

Cruisers info: There is a bouyed line from shore to island, but it is not big enough to accommodate a boat our size, and it is relatively shallow - about 8 feet at low. The fair weather anchorage depicted in the guide is now too deep, and there is not enough room to drop a hook with a line ashore by the all weather site in anything but benign conditions.

We turned and went back into the sound to Southwest Arm, where we found satisfactory anchorage and spent a nice night. Forecast was for diminishing winds. They did.

Cruisers info: The bar at Southwest Arm provides only fair holding, and is made of softball to volleyball size stones. There is a good line strung shore to shore at the base of the cove, and we used it for two abreast quarter lines, which minimized swing as well as ability to drift inshore. I would not consider this all weather compared to Alice Falls.

We had a mostly motor sail to George Sound on Thursday, anchoring in Deas Cove. George Sound was different, still tall cliffed but less steep, and had sharply sloping but green covered walls, instead of the sheer cliffs in Milton Sound. We had a nice tramp over to Neck Cove on the other side where we crossed a relatively recent slide. The area looked like the aftermath of a New England ice storm - there was a small forest of leafless and broken trees as we walked over a scrabble of rocks. We found trail blazes less then knee high, and we estimated about 4' of slide below us. Definitely not a good area to buy real estate.

We saw our first boats in over a week, and heard chatter on the radio. Thompson Sound is one of the Sounds that connects to others inside - and we were seeing tour boats go up the sound from their base in famous Doubtful Sound, our next planned stop. By this time, we were also in nightly contact with Mare` of Bluff Fisherman's Radio. She is on 4417 USB 2030 NZT, and is happy to connect with cruisers along with the network of fisherman that check in regularly.

Cruisers info: The orange bouy at the head of Deas Cove brings a large hawser line from shore. We moored bow to this with a dock line and brought a stern line to the west shore. Trees are diminutive, but there is one 4' round waters edge boulder that happily accepted a surrounding chain, which we then led to our stern line.

Friday was a 4 sound day - as planned we left Deas Cove in light winds in Thompson Sound, and cruised by the entry to Bradshaw Sound as we entered Doubtfull. As it is reachable by cruise ship or adventure touring, Doubtful is known as the get-away sound. There is a small number of inhabitants - fisherman have set up a "hotel" to raft their boats to, and there is a hostel at Deep Cove, a base for a few intrepid tourists. We chose to spend our first night in Crooked Arm which we found to be a stunning, long, sinuous sound. There were hugely tall mounded peaks layered upon one another - breathtaking. If we ever get internet again, we will send pictures! There is also a true swing anchorage at the head of the sound - our first easy anchoring in weeks. The walk across to Dagg Sound (our fourth sound of the day) was rugged - very rugged. 4 Km in 2 hours R/T. Beautiful and enchanting bush ensconced in some tough terrain.

Today is a bit wet, but nothing terrible. We will likely head over to check out Deep Cove.

All is well.

Bill


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