"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.
June 26, 2009
Position: S47 09.58 E167 41.89 Cunning Cove, Port Pegasus North Arm, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Crikey dix mis amigos, the Grim Reaper (nurse Debs) still has us in jail. We see her again on Tuesday (its Monday) so perhaps THEN we can leave. The high is still with us and the weather is great even though we are supposed to get a heavy frost this evening. In the interim we have been taking long daily hikes around Oban and snapping a few pics. There are trails everywhere and every one has eye popping scenery. Our wide angle lens has been getting a workout and Mary has been banging away with my, well, used to be my, new zoom. On the way back from today's all day hike we stopped by the local market and loaded up with everything we need for the rest of our winter cruise. Previously we talked to the owner about delivering and they do. We filled a number of boxes plus a bit o suds. We were OUT of beer.....gasp!! It was REALLY nice to have suds delivered instead of carrying cases up and down hills to the dink on the other side of the island. The dink looked like a floating supermarket when we chugged back. So I'm hiding in the pilothouse pounding out this drivel while MS is trying to find a place for everything. And oh yes, I'm doing a taste test on the local brewed Speights suds while I'm hiding. Its tough being a cruiser ya know.
Tuesday brought good news on several fronts. First, the Reaper's replacement while she takes a holiday is a doctor from South Island. This dear lady turned me loose saying the boo boo on my back is on the mend and all is well. Secondly, the N55 New Paige crew confirmed they will visit Egret in Port Pegasus. Paige (11) gets out of school on July 4th. They will take a camping vacation south from Nelson down South Island watching the weather for the best time to visit. They will leave their car in the southernmost town of Bluff and take the hour catamaran ferry ride to Oban on Stewart Island. Once in Oban they will be picked up by a 6th generation Stewart Islander, Zane Smith, owner/pilot of Rakiura Helicopters, flying a Bell 500. (+64 03 219-1155 firstname.lastname@example.org) The Bell's gross passenger/gear load is 400kg (880lbs) so the three of them may bring as much gear as they wish. On the flight down to Pegasus I recommended flying first around the NW tip of Stewart and down the coast. This will take them over Ruggedy Range on the NW tip and south along Mason's Bay, another spectacular landscape. There are two places to land a helicopter in Port Pegasus. One is a very small private clearing at the north end of the harbor, however the best place is in between north arm and south arm of Pegasus. There are three barrier islands guarding the harbor. The middle, Anchorage Island, has a beach to land except at full high tide. From there its a short boat hop to anchorages in South Arm. There are great hikes all thru Pegasus. One of the first we'll take is a day trip to the top of Bald Cone, a bare granite cone overlooking Pegasus.
With this news we made a second short trip to the market for goodies as well as filling another dinghy fuel tank. With Roger, Joan and The Kid (Paige) we'll use the (CIB) catamaran dinghy with its thirsty engine. So we're all set.
Today (Wed) we made the several hour hop down to Lord's River on Stewart's east coast. We had gentle 2 meter swells with just a bit of wind chop. Around three headlands on the way south current was fierce so we stayed well off and exaggerated the turns. In deep water further offshore water boils over rock snags. This place must have been horrible for early explorers using sextants and poor charts. Speaking of charting, our C-Map charts have a blank spot between here and Pegasus. One million resolution. We'll stay well off the coast and look for breaks in the swells. Nearing Port Pegasus charting picks up again, however C-Map charting goes back to one million resolution on the west coast of Stewart. Fortunately we have a French charting program as well with reasonable resolution on the west coast. Ironically, the French program using the best resolution, the shore outlines are green and obviously hand drawn. Yup, on the west coast we'll be using charts from the 1800's. I can promise you we will only travel on settled days along that windward coast when the time comes. (Later on the trip down. We run one laptop with a split screen showing C-Map charts and the French program. In one million resolution C-Map did show a black dot depicting black rock, shown on the French chart and quite visible while running down the coast. Another lesson learned, (black dots) on C-Map)
Tomorrow's weather is predicted to be more calm than today but weather (another low) is coming the day after. Cooey Cove, Lord's River (S47 06.30 E168 07.73) on first glance doesn't look that interesting* so we didn't bother to launch the dink for exploring. We'll leave in the morning for the north arm of Port Pegasus. *What's funny is, if you dwellers (short for dirt dwellers) were dropped in here you would be gaga with the scenery and dinghy exploring up the river itself along with all the small coves. Ho hum, we've seen better and Pegasus is one of the very best. Yawn. You get the picture.
Between stops yesterday we hiked to a lady's home we ran into several times around Oban. During one of those chats she invited us to her home for tea. So we went. She and her husband originally are from Australia but settled here years ago after working overseas. They built their dream house at the end of a long, deep cove named, yup, Deep Cove. Her husband is a builder. They first built a fully self contained, separate apartment where they lived while they built their home. These days they rent it out for a nominal amount. Their next guest is a writer who is coming for peace and quite to finish her book. www.deepbay.co.nz email@example.com
Mary and I get invited here and there quite a bit and at times take people up on their invitations. What was interesting and made her different is she asked interesting questions about our travel. Not much in the boat sense but how we cope being away from family, routine, stuff we don't own anymore and so on. So drink tea we did and had a nice chat. She gave us a book to read along with a DVD about Stewart Island to be posted back when we return to Nelson. The DVD is tourist orientated and not BBC quality however it gives a good overall view of Stewart Island including a number of aerial shots. (Discover Stewart Island - 70 minutes, www.videosouth.com)
Stewart Island would be a great place to visit IF you are active and enjoy nature. There is NO nightlife. The only place to buy booze in town is at the South Seas Hotel and that closes at 2:00PM in the winter. However, Stewart is truly pristine. There are only 400 full time residents on the island. Most are either fisherman or serving the tourist trade. You will see tree ferns that existed 350 million years ago. We have written before about the Jurassic setting during some of the hikes. If this is your cuppa tea what I would recommend is a week hiking day walks (not difficult) around Oban. These are well groomed trails thru the forest with a bit of mud thrown in. A few meters off the road you are in primeval forest. There is NO pollution. There is just 26 kilometers of road total (15 miles) on the entire island but there is several hundred kilometers of hiking trails around the island. During your second week here I would take the water taxi up Freshwater Creek then hike to the Department of Conservation hut on Mason's bay on the west (windward) coast for a 3-5 day stay. The hut is comfortable, has a head, mattresses, firewood and a communal kitchen. You will need sleeping bags, food and a bit of regular camping gear. Water comes from streams, AND its clean. You will meet people young and old from all over the world and perhaps a kiwi bird if you are persistent. The beauty is staggering from the Ruggedy Range at the north end of the bay, the sand dunes of Mason Bay itself and the Gutter at the south end. You will need extra camera batteries and memory chips for sure. We plan to anchor Egret near the Gutter and spend as much time as weather allows before pushing on to a bombproof harbor to let the guaranteed next weather system pass. We'll then head up to Fiordland on the SW coast of South Island. I gave this book information once before but its worth a second mention. If you read this soft bound, tabletop book, text with history and outstanding photography, you will be hooked on Stewart Island. Rakiura*, The Wilderness of Stewart Island, by Rob Brown, Craig Potton Publishing. *Rakiura is the Maori name for Stewart Island.
We departed Lord's River a little after 9:00am and arrived at Whale Passage, North Arm of Port Pegasus a little after noon. We had wind of less than 15 knots until we entered Whale Passage (between an island and the mainland) where the wind is accelerated with a venturi like restriction. The trip was a graphic example of what the Mana Cruising Club guide we are using keep mentioning, and for good reason. With just 15 knots of wind and a 2 meter residual southerly swell the first part of the trip was a washing machine. The ebb tide flows south along the southern coast of Stewart Island (our direction of travel) and the wind was blowing straight up the coast. When the tide swung to flood there was a short distance of obvious tide line calm water then the seas becomes well spaced with no wind chop on top like before when the wind and tide were going in the same direction. We anchored in a small cove named Cunning Cove with two lines ashore. There is a small but high island just of the stbd side keeping even more wind or swell away. The trees around the anchorage are full height with no signs of wind abuse so all should be well. We dropped TK in 17' (5.3m) at near high tide and put out 125' (39m) of chain and took two lines ashore. We will have just a bit of water under the keel at low tide, particularly since we are on a new moon with higher and lower tides.
After a quickie lunch we were off dinghy exploring. We navigated around every bit of shoreline to the end of the arm, down the other side to opposite the anchorage. The first stop was the site of a tin mining rush in 1890 that had enough fortune seekers to warrant a post office. It didn't work out. Four years later it was over and the post office gone. The next venture on the site was a fish freezing plant which in time went away as well. Nothing is left today but a crumbling concrete wharf and a few relics. Just up the creek from that is Belltopper Falls. Belltopper is a large falls for this area flowing lotsa tannin stained water. Belltopper got its name when some government official swell lost his top hat while on a tour in the 1800's. Wind funnels down the valley caused by the stream and must have blown the poor fellows stovepipe hat off. Could you imagine wearing a stovepipe hat thinking you were cool? Geesh. Oh well, he could have been wearing rapper shorts jailing his cohorts.
The water here is crystal clear. When the sun comes out you can see every detail on the bottom. We have already spotted a load of oysters and pipi clams waiting to be picked at low tide. They will have to wait just a bit.
Friday. It was low incoming tide this morning just after daybreak. What we saw really makes us appreciate those who came before us and mapped the area. The cruising guide was spot on. All around us at low water were rock snags, now dry, waiting to have a peek at Egret's bottom. The closest we came to bottom this morning was about a meter plus while anchored at low tide. As we mentioned we anchored in a hole with 2 lines ashore so we may hold position and not drift in a circle with the wind and tide. If you remember we used shorelines extensively in Chile and Argentina and have gotten very comfortable with them. We even used shorelines* a few times in the Med to anchor where no one else could and gained spectacular views (and safety in a couple places) because of it. *We have 3 shorelines, 320' X 3/4" polypropylene floating line (100meter X 18mm). (We very rarely use the third line) On both ends of the shorelines are stainless steel thimbles for linking the lines together or swapping end for end in case of chafe. Attached to the shore end is a large stainless D shackle. Thru the shackle pin is one end of a 30' length of 5/16" 7x19 stainless rigging wire (soft and bendable) as well as a large snap shackle. We take the wire around a tree or rock and snap the tag end into the snap shackle. The stainless wire eliminates chafe and allows us to quickly release the shoreline when we are leaving. We then use the paravane retrieval sailboat winches on the cap rail to warp ourselves tight to the anchor chain and shore. This wouldn't work on girl boats with cute varnished cap rails. You might get a scratch. Oh my.
So we'll pick a couple pictures and fire this drivel into space. Will YOU be boating July 4th weekend? If not, you know what you want. Pick up the phone, do the deal and change your life. See you soon. Ciao.
June 19, 2009
Position: S46 54.33 E168 07.20 Golden Bay, Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Crikey dix mis amigos, happy days are here again! After a phone diagnosis by Matt the 'Sparkie' from Whiting Power, the Northern Lights dealer in Auckland, he determined that the problem* was either a voltage regulator or an internal something or other. A voltage regulator is easy to replace and the alternative is beyond me. So they shipped a voltage regulator. Ten minutes after bringing the part aboard aboard we were up and running. AND making water, and charging the batteries, and heating the water for a LONG HOT shower., and, and........ As a rule, Northern Lights generators are plug and play. They do a great job. In the nearly 8 years we have used the 12kw gen it has had but a few problems. The 2 amp circuit breaker failed and the raw water pump seal failed. We carry a spare 2 amp breaker as well as a complete replacement water pump WITH a gear attached along with complete pump rebuild kits. Not bad for 8 years service. Two cruising buddies, both with the same gen, carry a spare voltage regulator which of course guarantees theirs won't fail. In the secondary good news department, the two A/C units (set on heat) that were running and shut off during the voltage spike are alive and well. *The problem was the voltage went berserk and spiked at 391 volts.
We moved Egret from Adventure Cove further down the east coast back to Kaipipi Bay in Paterson Inlet to be within a 6 kilometer (3.6mile) hike to Oban to pick up the part. (S46 54.08 E168 04.28) The hike there and back is spectacular taking us thru a fern forest floor with regenerative tree growth along an old logging tramway and the busiest road in Stewart Island until 1931 when the sawmill shut down. Today the only remains are a few support logs for the long loading dock. In these few short years the forest has completely taken over the old buildings and homes to support 100 folks. There is basically no trace left of their being here. Along with picking up our generator part and a few fresh groceries I have been seeing nurse Debs Dillon at the local clinic for a boo boo on my back. She is making me come in daily for a check. In this great weather this is a strain. We NEED to get going south to Port Pegasus and the crown jewel of Stewart cruising.
We also got a great tip today from two trampers (hikers) we met along the trail. Both are students at the university in Dunedin (NZ). The American student is a budding nature film maker and the German is working on a masters in forestry management. They were just finishing the grueling 10-11 day hike around the north part of Stewart. The legs are 10-12k's between DOC (Department of Conservation) huts. At times they had to ford streams, tramp thru deep mud, climb high and so on. All the while lugging film and motion picture cameras, enough food to last and whatever other tings they needed. They told us the highlights of their trip and what they saw. They pulled out a well used, plasticized map and showed us the hot spots. One we had seen in photographs from a table top book of Stewart we bought earlier but didn't know exactly where the pictures were taken. There is a cove facing north, on the north side of the island they said was the most spectacular. Looking at their map we could see a valley between the mountains and a stream exiting into the bay. Stream = good holding in sand and heavy mud. When nurse Debs lets me go and if we have a spell of southerlies or even reasonable south westerlies we may give it a go before Pegasus. In a westerly the anchorage would be a disaster.
We woke the other morning to find snow on the deck but was gone by early afternoon. Apparently snow isn't much of an issue here like the mainland. On our trip to Stewart Island from the South Island mainland Mary was on watch after daybreak and spotted the mountains of Fiordland completely covered in snow. Things will be different from here when we get to Fiordland. Snow will be a regular occurrence. It's no biggie. Egret is so well insulated snow isn't a problem. During our winter cruise in Chile we had snow covering the foredeck to the top of the bulwarks. Other than the dock box there was no definition on the foredeck. Even the windlass was buried.
Looking thru the Lightroom (photo editing program) catalog to pick out this VofE's pictures there is so much we would like to show and tell. Each VofE is trying to paint as clear picture as possible of what it is like to cruise full time so you may see if this is something you would like to do. We have seen so much it is difficult to choose just a couple photographs to describe a week's toil in The Life. We could show you pure white sand beaches with NO footprints but kiwi birds or a few shorebirds. Or fern lined trails, or fern trees, or beach art, or beautiful landscapes, or, etc. It's the same every VofE but this particular time it was difficult. We have bird folks, students from classes, nature folks, wave bash folks, techno folks and other interests reading this drivel. So we give a mix of everything and do our best. What we end up choosing this time we don't have a clue. What we do know, at least for a while, we now have a way to send higher resolution pictures instead of grainy ones of the past. We send pictures using the OCENS e-mail program (ocens.com) via the Iridium satellite phone (explorersatellite.com). Text is fast but pictures with their bytes take a while. Previously it took 7-9 minutes to send two pictures. Now it is nearly double for the extra resolution. Enjoy the dots. (Later, it's Art Time. Beach art and lawn art)
We moved from Kaipipi Bay to Golden Bay this morning, just over the hill from the village of Oban keeping hiking time to a minimum to visit The Reaper. The Grim Reaper, nurse Debs is keeping YT (Yours Truly) here thru the weekend. She is letting me out of jail on Saturday but have to report back on Sunday. The boo boo on my back is getting better so hopefully Sunday is adios and we're off with the coming good weather. We have two choices of direction. From information passed on by hikers we met the other day we may just go to the NW corner of Stewart visiting N Ruggedy Range (mountains) but we really need settled weather. If not we'll head south down the east coast as previously planned. Probably to Lord's River for a start.
After visiting The Reaper this morning we took a hike to the end of the peninsula to see the sights. One sad item we ran across was a beautiful water view home with fire damage. It was built by a German couple as their ultimate retreat. Everything was built as eco friendly as possible including special glass, heating, wind and solar power and so on. The landscaping was imaginative art as well. Today's picture of the pilot whale skull (just guessing) is just one piece of the unique landscaping. Unfortunately they had a fire which appears to have started in the chimney and spread. It is relatively contained and certainly repairable but it ruined their dream so the home is for sale as is. If it were a few more years down the road we might give it a go if the price was reasonable. We think after the long miles are thru we well may return to a New Zealand base for the rest of the trip (in 5-7 years). (The Big Trip) Stewart Island is our cuppa tea. The 400 folks living here leave their keys in the cars and don't lock their doors. There is enough hiking and exploring both by boat and inland to last years and years. But that's a long time from now so we'll see. Its nice to dream.
So there you have it, a few more days in The Life. Enjoy the weekend. Ciao.
June 12, 2009
Position: S47 03.64 E168 10.16 Abraham's Bosom (anchorage), Adventure Cove, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Crikey dix mis amigos, the day Dick left Egret decided to be naughty. While battery charging the salon A/C quit (set on heat). A quick inspection showed the gen had quit charging. Well, OK, there is a 2 amp circuit breaker on the magic box over the electrical end of the gen. Yup, it was popped so we turned everything off that was 220V and turned the breaker back on. When I turned the rotary battery switch in the electrical panel to ships power (engaging the gen) the volts spiked the meter at 300 volts. In an instant I turned off the switch, tried it again with the same results and turned off the gen. Boy are we glad we took the time to research adding a larger alternator to the wing engine ah la N46 Kanaloa. Perhaps you remember back in a techno edition of VofE we described the entire process and ultimate fitting a 110 amp Nissan Pathfinder 12V alternator with no other modifications but a simple belt change (and increasing the positive wire size from the alternator to the hot terminal). Soooooo, we fired up the wing and charged the batteries. I called the NZ Northern Lights dealer in Auckland (NZ), Whiting Power, and got a preliminary diagnosis. Either the voltage regulator has gone Tango Uniform (TU) or it is internal. Internal is a REAL bad deal and something I can't fix. If its the voltage regulator I can replace it. Tomorrow I have to talk to 'Sparkie' who will talk me thru the diagnostics using a multimeter for testing. So we'll see. Thank goodness for Iridium satellite phones!! The big picture issue for our winter cruise isn't charging the batteries. We have four ways to charge: Generator, Wing, Main, Solar. Surprisingly on clear days like today the 600 watts of solar keeps up even though the sun angle is quite low. The issue is making water.
The better news is tonight we saw the mythical kiwi bird in the wild, something the far majority of New Zealanders haven't had the privilege of seeing. We set up two cameras using la di da lenses and NO flash (yes, we bought even another lens, a 11-16mm f2.8 super wide angle trying to make it happen). One camera was set up on a short tripod on the beach with the wide angle lens and a remote electronic trigger and Mary had the other on a taller tripod. We sat in a 'hide' in the bushes on a low hill and focused on the dim light cast by a camping lantern. Sure enough, an hour after sunset this ENORMOUS bird critter showed up. We couldn't get over the size of the kiwi. It was the size of a medium size basket. After all the camera prep there wasn't enough light so we didn't get a shot even though the full moon was reflecting off the water and onto the beach. The only way to make it happen is with a flash and we aren't going to disrupt the birds for a picture.
We received an e-mail today from cruising buddies on N46 Satchmo, the last remaining boat from the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally (NAR) still in the Mediterranean. (The NAR arrived Gibraltar, July, 04) Bill and Ellen planned to return to Ft Lauderdale via Dockwise Express after this summer season. Well, Admiral Ellen got cold feet so they decided to spend ANOTHER year in the Med. The focus this summer will be the western Italian coast and Elba. Goodontheseguys, eh. They are really doing it. Living The Life. So how about you???? Are you living The Life or banging out day after day of mediocrity? Oh well. (See how we work in an infomercial from time to time on The Life?)
You dirt dwellers will love this piece of revenge, speaking of suffering. Today we jerry jugged 25 gallons of waterfall water to Egret so we're nearly topped up. Yup, just like our sailboat buddies. But I'm getting ahead of the story. We left Paterson Inlet yesterday (Wed) and chugged 10 miles SW to Adventure Cove on the east side of Stewart Island. It was a bit sloppy but no big deal when we turned the Naiad screws to the 'don't roll as much' setting. It was a little exciting with wind and a ton of tide up our skirts at the entrance. We had to dial back the Naiads to almost centered so they wouldn't steer the boat and increase the throttle to 1800 RPM. We anchored in a little cove called Abraham's Bosom. TK dropped into 27' at near high tide with 175' of chain (8.5m X 55m). There is a little hook that comes around a point that keeps the seas at bay. Later we did take a single stern line ashore to keep the bow into the slight swell to keep from rolling. Abraham's Bosom is surrounded by three crescent shaped sand beaches. All are a different color sand and the larger of the three has two different colors. AND when we hiked across the beach to the windward side the beach there is pure white sand, a 4th color.
The different colored sands are graphic examples of simple erosion. The shell based sands are more brown, rock based are lighter. There is a fair amount of granite here along with a pure white quartz. Walking on two different beaches we picked a number of different shells in different stages of deterioration showing the spirals inside. We'll send them to the LRP (Little Rice Picker) grandson living in Bangkok for a little show and tell. On the windward beach over the hill are vertical low rock cliffs lining much of the beach. All down the cliffs are chiseled graffiti. Normally we detest graffiti of all kinds. However this is a bit different. Some of the carvings are VERY old as well as new. There are a number of boat names and years. This is similar to Horta in the Azores where it is tradition for boats to paint something on the docks or walls around the harbor. The NAR group did this in individual paintings and one group painting. The only thing that detracts on these cliffs is some of the carvings are initials and hearts and the like. To me this is sorta cheap. No class. So I don't think we'll put Egret on the wall. If there were more boat names we would think about it.
One interesting thing, in the wave wash on two of the beaches there appears to be tons of sparkling gold moving with the water. The particles ARE gold colored, (there was a gold rush here in the 1800's), but watching them carefully they don't sink like I think gold flakes should. So I guess we are destined to live in poverty......humping water out of the bush and so on. We'll continue to be hunter-gatherers cooking the last batch of pipi (pip e) clams we dug in just 10 minutes before we left the last anchorage. Ho hum. And did I mention today we dinghy explored Oyster Bay just around the corner checking every nook and cranny? Yup, you guessed it, loaded, AND we found another pipi clam spot. At low tide tomorrow morning we'll give it a go. Ho hum again. Its tough being poor living like we do.
Back to jerry jugging. It was low tide this morning so we beached the dink and walked to the waterfall carrying the assorted pails and containers. It is quite a way inland so we filled two large pails, one 20 liter water jug and two 4 liter jugs. We left two pails of water just above the high water mark and lugged the rest to the dink and back to Egret. We returned just before dark at high tide and ran the dink up the now navigable stream to pick up the two pails and fill the balance as well. So hopefully that will be the end of carrying water.
Whiting Power, the Northern Lights dealer in Auckland, did just as promised. I spoke to Matt 'The Sparkie' who led me thru some simple diagnostics. Bottom line is we have 391 volts coming to the panel. Whiting is sending a new voltage regulator via courier to Oban here on Stewart Island. We'll hang here a few days then go and pick it up at the Post Office general delivery. The install should take but a few minutes and we'll fire the gen up again. We'll see.
Generator working or not we'll continue our winter cruise. The wing is charging well and we'll just have to do whatever it takes to keep watered and charged. After the fact, Mary said it was fun getting water from the waterfall (she wasn't the one with their hands in the FREEZING water, now was she?). Actually it was kinda cool. The idea of cruising Stewart Island was planted way back in Turkey (winter of 05-06) by some Kiwi sailors. Along the way since we kept hearing about Stewart Island from the intrepid types. We're not going to miss it.
Today was another round of dinghy exploring. This time we explored the third anchorage in Adventure Bay, the Heron River. We followed the tide to the very end and past another waterfall. We saw lotsa bird critters and shellfish critters. We landed on the beaches here and there. One, next to a small stream had a clearing behind the point. All thru the clearing were flax plants, a sure sign of a one time Maori settlement. The Maori's used flax for a number of uses including thatching roofs, rope, clothing and so on. The Europeans arriving in the 1800's also shipped flax back to the UK for use as rope. In those days there were three types of rope. In order of strength and desirability they were: manila, flax and hemp. Before we switched to a Gortex type packing for Egret's main and wing shaft stuffing box we used flax packing. So it was another good day with clear sunny skies and no wind. In fact, our weather since arriving in Stewart has been better than Nelson and WAY better than Dunedin where we were stuck for NINETEEN (19) days.
The generator part was shipped today (Fri) and should arrive next Tuesday in Oban. If the weather holds we'll move to the next major anchorage a few miles south. (Lords River)
So there you have it, a little more insight into The Life. Ciao.
June 5, 2009
Position: S46 54.31 E168 07.17 Golden Bay, Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Crikey dix mis amigos, after spending a few days in Kidney Fern Arm we moved to Olga Point in South Arm of Paterson Bay. During our last day hiking the trails in Kidney Fern we discovered a treasure chest of pipi (pip e) clams (a smallish round clam). Dick's backpack held our food and water supply. After lunch on the bay we filled the bottom half with pipi clams. There were so many clams buried just under the sand it took less than 10 minutes to scoop up what we needed. Washed and steamed Mary made a sauteed clam topping over pasta. We ate the WHOLE thing. Yes it was great.
After a short revisit to the whaler base we moved to South Arm of Paterson Inlet and anchored off Olga Point using our Aussie friend's notes (S46 56.44 E167 58.30 for you Goggle Earth fans). We dropped in 17' at mid tide and put out 125' of chain. The first day hiking we found another beach loaded with pipi clams so loaded up again saving them for the next day. Today (the next day) we did our first serious hike with some ups and down's in the forest following the coast. We finally discovered the infamous Stewart Island mud. And more mud. In the end we just plowed thru the mud and gave up trying to keep even a little bit clean. (As I type this the washer is running.) Again, it is so good to hike thru woods with first growth trees over 500 years old. When the sun came out the birds were singing and when it was cloudy they still hopped about but were quiet. Tonight Mary made a rich seafood bisque using the pipi clams. A bowl of bisque is just what we needed after a long day. We'll move tomorrow to another spot. What is so nice cruising in Paterson Inlet is everyplace is within sight or just around a corner. The other east coast bays are the same as well.
Something we can't get over is how nice the weather has been compared to the 19 days we spent waiting for weather in Port Chalmers. Port Chalmers most days was overcast and rainy. The lows pounding Stewart Island looked horrible. We haven't had wind over 10 knots. All I can figure is the west coast mountains are keeping the westerlies at bay or we have a big high stalled over the island. Whatever it is we'll take it. Today is June 1st. We have read June and July are the two most settled months here in Stewart. There are a few west coast anchorages we would like to visit toward the end our time in Stewart before moving on to Fiordland but we'll need settled weather for sure. We'll see.
We stopped by the whalers camp today to pick up what may well be a thigh bone from the extinct moa. Mary found it wedged in the rocks in a washed out area. We thought it was a cow bone at first (moa were quite large flightless birds like an ostrich) so we left it. Back on board reading an old book about Stewart Island history there was a picture of a Maori (indigenous native) oven dug WAY down by archaeologists who found moa bones and pictured them. The bone Mary found is an EXACT duplicate of the one in the picture. We'll take it to the museum in Oban (the town on Stewart Island) and give it to them. Later we moved to Little Glory Bay (S46 58.16 E168 09.74) anchoring in 37' with 175' of chain out. Little Glory is protected from most every wind angle including the usual SW-S. We dinked over to the beach and hiked the pass over the ridge to Ocean Beach for a bit of kiwi (bird) watching. Except for seeing a beautiful sunset and freezing to death there wasn't much happening. There are kiwi tracks everywhere so tomorrow we'll give it another go. We'll see.
Tomorrow came and went with NO kiwi sightings. This time we split up. Mary had the south side of the beach staked out and I was a bit north. Dick hid in the woods keeping an eye out there. So there we were, cameras in tripods, field of vision sighted and so on. Even a group of black oyster catchers set up camp just in front of us as a decoy (and photo practice). The #@^$&(^$& rat bag kiwi birds never showed. The only good that came of waiting in the cold and misty rain at times was learning just how crystal clear photos can be by using a tripod. I even have a new remote shutter installed so I don't have to push the button on the camera keeping ALL shake at bay. In the end we retreated to the boat and a cuppa. Later we had a fried blue cod dinner. Ho hum, another tough day at the office.
And the next day was spent exploring as well. This time it was a dinghy trip to The Neck, a narrow peninsula of land with sand dunes and clumps of grass like tussock. We scattered in three different directions all with our cameras ready. Yes, even Dick is now looking for 'the shot'. Some of his photo's taken with his point and shoot come out well. The deer trails were evident as a superhighway. Some trails led one way, others came back. We also saw dirt bag kiwi bird tracks everywhere*. Dick found the remnants of an old Maori oven. In reading an old book of Stewart Island history it mentioned archaeologists digging up a Maori oven on The Neck. Photos of that find included a picture of an assortment of moa bones we mentioned above. Perhaps the Maori oven Dick found is the same one uncovered by the archaeologists. Perhaps. We spent most of the day walking around the spectacular scenery and taking more than a few keeper photos. The barometer is falling and the wind has picked up to over 25 knots so we'll see if the high that settled in this past week is moving on. And now dinner is cooking. And again, ho hum, another tough day at the office and another glimpse into The Life. *(Yes, at the end of the day we spent another 1 1/2 hours until dark sitting in occasional rain showers waiting for the no show's).
And today we got lost. Yup, got turned around on the overgrown trail to Chew Tobacco Bay. (Yup again, that's the real name). The tags were few and far between, grown over and so on. We went in a big circle. We left the beach with the surf booming on our left so in the end we put the surf on the right and swamp trotted until we found our original trail. Neverless it was still a good day with the scenery spectacular as usual. We returned to Egret and had the engine warming to move to Golden Bay (across from the village of Oban) so we can visit tomorrow and Dick can make reservations to leave. While preparing to leave a pair of Butlers Mollymawks/Grey Headed Albatrosses showed up for a mooch. We fed them fish bait and of course snapped a few pics. After a short run to Golden Bay we anchored in 31' with 175' of chain out. The wind is puffing from the SW up to 25 or so knots but there is little fetch so all is well.
Dick Anderson, our crewman for these past weeks was great company. It's time he gets back to his life and sees what direction he is going to go. We spoiled him with The Life. Ball's in his court. I'm sure Dick will be back aboard Egret down the road.
So there you have it. A little insight into The Life and Stewart Island. Ciao.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.