Saturday, 26 January 2013

Delayed update - Marlborough Sounds - 26/01/13

We haven't posted anything in ages! Not much boat stuff has been going on lately, our whole lives have been consumed with wedding planning. But we are now married! So back to the boat. I'll do an update about our wedding shortly, probably when I have some pictures back from the photographer. But in short it was absolutely perfect, and we are both blissfully happy. So before we do more exciting things I figured I should chuck on a few pictures from our first Cook Strait crossing a few months ago.

We went down to the Marlborough Sounds for a few days in the last week of October and had an absolute blast. It was our first trip out of the Harbour without any other grown ups, so our first time with nobody else to fix things when they went wrong. We took our friends Dale and Becca, and my bestie who came to visit from Australia, Sarah. They're all really helpful and have done a bit of sailing before, but not a lot.

Heading across the harbour before the sun came up
Leaving the harbour at around 5:30am, just before the sun came up. I'm wearing a pretty balaclava one of my awesome friends knitted me!
The crossing there was smooth, with me being the only one to get sick. We tucked into the sounds after 8 hours and found a nice stable anchorage, just as the wind picked up to 50 knots. It was howling all night but Garth anchored us from both the stern and the bow so we didn't swing around at all and it was surprisingly comfortable. I'm slowly learning to get less scared when the boat creaks and groans, though I did wake Garth up one night to check the anchors. I feel I'm allowed to be scared for the boat in 50 knots.

Becca steering across the strait
Garth and Becca getting excited as we enter Tory Channel

We spent 3 days just chilling out and exploring. We only found 1 dolphin, which was disappointing but better than none. By the time Becca had her wetsuit on to jump in and play he had ditched us for what i can only assume was a more exciting adventure elsewhere, because no more dolphins were seen for the rest of our trip.

We trolled for fish the whole time (except for near the marine reserve) and caught nothing. On the last night Sarah got a very determined look on her face and stomped off to the deck with a fishing rod in one hand and some muscles in the other. She refused to come back without a fish, and sat there until it got cold and dark. Finally just as dinner was being served there was a lot of squealing from the bow as she pulled in a smallish fish and held it up proudly. Luckily it was just big enough to keep, because I don't think we could have made her throw it back. There was just enough for everyone to have a bit, and all that determination made it taste delicious.

We explored a few little bays and had lovely picnics on the boat in the sunshine. The whole trip was ridiculously pleasant. We went walking through the bush on a tiny little track at one of the bays we anchored in and found a beautiful view from the top of a tree at the top of a hill. We also came across a family of wekas, which are a native New Zealand bird kind of similar to Kiwis. They're flightless and plump and live in the bushes. We saw quite a few of them down in the sounds, but these ones in particular were special. We were doing a bit of bush bashing when I heard tiny little cheeping noises - we followed them and found quite a few baby wekas just wandering around us. Their mum didn't seem too bothered, even though it wasn't a particularly public beach so they can't have been that used to people. They just ran around us being all fluffy and adorable, which totally made our day.

I'm up a tree!

One of the other highlights of our trip for me was when Sarah was steering towards Ships Cove in some pretty awesome wind. She seemed a little worried and asked 'what if I tip it over?' I said 'Don't worry, you can't possibly tip it over. Just try to keep those railings out of the water and you won't go too fast.'
Sarah replied with 'Oh... How to I do that?' I showed her which way to steer and she giggled and pointed us in the other direction. We got an awesome heel going on and she got the boat up to 7.37 knots, which is the fastest I've seen it go! I love that girl and her craziness.

We also found ourselves in a situation where I was right for once! On the second or third night Garth and Dale were sorting out the anchor, and as usual I was paranoid about hurting the boat. He was setting us up in a deep bit of water that shot down right next to some rocks. The water is so clear in this corner of the world it's often really difficult for me to tell how far under the water rocks are. So they were crystal clear and seemed really close, but the water next to them shot down suddenly instead of gradually, leaving us in nice deep water. Garth swore the anchor was stuck and tethered us to a tree to hold the stern in place, then everybody else wandered off to get dinner ready. But there is something really disconcerting about standing on your boat and looking over at giant rocks you can almost touch. So I felt really uneasy, and instead of following the others Garth humoured me and stayed in the cockpit a few more minutes. Sure enough, we very quickly drifted until we were no longer just stupidly close to the rocks, but 30cm away from having rock shaped holes in our hull. Garth cranked the engine and reset the anchor, with a second one at a different angle off the bow, just to make sure. So at least we learned to always hang around for a bit to make triple sure the anchor has stuck, and to always trust my stupid paranoid gut feelings. I'm lucky my husband always listens to me, even when I'm being silly (like at 3am when the anchor line is creaking in the wind). Hopefully we won't have any more problems like that, because we have a much more universal anchor now that should stick to most types of seabed.

There were also seals and penguins, along with beautiful sunsets and mostly fine weather. We had a great time, and broke in the boat a bit - it was our first overnight trip since the delivery. But most importantly, NOTHING BROKE! We spent 4 days on her and everything worked perfectly, which we were not expecting.

We spent all yesterday fixing things and are about to do the same today, then we're taking off on our honeymoon!

So farewell for now,

Sarah caught a rock...

Dale and Sarah looking for muscles

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