AKAROA – VISIT TO THE GIANT HOUSE

By Tuesday afternoon the southerly blow has run its course and I picked up the anchor from Takamatua Bay and headed back around to Pine Tree Bay.  The anchor was well stuck into the mud and took a bit of soaking out, comforting to know there is good holding in this bay.

Back at Pine Tree bay I anchored closer into the shore.  Last time anchored here I noticed that there was a calmer patch just inside the sailing club mooring.  We ended up about 30m from the shore, just the right position for the expected N’ly blow overnight.

Wednesday, all the wind disappeared overnight, the morning was perfectly calm.  Beautiful.  I went ashore exploring.  First on the agenda was coffee and WiFi.  The news about Covid-19 is everywhere, an awful thing, but the constant news feed is somehow addictive.

I walked up to the Giants House, a beautiful sunny day.  On the way I met a guy doing his gardening, he summed it up ‘not too hot – not too cold – just perfect’.

The Giants House is a large old house built back in 1880 for a local Bank Manager.  For the last twenty plus years the house has been the home of Josie Martin, a modern artist, sculptor and painter.

The Giants House Photo Ray Penson
The Giants House Photo Ray Penson

Having chilled at the Giants house I headed for town and sustenance, this I found at the Madeira Pub.  An unassuming and uninviting place from the outside, but a sunny courtyard behind.  The fish, chips and salad were delicious.  Next off to the Four Square store to pick up some fresh fruit before returning to Truce.

As the weather was settled for a day, I moved anchorage back to French Bay.  I thought I might be able to connect to WiFi from the anchorage but no such luck.

Thursday morning, I was ashore again.  Morning coffee and wifi to check the weather for a departure tomorrow.

The weather has been constantly changing between northerly and southerly winds on an almost daily basis, with the southerly winds predominant.  It has been impossible to find a thirty-six-hour period of constant winds.  Now, as I check the long-range forecast things don’t look too good for a quick trip to Stewart Island.  Looks like I can get a window to reach Port Chalmers, but the outlook further south is showing strong south westerlies with little break in between.  Not wanting to get stuck in Port Chalmers waiting for weather I have decided to head back north.  Disappointing, but I have spent too long in the Far North and Abel Tasman before heading South.  Going to Stewart Island now won’t give me sufficient time to see the place in a leisurely fashion, I don’t want to be rushed.  Also, weather in the south is getting colder and the days much shorter.   There is always next year, and the theme of this cruise is ‘No hurry in life’.

Having made the momentous decision to head back north I went for a walk around town.  I was shocked and surprised at the lack of people around.  When I first arrived here the town was overflowing with tourists and cruise ship visitors, I even avoided coming ashore one day to avoid the cruise ship crowds.  Today there are very few people around, what a contrast in a few days.  The effects of Coronavirus measures have been swift, I saw the first person wearing a face mask today.  This will affect the local economy which is heavily dependent on tourism, some consolation being its coming at the end of the summer tourist season.

Giant House – Mosaic Sculptures Photo Ray Penson
Giant House – Mosaic Sculptures Photo Ray Penson

I returned to Truce in the afternoon and prepared for sailing tomorrow morning.  After being in port for a few days I have things scattered all over the cabin, time to tidy and stow.  Dinghy well lashed on the foredeck and outboard secured.

There is a strong southerly blow due overnight and dying out in the morning.  I want to try and use the tail end of the southerly to take me around the south and east of Banks Peninsular where I may pick up a northerly breeze.  That’s the plan according to forecast, but we know things rarely go to the weather plan this trip.

Very Quiet Akaroa at midday Photo Ray Penson
Very Quiet Akaroa at midday Photo Ray Penson

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