AROUND WEST CAPE – ARRIVAL DUSKY SOUND

Moving day arrived, Thursday the 25th of February, the forecast is for S’ly winds, eager to get moving we let go the sternline and were motoring out of North Port before breakfast.

As we motored out of Chalky Inlet the weather was brooding and overcast, everything on board still wet from the overnight rain.  The heave of the ocean swell started to make itself felt as we headed down Western passage, taking care to give Providence Rocks a wide berth.  Once clear of the channel the wind arrived, a beautiful wind.  It was that rare wind in New Zealand, right direction and right strength.

With fifteen knots of southerly wind behind us we made good time up the coast, the clouds cleared, we sailed in bright sunshine on sparkling seas.  We poled out the Yankee to starboard and lashed the main to port and enjoyed wonderful sailing.  By noon we rounded West Cape, which appears to be the westernmost point of New Zealand.

The wind held and we sailed into Dusky Sound and all the way up to Pickersgill Harbour on a light afternoon sea breeze.  So good to have arrived here, it’s like another chapter has opened, we are in the first of the sounds of Fiordland.

Pickersgill Harbour from Astronomers Point. Photo Ray Penson
Pickersgill Harbour from Astronomers Point. Photo Ray Penson

Ngozi was eager to get ashore and encouraged me to anchor quickly.  This is against my nature, in the deep water of Pickersgill I wanted to find a good spot and sniffed around like a dog settling on his blanket for the night.  Finally, coming back to the first spot I had selected and dropped the anchor close in under Crayfish Island in ten meters of water.

Cook Channel looking from Pickersgill Harbour. Photo Ray Penson
Cook Channel looking from Pickersgill Harbour. Photo Ray Penson

We took the dinghy ashore and landed in Cooks Cove, the place where captain Cook spent six weeks repairing his ship endeavour in 1773.  From the landing spot it’s a short walk to Astronomers point where Cook observed the transit of Venus.

Stream at the head of Cooks Cove. Photo Ngozi penson
Stream at the head of Cooks Cove. Photo Ngozi penson

The evening was calm and tranquil, we were joined in the anchorage by another yacht that we first met in Port Chalmers on our way south.  Nice to have company.

Friday morning was peaceful, wonderful weather and I sat in the cockpit enjoying a cup of tea and the surroundings.  The peace was broken by Ngozi, she declared she wanted off!  Ah, mutiny on board!

The lack of telephone, internet and concern about the family, who we have been out of contact with for some time now.  So, we must try and find a way of getting Ngozi back to civilisation – soonest.

There is a barge moored in Breaksea sound at Sunday Cove that has a helicopter landing pad.  We decided to head up that way and ask if there were any choppers going out.  Up anchor and off we went, motoring up Acheron Passage and into Breaksea Sound.

Heading into Acheron Passage. Photo Ngozi Penson
Heading into Acheron Passage. Photo Ngozi Penson

We arrived at Sunday Cove in the early afternoon, the place was deserted, not a soul to be seen on the barge.  Looks like everyone had gone for the weekend.  Even worse there is no radio reception in Breaksea Sound, we are unable to get an updated weather forecast.

Friday night we have anchored in Second Cove and are considered our options.  I tried fishing and only came up with some undersize Blue Cod.  Miserable place.

Tomorrow we will head out to sea, try and get radio reception and a forecast.  If the weather is good we will move up to Doubtful sound where we know transport out is available.  We will get an early start. 

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