Saturday morning opened with low cloud and rain, but it was nice and calm.  At seven the anchor was up and we were on the way, heading down Breaksea Sound towards the ocean.  The sea was a bit lumpy and no wind, we motored on and hoped the wind didn’t come from the north and heads.

Unfortunately, just after nine the wind started to fill from the north and our speed dropped below three knots as we steamed into the wind and waves.  Accepting defeat we turned back to Breaksea Sound.  Whilst offshore I tried to contact maritime Radio on VHF16 and the fishermans radio on VHF66.  I could raise neither of them.  From my past experience there are not many spots in New Zealand where you cant raise Maritime Radio as their coverage is excellent.

On the way back into Breaksea we spotted a boat with a hunting party and divers on board just south of Breaksea Island.  We altered course and headed across for a chat.  The skipper gave us an update on the weather, forecast is for light variable winds tomorrow and strong northerly on Monday.  He also enquired about transport out as he has a party departing tomorrow.  The cost of a chopper seat for Ngozi was quoted at between $1,000 and $1,500, too expensive, we will plan to get transport at Doubtful Sound instead.

Looks like we will have to take the light wind window to motor between Breaksea Sound and Doubtfuly Sound, hoping the wind from the north holds off.  Its only a twenty mile hop up the coast, but with any headwind and sea it will be a slow slog with our small engine.

After our chat with the hunting boat we headed down behind the Gilbert Islands and at a tempory anchorage in deep water we were rewarded with a beautiful Blue Cod, dinner.

On the AIS we saw our companion yacht closing in on us.  They had come up from Dusky Sound and were asking us for a weather forecast.  They too have no outside radio communication and had also tried calling Maritime Radio without success.  I passed on the forecast we were given and I expect they will also try and head up to Doubtful sound tomorrow.  They have a large motor, they should cope well with any moderate headwinds.

In the late afternoon we ghosted back into Breaksea Sound on a light sea breeze and moored in Beach Harbour.  A lovely anchorage where the bottlenose dolphins greeted us.>>>We awoke very early on Sunday morning, the moon was full and the waters flat calm.  Not seeing any point in hanging around we got under way and by the light of the moon motored carefully out of Beach Harbour.  The dolphins arrived as we left the harbour to say goodbye and followed us for a short time down the sound.

By five we rounded Rocky Point and watched Breaksea Island drop astern in the moonlight.  An hour later we were joined by dolphins.  Shortly after this I noticed the engine sound change slightly, I checked the exhaust and saw very little water coming out.  Immediately we shut down the engine and a check revealed a blocked seawater inlet.  The second time this trip!

We tried the usual trick of a large cable tie down the water inlet through hull.  The blockage remained, just a dribble of water coming out.  Next we tried a curtain wire, it went out all the way through the valve and outside the through hull fitting, but still the blockage remained.  We could not imagine what was in there to allow the probes to pass through but still block the pipe.  Looking over the side we saw numerous sausage shaped condom like things, I assume they are fish egg sacks or something, perhaps what the dolphins were feeding on.

After a bit of head scratching we connected the dinghy foot pump to the sea valve and gave it some hefty pumps.  That did the trick, the inlet cleared and we had a good flow of water into the bilge.  Excitement over, we had lost an hour but were once again on our way.

Just before ten we passed close to the south of Hares Ears rocks and entered Doubtful Sound.  Soon the swell disappeared and we were motoring in calm waters, bright sunshine and clear visibility into Doubtful Sound.  Ngozi being delighted to be here as she can now get transport out and back to Auckland.

Motoring easily down the sound was a delight, the scenery stunning, with waterfalls cascading down the steep sided of the sound.  This feels like a real fiord, steep sides plunging down hundreds of meters into the water.  At Deep Cove, we picked up a mooring line on the Helena Falls side of the cove and turned the engine off.  Peace and quiet.

Helena Falls, Deep Cove. Photo Ray Penson
Helena Falls, Deep Cove. Photo Ray Penson

A trip ashore in the dinghy revealed showers were available and there is a bus departing tomorrow for Te Anu.  We returned ashore to have hot showers, the first for a very long time.  Feeling fresh and clean we returned to Truce for a last evening meal together and an early night.

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