Monday morning and Ngozi caught the bus out of Deep Cove to Te Anau. Well actually it’s a bus to Lake Manapouri and then a ferry across the lake to Manapouri Town. I was sorry to see her go. We have had quite an adventure this past two months. Having another pair of hands on board has been a great help. Ngozi knows a lot more about cruising now and what she likes and dislikes. I have learnt a lot about sailing with wife on board!
After Ngozi left I felt a bit empty and didn’t do too much all day, just messed around at the mooring and went ashore to Deep Cove hostel to use the internet and have a wonderful hot shower again. The day has been wet, everything is damp outside. In the evening I lit the cabin oil lamps to give some warmth. The cabin was soon nice and warm, thank goodness Truce is well insulated.
Tuesday I awoke and got about some chores. First I did an engine oil change. A horrible job which I hate. No matter how careful I am I always get engine oil everywhere. On this Yanmar engine you have to suck the oil out of the dipstick hole, such a dumb way of doing things. When I get back to Auckland I will invest in a better suction pump that will hopefully improve the process.
Next on the agenda was cleaning the bilge. After the raw water inlet blockage we took some seawater into the bilge and it has been sloshing about and making a mess. That took a while with fresh water and washing up liquid to get sparkling again, then it was lunch time.
In the afternoon in took the dinghy ashore for some internet time. The Deep Cove Hostel is quite welcoming. A party of trappers is in residence, they are an odd bunch but very friendly, really keen on discussing, stoats, mice, rats and possums. I learnt a bit about trapping but hope I can forget it soon. The evening hot shower was excellent and drove out the cold dampness of the day.
The mooring in Deep Cove is very tranquil and peaceful. But its wet, almost constant rain and the sun (I assume its above the clouds) rises late and sets early due to the high hills around the cove. But, there are nasty winds here and the mooring is exposed I am told. Time to move on.
Wednesday morning I went ashore to visit the Hostel Manager and settle my account for the mooring and internet use. It was still raining. The first indications of a breeze, the flag fluttering occasionally and some ripples on the water. At ten I had my smoko cup of tea then let go from the mooring, motoring out of Deep Cove and down Malaspina Reach, past the imposing entrance to Hall Arm, my destination Blanket Bay.
As soon as we left Deep Cove the head wind picked up, building to a nasty gusting gale blowing straight up the channel and right on the nose. I harnessed all of Mr Yanmar’s power and plugged away in driving rain into a short chop with spray coming over the bow. The speed was not great, it took four strenuous hours to make the twelve miles to Blanket Bay.
In Blanket Bay I met up with the yacht we have been meeting on and off since Port Chalmers. I passed on the weather forecast that I had downloaded in Deep Cove. The weather is not looking good for going north with a N’ly gale today and tomorrow and maybe a S’ly gale on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday look good for sailing north with moderate S’Wly winds.
Blanket Bay didn’t look to attractive in the rain and there was a bit of swell coming in so I decided to move on to an all weather anchorage in Precipice Cove at the end of Bradshaw sound. A fisherman recommended the place saying it was the only real all weather anchorage in the Doubtful sounds.
I anchored temporarily in Blanket Bay for a rest and to prepare and eat some late lunch. Suitably rested and fortified I weighed anchor and headed out. First across the bottom of Thompson Sound in gusty thirty knot winds on the beam and then into Bradshaw sound. The wind in Bradshaw sound was from astern, filling the cockpit with freezing rain, I was shivering, all wrapped up in my foul weather gear. Is this summer?
The further into Bradshaw Sound we travelled the lighter the wind became. As we turned around the bottom of Macdonell Island it was almost calm. I tied up alongside a mooring line rigged in a cove to the east of Macdonell Island and was all secure at 17:00. Its was still raining and misty but the scenery I can see is wonderful, massive waterfalls, swelled by the rain, cascading down the sides of the sound. The only noise I can hear is the distant gushing of water and raindrops on the cabin top.
Luckily I can receive Fiordland Fishermans radio in Precipice Sound, they are on VHF 66. In the evening I received the local weather forecast. Good to be able to pick up weather on VHF again. The weather looks very confused with a number of fronts hitting the bottom of the South Island, I will wait for it to settle down a bit.