INTO PELORUS SOUND

Last night I could not sleep.  No point in festering in bed if you can’t sleep so I got up and checked the weather again.  There seemed to be a window of opportunity to go up the east coast of the North island on Sunday.  I decided to sail out of Nelson, head up through French Pass and get into the sounds ready to jump north up the east coast when the weather turned on Sunday.

By six on Friday morning I had let go from the fishing pens and headed out of Nelson, the morning was dark and calm.  By the time we were clear of the channel and rounding the fairway buoy the dawn was starting to break.  It felt good to be moving on again.  I have really enjoyed my time in Nelson, it’s a good place.  But, as our friend Lord Nelson is alleged to have said “Men and ships rot in port’, it was time to go.

The wind was forecast for S’Wly 10 knots increasing to S’Wly 25 knots later, a good direction to push is north.  No wind arrived and we motored all the way up to French Pass enjoying the coastal scenery.  We shot through French Pass at great speed with the tide behind us.  Up ahead I could see some serious wind on the water and it was coming our way.

Before long I had a scrap of yankee out and we were bowling along at eight knots in a tremendously gusty westerly wind.  Spray from the surface of the sea was being swept up in whirls.  In between the gusts there were periods of almost calm.  Mickey, the windvane could not cope with the changing conditions, wanting to round up in the gusts and run off in the calm periods.  I hand steered for a while, something I am not too keen on, but we were moving along well.

The gusts continued until we were abreast off Pelorus Sound.  I looked down Pelorus sound and it seemed quite calm.  By now it was three in the afternoon, I debated to carry on to Queen Charlotte Sound or head into Pelorus Sound.  As we only had 3 hours of daylight left I decided to go into Pelorus and find a snug anchorage while the daylight was good.

Strangely, as we entered Pelorus the wind followed us in, first from astern, a northerly direction and after a mile or so it swung around to the South West, headed us and blew again.  We motored further into sound with spray flying everywhere.  The further into the sound we went the less the wind blew.  By five thirty I dropped anchor in the north west corner of Kauauroa Bay between a mussel farm and the shore.  Not the best anchorage but protected enough for the night and with the bonus of having a phone and data signal.  As the sun went down the wind died with it, the night was peaceful.

Saturday morning opened with clear skies and calm.  Unfortunately, the window of opportunity to head up the east coast was closing as N’ly winds were coming back again.  I decided to stay another day in Kauauroa Bay and see what happened with the weather.

On Sunday morning I gave up on the East Coast route and decided to stop stressing about the weather.  It will come good sooner or later and there is no point trying to worry about jumping in between fronts and god forbid ending up having to sail to windward.

With a light N’ly breeze I sailed out of Kauauroa Bay and headed further down Pelorus Sound, stopping at Jacobs Bay for a few hours and lunch.  I had stopped at Jacobs bay last year when lockdown was in place.  A nice spot with picnic tables ashore and a walking track.  The anchorage is exposed and only good in settled conditions, the wake from passing boats also caused a bit of a roll now and then.

After lunch I motored around to Chance Bay.  This bay is reported to be one of the most sheltered in the sounds.  I anchored here for the night.  During the night some wind came into the bay, not too much, just enough to wake me up occasionally.  I didn’t find the bay to be that sheltered and moved out in the morning to pick up a mooring for a few hours just north of Putanui point.  I rested here, enjoying the sunshine and watching the boat traffic in Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds.  The Green Lip Mussel industry here is thriving and numerous mussel farm boats are constantly on the move day and night.

In late afternoon I motored up Kenepuru Sound and into Long Bay, a place I spent some time at during lockdown last year.  I dropped anchor and had a quiet and peaceful night.  But, the place brought back memories of lockdown.  In the morning I just wanted to move on and headed into Havelock Marina and some human company.>>>>>I took the flood tide up to the marina, the well-marked channel is shallow in places and becomes narrow and winding for the last mile.  There are a couple of blind corners where the appearance of another boat coming the opposite direction gets your attention.

By lunchtime I was secure alongside the marina.  Havelock is only a small place, but it has an appeal.  The people are friendly and there is a village atmosphere.  There is admittedly not much to do, a couple of pubs, a Four-Square store, gas station and a few shops, cafés and restaurants.

I need to do a scheduled oil change on Mr. Yanmar and have ordered an oil change vacuum pump online.  Hopefully to be delivered within a few days to the marina.  My old oil change pumps have all got failed seals and the last oil change I did was a very messy affair.  Pulling oil out of the dipstick hole is such a dumb idea but it’s the only way on this engine.  I am hoping the new vacuum pump will make the job easy and take away the mess.

Because I am waiting for the vacuum pump I am forced to linger for a few days.  This is good, I am relaxing and not getting worked up looking at the weather predications every few hours.  No hurry in life.

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