Marlborough Sounds 30 March to 16 April 2016

Thur 31 March – Picton

Our first day in Picton relaxing after the excitement of the Cook Strait Crossing yesterday. Walked the coastal route to Bob’s Bay. Lots of tourists in town (and on the track) from the cruise ship which was berthed in Shakespeare Bay. Dinner at Le Cafe with Gerard and Rose with entertainment provided by Australian blues guitarist/singer, Nick Charles. Night on Halo in Picton Marina.

Fri 1 April – Motuara Island

After planning our route in the OpenCPN chartplotter software on the laptop and calling Marlborough Radio on Ch. 63 with our Trip Report (TR) we set sail to Motuara Island. Actually we motor-sailed most of the way as it was a long trip almost into the open sea at the top of Queen Charlotte Sound with a strongish northerly.

Overnight in club mooring at the south end of the Island. Our first time sleeping overnight on a mooring! All went well, and we slept well in the calm bay protected from the northerlies. With the heavy rains we discovered a couple of leaks around the windows which Geoff sealed up in the morning. Put out our water catchment system and collected a bucketful of rainwater for washing etc.

Sat 2 April – Ship Cove

Sailed to across QC Sound to Ship Cove and tied up at the jetty. Explored the cove and Captain Cook memorials and lots of interesting information boards about the various landings he made here starting in 1770 when his ship the Endeavour anchored in the bay to replenish supplies.

We started to hike the Queen Charlotte Track up the hill but turned back due to torrential rains with turned the track into a slippery river. Stayed overnight at the club mooring in Ship Cove.

Sun 3 April – Motuara Is and Ruakaka Bay

Sailed back across QC Sound to Motuara Island where we tied up at the jetty and walked up to Cook’s Cairn at the top of the island. On the way down we came across two DOC workers with two Rowi Kiwi! The kiwi had recently been released onto the island which is a sanctuary and the DOC workers located them with a DOC dog and checked they were doing OK. Pretty special to see kiwi up close, especially in the daytime!

Back on Halo we then sailed south to Ruakaka Bay. Had a fairly rough night on the club mooring.

Mon 4 April – Bay of Many Coves

Sailed north into Bay of Many Coves and moored overnight at one of the resort moorings in Arthur’s Bay. No charge as long as we ate either dinner or breakfast at the lodge.

We weren’t allowed access to the track which goes up the hill to the QC Track as this is reserved for resort guests only. Went for a walk along the nice coastal track around the bay then back to Halo for dinner and an early night. Very calm night on the mooring.

Tue 5 April – Ngaruru Bay

Rowed ashore in our little dinghy for a cooked breakfast and good coffee at BOMC resort. Lovely sunny morning. The staff told us that at 11pm last night the Westpac rescue helicopter had made a visit as one of their guests, an elderly woman on her 70’s, had got lost on the track while trying to find the resort. We didn’t hear a thing tucked up in our little boat!

We then sailed across QC Sound into Tory Channel where we found a quiet little club mooring at Ngaruru Bay. Not a soul around. Geoff had a swim (with wetsuit) and cleaned the hull and and cleared the speed log paddle wheel of algae to get it working again.

Beautiful clear night with amazing starlit night. Cold though.

Wed 6 April – Kumutoto Bay

Packed up and sailed out of Tory Channel back into QC Sound and south to Kumutoto Bay (opposite Waikawa behind Allports Island). Light northerlies behind us so we put up the headsail in goose-winged fashion. We located the Kumutoto North club mooring. Beautiful spot which we had totally to ourselves.

Walked around the picturesque coastal track to the Kumutoto Bay West campsite.

Thur 7 April – Picton

This morning the weather forecast was a front with high winds was due so we sailed across QC Sound behind Allports Island back to Picton to ride out the storm in the marina. Rose and Gerard kindly invited us to stay the night at their beautiful place in the hills above Waikawa. That have a large house with a paddock for Rose’s two horses. We went for a walk down to the Waikawa marina and did some shopping at Burnsco.

Fri 8 April – Havelock, Nelson, Picton

Rose offered us to use her car for the day so we had a day off sailing and drove to Nelson for the day. Stopped off at Havelock for morning coffee at the Slip Inn. In Nelson we visited a number of the galleries. Enjoyed a yummy seafood chowder at the new Cod & Lobster Brasserie in Trafalgar Street. Graciela bought some nice pottery items at one of the shops in South Street. Met up with Jim and Lindie in the afternoon at the Sprig & Fern Tavern then back to Picton.

We stayed a second night at Rose and Gerard’s and enjoyed a fun evening of dinner and music with Peter (Rose’s brother) and Susan.

Sat 9 April – Lochmara Bay

Beautiful sunny day with northerly light winds. We sailed across to Lochmara Bay and moored at the Lochmara Lodge mooring. This lodge has many interesting features such as a open air sculpture park, quirky art, live birds and animals, glow worms and eels to view as well as connection to the Queen Charlotte Track.

Sun 10 April – Lochmara Bay

After a nice coffee at the lodge cafe we went on a nice long hike around the hilltops above West bay and then connected up with the QC Track. We continued along the track south up to a lookout at 417 mts altitude with expansive views of both QC Sound and Kenepuru Sound.

Mon 11 April – Punga Cove

Sailing day – Lochmara to Punga Cove in Endeavour Inlet. The winds were very light initially but once we got into the QC Sound things started getting exciting with gusts up to 25 kts. Used the No. 3 Headsail and 2 reefs in the Main as we curved northward up the Sound. Passing west of Blumine Island we noticed a large cargo ship coming up behind us heading out to sea. We gave it a wide berth. Saw lots of large dolphins and a couple of seals. Our best day’s sailing yet.

Our intention was to moor at the club mooring at Camp Bay just beside Punga Cove but when we arrived it appeared there was another boat on the mooring so opted to tie up to one of the Punga Cove Resort moorings. The protection from the strong wings wasn’t very good and we had our roughest night of the trip on the the mooring. It wasn’t til the morning that we discovered that the club mooring was closer to shore with no boats using it. Wasted $25. Oh well.

Tue 12 April – Punga Cove to Furneaux Lodge Walk

Rowed ashore for morning coffees at the Punga Cove cafe and then headed on to the QC Track north to Furneaux Lodge. Long walk around the top of Endeavour Inlet. Met a few others on the track. Had lunch at an open clearing before dropping down to Furneaux Lodge where we picked up the Cougar Line water taxi back to Punga Cove.

Popped into the Cafe at Punga Cove for a pre-dinner drink and met an Argentine couple who work there, Ayelen and Sebastian. Rowed back to Halo for a delicious Tortilla Espanola and early to bed.

Wed 13 April – Mistletoe Bay

Sailed south from Endeavour Inlet down QC Sound to Onahau Bay. Sunny morning but cold. The winds were mainly southerly but varied all over the place which made for interesting sailing. Saw lots of dolphins in Endeavour Inlet. We moored at the Marlborough Harbour Board mooring in Mistletoe Bay. We weren’t sure if ne is allowed to moor there but in the absence of any handy club moorings we thought we’d try our luck. Very calm night but very cold. Kept the the gas stove on for a while to heat up the cabin.

Thu 14 April – Walk Mistletoe Bay to Anakiwa

After a leisurely start to the day enjoying the beautiful morning views of Mistletoe Bay we dook the dinghy to the jetty to begin our hiking day. There is an Eko Lodge at Mistletoe Bay which accommodates groups of school children. Lots of noisy excited kids having lots of fun. We walked up the hill behind the bay to Te Mahia Saddle then connected up with the QC Track south to Anakiwa. Magic views of QC Sound with clear blue skies from the Grove Arm Lookout. Graciela spotter a White Faced Heron. As we got closer to Anakiwa the track flattened out and there was evidence of it being very popular with mountain bikers.

At Anakiwa we waited about half an hour on the jetty for the Cougar Line water taxi back to Mistletoe Bay. One of the boats on the jetty was an old lifeboat from the Wahine which had been converted to a motor cruiser.

Fri 15 April – Waikawa, Picton, Ngaruru Bay

Our day of crossing the Cook Strait to Wellington is now imminent and we have been studying the weather forecasts anxiously hoping for perfect conditions. All looks good with moderate northerlies so it’s all go for Saturday. We sailed from Mistletoe Bay to Waikawa Marina first to pick up some more gear from Burnsco and then sailed around The Snout to Picton Marina where we were joined by Peter and his friend Mark at midday who were going to crew with us. After checking all our safety equipment, and safety briefing with the crew we set sail for Ngaruru Bay in Tory Channel where we would stay overnight on the club mooring ready for a 5am start for our Cook Strait Crossing back to Wellington!

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