26 October, 2020

Well we are finally in the South Island, anchored up not far from Picton, it feels like we are almost home. Since last writing we spent several very relaxing days at Great Barrier Island. One day we hired a car and explored the island, including a soak in the hot pools near Whangaparapara.

We had planned to visit Tauranga on the way south but with no berths available we took advantage of a weather window and ran directly to Napier. Again there was no room in the Port and we were forced to anchor off, which was fine, until a large easterly swell rolled in making the anchorage extremely uncomfortable, we had little option but to run to Picton. It was a great trip except for a brief southerly blow that came through as we rounded Cape Palliser.

It was great to finally get back in southern waters and see the birds that have been such a part of my life the highlight was undoubtedly having both Southern and Northern Royal Albatross circling around. We were reminded afresh of Robert Cushman Murphy’s quote “I now belong to a higher cult of mortals, for I have seen the albatross.”

The Cape Pigeons made us feel at home, as much as we love traveling and cruising there is no place like home and for us that is the Southern Ocean. On several occasions we were escorted by large pods of Common Dolphins it was as though they were pleased to see us, welcoming us home. On night watch you could hear them blowing as they swam along beside us, what a privilege to have such amazing companions throughout your watch … it seemed like the watch was over before it began. Cushman Murphy’s words are just as appropriate for dolphins as they are for albatross.

Our plans are to spend the remainder of the month in the Sounds and arrive Nelson on Nov 1st.