the last tale


We thought we had an interesting trip this year seeing as we are the only boat to have sailed to a destination not shown on Google earth, and as you can see looking  looking at our track on google earth, we sailed there round the  world in two and a half days! 
On the other hand our good friend Dawn and her partner Paul, circumnavigated the North Island this summer with Dawn’s  cat Tommy, and 2 gold fish as crew. 
Cats and ships go hand in hand,  and there is even a statue of the most famous ship’s cat Trim who sailed around Australia with Matthew Flinders in 1848 but circumnavigating gold fish????? What?
Fish are undemanding ……
When Dawn told us what she was doing this season our worries were entirely  for the fish – How could she sail down the west coast, a notoriously rough place without the fish being either sea sick or thrown out of their tank? There were quite a lot of jokes about fish fingers and  bait then we suggested that Tommy might like an early fish shaped christmas present. Dawn was quite shocked at the very idea and she assured me they were very precious and to keep them safe she puts them in a bucket in the shower when they are on passage.
The main problem iof course stopping Tommy from fishing…….
Tommy spends a lot of time wondering  ………
If only he can get his paws on them
Butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth.
And finally we have just seen motoring out for a sail a splendid yacht named MasterPlan –  towing his dinghy named Plan B
that’s a true story!

The last Post


Duet is at anchor below us as we sit eating supper with Tom and Ginny
in their lovely home that overlooks Arran Bay. Stuart and Susie
Carnegie were there too. This was our last port of call at the end of
a very successful summer’s cruise. We have sailed a total of 3258
nautical miles in three months. This has been the best New Zealand
summer for a long time. Of course all the farmers are complaining
loudly but the holiday makers have never had it so good! So we are now
back to the marina and will spend the next two weeks cleaning and
packing up our beautiful Duet before returning home at the end of

JPEG image

On passage again

We are on passage at the moment passing
Portland Island which has an uncanny resemblance to Portland Bill in the English
Channel and the seas are just as steep and nasty. No race to contend with but
shallows and shoals make for an unpleasantly rough seas. It’s difficult
pouring a cup of tea – We have a strong ESE wind and are sailing at
8.5 knots.We loved Napier and thanks to Chris, a good friend who took us around,
we saw a lot of the very dry farmland, tasted some delicious wines in the famous
Hawke’s Bay vineyards and ate some delicious food as well. Next stop will be the
Mercury Islands on Sunday where we will have a few days break before heading
back to Gulf Harbour.



Napier looks like a bit like Nice or Monaco with it’s Neapolitan painted buildings and palm tree lined streets or perhaps they look like Napier? The city was flattened in the 20’s by a huge earthquake and rebuilt in Art Deco style’s finished during the early 1930’s. There are plenty of interesting shops to browse around and an extremely well stocked New Zealand wine centre that specialises in the wine from this region,Hawkes Bay. Last night we spent alongside the harbour wall with the trawlers, noisy and dirty. Tonight we are moored outside the Napier yacht club; a far better alternative!
It took us two days to sail back from the Chatham islands, one day sailing and the rest under engine as the wind was light and from astern. Did anyone notice that the Chatham Islands are not on Google Earth?
New Zealand wine centre. Note the art deco lights
The Cathederal
Villas overlooking the Bay
typical buildings
The cinema
The main street

Chatham Islands


More from the Chatham Islands.

Port Hutt. The water was expresso coffee coloured from the run off ashore where the beach gave way to solid peat. so we had no idea what the bottom was like. It’s easy to avoid the patches of kelp and the many cray pots. The beach ahead was white sand so we dropped the anchor in 6 metres and it set immediately.


Port Hutt.
It didn’t surprise us that the following morning we were woken up at daybreak with the cray fishermen swooping past us in their boats to get a good look at us.Later that day they returned and we were given a generous gift of crayfish.


gifts from George
Where are the Chatham Islands? For most New Zealanders it’s the last place to mentioned on the Marine weather forecast but few of them know that the time difference is 45 minutes ahead of New Zealand time – yes we crossed the date line. For those of you who use Navionics on their Ipad, our track shows us having travelled right the way around the world in 2 days ….. surely this is a yachting record?
The islands are situated right in the path of the roaring forties so we were lucky, or just good planning, that we had fantastic weather. The Moriori, the first inhabitants, called the island Rekohu Misty skies on account of the mists that rise from the confluence of cold subantartic currents meeting warm subtropical streams west of the group. We noticed the change in water temperature as we approached. This merging of currents creates upwellings of nutrients that have attracted whales, seals and feeding birds to this part of the ocean in large numbers.


Chatham Island Albatross
Albatross are so hard to photograph, thank goodness for digital cameras! We moved from our first anchorage over to Waitangi, the main port where there is the Chatham Island Hotel, the store, a church, bottle bank and hospital. There is also a courthouse/jail/Policeman who visited up by canoe!


We asked Paul if he’d like to come on board for a beer but he declined saying everyone is watching and longing for me to fall in! We tried to arrange a trip over to Pitt Island but there was no chance. We rented a car for the day and had a happy day’s outing.


Waitangi Harbour
Many of the islands’ native plants and animals are found nowhere else.


Ice plant


Bamboo rush


Chatham Island aster


trees growing shaped by the constant wind.


Gurnard – delicious fish


Perfect Sunset with a royal Albatross wheeling past. Sadly we ran out of water and had to cut short our visit. The fishermen on the wharf told us that the water was definitely non drinkable and our water maker had decided to pack up. In spite of Simon’s efforts it just flooded the boat with water…. so headed back to Napier. Just 100 litres of water seemed like severe drought to us. Especially with fresh water flush loos. So buckets of salt water for them and it was back to the old days of cleaning your teeth in salt water and washing in a cup of fresh.

Chatham Island

Yesterday ten miles away from the
island there was still no sign of land.  Low cloud on the horizon but
nothing else. Even with GPS and all the electronic charts we still check again
that we are on the right course. Suddenly a nipple of a hill becomes visible.
These are low lying islands. Meanwhile the air is thick with birds. Albatrosses,
Shearwaters, Fulmars and terns wheel and swoop around us.  We identified
various endemic species which is a thrill in itself. To our surprise it is much
warmer here than anticipated. The water temperature has only just dropped from
20 c to 16c. The wind is forecast to stay in the northern sector so we decided
to anchor in one of the bays that showed an  anchor on the chart. no
cruising guide yet to the Chatham’s! Ocean bay looked too open so on to the
next, Port Hutt where there were fish works marked, looked the best option. A
scattering of sheds on the shore, a rough slip with a rusty tractor at the head,
two rusting hulks – and that was it. Dodging cray pots and patches of kelp we
nosed our way in and dropped our anchor in 6 meters of sand. Excellent holding.
Within five minutes I’d hooked a huge cod and a sole! Fresh fish for supper.

Saturday 9th February


Weather looks set fair for the
next couple of days. We left Nelson this morning destination Chatham Islands. We
planned to take a short cut through a narrow pass between D’Urville Island and
the Mainland saving ourselves 6 hours.  However we got to French Pass just
1/2 and hour too late……even with the engine at full revs we came to a halt
and then were pushed back. making a quick turn we raced back to a
nearby bay where we anchored for a short while. We worked out
that we couldn’t attempt the pass again until after dark. Not a risk worth
taking. So we are now under way again motoring for Cook Straight in a light
N’thly wind that promises to fill in later this evening. So far so good.
Interestingly enough friends emailed us that they had googled up flight distance
from Nelson to Chatham Island which came up as 28624 Kilometres or 17786 miles
or 15455 nautical miles. Don’t forget to turn right out of Nelson. Thank you
Tim, we took your advice……


Tuesday 8th February

The Generator was fixed by Cindy, an energetic and extremely capable young lady. Simon was most impressed! After a fast sail of 450 miles down the West Coast we stopped for a night in Tasman Bay. Since then repairs and more maintenance. Nelson is a fun place for a stop over as it’s relaxed, plenty of eateries to choose from, markets, crafts and arts.

A west coast Sunset.

Nelson has plenty of attractive and easy walks.

plenty of Market Gardeners happy to show you their cucumbers

Anchorage Bay where we met up with friends.

A new seasons cruise

31st January 2013

We began the year with a quick trip ‘overseas’ to get an extension for Duet to stay another year in New Zealand. Norfolk Island is an extraordinary place isolated as it is from almost everywhere. It is the closest bit of Australia to New Zealand which is why we choose to go there. It is little visited by yachts as there is no harbour, just a roadstead in which you can anchor although the holding is not good and you have to be prepared to move very quickly when the wind changed direction. Our visit was extremely rapid, 12 hours in total, as Cyclone Erne was heading our way. 

as it is impossible to come alongside the jetty wall the cargo has to be unloaded into a lighter and then the crane hoists them onto the jetty.
Christmas weather was dreary but we had a great time in spite of that with our friends in the Beautiful Bay of Islands.

This year I have decided to practise aquaculture. I have discovered that bok choy, spring onions,leeks and celery will continue to grow when stood in a small amount of water. Spring onions are particularly successful as the tops re-grow really quickly so always a fresh supply of ‘chives’ to hand.

 I have my mini allotment of fresh veggies! 
No fish caught this year so far which is typical as Simon gave me a New soft bait rod for Christmas. 
The weather has been stunning ever since new year and instead of hooking a fish we dived for scallops of which there were plenty this year.

Apart from sailing we have done quite a lot of walking in some of the most stunning places. Both of us are much fitter than we were!

Is it a bird or is it a ‘plane?
We visited the Murawai Australian Gannet colony. We spent hours watching these fascinating birds.

It’s the breeding season – chick looking on as it’s parents bill and coo! Like all Kiwis they grew up, emigrate to Australia and then return when they are a lot older.
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