tomorrow – ?


Friday 30th March or is it?

We are at the most eastern cape of New Zealand. In fact we are
very nearly on the international date line. So it is yesterday again, or nearly.
Quick look in the mirror confirms that No, I don’t look a day

We  are heading north from  Gisborne to the bay of
Islands  where we will meet up with the Lennox-Kings and friends for
Easter. We have to keep the speed up as a tropical depression is heading our way
– we hope to be in by Sunday as the forecast shows storm force winds and rain
for Monday and Tuesday…..

Picton to Gisborne


Thursday March 39th.

We were not sorry to leave Picton. We had ferocious gales that put a stop to sailing for a while. We walked a few trails and did some wine tasting so didn’t waste our time so to speak. We were happy to get out of the marina after a few days and park ourselves in some attractive coves. We found beaches with Cockles and Pipis so that satisfied the hunter-gatherer instinct. Plenty of time in hand to catch up on boat jobs as well. The forecast was better so we headed off up the coast to Gisborne. Cape Palliser and Castle point lived up to their windy reputation but as it was on the beam it made for a very fast and comfortable ride. Gisborne is a pilgrimage to visit the spot where Captain James Cook stepped ashore on 8th October 1798 to meet with the Chief. It was not an altogether happy occasion as Maori gestures were misinterpreted by the Brits who of course fired off a Musket and shot a Maori. Not clever. Cook sailed off without reprovisioning with food or water, hence naming the area, Poverty Bay. First we climbed the hill overlooking Gisborne which gives stunning views of the bay and stood beneath the statue of James Cook. Except of course it isn’t him. The statue had been given to the town thinking it was the real Cook, but it turns out not to be the Great Man himself, but probably some Italian……… However we found the real statue as well as the one of Young Nick the surgeons lad who was in the crows nest as was the first person to spot the land.

Not James Cook
Captain James Cook
Young Nick

Duet sails north


Exit of the Tory channel
Exit of the Tory channel

This is the Exit of the Tory channel into the notorious Cook Straight.

Lovely sunny day and wind dropped to 25 knots. We are heading North maybe stop en route.

Picton and the Sounds


Tuesday March 21st.

When the bottle of wine slid off the table as Duet heel
over in a particularly vicious gust, we said; ‘That’s is, we are not going to
the Chatham Islands. We were securely moored up in Picton marina at the time. We
have had weeks of bad weather but this took the biscuit so to speak. In the
meantime we have thoroughly enjoyed cruising the sounds and
walking  the Queen Charlotte Track. We would park the boat on a
Pylorus boating club mooring, walk part of the track and take a water taxi
back from whence we came.

One evening we were lucky enough to be on one such mooring
when a launch came and moored alongside. They asked if we would like a crayfish,
would we ever!

One for the Pot
One for the Pot
Crown fern
Crown fern
Tory channel
Tory channel
Fiddle head or Koru
Fiddle head or Koru

Duet spotted departing Sydney


It just goes to show that you cannot get away with anything these days with out someone somewhere spotting you. Roland and Consie were on the Opera house steps when they saw us motoring under the sydney harbour bridge. We are now deep in the Malbrough Sounds safely sitting on a mooring with 55 knots screaming overhead. Nothing affects us here apart from the odd willy war. There is a beach and a track for some hiking and a settlement not too far away. We caught blue cod on our way into the sounds. They are the king of fish. We had a very pleasant stay in Nelson visiting with friends and soaking up atmosphere of that very genial town.

Thursday 1st March

New Zealand Weather Forecast

No, this is not some psychedelic painting but the weather forecast for our current position. the red centre shows very heavy rain and the wind arrows show winds up to 50+ knots of wind. So we are sitting tight in the Marina.


Duet Sailing Nelson

There is a big storm heading our way so we took the calm period to take some friends off to Adele Island in Golden Bay. We dinghyed across to the mainland and walked the beach and part of the Able Tasman Track. The bird song on Adele island was astonishing whilst ½ a mile away on the mainland not a tweet to be heard. Perhaps Adele has no stores, rats or pussycats but There was plenty of tweeting and twittering and to awake to the dawn chorus is very special.


Friday 24th February.

The rain reduced visibility to nil on our entry. the wind was a steady 30 knots. we shot into the cut, turned sharp left and dropped the mainsail. Thankfully due to the newly lubricated track it dropped in one go. The harbour master was dashing about in his rib and directed us to a wall where tugs tied up. In the rain it was hard to see him but there were no tugs thank the lord. at 2330 NZNSF time we were alongside this wharf that loaded timber, the smell of pine was thick. MAF and Customs were in separate vans with flashing lights.

We’d filled in our papers and I’d emptied the fridge of an fruit and veggies. Rubbish sacks at the ready and we hoped that we’d made their and our tasks easier. We have been into the country a few times and know what is or not allowed. Customs were quick and grateful that we’d pre filled in the forms.

MAF young girl took her time going through each locker and had a rather disappointed face when all she could find was one kaffir lime leaf at the bottom of the fridge. 2 hours later she was still wanting to see if we had any lockers on deck. By this time the wind was up to 35+ knots and our patience and sense of humour seriously lacking. Poor kid could hardly get ashore but she did offer to help us cast off.

We had already prepared that and with the wind blowing us off the dock it was easy to go. Next problem was finding the dock in the marina that had been allocated to us. Well we did, we were able to turn Duet around so that we were facing the right direction and moored up. this was 0200. We were knackered to say the least!

Nelson is heaven. It is a lively town with a lot of things going for it. There is an active theatre, lots of yachting and is the centre of arts, crafts, fabulous farmers are a selection of photographs out Australian trip.



And then the rain started and the wind increased
No longer flying fish but squid!

Sydney to Nelson – Day 7

Wednesday 22nd February.

Peaceful passage over! Torrential rain, squalls and now 30+ knots of wind welcome us to New Zealand…..We are tearing past Farewell Spit, a low lying hook of sand that forms the southern side of the western entrance between North and South Islands. We have had to inform customs that yacht Duet with 2 POB, (two pensioners ) on board, will arrive in Nelson tonight, roughly about midnight…. yes we have to clear in no matter what hour of time and can’t go to the marina until that has happened…… well photographs and more details tomorrow. Its going to be a long night.

Sydney to Nelson – Day 6

Day 6. Tuesday 21st February.

We caught our first fish on this trip. A smart Albacore Tuna. Yum Yum! The depression that has been snapping at our heels has decided to move to the south of us – phew. It still means we can expect some strong winds but not as bad as we had feared. Today has been the most gorgeous days sailing. The morning was sultry and full of heavy rain showers, rainbows but little wind and then by mid day the wind picked up and we have been charging along at 8+ knots. Already we can see the towering clouds that indicate land ahead although we have 172 miles to go before Farewell Spit. We have seen Albatross and Molly Maws soaring over the waves, another sure indicator that New Zealand is ahead. The water temperature is down to 16 but the wind is fair at the moment so far so good.

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