the last tale
Owner / Skipper: Simon and Kitty van Hagen
Nationality: Dutch and British
Make / Model: Oyster
LOA: 56 feet
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
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.
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.
Many of the islands’ native plants and animals are found nowhere else.
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.
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.
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.
Killer fish weighing in at 4.3KG
Fishing with Consie on April 1st.