Tue Jun 26 7:59 2018 NZST
Run: 62.7nm (113.5km)
41 6.06382S 174 52.06697E

Resetting to back home. Getting ready for our next years voyage with home grown crew.

Tue Jan 23 15:54 2018 NZDT
Run: 32.2nm (58.3km)
41 02.355s 173 40.020e

We have finally left Abel Tasman and spent last night in a new favourite Whangarae Bay, Croisilles Harbour. We had great fun kayaking the coastline this morning, surfing white water between gaps in the rock and poking our noses into wee caves along the way. Now underway headed through French Pass for Whareata Bay on the east coast of D'Urville. Stunning day out here made all the better with icecreams from the Okiwi Bay holiday park shop.

Whangarae Bay
Fri Jan 19 15:45 2018 NZDT
Run: 9.8nm (17.7km)
40 57.237s 173 03.587e

Back at Anchorage for a few days. First day back we explored Falls River mouth by kayak and then walked up to the impressive falls themselves in the afternoon. Mammoth boulders and deep pools sent this straight to the top of Mike’s all time favourite walks. We were then rewarded with a full day of rain to replenish our energy levels and our water tanks.- filling 200 litres in an afternoon.

Mon Jan 15 12:57 2018 NZDT
Run: 2.7nm (4.9km)
40 49.048s 173 00.629e
Weather: Perfection.

Stunning afternoon and dead calm evening at Totaranui spent swimming and lazing on the beach and then watching the sun set to reveal a clear starry night from Mirabilis.

Sun Jan 14 12:48 2018 NZDT
Run: 8.8nm (15.9km)
40 51.241s 173 01.707e

The last few days have been stunning here in Abel - these photos are from kayaking Awaroa estuary and river at mid tide (feeding time for the oystercatchers) and high tide (up river excursion).

Thu Jan 11 10:24 2018 NZDT
Run: 19.5nm (35.3km)
40 58.76832S 173 3.09991E
Weather: NE 10 90% cloud cover

Had an interesting night as we had been stern anchored in to keep the bow into the wakes of the masses of tourist boats/ferries during the day and at 1am the wind changed to 20, gusting 30's so I had to get out and release the stern anchor and it was about that time I was wishing we had raised the dinghy. I seriously thought the line was going to break. I put another three painters on and also fashioned them into a bridle to stop the jerking from the waves, gusts and especially the voices in my head telling me we are about to loose our brand new dinghy! On the plus side, we started the day with full batteries after the twin wind gennies pumped in so much power I thought our old batteries might go into meltdown, so naturally I put on everything that needed charging. Off to do a walk to Marahau and back after lunch.

Tue Jan 9 15:36 2018 NZDT
Run: 3.6nm (6.5km)
41 13.755s 173 13.570e
Weather: 90% cloud cover. 10-15 NNE. Warm and calm seas.

All stocked up and on our way to Adele Island in Abel Tasman for a week or two!!

Mon Jan 8 0:00 2018 NZDT
Run: 27.4nm (49.6km)
41 15.61652S 173 16.86463E

Spent two lovely days being tourists in Nelson. Such a great little city.

Sun Jan 7 0:00 2018 NZDT
Run: 7.3nm (13.2km)
41 2.44707S 173 43.23612E

Set down in Croisilles Harbour for the night. Will have to explore next time as it looked like there were some nice spots at the southwest end of the bay and good wildlife. We saw penguins, seabirds, seals and dolphins on our way out.

Sat Jan 6 16:34 2018 NZDT
Run: 6.7nm (12.1km)
40 56.63977S 173 46.55262E

Anchored for the day south of Sauvage Point at the south end of D'Urville Island to explore the steep craggy coastline down this end. Had a great paddle and walk to the top of the Point to view poor abandoned Mirabilis. Met one seal and had some big fish swim under us out at Paddock Rocks - to which I was alerted by Mike's squeal.

Sauvage Point
Wetland in Te Puna Bay
The locals whose poop we part successfully dodged on our barefoot hike
Happy with our reward of this view
Mirabilis all alone
Looking north to Paddock Rocks
Sat Jan 6 10:02 2018 NZDT
Run: 4nm (7.2km)
40 54.450s 173 53.656e

Crossing Admiralty Bay as the cloud lifts to a beautiful day ahead. Headed through French Pass.

Fri Jan 5 14:18 2018 NZDT
Run: 16.5nm (29.9km)
Avg: 4.1knts
24hr: 98.8nm
40 55.58676S 173 57.96228E
Weather: awaiting the big blow!

We have moved on out to the outer sounds in preparation for the big blow coming. We got internet coverage on the way out and jumped online to see pictures of NZ being flooded and lashed. Last night for us was quite pleasant, a lot of rain and no wind ( we were expecting 40 knts ). Tonight we are expecting 50knts, probably get 5knts knowing metservice.

Fri Jan 5 10:18 2018 NZDT
Run: 11.1nm (20.1km)
41 8.40745S 173 49.51527E

Walked part of the Nydia Track yesterday from Nydia Bay campsite past magnificent old rimu laden with epiphytes up into striking tall stands of beech to a breathtaking view over Ngawhakawhiti. Stern lined in in Chance Bay last night we didn't feel a puff of the 40kts we were hiding from. Lovely clear water yesterday before the rain (great views of rays parading past our doorstep, including a big one while Mike was swimming - hehe, enjoyed pointing that out and watching how fast he can move). Now headed further out the Sound. 50kt SW forecast. Eep!

Ngawhakawhiti from Nydia Track.
Wed Jan 3 11:16 2018 NZDT
Run: 8.6nm (15.6km)
Avg: 3.2knts
24hr: 75.6nm
41 11.403S 174 1.729E
Weather: NW 10kt

Pretty spot in Portage Bay. Wee gem in Kenepuru with native bush throughout Portage. Take Home Bay is lovely and quiet, hidden from Portage itself. Short walk over the saddle to Queen Charlotte Sound. Stick to Portage for swimming though, a good few degrees warmer.

Cockpit view
Looking over Portage from saddle over to Queen Charlotte
Queen Charlotte side looking toward the saddle
Big tides here are a wee bit nerve-wracking
Mirabilis in the distance, view over Portage and Take Home Bay
Kayaking expedition
Wed Jan 3 8:33 2018 NZDT
Run: 9.9nm (17.9km)
41 13.61748S 173 52.29103E
Weather: Calm

Spent the night here and dinghyed to Havelock for a perfect but short reunion with old sailing friends turned landlubbers. Now off to explore Kenepuru Sound.

Sat Dec 30 19:01 2017 NZDT
Run: 20.8nm (37.6km)
41 5.99146S 173 47.13089E

Ngawhakawhiti Bay, our happy place! Virgin bush and all day dawn chorus. Photo at nearby island scenic reserve.

Mirabilis and her friends.
Sat Dec 30 9:21 2017 NZDT
Run: 35.9nm (65km)
40 59.149s 174 09.273e
Weather: 90% cloud. 5kt NE

Made it to anchor inside Aligator Head at midnight last night. Great southerly breeze carried us swiftly most of the way dying out on queue at 11 for a still night. Now feasting on a full cooked brekkie motoring down deeper into Pelorus to our favorite spot in World's End to join our friends on Pebbles.

Fri Dec 29 18:24 2017 NZDT
Run: 1.3nm (2.4km)
41 04.716S 174 49.961E
Weather: Nice sunny southerly

Finally left the berth after having sorted the boat for a month away. First Pelorus, then D'urville and finally mosey onto Abel Tasman and Golden Bay.

Wed Oct 18 22:49 2017 NZDT
Run: 3.2nm (5.8km)
41 05.124s 174 48.581e

And we are off across the cook. Not sure why we do it but everything is always last minute getting the boat sorted. Start engine, no charging, go to put steering wheel on, important bit missing so can't steer, go to check wind speed, bird stole spinny thing. At least the fridge is still working for the beer.

Thu Mar 2 17:44 2017 NZDT
Run: 48nm (86.9km)
41 6.08180S 174 52.08269E

Quick update - We are back at home in the marina. If you have got some strange emails, that is just me testing the new app functionality out. Please ignore them, nothing to see here move along.


happy birthday
Sat Jan 7 8:34 2017 NZDT
Run: 45.7nm (82.7km)
40 55.440s 173 58.706e
Weather: Clear skies and little wind...for now.

Crossed Tasman Bay and through French Pass yesterday followed by a stressful evening in a gusty Port Ligar threatening to swing into a couple of launches after our anchor windlass packed itself and we dropped the better part of our hundred metres of heavy chain. Mike had to manual haul a bit until he managed to fix it well enough with a bit of plastic chopping board to get the rest up. All our moorings full, we decided it was late enough and to chance it on a charter boat mooring. We have now had a good sleep and are prepared for what promises to be a rough crossing home.

Thu Jan 5 8:57 2017 NZDT
Run: 6nm (10.9km)
41 01.815s 173 06.846e
Weather: 9 knots from South, clear skies

Leaving Kaiteretere after a great day out with Mike's brother and kids up at Bark Bay. Now headed for French Pass as we make our way home to Mana.

Fluffy friend at Bark Bay
Niece Caitlin has the ship
Nephew James warming up after kneeboarding
Wed Jan 4 14:32 2017 NZDT
40 57.281s 173 3.429e
Weather: Blowing

Have been anchored here the last three days, no cell reception and only just discovered the free limited wifi. Didn't miss it at all, but would have been great for weather. A launch that parked half a boat length away decided to move after nearly being blown into us and I suggesting us being steel would win in an altercation.

A launch that came in and parked on top of us.
A launch that came in and parked on top of us.
Tue Jan 3 10:33 2017 NZDT
Run: 9.8nm (17.7km)
40 57.311s 173 03.418e

A short hop and our last sail of 2016 to join the relative masses (we pretty much had Totaranui to ourselves) at The Anchorage in Torrent Bay for NYE.

The Anchorage in Torrent Bay
Wed Dec 28 20:43 2016 NZDT
40 49.036s 173 00.592e
Weather: Gone southerly.

Anchored here for the night. Hopefully the southerly doesnt get stronger or we'll have to move in the night.

Wed Dec 28 18:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 5.2nm (9.4km)
Avg: 16.4knts
24hr: 394.1nm
40 49.046s 173 00.588e

Crossed Tasman Bay in blue skies but sadly no wind so had to motor the whole way to Totaranui where we spent three nights.

Crossing Tasman Bay
Our sun bathed destination
Dropped anchor and abandoned ship
Wed Dec 28 17:41 2016 NZDT
Run: 15.4nm (27.9km)
Avg: 22.5knts
24hr: 540.9nm
40 47.820s 173 06.345e
Weather: No wind, calm, blue skies

Nearly there yay!

Wed Dec 28 17:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 23.1nm (41.8km)
40 48.251s 173 23.982e
Weather: 11kt NW, 10% cloud cover

Left D'Urville around 11am after a quick explore of the boulder bank by dinghy where we had our second encounter with Greville Harbour's friendly resident fur seal. Beautiful day but only just had the wind pick up enough to cut the engine about half an hour ago. Sailing along nicely now.

Pied shag
Fur seal
Sand convovulus?
A Danica
Leaving Greville Harbour
Tue Dec 27 17:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 3nm (5.4km)
40 50.812s 173 50.278e

We passed through the boulder bank at 3m deep an hour after low tide, the tide rips through here at six knots at flood which must be exciting as it was moving enough when we came through. Mill Arm where we are now is beautiful, completely surrounded by native bush and chocka full (hundreds!) of eagle rays (mostly) and sting rays as our kayaking revealed. Today we went dinghy exploring trying to find walks but could only find private tracks. We did get treated to quite a show though as a fur seal ripped a fish apart in front of us, rolled around a little contentedly then moseyed off again. Met a couple who are spending six months cruising around NZ before heading offshore - jealous!

Fur seal having lunch
Mon Dec 26 12:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 4nm (7.2km)
40 48.845s 173 48.073e

Lovely day motoring down to Greville Harbour from Port Hardy. We stopped at Moawhitu Beach to wait for the tide to turn before we could enter the pass in the boulder bank into the inner harbour. We kayaked ashore and walked around the lagoon (swans, pateke and Canadian geese) behind the beach and had a very quick swim not to be outdone by the family that choppered in for a picnic and swim further down the beach.

Sat Dec 24 16:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 55.8nm (101km)
40 48.125s 173 52.503e

Left Mana at 0730 and had a great sail averaging 8kts across the Strait in fresh 25kt southerlies easing and rough seas but pretty comfortable as all was coming from our aft quarter. We made the most of our new cockpit surrounds lazing in the cockpit the whole way. We couldn't quite aim high enough and the wind petered out once north of Pelorus so had to motor sail around the corner into Port Hardy. Going through Stephens Passage was fun as the sea rises up out of nowhere. Great rock formations with the three sisters and an arch. Not much bird life to speak of this passage, a cape petrel, white-chinned petrel and I think a black-browed albatross. The north end of D'Urville is all farmland but South Arm where we picked up a mooring is beautiful, surrounded by native bush with great bird life and song - the perfect setting for post-passage sundowners. Explored the base of the arm by dingy and did a little beach fossicking. Cool rock formations with vertically pancaked rock, boulders that seemed to have been iced and soft rocks washed up full of holes from burrowing bivalves, the shells of some of which were still in them. Mike limited me to just two souvenir rocks...party pooper.

Jag rocks
Entering Port Hardy
Christmas day BBQ lunch
Sun Oct 30 21:59 2016 NZDT
Run: 1nm (1.8km)
41 6.081s 174 52.081e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 21:28 2016 NZDT
Run: 2.5nm (4.5km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 119.3nm
41 5.299s 174 51.645e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 20:58 2016 NZDT
Run: 2.9nm (5.2km)
Avg: 5.8knts
24hr: 138.4nm
41 5.884s 174 48.853e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 20:28 2016 NZDT
Run: 3.7nm (6.7km)
Avg: 7.4knts
24hr: 176.5nm
41 6.980s 174 45.839e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 19:58 2016 NZDT
Run: 4.5nm (8.1km)
Avg: 8.9knts
24hr: 214.7nm
41 8.368s 174 42.055e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 19:28 2016 NZDT
Run: 4.9nm (8.9km)
Avg: 9.7knts
24hr: 233.9nm
41 11.225s 174 38.514e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 18:58 2016 NZDT
Run: 5.6nm (10.1km)
Avg: 11.1knts
24hr: 267.2nm
41 14.853s 174 35.619e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 18:27 2016 NZDT
Run: 8.6nm (15.6km)
Avg: 8.5knts
24hr: 204.8nm
41 19.728s 174 35.337e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 17:27 2016 NZDT
Run: 4.1nm (7.4km)
Avg: 8.2knts
24hr: 195.6nm
41 21.995s 174 44.818e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 16:57 2016 NZDT
Run: 2.1nm (3.8km)
Avg: 4.2knts
24hr: 100.2nm
41 20.890s 174 49.367e

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Sun Oct 30 16:27 2016 NZDT
Run: 1.6nm (2.9km)
Avg: 3.2knts
24hr: 76.3nm
41 19.450s 174 50.917e

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Sun Oct 30 15:56 2016 NZDT
Run: 1.6nm (2.9km)
Avg: 3.2knts
24hr: 76.3nm
41 18.105s 174 50.698e

Automated update

Sun Oct 30 15:26 2016 NZDT
Run: 2.8nm (5.1km)
41 16.917s 174 49.693e

Automated update

Sun Aug 21 10:25 2016 NZST
Run: 5nm (9.1km)
41 17.40582S 174 52.82461E
Weather: NE 5-10 knts - not the best for racing an 18 tonne yacht and certainly not a typical Wellington day

Great day out with family racing in the Evans Bay Yacht Cruiser Division.

Blazing a trail
Blazing a trail
Skipper and deck hand discussing tactics
Skipper and deck hand discussing tactics
Just another beautiful Wellington day
Just another beautiful Wellington day
Wed Mar 16 11:09 2016 NZDT
Run: 107.8nm (195.1km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 156nm
41 17.356s 174 47.056e

Feeling good to have our home home again. Just tied up back in Chaffers after a 36 hour trip from Akaroa, 24 hours of which was under sail (a nice change from our trip south). The trip was relatively uneventful apart from the 3am lurch where we were knocked down so far that the entire galley contents ended up on the floor with raw egg running down the opposite wall! Luckily we were both in safe spots on the low side so didn't go flying ourselves. Sleep was hard to come by after that though with us bracing ourselves every time we surfed down another big wave and started to broach. Fortunately the autopilot handled it the rest of the way. Thanks for following our journey, it has been incredible and lovely to be able to share a wee part of it.

Sounds like a great trip home and a spot of "extra" spring cleaning as well. Glad you made it home safely.

Thanks for your greeting. We just missed you. We left from Chaffers about a week ago. We're loving the sounds so far. We're waiting out weather for a few days in Picton (and enjoying the mussels!). Thanks for the tip on World's End in Tennyson Inlet. It sounds great. We'll go. I hope our paths cross someday! Rich and Cyndi on Legacy
Tue Mar 15 18:34 2016 NZDT
Run: 94.8nm (171.6km)
42 38.001s 173 43.221e

Heading home.

I don't think we even needed the sails most of the way home, Mirabilis has never sailed so fast for so long before. It was brilliant! Except the galley incident which was decidedly less brilliant.  
Sat Mar 12 7:45 2016 NZDT
Run: 145.1nm (262.6km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 155.1nm
43 53.153s 172 57.255e
Weather: Blue skies slight northerly.

Arrived entrance to Akaroa harbor after a very quick ( for us ) passage where for times we maintaining 8.5 to 9.5 knots and 7.5 to 8.5 most of the time. It looks like we will depart here late Monday night.

Glad to hear you made it to Akaroa after the wild windy night here in Dunedin. Was great to have you guys alongside and I'm glad you enjoyed your stay in Dunedin.

We are still in Havelock putting back in place anchor windless which has been repaired. In mast main now busted.!!!! At least it's warm here. You should pop in.
Fri Mar 11 9:18 2016 NZDT
Run: 37.4nm (67.7km)
45 28.513s 171 01.457e
Weather: Aweful and cold.

Departed Dunedin for Lyttelton on the tail end of storm force winds and have now been experiencing our more normal gale winds we are so accustomed to. We even hit 11.9 knots. Not bad but it was down wave tail wind :)The only one brave enough to be outside is walle our autopilot.

Wed Mar 9 13:19 2016 NZDT
Run: 62nm (112.2km)
45 52.7638s 170 30.5725e
Weather: Sun sun sun

Berthed in the heart of Dunedin. Fantastic coming into NZ cities via yacht, although trip up harbour was mental with 35 knot winds and waves breaking over the deck!! Coolest old buildings and train history in this city.

Last ever steam train built in NZ
Last ever steam train built in NZ
Train station
Train station
Old jail and police station 1895
Old jail and police station 1895
Old courthouse 1907
Old courthouse 1907
Berthed against Evohe
Berthed against Evohe

Looks like you will be back in Wellington before us. Would you consider renting our berth for the winter? We are considering staying here in Havelock or heading up to OPUA.

Hey guys, we have beentrying to call you but not having any luck. Give us a call today if you have reception at all. We are due to sail out tonight and back Welly on Wednesday. Should have some reception en route too.
Mon Mar 7 7:03 2016 NZDT
Run: 105.8nm (191.5km)
46 34.153s 169 40.748e
Weather: Just dropped and turned from W 25-30 to SW 10-15

We left the very beautiful Stewart Island behind us at 6pm last night from Lord's River sailing out of our nice protected anchorage straight into very rough and high seas with up to 44 knot winds. It was quite spectacular out there and Mike thought later we really should have had some Metallica (or other equally hardcore anthems) playing. About an hour or so out though the wind dropped right back getting down as low as 10 knots which had us wondering whether we were completely mad going out in this as that sea state and no wind is a rather dire combination. Fortunately the next front came through and the wind settled in at around 30 knots which after we had cleared the island and were able to bear up towards our destination Otago, was not all that bad and had us making great ground overnight. This is a deviation from our original plan of heading home via Fiordland but we ended up deciding not to rush and do Stewart Island justice. Fiordland will just have to be our next cruising season.The wind has dropped off just now as the new day has dawned on us and we have put the motor on to keep up progress and be in for tea. The weather is looking pretty messy for the next couple of days so we might hole up there for a bit, hopefully next to the yacht Evohe which is berthed right in town and has invited us to tie alongside should we ever need to. More on our encounter with Evohe and her wonderful crowd when I catch you up on our Port Pegasus adventures.

Thu Mar 3 10:25 2016 NZDT
Run: 0.7nm (1.3km)
47 12.026s 167 38.337e

We spent two more days at Evening Cove. Monday saw a could southwest wind come through but we were not deterred by that, nor the hail that fell on us on the dinghy ride to the start of the track to Frazer Peaks - Gog and Magog. Ok, we were a little deterred but we had learnt from our last experience and were at least well prepared with full wet weather gear and the weather is so volatile here that it is a gamble whether it will be hailing or shining in the next ten minutes so no point waiting for the weather to come right. And we had heard the views were spectacular so decided to persevere. The three hour walk up to Magog took us nearly four after we lost the track...and then found it...and then lost it etc. with much bush bashing and soggy sock crossings along the way. Still, we were not disappointed and were well rewarded with incredible views. The sun even came out briefly a couple of times.

The next day we had a lazy start then decided to head to the very south of the arm for a short walk over to a seaward beach in Broad Bay. On the way we dropped off the kayaks at Tunnel Cove to explore on the way home. While there we walked through the tunnel in the rock to have a nosey at the other side. On the way back Mike was a little ahead back on the other side of the tunnel when I simultaneously heard a squeal from Mike at his end of the tunnel and a bark from a large male sea lion who had been snoozing just out of site just a couple of metres from me on my side. Mike had come across his girlfriend on the other side and somehow we had managed to sandwich ourselves in between the unimpressed couple. When I stopped laughing I went to Mike's rescue (I shouldn't really laugh as a few years ago I was equally wussy fending off three pups in a forest on the Otago Peninsula, but he did look funny trembling up a tree) and we headed back to the dinghy leaving the couple reunite in peace - Mike insisted on carrying the kayak paddles with us for protection! Broad Bay beach was lovely and we saw three more male sea lions (though not quite so close this time), including one particularly old looking bull, then finished off with a kayak around the southeastern side of Evening Cove.

We woke on Wednesday to a dead calm day where everything we saw above the water was mirrored on it. We weighed anchor and headed for Islet Cove to explore Seal Creeks in the north of the arm. While underway we saw a yacht heading into the south of the arm, looking through the binos it looked familiar and sure enough it popped up on AIS as Evohe, a 25m steel yacht that I first met when I was about 9 years old when they were passing through Wellington with their three kids as part of an anti-drift net campaign - we protested on parliament steps together! I had then met Steve (Evohe's captain) again just over ten years ago when I was lucky enough to sail down to Stewart Island on her for some filming of a marine awareness kids video. Evohe tends to do conservation or research cruises so I hailed her on the radio thinking I might know someone on board and to say hi to Steve. I soon found I knew half the crew with the filmmaker from my last trip being on board, Steve and another crew member from that time, and three others I knew from Undaria eradication diving I have done in Fiordland. To add to my delight they were more than happy to lend us tanks so we were able to get in a couple of dives after all - something I had all but given up hope on after the blow of not being able to get our dive compressor working despite many many hours and dollars spent on it before coming down. We wrapped up the day with drinks and dinner on board Evohe - it had been their last day of filming (Big Blue Back Yard episode) so everyone was very ready to let their hair down. Oh, and to add to the small world syndrome, while on board indulging in said drinks, two kayakers emerged out of Seal Creeks and came up to say hello, turned out one was a chap I used to work with at DOC (Mike Jacobsen) and had been out sailing on his yacht before. So from seeing no-one all week (after the hunters), we come across two parties and know almost all of them. Nuts!

Sun Feb 28 16:28 2016 NZDT
Run: 2.5nm (4.5km)
47 12.256s 167 37.465e

Thursday morning the wind died down temporarily so we took the opportunity to head down into the south arm of Pegasus. We have secured ourselves in a great all weather anchorage up in Evening Cove, stern-tied in and with a secondary anchor out for good measure. We are experiencing day after day of very strong wind. After a good deluge of rain the clouds parted enough on Friday for us to explore the cove by kayak. The tannin in the water from all the runoff had left the sea an intense reddish brown colour and we captured our first views of the impressive Bald Cone which we intended to climb the next day. As a teaser, we went ashore Friday afternoon not far from the boat, where we climbed a track up to the ridge line to get our first tantalising views of Pegasus from on high. Even this was deemed stunning, and in cloudy, drizzly conditions too. On Saturday the wind was honking but the sky started to clear around midday and we decided to brave the white caps to dinghy into the wind down to Billy's Cove, 2nm south of our anchorage, for the walk up to Bald Cone. It was not long before we regretted not bringing full wet weather gear as the wind was far stronger than we realised and we soon found ourselves ploughing into white-capped trenches. We made it though, despite one particularly strong gust giving the dinghy far more air than was comfortable. Once we had ringed ourselves and our undies out we were on our way, and it wasn't long before the journey was deemed worth it. The walk was stunning, terminating in a rope assisted climb that delivered us atop huge slabs of magnificent wind and water-worn granite rock which had within them perfectly formed seats and hidey-holes to shelter from the wind in, while taking in a snack and the view. The wind gusts meant I was often on all fours while scrambling from vantage point to vantage point, for fear of being blown right off. Indeed I nearly lost my sunnies at one stage when they were blown right off my face and over the edge of one of the giant boulders. Fortunately, and somewhat miraculously, I was able to find and retrieve them from the manuka scrub below. Once the rate of "wow!"'s per minute had eased off, we started our descent back to the dinghy and enjoyed a much tamer down-wind ride home back to Mirabilis for a well deserved cup of tea (swiftly followed by a G&T for that crew member most partial). Today the wind is flexing its muscle even harder and so we are observing a day of rest - baking bread, reading books, posting updates to YIT (Dani) and updating YIT itself (Mike). Tomorrow - Gog!

Wed Feb 24 18:12 2016 NZDT
Run: 26.5nm (48km)
47 10.828s 167 39.857e

After a luxurious deep sleep we wake up in Port Pegasus and discover just how close we are to some uncharted rocks. We decide to move deeper in to the cruising guide recommended anchorage and stern tie off. It is good practice for when we really need it and has the added benefit of fantastic views and birdsong to eat your porridge to. We then spent the rest of the day exploring by dinghy. The first river we creep up has the most beautiful moss covered boulders for scrambling up at its head, and on our way out we pass a sea lion and her rather wee pup - much smaller than the one we had seen at Otago a few weeks ago. We tootle up a couple more river-fed arms (rather warily after our Port Adventure experience) then head toward Belltopper Falls which were recommended by a friend. We pass an old settlement and compressor on the way, which seems totally absurd out here where we feel as far from civilisation as you can possibly get. Ironically, we then run into a group of hunters - the only other people in the entire North Arm of Pegasus as far as we can tell. They are collecting scallops and tell us they are the only hunters in the area having booked out both Pegasus hunting blocks - again, reassuring to have made their acquaintance for future bush walks. Cheerily, they also assure us better weather is on its way as it has been mostly grey and gusty. Belltopper falls wow us after all the miniature waterfalls we have gotten used to down here and we arrive just in time to shelter under a tree and admire the view with a hot drink and a bikkie. The shower passes, we admire some more, and then make our way back across the bay (a good fun bouncy ride as the wind is still up). Just outside the entrance to our bay we find ourselves surrounded by an enormous flock of titi living it up in the wind gusts. Repeatedly taking off and then crash landing again - they are hardly elegant in the latter, especially compared to the albatross that we are used to watching slowly tilt their wings and stretch out their landing gear to ski to a smooth finish. These guys on the other hand remind me of my own first attempts at water skiing - I was less than graceful I assure you. Delightful to watch. Frustrating to photograph. Back on board it's time for a sundowner. The next morning we tune in to check the weather. The forecast is for three solid days of strong winds. I much preferred the hunters' forecast. Having seen the main attractions in the north arm, we decide to move on down to the southern arm while it is calm to set ourselves up securely for carefree exploring over the next few days.

Small cave on northern coast
Small cave on northern coast
Compressor on way to falls
Compressor on way to falls
Titi riding the gusts
Titi riding the gusts
Stern-tied in Ben's Bay
Stern-tied in Ben's Bay
Enroute to mossy falls
Enroute to mossy falls
sea lion pup
sea lion pup
Belltopper Falls
Belltopper Falls
Titi taking off
Titi taking off
Tue Feb 23 18:12 2016 NZDT
Run: 3.3nm (6km)
47 05.816s 168 12.838e

We're off, Port Pegasus here we come! It looks a bit breezy but sure, we'll be right. Let's make a nice cooked breakfast to eat on the way. Um...Dani, what were we thinking?! We left our lovely snug sheltered anchorage and are now off the coast in 30knot sustained winds - not quite the lovely 15 that was forecast. This is a full wet weather gear, life jackets and tethering straps affair. Still, it is pretty spectacular out here and boy do the birds love a good stiff breeze to play in. Maybe it's just that this Port acts as a wind factory? Half an hour later, turns out the entire Stewart Island is a bloody wind factory. We creep inside Shelter Point (again, loving how literal and accurate the place names are turning out to be) and set down the anchor to resume poaching eggs and frying kranskies and wait for the wind to calm down a little. It doesn't, it gets stronger and our calm anchorage is soon as bad as the berth at Chaffers Marina. Rather than the forecast NW, it is much closer to a westerly making a direct route impossible. We give it a bit until we at least have the tidal currents on our side and head off. If we can average five knots, we should make Port Pegasus before nightfall. We don't. With all the tacking our track on the chart plotter looks like the side of a Christmas tree, but we have go out to get a decent wind angle then come in again every time the swell (tide against swell never ends well - should be a nautical saying if it isn't already) gets too big as we move out of the "shelter" of the island. We push on and at one stage feel like it might be easing off a little so set up a lappie in the cockpit to watch an episode of the cheesiest of all TV series,Quantico (seriously it's like the McD's of TV, you know it's awful but you keep going back). 10 minutes in we get slammed by a 40 knot gust which instantly builds the sea. No more TV, tack in again. Two more hours to go. Eventually we make it and the conditions do ease slightly on the home stretch. Once inside Pegasus we are granted instant reprieve. We anchor in Ben's Bay a little after midnight and fall straight into a deep sleep.

Mon Feb 22 16:50 2016 NZDT
Run: 11.9nm (21.5km)
47 03.641s 168 10.132e

We finally broke our Stewart Island marine mammal drought and spotted a couple dozen or so fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks on the way in to Port Adventure where we arrived to the equally out of characterexperience of actually having to share an anchorage with, not one, but two other yachts. We chatted briefly to a couple of lads from Dunners on one yacht then scooted off to make the most of the high tide to explore up Heron River. We passed a hunting gang turned seafood gatherers on our way and made ourselves known (so as not to get shot when off exploring) then carried on our way. Heron River had a massive entrance to it and unsurprisingly, plenty of herons (shags) were spotted along the way. We eventually arrived at the spot where sea turned to river proper and probed on up a little further marvelling at how the water was rushing in one moment then out the next varying nearly a metre at a time. Then in, then out, then....oh crap! It's staying out, and we had squeezed over a very shallow rock sill to get up which was now largely out of the water and becoming more so by the second! The sandflies were circling, pulsing with excitement over their soon to be trapped prey. Back in the dinghy, engine up and white water rafting we did go. Port Adventure indeed! We discovered a small tear in the dinghy later but otherwise came out unscathed and now marvelling at both nature and our stupidity. Time for refreshments and some downtimereading in the cockpit to end the day. The next morning we kayaked to the western shore where there was a tidal estuary which we walked up to yet another pretty waterfall. The wind was then getting up and we decided to make our move south. The fact that the two other boats in the anchorage had decided to high tail it north should perhaps have been a warning sign that it was not going to be a gentle trip.

Fur seals
Fur seals
The infamous river rocks
The infamous river rocks
Fri Feb 19 10:57 2016 NZDT
Run: 5.5nm (10km)
46 53.506s 168 08.069e
Weather: Westerly 25-35 kts, 100% cloud

After Prices Inlet we moseyed on back to Golden Bay ready for our guests to disembark in the morning to catch the ferry back across the Strait. We took shelter in the lee of Iona Island to try and hide from the 35 knot gusts though still found ourselves having to battle with a poorly wrapped headsail that had started to unfurl itself. Fitting that Ali was here, as the first time this happened was when we first met Roxi and her crew. They came to our rescue after spotting the newbies wrestling with the same thing on a typical day in Chaffers Marina nearly six years ago. It is all weirdly quiet now and Scrabble for two just isn't the same. After waving goodbye we motorsailed back around into Halfmoon Bay where we are now sitting out strong winds off Butterfield Beach and will reprovision before venturing further south. The trip around was lovely as we came across huge flocks of titi (muttonbird or shearwater as you fancy), gulls and terns dining on a boil-up. There seem to be plenty of little penguins about too as we always see them as we move between the inlet and Halfmoon Bay. We even spotted a yellow-eyed penguin a few days ago. We spent last night in the pub (the South Sea Hotel) chatting a bit to both locals and visitors. I felt rather priveledged after talking to the two men who came here as part of one of their bucket lists realising how much more we get to see and do with our own boat to get around on and not having to be part of a group of tourists when you do go somewhere. It's a cruiser's life for sure. We are taking it easy today (REALLY easy - I?m taking a leaf out of Mike?s book and am on the couch in my robe at lunchtime!) while the wind gets this little tantrum out of its system then tomorrow will head to Lord's River for a day then down on to Port Pegasus. We will probably spend a week there and then head straight to Fiordland so may not have internet or phone reception again for quite some time (after we leave tomorrow) so fear not if you don't hear any more from us. We will have radio scheds with Maritime Radio on the passages to Fiordland and then up the West Coast back to Welly. See you on the other side friends and fam! Oh, and the random photo of Mike snuggled up in a blanket was from when we went to a rather odd but educational local film about island life...narrated by a dog. We were happy enough for the opportunity to snuggle up in blankets and scoff chocolates and ice creams on a drizzly day.

Boat times in the rain
Boat times in the rain
Fri Feb 19 10:57 2016 NZDT
Run: 4.4nm (8km)
46 54.632s 168 02.75e
Weather: Overcast, wind westerly 25-35kt

After our morning treat of watching kiwi on the beach at Little Glory, we spent a wonderful final wet and wild day with our guests exploring Prices Inlet and Kaipipi Bay by kayak, dinghy and foot. The kayaking was beautiful with many cute bonsai islands and cosy coves to investigate. The dinghy ride trip to Kaipipi was wonderful with high tide letting us probe far inland; and made all the more fun by a rollercoaster ride back to Mirabilis into wind, rain and sea. I soon learned it is best not to howl with delight as you plough into a wave after I funnelled a good amount of the inlet into my gullet. The old whaling repair station was fascinating to wander around too with enormous ice-damaged props, an old boiler, building foundations and various other remnants all just walked away from after whaling became uneconomic. The size of the props testament to the size of the vessels that were pursuing those gentle behemoths of the Southern Ocean. It's hardly surprising that didn't last.

Fri Feb 19 8:31 2016 NZDT
Run: 4.8nm (8.7km)
46 58.130s 168 09.715e
Weather: Changeable, Northeast 15kt

Snorkelled in the morning at Ulva Island with loads of lovely jellyfish which far from fazed mum as I was watching her to see if she was going to freak, but no...instead she planted her hand right into the middle of one to see how big it was! Bigger than her outspread hand was the answer. We then moved to Little Glory in the southeast of Paterson Inlet in search of kiwi and where we met a couple of lovely hunters who had been there for a couple of days but yet to spot any sign of deer. We fossicked on the western beach a little amongst the seagrass then went ashore on the eastern side of the cove for the short walk over to Ocean Beach where we promptly came across a deer in plain view about 15 metres in front of us. Ocean Beach was gorgeous and we saw kiwi tracks but no kiwi. This morning though we tried again heading ashore at 6am while it was still dark. We nipped over to Ocean Beach hoping we might be lucky enough to glimpse one in the distance, we came across one almost instantly who was as unfazed by us as mum was by the jellyfish. We spent about 20 minutes just watching him feeding in the sand. VERY cool. We then saw a much bigger one in the forest on the way back across the island. Kiwi hunt SUCCESS!

Hey ! We were really glad to learn that you guys are off cruising again, and that you made it to Stewart Is. It seems that you are having a great time, and we hope this continues. Very jealous that you spotted a kiwi. We tried twice at that Little Glory walk to the ocean beach and never saw any. We tried later and stayed until we were totally bitten by sandflies, but still didn't see any. We have noticed, though, that you have stayed in Paterson Inlet up to now. You have to make it to Port Pegasus ! That was the real treat for us. A walk up the Bald Cone is a must. Hope you get to do that. Enjoy, and keep the news coming ! As for us, well, you're gonna have to enlarge the map on YIT :-) Still heading west on the south coast of the West Island ! The Bight will be next.

Salut Fleur de Sel! What a shame you missed the kiwi when you were here. It looks like you haven't been short of your own adventures the way you are steadily tracking across the map. Do you have a blog somewhere we can read and see photos? My French isn't great but I have enough get the jist of it. We have been close to Oban while we waited for our outboard to arrive and had visitors. We dropped them off yesterday though so should be heading to Pegasus via Port Adventure and Lords River today. Bald Cone and Gog are definitely on the itinerary!
Wed Feb 17 11:43 2016 NZDT
Run: 4.9nm (8.9km)
46 54.304s 168 07.276e
Weather: Overcast, light drizzle

Sitting in Golden Bay with internet again and at very long last with our new outboard on board having arrived two weeks after we first expected it. We have spent the last few days exploring Ulva Island, Native Island and a bit of the mainland by both land and sea, in and on. We have had some stunning days and some grey days but fortunately all very calm. We have yet to spot kiwi but were delighted with the birdlife on Ulva Island with Ali and I spending twenty minutes glued to one spot watching six mohua flitting around us (a first for both of us). Of course typically my camera battery died at the precise time when one finally settled in the perfect spot to get a photo. Unfortunately for Mike, he had gone on ahead shortly before and had decided to hide up a tree above the track to give us a fright when we came along. He spent the entire twenty minutes perched up that tree so determined he was! He did get a good jump out of Ali, I on the other hand have clearly been married to the clown for long enough to be less phased. Meanwhile mum was further ahead staking out what she had hoped was going to be a kiwi but turned out to be a cheeky weka. Still, a wonderful walk for all of us with some great views and a rope swing at the end to play on too. Yesterday we had a snorkel in the morning at Native Island in the northern part of Te Wharawhara (Ulva Island) Marine Reserve. Mum was new to snorkelling but turned out to be a total water baby. The kelp and colours were beautiful though we had an outgoing tide so the viz could have been better. We saw great numbers of butterfish and blue moki though, the former in particular evidence of the marine reserve as they are usually much more sparse being a popular target for spearos. The experience was slightly marred however when a passenger ferry started bearing down on us, blowing its horn and aggressively yelling at us that we were illegally anchored in a marine reserve (actually, NOT an offence) and that we would be reported if we didn't put our catch back (we were NOT taking anything more than photos) and move out of the area. Mike's snorkel was thus cut short as he went back to the boat to radio up to find out if there was some additional no anchoring rule for the area we were unaware of. There wasn't, the guy was poorly informed and a bit of a git in his attitude. The tourists delighted taking photos of us baddies and our boat so no doubt we are infamous on social media somewhere. I at least take heart in the fact that the locals clearly care about their marine reserve to police it, even if this one was a little zealous in his approach. Anyway, more stories to share but it is time to get off the computer and head out for a walk and to start breaking in our new outboard.

Weka, spotted shags and a red-billed gull conferencing on Ulva Island
Weka, spotted shags and a red-billed gull conferencing on Ulva Island
Ali put paddling
Ali put paddling
Loads of butterfish in the marine reserve
Loads of butterfish in the marine reserve
Mum off on a snorkel
Mum off on a snorkel
Our baby finally arrived!
Our baby finally arrived!
View from Ulva west
View from Ulva west

Hi, you two. Looks like you are enjoying yourselves. We are currently riding out winds as good as Wellington, here in Havelock. We have had three days continuous rain which has been quite monsoon like in its intensity and if figures are to be believed over a meter's worth in past 48 hrs. I guess we had to pay for the past six weeks of beautiful sunshine. We are really enjoying exploring the sounds, eating rock oysters straight off the rocks. No fishing however, don't do that off "Alice Bee" We will be staying down here in sounds until mid/late April. Then back to Wellington and probably then on up to Opua for the winter. Ruth will take car up so I will be looking for crew???? Currently awaiting new motor for windless so restricted to shallow bays or Waikawa Club buoys, which we joined. Do you fancy renting out our berth in Wellington for the winter? Ok, we will keep an eye on your progress down south. Stop annoying the locals and sightseeing Captains. Fond regards Ian and Ruth

Wow, you guys are going to know the Sounds so well with that long exploring. We will have to get some tips from you when you are back. I'm pretty sure world's end is unbeatable though. What's with going all the way to Opua and not jumping off?! You have GOT to get Cat 1 and go to the islands! Berth could be a goer, let's chat when we see you and share a few salty tales over a wine or two :-)
Sun Feb 14 16:32 2016 NZDT
Run: 4.5nm (8.1km)
46 50.271s 168 05.220e
Weather: Light wind, mostly clear sky

Dani rewalked the Rakiura Track to Maori Beach with mum and Ali plus an extra hour to Port William where we met Mike who had sailed around on his own with just one minor drama when the autopilot started misbehaving in current and jammed on just as we were radioing from shore. This is the third time it has jammed on, but hopefully the last. We spent a glorious evening there with margaritas for the ladies and jager for the Captain followed by steak on the barbeque and kiwi calls from the shore. Today Mike and mum went kayaking back down to the lagoon at the top end of Maori beach for some seaweed appreciation and collected a few mussels while they were at it (Mum's influence). Dani and Ali went snorkelling amongst gorgeous tall macrocystis forest. It turned out to be a great spot for seahorses and Ali found us a lovely wee carpet shark chilling out on the sea floor. Next stop, Ulva Island. Stay tuned.

Fri Feb 12 13:53 2016 NZDT
46 53.729s 168 07.994e

Anchored in Oban just off the wharf waiting for our guests and outboard engine to arrive. We went for a stunning half day walk to Maori Beach along the start of the Rakiura track when we arrived. The scenery is unbeatable and we even stumbled across some kiwi tracks! We'll be heading back there on Mirabilis to stay over night in the hope of spotting some on their dawn feeding stroll. There are tui and kereru everywhere and fairly frequent kaka too which is a real treat. We have been doing a lot of boat work since, getting to jobs that we didn't quite finish before heading off. Our big remaining challenge is getting the new hydraulic system working to drive our compressor so we can get diving. We need all your positive thoughts here, it is causing a fair bit of swearing to come out of the engine room at the moment. And having seen how clear the water is and how rich the algal communities are here, we are desperate for a dive. Yesterday we went kayaking and were lamenting not taking the camera with us. We didn't expect huge amounts just going from the anchorage here right next to the main wharf and west along the northern coast. It was incredible! We went at hight tide which allowed us to venture up two creeks feeding into an estuary we were exploring (shown in the photo at low tide from when we walked past on our way to the Rakiura track). The first was great, the second almost brought me to tears! After paddling through the sedges we entered a magical area with tall trees either side covering it right over and ending in a small waterfall. After that we kept exploring further and further along the coast with each headland we rounded revealing another cove and headland begging to be explored. That's it for now, more once we start exploring a bit further afield.

Crystal clear water even right in town
Crystal clear water even right in town
Estuary we later explored by kayak
Estuary we later explored by kayak
Oyster catcher just chillin'
Oyster catcher just chillin'
Chin ups on the Maori Beach swing bridge
Chin ups on the Maori Beach swing bridge
Kiwi tracks!
Kiwi tracks!
Mon Feb 8 8:09 2016 NZDT
Run: 83.8nm (151.7km)
Avg: 4.3knts
24hr: 104.4nm
46 53.729s 168 07.994e

We made it!! Stewart Island 524 nautical miles (943km) from Wellington. Motored all the way ( 90% ) so we are selling Mirabilis and buying a launch, no just kidding, but seriously might as well have brought one down! Arrived to a stunning sun rise and a beautiful calm day. I fear tomorrow is going to be windy ( great for sailing the wind is I hear)

Blown away by the sun rise.
Blown away by the sun rise.
Oban - Stewart Island
Oban - Stewart Island
Anchored nice and close to those rocks hmmm
Anchored nice and close to those rocks hmmm

Stunning photos on this trip so keep them coming. We presume Dani took the sunrise ! That albatross shot was amazing. The look on the face! It looks a different country down there and makes us want to follow in your footsteps next year. P and d

So glad you made it there safe and sound. Look forward to seeing some of the most beautiful photos you have taken on the way down when you get back. Also looking forward to more updates!
Sun Feb 7 12:53 2016 NZDT
Run: 66.6nm (120.5km)
Avg: 3.4knts
24hr: 81.3nm
46 30.715s 169 48.594e
Weather: Blue sky and STILL NO WIND! Light southerly swell and calm sea.

Yesterday was a lovely day exploring the cute wee settlement of Port Chalmers before refueling after all the motoring we have had to do had sucked up the bulk of our diesel. Then out to Aramoana near the harbour entrance where we kayaked ashore and I managed to go for an unscheduled swim after an unfortunately timed set of waves crept up behind me. We had a beautiful walk along the squeakiest sandy beach and came across a female sea lion and what looked like a juvenile male lazing in the sun. We then cut through the sleepy little village only made up of a few streets and walked out over a large saltmarsh on a DOC boardwalk where we could see lots of pied stilts and some banded dotterels in close and a range of other birds further off too distant to identify. On our way back to the boat though we had a spoonbill fly overhead - a fabulously quirky looking bird if ever there was one. Back to Mirabilis, dinner made, everything secured, anchor away and...our peace was shattered. Very literally. As we were winching up the main it suddenly let go slamming back down on the cockpit roof with a massive thud and the shattering of glass as our entire front dodger window pane was obliterated into thousands of pieces. We figure one of the reefing lines must have been caught on a baton which then slipped off - at least the baton didn't break. After a bit of moping at our luck, some cardboard, rubbish bags, a roll of extra wide electrical tape and an hour and a half later, we finally left Otago and headed south once more. And once more, no wind and many more engine hours. Still, today is a glorious sunny day, the seabirds are super abundant (we just saw a lovely Buller's albatross with its striking yellow bill which Mike was impressed with) and we have just passed Nugget Point and are off the Catlins coast due to arrive in Stewart Island at day break tomorrow morning.

Sea lions at Aramoana Beach
Sea lions at Aramoana Beach
Mirabilis anchored at Aramoana, Taiaroa Head behind.
Mirabilis anchored at Aramoana, Taiaroa Head behind.

Oh my... bad news about the boom. Maybe time to invest in that boom strut? Still achingly jealous that you guys are out there and we're stuck doing a bathroom renovation.... Love the updates!
Sat Feb 6 17:13 2016 NZDT
Run: 4.7nm (8.5km)
45 46.853s 170 42.960e

Anchored just outside Aramoana. Amazing beaches and they should really be what it is famous for, not the site of one of NZ's biggest shootings.

Hi Mike and Dani, what an adventure you are having. How long is your trip? Your updates are wonderfully descriptive. I think sailing to Stewart Island is up there with offshore in terms if a challenge. Sailing up here was pretty challenging, harder than we thought but we did it and now get to rest for a while. Keep telling us your story. Cheers Janet

Unfortunately, as you have probably seen by now, ours was just a mini cruising season. We only had six weeks but they sure were an incredible six weeks! Your travels look wonderful too, I hope we get to follow in your footsteps one day - I'm sure you could spend a lifetime cruising the Pacific and still be wanting for more. For now though there is more than enough to keep us busy in NZ. It'll just have to be the Sounds and Somes for a little while now though until I save up enough leave again. Fiordland beckons!
Fri Feb 5 20:54 2016 NZDT
Run: 85.2nm (154.2km)
Avg: 3knts
24hr: 71.7nm
45 48.415s 170 37.608e

Things were going well, we departed Timaru with repairs all sorted, were visited by more Hector's dolphins and had lovely sailing weather which gave Mike a chance to put the finishing touches on getting our new chart plotter, radar and depth sounder all working in unison. We were even treated to an incredibly vivid sunset...And then the southerly struck us, head on. After battling into it for a gruelling couple of hours we decided to hove to rather than waste diesel getting nowhere fast anyway. Fortunately after just a few hours the southerly weakened and we were on our way again. By this stage we are getting well over being under motor but we have to push on. We continue crawling our way through the bleak grey day. Around noon I got out the camera with the intention of taking a snap for YIT to show everyone it isn't all blue sky and lollipops out here and instead ended up spending the next few hours taking photos, mostly of albatross (royals and white-capped), though try spot the shark in the grey photo below. The sky cleared up and the next thing we know we have a pod of common dolphins making a bee line for us. To top it all off we entered Otago Harbour passing Taiaroa Head (where the royal albatross hang out) while sitting on deck eating freshly baked chicken pie prepared by my wonderful mum before we left. We are now anchored in Careys Bay where we kayaked ashore to find a fuel berth to replenish Mirabilis and a cute old stone pub from 1867 with pints and chips to replenish the crew. All cheered up after a bumpy and grisly grey start to the day.

Enjoying your story - and those wonderful photos. Looking forward to joining the adventure soon. Shall I bring Mahoe cheese? And if so is it the feta? Ali

Cool pics! Great to have a marine biologist on board so keep them coming! You have not got all the cloud down there as we have rain and cloud here.
Thu Feb 4 16:24 2016 NZDT
Run: 70.3nm (127.2km)
Avg: 3.4knts
24hr: 82.7nm
44 39.304s 171 15.099e
Weather: Sky has just clouded over, wind NE 8kt, calm seas

After a four hour icecream and repairs pitstop in Timaru we are underway again. While there we discovered one of our alternator belts was nearly split through and didn't have any spares so were pleased to be able to stroll up the road and get replacements. We sailed out of Timaru about 1:30 in perfect sailing conditions with a couple of Hector's dolphins sending us off. We have had them regularly since we first approached Banks Peninsula; I never get tired of that telltale puff of a blowhole nearby.

After a few blissful hours of lying in the beanbag this afternoon with just the sound of the water around us, we have just now had to start up the engine to keep up a decent pace and get somewhere we can shelter before southerlies arrive. We are looking at either Moeraki or Otago Harbour at the moment but will see how we go. Should be able to tuck in for just a day or two before the final leg to Rakiura/Stewart Island.

Kaikoura ranges on day one.
Kaikoura ranges on day one.
Rough seas but blue skies
Rough seas but blue skies
We were engulfed by this cloud the preceeding night getting down to less than 10m viz, Around midday it had passed through leaving us with blue skies once more. We were loving the new radar while sitting in this.
We were engulfed by this cloud the preceeding night getting down to less than 10m viz, Around midday it had passed through leaving us with blue skies once more. We were loving the new radar while sitting in this.
Hector's dolphins at Akaroa Harbour entrance where shelter was not to be found
Hector's dolphins at Akaroa Harbour entrance where shelter was not to be found
Cruising - boat repairs in not-so-exotic locations (no offence Timaru)
Cruising - boat repairs in not-so-exotic locations (no offence Timaru)
On the road again on a much welcomed calm sea (don't worry, this was not a knock down, I just can't rotate the image - who built this app?!)
On the road again on a much welcomed calm sea (don't worry, this was not a knock down, I just can't rotate the image - who built this app?!)
Wed Feb 3 20:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 192.8nm (349km)
Avg: 5.2knts
24hr: 125.1nm
44 05.672s 172 26.341e
Weather: Wind has dropped off completely, still a bit of swell and chop but not bad.

After aborting an attempt to find shelter for repairs at Banks Peninsula we are now headed to Timaru Harbour. We have a loose nut on our prop shaft which means we have to keep the engine running to keep pressure on it or...I'm not really sure what but it sounds very uncool. I found all this out after being torn from a deep sleep to Mike yelling that he had to go overboard to take a look at the prop - not what you want to hear far out at sea! Thankfully he made it back on board fairly quickly and figured out the problem. We just need to be somewhere safe and sheltered to do it. Fun times with boats! Prior to that we had a stunning evening with incredible phosphoresence and some sort of big predatory fish investigating our rear followed by some very excitable dolphins a few hours before dawn putting on a great show for us. Loads of birdlife during the days too. So nice to be on the dawn shift as you watch it get lighter and those guys start to come into view. The silver light of the moon on the water at night makes that pretty beautiful too. Around Banks Peninsula we have had the usual Hector's dolphin escorts, including seven that tried their best to usher us in to Akaroa Harbour, unfortunately that whole coast turned out to be a serious wind factory so here we are, Timaru bound.

You can't blame me for the prop nut! it was Mike that checked it and said that it looks great and wont come off in a hurry!

Don't worry Reece, you are in the clear. It was the one on the inside that was the problem.
Tue Feb 2 7:01 2016 NZDT
Run: 34.9nm (63.2km)
Avg: 5.4knts
24hr: 128.5nm
41 44.615s 174 29.333e

First night at sea over with, nobody sea sick or even a thought of it which is good. The Cook was pretty tame though with a nice Northerly blowing around 20 to 25 knots which allowed for a gentle broad reach / downwind motor sail. We have turned off the engine this morning and are still maintaining 6knts with no main and just the full head sail out (Your old one Paddy).

Dani is asleep after a marathon effort of working all day yesterday, until half midnight, then sailing Mirabilis just clear of Barrets reef and starting our watch rotation. I was first watch - drew paper against scissors :( - and managed to stay away till 3:30am and Dani 3:30am till 6:30am. Time for Radio Sched.

Tue Feb 2 0:30 2016 NZDT
Run: 1689.3nm (3057.6km)
41 17.356s 174 47.056e

We've cast off. Heading from Wellington to Stewart Island, a distance of some 500 miles as the crow flies. It took one month of of full time boat chores - that we seemed to have saved up over the last three years - to get Mirabilis ready for the trip south. She still isn't complete but that is the nature of cruising, or perhaps just me. Without the help of a close friend and family we most likely would not have made our cast off date. Many thanks goes out to you guys!

Lovin' the distance run! Must have finally fitted the turbo to the motor, or stepped the 200m tall rig!☺
Wed Aug 26 13:02 2015 NZST
Run: 37.6nm (68.1km)
16 56.922s 177 21.952e

Spent yesterday at Blue Lagoon and snorkelled with huge schools of sergeant fish which congregate here as they are regularly fed by the locals. Now on the move down to the southern end of Waya.

scissor-tail sergeant fish
scissor-tail sergeant fish
Snorkelling with sergeant fish
Snorkelling with sergeant fish
Wed Aug 19 16:00 2015 NZST
Run: 27.1nm (49.1km)
17 26.999s 177 08.740e
Weather: 10 knots NE HOT HOT HOT

On the move to swim with manta rays!

Fri Aug 14 13:51 2015 NZST
Run: 1632.7nm (2955.2km)
17 46.277s 177 22.911e

Having hit Fiji for the next two weeks on the yacht Distracted. We have stocked up and are about to leave the Marina at Denerau, Fiji. Heading up north.

Distracted - the Yacht we are crewing on.
Distracted - the Yacht we are crewing on.
The super yachts in, google, michael hill etc
The super yachts in, google, michael hill etc
Best sausage rolls ever at the end of the pier!
Best sausage rolls ever at the end of the pier!
Mon Apr 20 22:18 2015 NZST
Run: 1.5nm (2.7km)
41 17.3547s 174 47.11896e
Weather: Typical warm still Welly evening

Splash! Over two months ago we hauled out for "three weeks" to give Mirabilis a long-awaited paint job. The kind where we go all the way back to bare steel and start again. Well it took a little longer than anticipated but yesterday we finally splashed! All traces of boat cancer successfully obliterated and Mirabilis is now so brilliantly shiny white she practically blinds you! The lads at Evans Bay Marina were wonderful but we were happy to be back afloat and we had a beautiful blue sky day to motor home. Now to slowly put the pieces back together on our rather bare girl.

Shiny & new
Shiny & new
Up she goes
Up she goes
On the move
On the move

Ahoy, sailors! Thanks Admiral Dani, for this link that will give us a blick into your adventures next summer !! :-) Poor tired Chief Eng. Mike! Hope he recovers before next summer ;-) I have only been a volunteer anchor in a small race in UK with the "Boaz" and it got 2nd place - because I was a slow anchor, hahaha! Wish you all a wonderful (NZ) summer !!!

She looks fabulous. Bet she just slides through the water. Ready for the next big jump. :-)
Tue Mar 10 20:04 2015 NZDT
Run: 1.5nm (2.7km)
41 18.489s 174 47.898e

First official post using the new chrome app for YIT. We have moved! We are currently hauled out at Evans Bay boat yard doing some very long overdue painting. I think Chaffers Marina were secretly plotting to send us to the scrappies if we didn't get our gradual white to orange colour shift under control. Decks almost done, cockpit to go.

Hauling out, first time since 2012.
Taking the rust back to bare steel.
We sealed with rust bond resin.
Four layers of epoxy over the resin.
Covered up for Wellington weather!
Two layers of top on, Two to go.
Mon Jan 20 13:08 2014 NZDT
Run: 53.6nm (97km)
41 17.3547s 174 47.11896e
Weather: -41.289245, 174.785316

thought we had better belatedly update to assure you we made it home to Wellington after another wonderful few days in the Sounds including walks all over Blumine Island (a predator free island with amazing WWII gun emplacements worth checking out fellow cruisers) and along the Endeavour Inlet to Resolution Bay section of the Queen Charlotte Track. Beautiful trip home though very light wind so motorsailed the whole way.

Mon Jan 6 0:00 2014 NZDT
Run: 1.1nm (2km)
41 05.919s 173 47.122e

Day trip to Ngawhakawhiti Bay, the spot that won out hearts last time we were here three years ago. Nothing but native forest in every direction and we had the whole place to ourselves for the most part. Until the shore party returned from an excursion bouldering up the river to find the ski lane had been moved from the last time we were here and we were now anchored slap bang in the middle of it - oops. Luckily we realised this before we went and had a go at them for hooning around our boat. I won't get started on my feelings about having a ski lane in what is otherwise the single most beautiful natural and relaxing anchorage ever...

The best river walk in the sounds! The stent brothers and nephew.
Sun Jan 5 0:00 2014 NZDT
Run: 0.6nm (1.1km)
41 06.158s 173 45.862e

Left D'Urville behind and headed to World's End, our favourite part of the Sounds where we are surrounded by virgin native forest. DOC do lots of pest control here too so the birdsong is amazing. We anchored in Te Mako Bay and shortly after the heavens opened and let loose until midday the next day (more Scrabble and reading) when it finally cleared to reveal a lush refreshed forest under a brilliant blue sky day. We met up with Mike's brother and family, helped them set up camp then dinghied out and all had a BBQ tea on board.

The little bay we were anchored in, just around the first point past the yacht you see anchored.
Mikes niece waiting on the warf to be picked up for the bbq in this bay.
Sun Jan 5 0:00 2014 NZDT
Run: 18.3nm (33.1km)
41 06.686s 173 45.793e

Moved in to Duncan Bay to be closer to the boat ramp for coming and going with family. Still a beautiful spot to anchor, just didn't have this one all to ourselves. We can think of worse places to sip our Cosmopolitan cocktails and gorge on watermelon (ladies) or swing from hammock chairs knocking back a beer (gents)

Looking towards Duncan bay from te mako bay.
Cosmopolitan in the sun, what better way to spend a summers day!
Fri Jan 3 0:00 2014 NZDT
40 51.753s 173 53.050e

Catherin's Cove storm!!! We don't have the cruising guide on board for the sounds and thus were only guessing where a descent anchorage was for the strong NW winds forecast. Turns out the anchorage we left was the best! Anyway we anchored here and got hit with 66 knots which ripped our sail cover off and one of the wind generators suffered damage (This was before the big winds hit on the earlier gusts coming down the valley). Dani trustingly read her book while Mike vigilantly monitored the gusts and every cm closer we got to the shore, which was a little too close for comfort. It turns out the anchorage we chose is a known gusty anchorage. No doubt why we got 66 knots grrrr. The boat held and the people in the resort couldn't believe we weren't on one of their moorings. Went for a nice short walk to a waterfall after the wind finally eased and came across a couple of trees blown down by the gusts.

Wind gusts in the storm hit 66knots, plenty of white water flying around.
The sunset the same day after the storm that morning!
The waterfall right beside our anchorage.
Thu Jan 2 19:23 2014 NZDT
Run: 4.2nm (7.6km)
40 51.737s 173 53.086e

thought we would depart captain cooks departure bay and head sw to catherines cove in very gusty nw winds. as we came around the point we got hit with 48knots of wind which almost stopped us, turned us side on and nearly flipped the dinghy. while i was stopping the dinghy flipping dani was wrestling with the steering trying to bring the boat back into the wind. 4knts speed down to 1.2knts and side on in a matter of seconds. this morning at the previous anchorage we went on a walk to th top of d'urville. would be a great 4wd track and even better mountain bike track (down hill only)! it was pretty steep in places and we even found an abandoned motorbike halfway up just before an insanely steep rocky bit. i think the wind is getting stronger over the next days which should be fun! have attached a few random pictures from the last couple of days.

amazing view from halfway up durville into our anchorage.
a seal from when we dinghied around tinui island.
we found this little guy settling in for the night.
cool squadron of birds messing about.
we made it to the top - even with dani's knees!!
our anchorage here in catherine's cove.
Tue Dec 31 21:35 2013 NZDT
Run: 3.7nm (6.7km)
40 48.833s 173 55.929e

d'oh forgot the east on the position!!!! wind went west but in the sounds that means southwest and just as we were about to go to bed swell and wind hit us and made for a shit nights sleep so we moved here to where captain cook departed nz in 1774 to head west. found out d'urville island was planned as the japanese southern base, port hardy to be exact. will have a quiet new years here and may move in a day or two.

Sat Dec 28 0:00 2013 NZDT
Run: 11nm (19.9km)
40 46.495s 173 58.824e

Sorry about the tech difficulties, internet, site and me having minor issues :(

arrived puangiangi island in the rangitoto islands just east of d'urville. we circumnavigated the island looking for an anchorage that was not going to shipwreck us. we ended up in this nice little gap between the two islands and parked up. there were a couple of submerged rocks in the middle that we nearly wandered over as our maps are not the best around here. we watched another couple of yachts steam through and one anchor right in close to the shore, clearly locals! we kayaked around the middle island island and saw seals, penguins, shags, oyster catchers, and ventured into some deep caves on the eastern side. the caves seemed to have swarms of man eating flies or mossies that you disturbed as you went in and had to fight through on the way back out! going between the northern island and the middle there was a large current running into some very surging swell and a rock in the middle of the passage, i took the left and dani the right and naturally i nearly fell out!

birds just hanging out and a cool vein of rock.
the vista we were given that night.
reading with that amazing view in the background made me sleepy.
where we were the night before.
Fri Dec 27 0:00 2013 NZDT
40 55.546s 173 54.830e

arrived camp bay just opposite catherine's cove on d'urville. gusty southerly winds so stayed in the shelter of this bay for two nights. trip out of the harbour was slow into the 30knots of southerly winds with speeds as low as 2knots at times. we tacked our way through barretts reef in the darkness with just radar and gps and once around red rocks we dropped the motor and sailed the rest. the sun rose as we headed past the brothers islands and wedropped anchor at midday or just before. we stayed in camp bay two nights and went for a kayak southwest for a 5 or so miles and saw lots of eagle rays.

arrived in the nice sunshine - looking north towards wellington.
our next destination, straight west from kapiti island on the map.
its even warm enough to swim over here - - - just!
Thu Dec 26 0:00 2013 NZDT
Run: 51.6nm (93.4km)
40 55.546s 173 54.830e

left wellington for d'urville island at 9:30pm.

Mon Jun 24 14:26 2013 NZST
Run: 414nm (749.3km)
41 17s 174 47e

experienced new zealand's worst storm in fifty years on thursday

night with a record of 80 knot winds through our marina. marina suffered a

bit of damage and lots of work coming up for the canvas makers, luckily our

homemade cockpit sides somehow survived. diesel heater was a life saver

with the power out to our pontoon for two days.

Fri Nov 9 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 119.2nm (215.8km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 119.2nm
35 18.919s 174 07.359e

good sailing through afternoon yesterday but dropped off overnight and was

solely on motor from midnight. finally entered in through the heads of the

bay of islands mid morning and greeted by a beautiful day and with a visit

from the friendly customs patrol boat. berthed at q dock at midday. happy

to be back in nz.

Thu Nov 8 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 123.4nm (223.4km)
Avg: 5.1knts
24hr: 123.4nm
33 46s 173 12e

strong winds and big seas early yesterday afternoon (including the odd wave

washing right over the solar panels!). wind dropped back a bit to more

comfortable strong breezes by evening but big seas stayed with us

throughout the night. when checking in with taupo maritime radio last night

were advised of an epirb activated southeast of minerva, and another mayday

call reported this morning on rag of the air 130nm south of toga. thinking

a lot of them and the other boats further east and in the thick of the low,

plenty of reports of a rough night and various damage on the rag check-in.

wind and seas both easing for us.

Wed Nov 7 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 120.8nm (218.6km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 120.8nm
31 59s 173 06e

wind picked up early yesterday evening and seas followed suit, building

steadily. southeasterlies and quite a lot of cloud. reefed down and reduced

jib down too. preparing for the edge of the subtropical low, just glad

we=92re not in the middle of it.

Tue Nov 6 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 143.5nm (259.7km)
Avg: 6knts
24hr: 143.5nm
30 15s 173 22e

wind dropped down around midnight to more gentle breezes, a bit of support

from the motor for a couple of hours this morning but still enough to sail

alright for the most part.

Mon Nov 5 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 104.7nm (189.5km)
Avg: 4.4knts
24hr: 104.7nm
28 18s 174 11e

steady southeasterlies all day, good sailing. cloudy with moderate =96 slig=



Sun Nov 4 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 125.6nm (227.3km)
Avg: 5.2knts
24hr: 125.6nm
27 03s 175 09e

woo! wind, glorious wind. moderate breezes arrived with the sunrise and

slowly gaining a bit of strength and seas building, we are sailing once


Sat Nov 3 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 119.8nm (216.8km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 119.8nm
25 21s 174 26e

no wind, still on motor.

Fri Nov 2 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 149.9nm (271.3km)
Avg: 6.2knts
24hr: 149.9nm
23 37s 174 25e

finally got some decent sailing yesterday evening but wind all but

disappeared now so solely on motor, luckily the seas are flat. a lot of

cloud hanging overhead this morning but starting to break up now. time to

paint my toenails i think =96 things could be worse.

Thu Nov 1 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 104.8nm (189.7km)
Avg: 4.4knts
24hr: 104.8nm
21 35s 175 14e

light variable winds. switching a lot between sailing and motorsailing for

the last 24 hours. still beautiful calm seas and blue skies though so not

altogether unpleasant. able to have showers on the transom and even make

green mango chutney.

Wed Oct 31 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 95.1nm (172.1km)
Avg: 4knts
24hr: 95.1nm
20 28s 176 20e

wind picked up again yesterday evening so were able to sail through most of

the night but dropped again in the wee hours so back to motorsailing.

Tue Oct 30 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 107.7nm (194.9km)
Avg: 4.5knts
24hr: 107.7nm
19 15s 177 01e

wind dropped to light-gentle breezes so switched to motorsailing after

breakfast. blue skies and flat seas.

Mon Oct 29 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 13.3nm (24.1km)
18 17.25s 178 18.65e

cleared customs this morning and said goodbye to suva around midday with on

verra close behind us. now on our final blue water passage headed for opua

in the bay of islands marking the end of our six month island cruising

adventure =96 life has been amazing but looking forward to catching up with

everyone back home.

Sat Oct 20 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 41.3nm (74.8km)
18 07.38s 178 25..49e

arrived in suva to hang out, resupply and wait for a weather window for the

journey back to nz.

Thu Oct 18 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 17.9nm (32.4km)
17 40.59s 178 50.10e

Mon Oct 15 0:00 2012 NZDT
Run: 24.8nm (44.9km)
17 26.55s 178 57.16e

Sun Sep 30 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 26nm (47.1km)
17 06.62s 179 05.70e

nice half day sail from savusavu to namena island where we are now, ready

for some serious diving. we=92ve heard this place has some of he best divin=


in fiji, if not the best.

Thu Sep 20 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 86.3nm (156.2km)
Avg: 3.6knts
24hr: 86.3nm
16 47.39s 179 18.11e

sailed through the passage in dark and now arriving in savusavu, fiji at


Wed Sep 19 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 163.1nm (295.2km)
Avg: 6.8knts
24hr: 163.1nm
16 11.95s 179 33.04w

moderate breezes from the southeast, good sailing.

Tue Sep 18 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 6.9nm (12.5km)
14 19.59s 178 03.80w

spent the morning investigating alofi island, pretty rolly anchorage so at

midday we headed off, destined for savusavu, fiji.

Sun Sep 16 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 151.8nm (274.8km)
Avg: 6.3knts
24hr: 151.8nm
14 17.64s 178 09.61w

anchored in the tiny harbour of futuna=92s main island.

Sat Sep 15 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 6nm (10.9km)
13 16.74s 176 09.32w

departed anchorage between luaniva and fungalei at 10am with good southeast


Wed Aug 29 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 4.3nm (7.8km)
13 20.14s 176 13.38w

fantastic anchorage sheltered from all weather.

Mon Aug 27 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 6.3nm (11.4km)
13 22.66s 176 10.60w

moved here after being fairly blasted at mata utu. quite a deep anchorage

here and still a little exposed but amazing island and well worth it.

Sun Aug 26 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 130.5nm (236.2km)
Avg: 5.4knts
24hr: 130.5nm
13 17.22s 176 10.07w

entered the uvea lagoon at 0940 this morning and happily followed the

extremely well marked and charted route in, arriving at mata utu just

before midday.

Sat Aug 25 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 106.1nm (192km)
Avg: 4.4knts
24hr: 106.1nm
14 44.26s 174 55.36w

good sailing with southeasterly winds.

Fri Aug 24 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 7.3nm (13.2km)
15 51.06s 173 49.55w

heading away from niuatoputapu on a beautiful sunny afternoon with gentle

breezes and serenaded by whalesong through the hull as we say goodbye to

tonga, she=92s treated us well, and make tracks for wallis island.

Tue Aug 21 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 190.6nm (345km)
Avg: 7.9knts
24hr: 190.6nm
15 56.50s 173 46.09w

arrived in niuatoputapu, greeted by a mother and calf pair of humpback

whales, good birdlife too.

Mon Aug 20 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 3.5nm (6.3km)
18 41.28s 174 01.44w

after nearly two amazing months in vava=92u we are finally tearing ourselve=


away, departing from mala island and headed for the final and northernmost

group of tonga, niuatoputapu.

Wed Jun 27 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 73nm (132.1km)
Avg: 3knts
24hr: 73nm
18 39.45s 173 58.92w

left ha=92ano island early this morning and arrived in neiafu, vava=92u lat=


afternoon, picked up a mooring for the night.

Tue Jun 26 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 14.7nm (26.6km)
19 40.31s 174 17.53w

went for a dive here and a nice walk to one of the extremely tidy and well

kept villages.

Mon Jun 25 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 20.5nm (37.1km)
19 51.02s 174 24.94w

fantastic anchorage here in uoleva with room for plenty of boats but

fortunately it is mostly empty while we are here.

Thu Jun 21 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 14.6nm (26.4km)
19 56.46s 174 43.00w

arrived at ha=92afeva. three other boats here when we arrived but all left


Sun Jun 17 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 14.5nm (26.2km)
19 57.92s 174 29.60w

paradise! a small chain of three uninhabited islands, two of which are

joined by a sand bar. wonderful anchorage and just stunning place

generally. and we have it all to our selves. very happy to camp out here

for a few days.

Sat Jun 16 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 7.3nm (13.2km)
19 48s 174 21.30w

came to pangai, capital of the ha=92apai group with the hope of renewing ou=


visa and extending our stay but while you can check in here you can=92t ren=


your visa because they don=92t have the right stamp=85 luckily we got our d=


wrong so have ten more days here at least =96 turning around to go make the

most of this beautiful remote area with barely any other boats at all.

Fri Jun 15 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 14.5nm (26.2km)
19 52.40s 174 26.18w

good sheltered spot, interesting snorkelling. saw a couple of dolphins.

Thu Jun 14 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 22.8nm (41.3km)
20 03.55s 174 32.35w

arrived at limu island, should have just anchored where we are now from the

start but thought the cruising guide showed an anchorage further in that

would be more sheltered, unfortunately on investigation we found we were in

3m of water with an outgoing tide and reef all around us =96 45 minutes of

some manic navigation later and after having nudged the reef, we were

incredibly relieved to find a gap out of our nightmarish reef maze and

anchored where we had been originally cracking a very welcome cold

restorative beer each.

Sun Jun 10 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 16.1nm (29.1km)
20 16.58s 174 48.25w

a change in the weather has meant we=92ve had to leave the beautiful wee

island of kelefesia along with rongo, the other boat that was there with us

and who we had earlier met in nukualofa checking in. the skipper rohan=92s

uncle works at doc and his girlfriend is the most unlikely poker shark you

could meet!

Wed Jun 6 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 51nm (92.3km)
20 30.10s 174 44.38w

kath and tim have headed back to nz and we are now joined by lou hunt for a

week. thanks to a great game of beach volleyball with kath and tim, dani

was stuck in bed with an extremely painful knee for the sail from motutapu

to kelefesia where we are now. gorgeous spot.

Sun May 27 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 137.1nm (248.2km)
Avg: 5.7knts
24hr: 137.1nm
21 07.50s 175 09.65w

we=92re here! entered egeria channel about mid morning and dropped the hook

off big mumma=92s yacht club, pagiamotu island just after lunch

Sat May 26 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 170.3nm (308.2km)
Avg: 7.1knts
24hr: 170.3nm
23 06.20s 175 19.37w

Fri May 25 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 175.2nm (317.1km)
Avg: 7.3knts
24hr: 175.2nm
25 28.53s 176 03.23w

blue skies and fresh breezes, if only it were like this always.

Thu May 24 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 86.4nm (156.4km)
Avg: 3.6knts
24hr: 86.4nm
27 48.30s 177 10.33w

great sailing conditions once more, wind from southeast averaging 15-17

knots and calm seas.

Wed May 23 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 24.9nm (45.1km)
28 57.16s 177 44.18w

after an incredible two and a half days in the kermadecs diving and

snorkelling with galapagos sharks and enormous spotted black grouper, and

exploring the luscious raoul island, the sun has set and we are heading off

under sail with the wind on our tails, this time headed for the kingdom of


Mon May 21 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 123.3nm (223.2km)
Avg: 5.1knts
24hr: 123.3nm
29 13.37s 178 00.48w

arrived at raoul island in the kermadecs! awesome feeling watching the

sunrise and raoul island coming into view as we approach.

Sun May 20 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 175.3nm (317.3km)
Avg: 7.3knts
24hr: 175.3nm
30 30.30s 179 26.33w

ticking along nicely, lovely calm seas, just riding the southwesterlies.

Sat May 19 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 184.8nm (334.5km)
Avg: 7.7knts
24hr: 184.8nm
32 10.08s 178 19.08e

beautiful sailing conditions again today, had the motor on for a bit this

morning but just to charge the batteries.

Fri May 18 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 132.6nm (240km)
Avg: 5.5knts
24hr: 132.6nm
33 53.17s 175 52.48e

great sailing, steady winds from southwest, kermadec islands here we come.

Thu May 17 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 7.4nm (13.4km)
35 11.37s 174 09.87e

this is it! a bit slow getting off but our crew kath and tim are all

aboard, we are all stocked up with duty free, topped up with fuel and

water, customs have been cleared and we are, literally, sailing off into

the sunset!

Sun May 6 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 1.4nm (2.5km)
35 12s 174 02e

hanging out with ali and si while doing all the last minute jobs to get

mirabilis ready for the pacific =96 dive compressor, water maker, third ree=


added to main and so on.

Sat May 5 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 19.7nm (35.7km)
35 11.97s 174 03.53e

dropped the sails and heading up kerikeri inlet to moor outside our

friends=92 ali & si=92s place where we will stay until we are ready to depa=


Sat May 5 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 132nm (238.9km)
Avg: 5.5knts
24hr: 132nm
35 14.39s 174 24.30e

watched the sun rise over the poor knights islands this morning, nearly at

the entrance to the bay of islands

Fri May 4 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 6.9nm (12.5km)
36 46.58s 175 48.45e

underway again after a lovely evening with dani=92s mum who we saw off this

morning before carrying on on our way north departing whitianga around 11.

fairly light southeasterlies but good sailing.

Thu May 3 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 51.4nm (93km)
36 50.168s 175 42.470e

berthed in whitianga marina at 9pm, lovely day today though had to motor

sail from mid-morning as wind a bit light. saw more common dolphins with a

few good aerial displays from some a bit further off. discovered the self

steering gear didn=92t survive the rough weather with the rudder broken and

shaft bent. won=92t be taking that with us after all =96 sigh, we only just

installed it dammit.

Thu May 3 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 141.8nm (256.7km)
Avg: 5.9knts
24hr: 141.8nm
36 51.80s 176 38.19e

Wed May 2 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 139.1nm (251.8km)
Avg: 5.8knts
24hr: 139.1nm
38 20.78s 178 25.56e

a rough evening last night, scary at times when we had to get all sail in,

struggled to hove to and had to backtrack a little to ease some of the

strain. got trysail up and able to get back on course, was still rough but

at least we were making progress. strong wind through the night but better

speeds now so have main back up on second reef, currently 20-25kt from

south and still rough.

Tue May 1 0:00 2012 NZST
Run: 154.9nm (280.4km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 154.9nm
40 15s 177 35e

quite a bit of motorsailing yesterday, saw a pod of 115-20 common dolphins.

sailing along well now with a strong tail wind and building, seas getting


Mon Apr 30 0:00 2012 NZST
41 37.85s 175 14.74e

left wellington today on our six month cruising voyage. dani=92s mum crewin=


with us up the coast =96 dani and mum both barfing already! beautiful sunny

day though. great feeling to finally be heading off.

Mirabilis - New Year at The Anchorage

We are now anchored in the popular “Anchorage” in Torrent Bay next to our old neighbours Dan and Alex from Chaffers in their new yacht Amok on board which we spent New Year’s Eve and watched the impressive fireworks show put on by the local, and very wealthy, Talley’s family. New Year’s Day was a windy one with most of us spending most of the day on board watching the wind speed spike with gusts up to 40 knots. We were pleased to not have ventured ashore when a yacht tried anchoring Read more...

in front of us and instead picked up the anchor of another yacht leaving them tangled and bearing down on Mirabilis for a nerve-racking 15 minutes while they tried to pry themselves apart without colliding into each other, us, or the shore. Mike and another tender had to push the nose round of one of them once they were free but left dangerously close to hitting the shore. It was a huge relief to send them on their way but not 10 minutes later we watched another drama unfold across the anchorage when a solo sailor came unstuck with anchor chain and windlass dramas which had him wrapping around another very nervous yacht. The boys were back in their dinghys ready to run interference if needed and dropping manpower on board to untangle the snubber and manually haul the anchor. Fortunately everyone came off unscathed and that was the last drama of the day; though we did hear that one of the other yachts had their dinghy flip with the outboard on - not the best start to a new year. Luckily our leaky dinghy was tucked in close and had so much sea water in it acting as ballast there was no way it was going to flip. With the wind easing we finally went ashore for the first time at 4 o’clock and went for what was supposed to be a short walk over to Watering Cove but was slightly extended as we inadvertently took a diversion along a considerably less well-kept biodiversity monitoring line track after being lured in by great views across the bay. The next day summer was back and we headed off early for a walk to a waterfall and a very quick dip for me for mandatory under the waterfall photo then back in time to scoff lunch and jump in the kayaks to make the high tide for a trip across the estuary and up to Cleopatra’s pool amongst huge river boulders complete with a rock slide at the base of the Torrent River. Great fun despite a graze or two. Wai Aniwa, another Chaffers yacht, is now here (as is Montego Bay) and we had a quick chat with skipper Roger Foley before retiring to Mirabilis for sundowners which morphed into a great fun party for two of an evening. Today is mercifully a lazy rainy scrabble, reading and odd jobs day - like finally bringing YIT up to date :-).

Mike on the pretty Falls River Track
Cascade falls
A VERY quick dip
Mike and Dan helping another yacht in trouble

Mirabilis - Totaranui & Separation Point

It is lovely and warm over here and as soon as we had set the anchor it was in for a swim followed by a quick trip ashore to explore and a lazy evening enjoying the warmth in the cockpit. The next day we paddled around the estuary and did a short walk in the park including a small loop track right next to the inlet that still has a couple of magnificent towering old trees - ancient relics of the past reminding us of what the forest around here used to be like and eventually will be again. Nikau Read more...

palms added a particularly lush feel to this tiny patch of forest otherwise largely surrounded by the contrasting dry manuka scrub and slowly regenerating bush. Back on board a swell had built up and even with a stern anchor out we were in for a rolly night. Mike was kept awake most of the night with the rolling, I was kept awake half of the night with Mike's grumbling about the rolling. Unhappily for Mike though I was determined to get a decent walk in after finding no decent walks on D'Urville so no sleeping in for us and we set off for a 20km walk to Separation Point. The walk was lovely with the occasional fur seal, pied and spotted shags a plenty, oyster catchers with little fluff ball chicks and a lone gannet soaring above the point - perhaps attracted by the faux gannet models and calls being played out of a huge megaphone where DOC and Project Janszoon are trying to reestablish a colony. Though with the hoards of tourists swarming all over the point at this time of year it might be a hard sell. A great spot for lunch watching a couple of fur seals patrolling the water below us. When we made it back to the anchorage we were delighted to discover that the yacht that we had seen sail past on our walk had indeed been our friends' new yacht Oceanus, which was now anchored next to us. The next morning was my birthday (and New Year's Eve) so I got to sleep in while Mike rustled up a delicious cooked breakfast and even did the dishes straight after as an extra special birthday treat. Then time for a bit of scurfing (like wakeboarding but on a surf board) before we said goodbye to Oceanus for now and headed for the next anchorage (following a bit of a false start and unplanned swim after I managed to wrap the dinghy painter around the prop - an embarrassingly rookie move).

Kayaking around our anchorage
Totaranui inlet
Walk to separation point
A rather stinky fur seal
Oyster catchers guarding their little fluff balls
Headlands Track view over Totaranui
Fur seal swimming around Separation Point
Post swim snooze time
Ahh, Abel
Mike happily scurfing on NYE
Tucked up with Oceanus for the night

Mirabilis - Vava'u has kidnapped us!

So we reluctantly left the beautiful and deserted Ha’apai islands and arrived in Vava’u about a month ago and aren’t showing any signs of budging. Vava’u seems to have taken hold of us and Mike is threatening to apply for residency.
This place is completely different from the Ha’apai group and as Mike puts it, I get homesick for the outer islands or “Neiafu fever” if we stay in town (Neiafu) for too long. That said, we have met so many great and fascinating people and really feel Read more...

a part of the community here so do keep getting tempted back into town fairly regularly and there’s always the excuse of stocking up on fresh fruit and veg from the market.
Vava’u is known as a bit of a sailing mecca as we have discovered as the islands are all very close together and you can find perfectly sheltered anchorages in any conditions. There are some stunning places to visit too, Swallow’s Cave and Mariner’s Cave are particularly amazing for snorkelers.
Swallow’s you swim into to find you are sharing the cave with thousands of small schooling fish which you can then dive under and up through or just watch the beautiful shapes they form. The water is stunningly clear and outside the cave is a steep drop-off into the blue with coral and feather stars clinging to the wall as far as you can see and a myriad of colourful fish working their way between them.
Mariner’s is a trippy experience and quite magical. Once you find the cave that is... We found ourselves searching for Mariner’s Cave one day in our dinghy laden with us and three young trainee doctors who we had met a week earlier at Tonga Bob’s (the local pub) quiz night. We putted a mile across the channel from an anchorage on the eastern side of Kapa Island and started searching for the famous cave. However, this is Tonga so there was no big sign pointing the way, rather about a kilometre long wall of cliff for us to search for some sign of a cave entrance hiding beneath the surface. After a lot of surveying promising looking sites (including one where we surfaced in a cavelet with just enough headroom to take one quick breath!) we finally found a spot that looked like it had to be it...hadn’t it?! After much procrastinating I finally took a deep breath and dived down and in...and in... oh thank goodness, I spied the telltale sign of a large air bubble and surfaced to find myself in a huge cave. As I recovered my breath and started to take it all in, the cave started to rapidly fill with fog, almost completely obscuring the walls from view, then just as quickly it cleared and the air was crystal clear once more.
This pattern is repeated over and over with some episodes more dramatic than others depending on the size of the swell that drives this awesome phenomenon. Pretty freaking cool! Eventually the others joined me one-by-one. Mariner’s Cave was immediately placed at the top of our list of places to take any visitors to.
If you ever come to Vava’u make SURE you don’t miss Mariner’s Cave.
Other things that have been keeping us entertained here over the last month include a visit to a private island to join a three day party (complete with battle hip and poker tournaments), a bit of historic heritage with a visit to the remnants of a 400 year old stone wall for first borns, walks through a few small villages and plantations, snorkeling and diving, island circumnavigation either by kayak or on foot, beach combing, octopus stalking, pig racing (a fund raising event for the local conservation NGO which also included human horse racing, coconut husking and hermit crab racing) and a trip out to Kenutu Island, the eastern most island of Vava’u where you can anchor. The eastern side of the island is completely exposed to the full brunt of the ocean making for dramatic cliffs, blow holes and intertidal waterfalls that come and go with the surge. On the lee side, beautiful snorkeling over seagrass and shallow coral beds, and best of all it’s one of the quieter anchorages in Vava’u with most cruisers sticking to the western side of the cut so we had it all to ourselves.
Right, time to sign out as we’re off to pick up my uncle who is visiting for a week. Then it’s off to the Niuas for us – the smallest and most undeveloped of the Tongan island groups. We will update again in a month or so no doubt. Love Dani & Mike PS, if you want to pay the ransom it is payable in Whittakers chocolate, jars of marmite, cheese in all molds and moulds, vogels bread, good wine, chippies (for Mike of course) and oddly enough cauliflower and broccoli Bizarre the things you miss!

Snorkeling at Swallows Cave
Local kids from Makave village near the historic stone wall
View east from Kenutu Island
View from town out over the anchorage at Neiafu
Friday night social racing