Thursday, 2 August 2012

Sunny Tasman Bay, south easterlies and a portage through French Pass

Since arriving in Picton on Sunday afternoon we are still waiting for the weather to get better for our next push south.  Our focus this week has been on eating as much as we can whilst watching the Olympics..mean! Here's a wee update on our latest adventures.. pretty boring really with no rolling, no surf landings and no more 'time apart'.

Stephen's Bay

We left from Stephens Bay on the 24th of July in drizzly conditions, aiming for Cable Bay which sits about 35km across Tasman Bay.  About an hour into our crossing a south east wind picked up and the clouds blocked all visibility of where we were heading for.  After some 'discussions' on our direction I rummaged through Sims back hatch and pulled out a compass.  We blindly paddled into the driving rain for hours, catching glimpses of the far side between the squalls.. ahh, sunny Nelson.  About 7 hours later I made a sprint finish to a small beach at the entrance to the bay, desperate to pee.. relief!

Not so sunny Tasman Bay

The next day the forecast was for 35 Knot South Easterlies.  We battled into the wind all morning, watching huge gusts picking up water and willy wars speeding around us.  The going was slow so we decided to pull up on a beach and resorted to lying in tussocks, dodging face fulls of sand for the rest of the day.  The South Easterlies were still blowing the next morning but things seemed to have died down as we gapped it towards French Pass- a small gap that separates D'urville Island from the South Island.  We camped just on the Western side of the pass, a night of frustration as weka's attempted to steal our stuff.  I woke up in the middle of the night to Sim laughing, a weka was actually dragging my jacket away that had been under the tent!

We had been warned to get the tides right for the crossing, but for some reason it always seems so uninviting to get up in the dark to pack up and put on wet gear to get going.  When we finally did get on the water we arrived at the pass only to see a huge current pouring through.  It was impossible to paddle against so we opted for dragging our boats up the side haha.  It wasn't actually as bad as it sounds and after about 5 minutes we were past the worst of it and able to paddle away.  Making our way to Alligator Head we dodged dolphins and penguins for much of the day.

Rounding Cape Jackson the next morning we cruised along with a following wind- conditions I'm sure Paul Caffyn would have described as being 'a corker of a day for kayak sailing'.  Arriving on dusk near the entrance to the Tory Channel, we dodged the Interislander and pulled up on a farm where we were lucky to met Joe and Joy- legends! They let us sleep in their woolshed and gave us a shower.. i didn't realize we smelt that bad!  It's awesome how many amazing people we have bumped into along the way.  Rarangi down near Blenheim was our next port of call, and Sims uncle Richard picked us and our boats up and took us back to their home in Picton.  Thanks heaps Kaye and Richard!

Sim racing the Interislander into Tory Channel
So hopefully we will be on the seas chasing whales near Kaikoura soon.

:) Tara & Sim

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