Saturday, 7 April 2012

Stewart Island part 1, trip down

Our trip to Stewart Island had been a carrot during the many months of endless boat work, and both our full-time works (and in Phil’s case, much more than full time). February is considered a good month to visit Stewart Island on a sail boat, as it’s one of the least windy months. However, we’re still talking about Stewart Island, which is based in the mid 40 latitudes of the Southern Ocean and our guide book told us you should expect gale force winds at least once a week.

 We finished up with our works (ie Astrid quit, and Phil put a sign on the door saying he was gone cruising), did some more boat work, and got a good weather window in the beginning of February to leave. The trip down from Lyttelton to Oban is approximately 320 miles, and it took us 2 ½ days. We were motoring the first night to get around Banks Peninsula and the last part across a flat Forveaux Strait, which we were pretty grateful for, as that’s notoriously know as bumpy and windy. Otherwise we had 20-25 knots downhill wind with us and cruised along the whole way with just no 2 headsail.

Oban is the only town on Stewart Island with approximately 350 inhabitants. People making a living of either fishing or tourists, both very abundant. We spent our first few days recovering (= sleeping) from our trip, got a few more groceries, visited the DOC centre and the little museum.  We opted to anchor in Golden Bay rather than Halfmoon Bay which is quite busy with ferry and fishing boats. Golden Bay is on the other side of Oban, inside the protected Paterson Inlet and it’s only a 10 minutes walk over the hill to Oban. 

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