Friday, 11 May 2012

Stewart Island part 10, Paterson Inlet

This is the final Stewart Island post, so I thought it would be nice to show the Stewart Island map again and draw on it where we went. Please excuse my wiggly paint pencil. All up we spent about 4 weeks on Stewart Island and almost another week on getting there and back. We stayed on average 2 days at one anchorage. It looks like we missed big parts of Paterson Inlet, but the bits we missed is either tidal or commercial fish farming. If you're on a tight time schedule I'd probably recommend only going to Port Pegasus, but do bring all your groceries for the whole time with you, because the only little shop on Stewart Island is in Oban.
By Millers Beach in Paterson Inlet you can find the ruins of an old ship yard facility that serviced the whaling chaser boats. There was a whole heap of propellers and Phil tried to see if he could grab one for Sophia, seeing that they were just lying there littering the beach.
Around Oban there are tons of walks you can do, one to suit all level, right from 20 minutes, to whole days. We did a coastal walk which was just a couple of hours long. It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision, so we were just in our jeans and shoes, not boots and (dirty) 'tramping' clothes. It was pretty funny encountering other trampers who were fully kitted with boots, walking sticks and the whole shebang. It was seriously a highway compared to the tramping we did in Port Pegasus. Super wide tracks and extremely well maintained. We were appropriately dressed, all others we total overkills :-)
 Thule bay below, very idyllic but a few quite abandoned boats sitting there.
Ulva Island is a predator free (or almost) island in the middle of Paterson Inlet. Predator free means teaming bird life. There's a little ferry running visitors back and forth every few hours, or you can just anchor off it. We anchored in Sydney Cove (where the fun swing was) and spent several hours walking every single piece of track on the island.

For our return trip to Christchurch we ended up stopping in both Dunedin and Akaroa. We left Stewart Island into a 30-35 knots southerly (not forecasted quite that windy, but partly also our own fault for getting a bit antsy to leave) and had a fast and uncomfortable trip to Dunedin. We both had to make sacrifices to Neptune that night, me for the first time ever I think. I was actually keen to keep going, as I just wanted to get home at this point and get it over and done with. Forecast wasn't going to be worse than what we already had, and it was doable and we managed our watches just fine. Luckily Phil got me persuaded to stop, because it was really nice to get some proper food, a warm shower and a good night's sleep before continuing. And then we also got to sail the next leg with Meltdown, a local Young 88 heading up to the South Island nationals in Akaroa. Meltdown is in between a couple of waves crests in the photo below. It was still maybe 25 knots southerly. After a day in Akaroa, we went round the peninsula to Lyttelton, mostly motoring into light headwinds.

Phil came back to a lot of work at the loft (not quite part of the plan, but it's hard to close up the only sail loft in Christchurch), and we also had heaps more work to do on Sophia. Originally we were only supposed to be in Christchurch a few weeks, maximum a month, but now over two months later, we're still here! It's always like that with boat work though, things takes at least 3 times longer than you think, so I really should have expected it. But, we're almost ready now, we passed our category 1 inspection, and now just have a bunch of smaller projects to finish (and a few bigger ones!) and then we just be waiting for a weather window. Yay, I can't wait for warm weather and water!