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Old 29-10-2005, 17:54   #1
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8 day trip.

Well we have just returned from an 8day trip. It wasn't going to be 8 days, only 4-5. You see, I was supposed to be yacht racing on an offshore race, but the boat I was supposed to crew on pulled out at the last mo. Good thing too, as I fouind out later that they were all hit with a good storm. Several had to be rescued, a catamaran was capsized and a good portion of the fleet turned and ran home again.
So our holiday was extended which was great, as we decided to take a tour of an area we hadn't ventured. It's a notoriouse piece of NZ and an area to take with great respect. However, it comes with a great set of views as a reward. The tidel ripes, depth, rocks in the middle of nowhere all make it a very challenging piece of coast. It's the very top end of the South Island of NZ. The water depth rises from over 300ft to rocks that remain just below the surface to small islands jutting up a couple of feet to larger islands that are 600ft up. The tidal flows range from 2knts to 6knts in the worst area's with massive volumes of water being moved. Basically, the Tasman sea is trying to flow in to the Pacific Ocean (and back) through a small gap between the two main islands, called the Cook straight.
We circumnavigated a large island in this area, called D'Urville Island. Many other islands in the area are used as reserves for many of NZ's endangered animal species. One right at the tip called Stevens Island, is the last natural habitat for a large native lizard called the Tuatara. The passage between Stevens and D'Urville, is the scariest. It is wide but scattered by many underwater hazzards and careful navagation is required. It is unpassable when a wind and sea is against the tide. Large wirpools and eddies flow all around and it is stunning , yet very sobbering.
The first day was meet with calm conditions. We had a huge high over the country. In fact it was the biggest I had ever seen. We did get meet with varying sea breezes as the day wore on ahnd got in some nice sailing. The second day was also calm. A real pain and we motored for some distance. We eventually tired to anchor, but I ran into a problem with the anchor and jammed it up. I needed a mooriong and had to motor back to the sound for the night. By the time I got back, it was pitch black. I mean, like ink black. Could see nothing and it was nerve racking trying to navigate in the confined sound wtih maussle floats everywhere. We eventually got onto a block for the nigh and I made repairs the next day. We set off again and this time had a lovely sail round the top of D'Urville, through Stevens Passage and into a mooring for the night.
Next day we headed out on the next leg. A good offshore distance and lovely 10knt breeze. Slow going for our boat, but we had all the time in the world. However, the day ended with crossing a bar fo boulders, simply called the boulder bank. The channel is only 100ft wide and 6ft at low tide. The tide can flow at 6knts, so care must be taken. This bank is believed to have been created by a tidal wave of over 100ft about 6000yrs ago. The by then continued for some miles inland to a stunning mooring. We lay over here for a day as it was just beautiful, before carrying on to the next leg. This one was the leg that worried me the most. We were about to navagate the trickiest piece of ground in NZ. Many ships have come to grief in this area. he sea was sloppy, only about 4ft on average with the odd 7ft, but it was a tide against wind and short and steep and the boat just would not settle in to anything comfortable. The wind was picking up and the greatest event of my sailing life happend. Two Royal Albatross came up along side of us. It looked like a moum and here chick she was training up. These birds are huge and it was a huge privilage and thrill to get to see them. They followed us for some time and I mean floowed. I don't know why. When we turned, they turned and followed for hours. Eventually I think we got back to close to land and theyleft us to negotiate the passage. This passage is called "French Pass". It is a narrow cutting with an enormouse tidal rip and one to be navigated with exteme caution. Or so the Pilot book said. Well actually, after a fantastic sail at 9knts and the boat fair humming, we reached this passage at slack water and I reckon I could have sailed right through. The warnings were on no occasion to ever try such, but turned out to be a none event for us. The other side was flat with a good breeze that slowly increased strength to 23knts. We had the best sail witht eh boat healing hard over to the rail and we were off like a pocket rocket. I was impressed with it's turn of speed, although everything starts vibrating from 9knts. I guess I have reached hull speed under sail, although a mate reckons I can coach more out of her yet.
We sailed back into the shetlter of the sounds and spent the last few days just relaxing. That's what boating is all about now ain't it.

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Old 29-10-2005, 19:03   #2
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Passage

Sorry I was not there to help, but I only know my way around Rangitoto Island, and I can not get back in to Auckland Harbour if the Kiwi Bacon sign on the top of Ponsonby Hill is not visible.
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Old 29-10-2005, 23:49   #3
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Hey Wheeler,

Too bad I couldn't be with you on that trip!! From the sounds of your post. You had a blast of fun !


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Old 30-10-2005, 01:26   #4
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Sound like you had a great trip!

”... navigate in the confined sound withh maussle floats everywhere ...”

What is a “maussle float”; some sort of fishing trap marker ?
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Old 30-10-2005, 05:41   #5
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Thumbs up Great description!

What an interesting read, Wheels! Do you work for the tourism dept?

You have piqued my interest in sailing there.
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Old 30-10-2005, 08:22   #6
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No wonder Cook spent so much time in and around that area
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Old 30-10-2005, 12:18   #7
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Sorry Gord, I should proof read more shouldn't I. I apolagise for the spelling mistake, but just to add, I also am dislexic and if I don't concentrate, I will get letters screwed around. You will notice it often on "the", although I tend to look out for that one and correct it if I catch it. And then sometimes it's just a case of my fingers being to big for the keyboard
Here in NZ some clever lads discovered that you could grow mussels in marine Farms. The prize being the Greenlipped Mussel, which is native to NZ waters. Apart from it being a huge export earner for just plain eating, recently it has also been discovered that the Greenlipped mussel is full of something called Lyprinol, which has shown positive results in treating arthritis and is a natural anti-inflamitory.
Anyways, they grow the "spat" which is the baby Mussel and seed it to ropes that hang down in the water. Let me go back a step to describe this.
Picture a heavey line of about 1.5" anchored to the sea floor at one end. It rises at an angle till it reaches the surface and then is tied to a large float. The line spans a distance of ruffley 1000ft with floats all the way along it, before it plunges back to the sea floor at the other end. Each float being about 10ft apart is large enough to support 1.5T in the water, although their profiles are such that they sit low. You don't want to much windage eh. At each float a line hangs down in the water and is covered by the shelfish. Now picture rows of these lines, one after the other so as they cover the area of football stadium each. These acres of lines cover the shorelines around the sounds. They sit 1500ft out from the shoreline and have a gap between each "raft" of about 100-300ft. On the end of each raft is a small flashing light which is close to absolutely usesless.
Now after I say all this, it isn't as bad as you all probably read in to this. But in the pitch black of night, a moment of "where the heck am I am where am I pointed" will bring on a moment of panic in me.

Here are some links of interest.
http://www.islands.co.nz/mussel-farming/

I have no politicle leaning to this site, it is just interesting.
http://www.guardians.org.nz/aquaculture.htm

Hope that is of some interest.
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Old 30-10-2005, 12:49   #8
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I sduspected sonmething of the sort.
Wow - an average 50 tonnes/week of mussel, that’s a lot of bouillabaisse
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Old 30-10-2005, 22:43   #9
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Mussells

Used to be heaps of them growing in the mouth of the Manakau Harbour, that's the harbour that leads to Onehunga original home of Ron Holland and the Onehunga Pub.
For the travellers you go through Onehunga on the way from Mangere airport to downtown Auckland.
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