Some days it’s just easier than others to look at the sea. For some it’s the memorizing rhythm of the waves lapping or in some cases crashing against the shore. For others it is their solice of solitude. And yet for some there is no discernible thing that drives their soul to sit for hours watching and listening to its sound along with the sky and natural lights. That sound that seems to call them while tugging at the very core of their heartstrings. Whatever it is for you please let it drag you from life’s reality and transform you to that place of peace.
It’s been more than a year since we have left the sight of land in Dazzler’s wake. Also leaving behind the bays, the rivers, the marina, the friends and the conveniences of stuff and things being readily available. The sea has a major calming factor for me as we once again feel the power of her lifting us gently above the shoulders of the very large Pacific swell from crest to trough again and again. The visible power of the water as it crashes against the rugged rocky points and land features is immeasurable. We leave the Bay of Islands for our travels toward New Zealand’s South Island to explore the majestic beauty of Marlborough Sound and the many bays and islands associated with that area.
Our journey northward took us first to a stop over in Doubtless Bay for rest before we headed north to round the oh so potentially treacherous northern tip of New Zealand and the infamous Cape Reinga. The place where two seas meet or in some cases collide. The western edge of the Pacific Ocean meets the eastern edge of the Tasman Sea. The few readings we’ve done suggest a wide spectrum of what to expect.
Morning had come and so had our departure from Doubtless Bay. We headed off northward for about 50 miles before we started to see the northern most piece of New Zealand’s North Island. There isn’t much in the way of inhabitants, but we do see a few sparse dwellings. We rounded the northeastern point and headed for the northwestern point and Cape Reinga another 20 plus miles to the west. We can see the Cape Reinga lighthouse in the distance sitting high atop a mountain overseeing the merging of the seas.
As we approached the Cape the first notable sight was violent crashing waves over the reef that projects well over a mile offshore from the actual point of the land mass. Huge breaking waves one after another crashing over the reef leaving little doubt that the sea was in control. Large, long rolling northeasterly swells of two to three meters were lifting us over and over again as the Pacific Ocean was letting the Tasman Sea know who controlled the Pacific. And the Tasman also resounding its repartee with its two to three meter seas from the Southwest.
It appeared as if the current from the Pacific Ocean was too much for the Tasman Sea as we had a steady current pushing us toward Cape Reinga at 3.5-4.5 knots over our speed through the water. Simply put, Dazzler was traveling at 5.5 knots of speed through the water. However, our speed over ground with the addition of the Pacific current was 8.5-9.5 knots per hour. Hold on to your keel bolts! We were very thankful that we were going with the current and not against it.
After rounding the Cape we continued along for almost two hours experiencing the extra push from the Pacific current. There were visible huge patches of upwelling currents all around Dazzler as we headed southward into the Tasman Sea. The visible raw power displayed from where these two oceans meet is incredible. Definitely something hard to imagine unless you were actually experiencing it first hand. I guess it would be like trying to describe the Grand Canyon or Yosemite Valley. Where does one start?
Our travels became mundane for the next few days as we motor sailed southward in light winds. The west coast of New Zealand is said to be on or off. But mostly it is on. By that I mean the winds are rarely light and the Tasman swell is usually large with weather systems lining up to each have a turn at the west coast of New Zealand. One after another after another waiting its turn in queue.
This makes weather planning for passage making a bit tricky. Looking at weather reports from multiple sources sometimes three or four times a day starting a few weeks before our anticipated departure became more like a daily scripture reading from the voodoo master’s handbook. Where do you get an eye of a three legged newt while at sea? I need four of those please. LOL
Somehow, the weather Gods smiled favorably on our journey southward. Calm, beautiful, arctic blue seas, warmer than usual temperatures, sunny days, minimal cloud cover and continuing the same for our entire trip. Well, almost the whole trip. It would seem that we don’t want to get caught out here on Monday. So, we are keeping to motor sailing to ensure a Sunday afternoon arrival in Port Nelson. As always, we can’t foresee the future and not taking into account any wildcards that may present themselves we should have an uneventful arrival on our current schedule.
Port Nelson is located at the southern point of the Tasman Bay at the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island. Our plan is to put into port, top off our fuel and provisions, do a bit of laundry, get a few hot showers and perhaps visit a nice restaurant before starting our travels around Marlborough Sound. To that we have the added bonus of meeting up again with our dear cruising friends Lutz and Gabi of SV SuAn.
Until next time pull out your flip flops or jandels, head to the beach and dig your toes in the sand of your favorite seaside and enjoy being near the largest place on the planet. Mother Ocean!