The time has come for us to bid adieu to the lovely seaside city of Nelson and head on to Squally Cove. We’ve fueled up and are headed through the narrow channel that will lead us to the Tasman Bay and ultimately to Marlborough Sound.
As we make our way through the channel we note that there are more commercial ships in port. And, since it’s during the week we also notice a lot more activity everywhere. Even the local NZ Coast Guard boat is patrolling the harbour. It’s sunny and warm and we’re excited for the next leg of our journey.
As we head through the entrance to the harbour we note that the sea state is a bit on the nautical side but nothing much to fuss over. We’ve seen much worse in our tens of thousands of miles at sea. We head through the pass and turn to the east. I’m admiring the Boulder Bank and lighthouse and taking photos as Dan attends to the matters of navigation and our safety.
It’s just after noon now and with all of the normal getting under way business complete I head below to whip up a couple of sandwiches and some chips for lunch. Below I notice that things are bouncing about a bit more than I expected but I just keep on working. It’s not uncommon to have a bit a current and bouncing when you are moving into and out of channels and around points. I hear Dan in the cockpit fussing about something so I call up to see what’s going on.
Apparently when we took on fuel some of it spilled from our vent into the cockpit floor. We actually attach a vent capture device via suction cups to the vent to prevent spilling. Unfortunately, on rare occasions we get a little spray or spill. This is one of those times so he needs to get it cleaned up. I stop my lunch making to get out the Dawn dishwashing detergent and a bottle of hot water to help him out. (Note to cruisers: Buy Dawn whenever and wherever you can get it. It works for so much more than dishes! Buy LOTS of it! It’s the one thing we can never have enough of on board and you can’t just get it in any country.)
Dan manages the small (maybe a cup full) spill and I finish up our lunch. I hand him up the plates and our lemonade and we enjoy a wonderful lunch as we look off to the starboard side at the glorious sites of Nelson and the surrounding mountains.
Lunch complete and dishes washed I decide to go below for a bit. We, after all, have about six hours of cruising ahead of us and he did roust me from my slumber a bit earlier than normal. Not long after I get my life vest off and get settled into my comfy spot I notice that we are pitching and rolling a bit more than I thought we should.
It’s Getting Rough
I head to the cockpit where I start asking questions. Dan tells me that he completely expected these 20 knot winds on the nose and, of course, with that comes some choppy seas. Okay…it is what it is so I head back below to hunker down and wait it out.
It’s not long after that when Dan shows up below to put on his foulies. Looks like it’s going to be a bit of a wet ride to Oyster Bay….rain included. Donned in his Gorton’s fisherman outfit he heads back topside while I enjoy my warm, dry sanctuary below.
Well, it may be warm and dry but the sanctuary part comes to an abrupt end when we start getting tossed around like a fart in a skillet. We’re taking 1-2 meter swells almost on the beam and water is coming over the port side in huge splashing waves. I stand up on the companionway stairs watching Dan as he’s getting hit every now and then with buckets and buckets of water.
Of course I’m standing there in the warmth and dryness doing what I do…taking pics and video. After all…..we do want to document this right????
Don’t get me wrong, I do feel for him. I know all too well what it is like to be on watch and have Poseidon toss endless fistfuls of seawater in my face. It’s never fun and it’s always cold and miserable. And, I would take his place anytime he asks. I’m a team player and this is a team effort but in these seas he knows he’s the better captain and it’s his place to be at the helm. God bless him for that!!!!
After a couple of hours of enduring Poseidon’s wrath we are finally able to make the turn into Oyster Bay. Doing so puts the swell at our stern so we get to surf with it instead of beat into it or have it slamming our beam.
It’s still a bit rainy and overcast but the view coming into the bay is one of the most magnificent and awe inspiring beauty. It’s almost impossible to explain. There are mountains on three sides of us and the water is this glowing, bright green color that seems to just perfectly accent the dark green trees and brown dirt that lies onshore.
Soon the sea state here comes to a peaceful calm. We’re cruising in the bay and behind the mountains so everything the Tasman has thrown at us is outside of this beautiful place. I’m now standing on the bow…in full Gorton’s fisherwoman attire with my headset on so I can communicate with my captain. I love our headsets. I get to move about the boat and we can still chat…without yelling!!!!
Along the shore we see lots of oyster or maybe they are mussel farms. They are everywhere. And it’s really remote. There are only a handful of houses or huts to be found. On our port side we don’t see any roads so we must assume they can only be accessed by boat. On the starboard side we can see roads cut through the mountains leading to the few houses and shore. It literally makes us feel as if we are explorers from another land.
Ahhhh Squally Cove!
Soon we reach Squally Cove. This will be our home for the night. We round the corner to the port side with a huge oyster farm lining the shore. The cove is small but wide and deep enough for us to find safe harbor. There’s no fetch but the winds are howling. They are coming down from the mountain through the valley with gusts that go from 5 knots to 25 knots in a second.
The bottom here is mud with some rocks. Our anchor sets quickly and we are glad to finally be at rest. It wasn’t a horrible trip but an exhausting one so we are ready to relax and enjoy the evening. Dan cooks up a few steaks on the barbie and we settle in for the night.
Soon the clouds give way to one of the most amazing skies. There’s something so incredible about sitting in an anchorage in the middle of nowhere and looking up to see the stars so bright above. The Milky Way shines so brightly that you feel as if you could just walk upon its silvery light. I try to take some photos with my wonderful Huawei phone but I know they will never be able to show you the absolute splendor that I see. I feel blessed and yet sad. Blessed that I’m seeing this breathtaking sight yet sad that I cannot fully share it with those of you who cannot be here.
Tomorrow we have another 50 NM to go to reach our friends on SV SuAn. Along the way we will have to cross French Pass which is known for its rather treacherous tidal currents, upwellings and eddies. Should be a fun time! LOL
Until next time,
Jilly & Dan