We said goodbye to Havelock and now it’s time to say goodbye to Pelorus Sound. We plan to be celebrating in beautiful Picton as it is Gabi’s birthday is tomorrow. This morning we awoke at what I affectionately refer to as “the butt ass crack of dawn”. If you can’t tell by the name, it’s not really my favorite time of day. That is unless I am greeting it to get on a plane to head home to see our amazing family and friends.
Actually being warm and cozy in our bunk enjoying a wonderful slumber and then being woken up to the cold is not on my list of ways to enjoy this time of day. But this morning Dan did wake me up saying, “Good morning my fiancé. It’s time to get up.” Ahhhhh…that made it a little better.
I clumsily climb out of the bunk when I feel the very chilly air hit my body. I’m immediately slapped into consciousness by the cold. It’s dark and the red light in the salon is on. I can’t find my clothes quite fast enough as I’m slinging things from one side then to the other of Dazzler. I’m quite certain I will freeze where I stand if I don’t keep moving. Yes, Autumn is here and in full swing.
It’s still dark out when I hear the engine fire up and Dan tells me he’s headed to the bow. Not quite fully dressed in my warm clothes I stumble up the companionway and take my place behind the wheel. I can see my breath in the faint red glow from below deck. We’re on a mooring so there’s really not much for me to do here. Dan slips the line loose and I turn the boat toward the open bay following our track that we came in on.
Within minutes Dan is back in the cockpit telling me I can go back down and go to sleep. HA! That will be the day! My body has been chilled to the bone and my eyelids are frozen in the open position. No, I think I’ll go down and make a cup of hot chocolate, grab my blanket and curl up around the table to read one of my sailing books.
I secretly downloaded a few sailing disaster books. For some weird reason I can’t get enough of them. I think I’m learning from other people’s mistakes. Dan thinks they do nothing more than create undue stress for me as I ask lots of crazy questions about what we’d do in these situations. To his credit, these books do seem to manifest some pretty crazy thoughts in my muddled brain.
He refuses to buy them for me anymore because of that. I’ve managed sneak a couple in on my last book downloads from Barnes & Noble. I can’t wait to start reading them although I’m pretty sure after this round he will only let me download books if he’s actually the one downloading them. LOL
Pelorus Sound To Queen Charlotte Sound
The trip today is 48 NM from Camp Bay in Pelorus Sound to Picton in Queen Charlotte Sound. We’ve decided that rather than try to find a mooring or anchorage we will head into the Picton Marina because some very high winds are due to arrive in the next 24 hours. As happens here in the sounds these winds can often switch directions in seconds which can make finding the right anchorage rather challenging. We all will feel a bit safer tied to a dock for the next two days.
We near the tip of Cape Jackson with SuAn a mile or two head of us. They are headed right near the cape between it and the lighted marker five hundred meters offshore. It was at this very spot back in 1986 where the Soviet cruise ship, Mikhail Lermontov, struck the rocks slicing her hull in three places. She limped around the corner to Port Gore where she ultimately sank and remains to this day at the bottom of the bay. Fortunately for us I didn’t know this story at the time.
Our original plan was to go around the marker because our chart is showing just 16 feet of water. Capes are notorious for producing choppy seas and weird currents. No need worrying about water depth too. Nope…..I’ll all in for going out and around the flashing beacon.
But, Dan gets Gabi on the radio and she says they are showing 16 meters under the keel as they are going through. She says it’s choppy and such but okay to follow. Perhaps Dan was seeing 16 and thinking feet not meters. There are times we have to stop and think about it. It would be so nice if the USA would just switch to the metric system already so we aren’t constantly having to do calculations and think about whether we are looking at metric or not.
Dan decides we will follow SuAn. As usual, he sends me to the foredeck with the headset on to be his eyes on the front of Dazzler. I’ve put on my vest and secured myself to the jack line to be sure I don’t get tossed overboard if I lose my grip. I really don’t mind being on deck going through these passes. It can be quite terrifying yet exhilarating at the same time. After all, they don’t call me Jungle Jilly for nothing. I certainly do love an adventure.
This cape is the same as so many others we’ve rounded all over the world. Lots of upwellings, strong conflicting currents and wild waves. At one point as we’re just about to leave the rough water Dazzler jumps high into the air then comes crashing down on the water. The bowsprit goes under the deep blue sea and my eyes literally pop out of my head like that of a cartoon character. Boooing!
Now THAT is a little more than I was expecting to have happen out here. It is a bit unsettling but I’m just glad I didn’t get doused with green water. A moment or two later we are through the chaos and and the water begins to smooth out as we make the starboard turn into Queen Charlotte Sound.
Queen Charlotte Sound
The rest of the trip is without incident as we move through the sound taking in the majesty of the mountains and looking out for the any sign of sea life. Somewhere on the journey I was on the bow when I was rewarded for my diligence by a sea lion who decided to pop his head up for a few moments, look me in the eye and then move on. HOORAY!!! My day has been made!
We arrive at Picton Marina and are told we will be docking on the same finger as SuAn. We will go in first and they will dock behind us. As usual, Dan makes us look like professionals as he lines Dazzler up and slides her up to the dock. He jumps out to get the lines and I take his place behind the helm. A man walking down the dock asks if we need help but honestly, it’s rare that we want anyone to help. We’ve sort of mastered this over the years and other people seem to just get in the way. We decline and he moves along.
We are just tied up when SuAn begins to take her turn at it. Lutz at the helm and Gabi tending lines they slide in behind us looking just as professional. Within fifteen minutes we have both boats tied securely to the dock and are enjoying some anchor down libations.
The view from our slip is simply sublime! Off the port side bow we can see the car ferries at the port loading and unloading cars and passengers. We’ve been on one of those ferries back in 2019 when we took our car trip from Whangerie to Queenstown. From the stern of Dazzler we see first SuAn then behind her the waterfront area of town. There are water taxis and charter boats scurrying around in the basin and on shore tourists are snapping pics of each other.
Graham, one of the marina mates, stops by to ensure everything is good. We tell him we’ll head up to the office to check in and pay in a few minutes. He says he’ll get us a pigtail for the power as well as our gate/shower keycards. About ten minutes later he is back at Dazzler with both. He said he needed to get some other things done and didn’t have time to wait. Thanks Graham!
Celebrating In Beautiful Picton
That afternoon we headed into town. The walk from the guest dock is less than ten minutes to the main city centre. You walk up and over a very tall footbridge and it drops you just a hundred meters or so from the main road.
We take a short walk through town looking through some of the tourist shops. This is a big tourist spot. It’s the first stop people come to when driving as it’s the only place where the car ferries dock. And, just on the doorstep to Picton is the Marlborough wine region where many brilliant wines are produced. We drove all through the area in 2019. It’s really very beautiful.
After a sightseeing trip through town we head over to Seumus’ Irish Pub for a bite to eat. This little place is the quintessential Irish Pub with all of the typical knickknacks, doodads, food and drink you’d expect to find including the requisite Guinness Ale on Tap.
The food is very good and the beer is cold but the company is no doubt the best part of it all. The four of us are never short of interesting things to cuss and discuss. Today’s topic is Gabi’s birthday which will be here in just a few more hours.
Gabi has asked if we would come to SuAn to play dominoes in the afternoon as it’s supposed to rain. This is something the four of us love to do together. After a gaming day on board we will go to Oxley’s Bar & Restaurant for dinner. Sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate her special day.
The following afternoon we make the fifteen step walk back to their boat and surprise Gabi with our own birthday serenade complete with Dan strumming the ukulele. Of course we don’t sound nearly as good as she and Lutz did when they serenaded me but it’s the thought that counts right?
We enjoy an afternoon of dominoes then head to town for dinner where we share a wonderful meal in a very cute restaurant. The building was originally known as the Bank Hotel built in 1870 and was the first building in Picton to have electricity. Unfortunately the actual building itself was torn down in 2004 but the main facade was kept.
After dinner we enjoy a few cocktails aboard SuAn where Lutz plays his guitar and sings for us. It’s another wonderful evening in the fabulous world of cruisers. Tomorrow they will leave us as we plan to stay in the marina one more day, but we will find them and once again we will do what cruisers do…share the adventures of a new a beautiful spot in this marvelous world.
Until next time,