February 11, 2005
Bluff, New Zealand, pt. 2
We arrived at 2:00 this morning in a calm between two weather systems. Late yesterday afternoon I reached Mary on Bluff Fisherman's Radio and she arranged for customs and quarantine to meet us on the dock on arrival. Entering the harbor is not recommended at night but with the deteriorating weather forecast for later today Mary arranged for a returning fishing boat to slow down and lead us through the shoals. We picked up his lights and followed him in.
All cruisers who enter here get special treatment. On average five pleasure boats make this crossing each year but, surprisingly, we were the second boat today and a third is due tomorrow.
The Quarantine health officer was efficient and cleaned us out of fruit, vegetables and meat to be incinerated. This country relies on its farms for much of its livelihood and its remote location has insulated it from many of the diseases that we take for granted. Quarantine's mission is to keep those diseases out. They take it very seriously.
Jeannie stomach churned but cooperated as the health inspector filled garbage bags with our fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and popcorn. The officer seemed relieved. This afternoon we met Patty from the Netherlands from the boat that checked in just before us. Patty was furious when the officer found her hidden meat and took it. She tried to convince that Spanish oranges were bug free and when this failed tried to eat them all.
We awoke at 10:00 to a grey rainy day. During breakfast a fishing boat came up and hung off our port rail. We expected he wanted us to move from his spot. Instead of a scowl, a smile greeted me as I poked out with a "good morning". "Do you like lobster?" was the response. My "yes" was rewarded with a lobster of a size that would cause animal right's crusaders to riot.
This afternoon "Fisherman's Radio" Mary drove Jeannie and Patty into Invercargill to buy groceries and change money.
February 18, 2005
Port Adventure, Stewart Island
We are spending our fourth night on Stewart Island which is just below the South Island of New Zealand and at 47 South, well into the Roaring Forties. It seems gales are always in the forecast here. Our goal is to get the bottom of this wild and beautiful place and then head northwest to the Sounds. It is not easy. We waited for the winds to die today and ventured out afternoon. The fifteen knot winds became thirty and the head on seas driven by the counter current buried Onora's nose as we attempted to make it south to Port Pegasus. We retreated.
- NEXT - Port Pegasus -