February 20, 2005
Port Pegasus, Stewart Island
We woke to calm winds and drizzle. We decided to go for it. The winds gradually built as we sailed down the east cost of the island. Just before entering the majestic sound that is Port Pegasus the wind returned gale force. It was blowing over 40 knots on arrival in our narrow anchorage. The high wind cancelled our plan to tie to shore. Instead we set two anchors and maintained an anchor watch of four hours on and four hours off through the night as the wind howled in this wild desolate place. The storm warning was not an exaggeration.
Today we tied on our hiking boots and picked our way through the bush to a tundra plain and followed cairns to the top of a mountain. All around us was just wind blown sea and wilderness. The harsh climate has pealed off much of the vegetation and left bare rock faces on the mountains. Sealers lived here one hundred years ago. When the seals were killed off the hunters moved on. All signs of human habitation are gone. There are two Japanese factory fishing boats here and another sailboat that runs adventure charter parties. The sailboat reported that they had tied to shore last night and pulled two trees out by the roots.
March 4, 2005
41 10 S 171 38 E
We have spent the last nine days exploring the Sounds. Milford is the most famous of the dozen. These glacier cut channels run between mountains. Waterfalls cascade down the shear sides that climb up to three thousand feet high. New Zealand bills itself as "Nature's Masterpiece". This is New Zealand's masterpiece.
Anchoring is a challenge. The bottom is often hundreds of feet deep. Jeannie releases the anchor as I back up to shore. We pray that the anchor will grab on the steep slope. As soon as it does I jump in the dinghy and run our 7/8 inch thick line to a tree. The anchor does not always catch on the so we must repeat the process until we know we are secure.
We left Milford this morning and are heading up the coast of New Zealand's South Island to Nelson where we will meet friends, do laundry, get mail, and boat repairs. After three weeks we are looking forward to civilization.
March 9, 2005
We arrived in Nelson three days ago and are catching up with friends from Wanderer IV that we met in Panama ten years. They have settled here in Robyn's home town. Jeannie is happy. After having just Jim to talk to for a month she has Robyn, who, with Cary and their two girls, has recently moved off their boat and into a house. Robyn's company and decorating projects are therapy for Jean.
We are relieved to be here. The waters we have passed through are notorious for storms and big seas. We have picked our weather carefully and been lucky enough to have been in secure spots when the worst of the weather came.
Behind is our first test in the "Roaring Forties". Fortunately, after over seventy thousand ocean miles we can continue to say that the highest winds we have ever sailed in were on Lake Michigan.
May 26, 2005
We fly home today for a month and a half to settle taxes, business issues and to see family and friends. We have been busy with visits from our daughter's family, our St. Louis friends, the Powers and Jim's brother and sister in law. In between visits we have been busy with boat maintenance projects.
While we are gone Kelly Archer, Onora's builder, will oversee modifications to get her ready for the high latitudes. The fuel capacity will be increased. The "gooseneck" that holds the boom to the mast will be strengthened. A third reef will be sewn in to allow further mainsail reduction in high winds.
We have logged over thirteen thousand miles in ten months and know the boat well. We love it. It is fast, strong and comfortable. We look forward to the next test which will be our 4500 mile trip across the Southern Ocean to Chile.