Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Imminent Departure

Park on the waterfront - Wellington ferry
Here we are in Picton New Zealand - tied up in the town marina. This is the main ferry terminal which connects the North and South Island between Picton and the nation's capital of Wellington. We're booked to clear Customs tomorrow morning, We'll  leave here bound for South Ameica shortly afterwards. As if mirroring our feelings about leaving this part of the world and these beautiful lands, today has turned out grey and rainy. After checking the weather,  however, Larry says tomorrow should be a perfect day to depart.

Picton Waterfront
Picton is a very lovely small city as these photos show. Residents here tell us that they would 'never leave'. I include a photo of Blenheim which Larry visited because of his toothache. After a thorough inspection by the dentist, it turned out that nothing was wrong, but Larry ended up taking the bus at 7:30 with the return trip at 5:30 to Blenheim for an 11:00 appointment. There were no openings at the dental clinic in Picton. So here also is Larry's photo of Blenheim.

View of the Marina


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Reunions, Meetings, Greetings and Soundings

Terry Fitz & Christine Lindsay
Throngs of Gannets
Nesting gannet

This has to be a very long blog because it has been an eventful month. Early in the month, we flew over to Auckland on the N Island for a reunion with Christine Lindsay and partner Terry Spitz … it was to have been a 6-year Reunion when we (along with stellar athlete Marigold Edwards) met up at Gulf Harbour Marina north of Auckland for a sail together over to Great Barrier Island. Unfortunately, ‘Goldie’ wisely (in view of a delayed NZ Summer) isn’t getting back to her home country until late February when we hope that Traversay III will be Chile-bound. We missed having Goldie with us, but her friend Dr Nelly Steinemann came for a visit and to see the NWP Show aboard Terry and Christine’s good ship ‘Shiraz’. Some wanderings we shared took us over to Muriwai on the west coast to see the Gannet Colonies, and also for a beautiful walk in Shakespear Park on a clear and sunny day.

Shakespear Park walk

Richard & Michelle on Theleme

More reunions: Returning to Nelson, friends Michelle and Richard from the French-flagged ‘SV Theleme’ reminded us of times we spent sharing anchorages in Chilean Patagonia. Before untying the lines, guests came over for crackers and cheese. I had met Lorna at the Gym I joined in Nelson 10 years ago so she and Peter were aboard once again along with new friends such as Helen (a fellow boat-owner at the Nelson Marina), Ruth and Tom (whose fabulous aluminium boat ‘Matariki’ is now for sale at the marina), Alister and Kim and Tom and Vicky (Sunstone).
Peter, Lorna, Helen, Tom & Vicky

Wai Choong
Having been introduced to Wai by our friend Jen (see previous blogs) we were delighted to have dinner at his home and to see the very old piano (a ‘Kuhlu’ piano circa 1900 from Berlin) which is most beautiful with a mellow, silvery tone and is set in a tomato-red room furnished with a most elegant oriental carpet. We have been driven around and helped in our provisioning and
Wai's piano
air travels by Wai and Jen, and given a loving send-off by Maurice and Katie Cloughley. We are going to try to return in five years time to share important birthdays, and also to pay a return visit to the Mt Arthur Tablelands.

Soundings: A few days ago we left Nelson for
Pelorus Sound with a fair weather outlook. After catching up with the classic ‘Irene’ who resembles a beautiful white cloud as she sweeps through the waters, we travelled through French Pass. We’ve been revisiting some of the scenery that we travelled through a decade ago with Traversay’s Waterline sister-ship ‘Red’.  The weather so far has not been very co-operative and since leaving Nelson, we’ve had to ‘take cover’ several times.
'Red' in  the Sounds

Dick & Pat's classic yacht - SV 'Irene'
Kelly & Leslie

We were lucky to meet up with ‘Chantelle’ in Bulmer Bay 2 days ago just before a huge storm. We’d spent the previous night there – anchored with 275 feet of anchor chain out. Kelly advised us to take up one of the mooring balls next to his yacht ‘Chantelle’ and we spent 24 very windy hours safely tied up. We don’t always know whether mooring balls have been recently tested or whether they’re sufficiently strong to hold a heavy steel boat such as ours, but Kelly has been boating in these parts, and fishing off the west coast for years and years and his is trustworthy knowledge!

We’re now en-route to Queen Charlotte Sound where we hope to find another ‘bolthole’ anchorage as more bad weather is in the forecast. Bad weather is far from our minds at the moment – sunshine and remarkably beautiful scenery as we travel through this blessed land drives thoughts of stormy winds away – at least for the moment. We know that we may again be able to live through poor weather by tying to the shore as well as anchoring, and also by exploring the beautiful underwater kingdom.
Sea star and anemones


Our last dive here at Maori Bay yielded more of Larry’s terrific photos. We were especially pleased to see a few large sea stars. These have been disappearing in BC waters due to an unknown killer (possibly a virus of some type).

Thursday, 5 January 2017

People, Events and incredible Spaces

Kim with her Christmas 'Trifle'
Our time here feels very limited as we continue to meet new and re-meet good old friends here. We know we must move on very soon. The Captain has important boat repairs and parts to order before we again face the stormy Southern Ocean. We’re hoping to avoid being ‘knocked down’ as we were in our crossing to Chile in 2008 so we’ll leave in early February this time rather than in blustery March. Our piano is surprised at all the music it’s being asked for these days. I’m meeting many   interesting pianos and am asked to play so I have to practice a great deal at home. Fellow marina dwellers who have stopped by are Robert and Jen (of ‘Kapella’), Dick and Pat (of ‘Irene’), and also Kim and Alister who reciprocated at their home and gave us a tour of the steel/wooden yacht which Alister has built from the ‘ground up’ – a masterpiece of interesting design and well thought-out detail.
Jen Urquhart's Cobb Cottage

 Assorted Canadian guests - Ann and Glenn (formerly of NWP yacht ‘Gjoa’) came by for dinner and the Robertsons of Nova Scotia (see photo) came by to listen and to look at Traversay III.
with Juday & Marine Robertson

Cobb Cootage detail
Jen's dining room
Jen Urquhart invited us to see her gem of a home – it’s a ‘Cobb Cottage’ – built by the pioneers 160 years ago … while there I played her piano and was given two boxes of ‘vintage’ music to sort through. Great FUN for me! While there we met Wai and were invited for a fabulous Chinese meal and I ended up playing one of the most beautiful-looking old instruments I’ve ever seen. We went off for a potluck lunch and got through our Northwest Passage presentation for Tom and Vicky (of ‘Sunstone’) at their beautiful sea-fronted home.
Larry & Jen  - patio scene 
But the highlight of this stop in Nelson was Christmas dinner at Maurice and Katie’s. ‘Winter Quarters’ shows the love and care which people who have lived aboard a boat for many years can bring to a dearly beloved and cared for First Home and Garden. It is filled with books and precious mementoes from their many travels. A Good Time was had by all - as you can see by these photos of glee and over-indulgence!

Maurice, Kim, Katie. M.A., Alister, Pat and Dick

Katie and Mo with the amazing 'spread'

'Winter Quarters' garden with Maurice's mosaics of Kiwi endemic bird species