Surf’s Up and Kiwi spotting

After Dusky Sound I thought that was it – all the terror, beauty, serenity and nature a person could take! But I was wrong, New Zealand keeps on delivering the goods..

I have had another stunning week. As I write this I am gliding across a glassy sea past rafts of penguins and beautiful sand islands with granite outcrops (very like Donegal actually) on my way to try to spot the illusive Great Whites that seem to congregate here.

P1020191After enduring 38kn and sleet in Oban (again, not unlike the other Oban in winter), I had a hairy motor round into Paterson Inlet. There was a fair bit of tide running and the wind was onshore which made for a nerve racking 1.5kn journey round Native Island. Once inside however, the world became friendly again.

P1020236I anchored beside a Othello, a sunken Norwegian whaler and explored the ruins of a Whalers Camp. The temperature got down to 3 degrees and the hail did not melt overnight.

I pottered about into Sawdust Bay sailing between sandbanks for fun and testing my new upwind performance. I then squeezed into Sailors Rest, actually managing to make Sirens’ Song go backwards in an almost straight line to pick up a line from shore.

I spent the most excellent evening with Alan and Annie who have a wealth of experience and stories to tell about their travels. They are about to start a (nother) circumnavigation and between them probably have about 4 times the milage already.

A&A took we on a walk the next day to Ocean beach and it had beautiful little 3ft peelers. I couldn’t resist – even though there is Great White cage diving only 5 miles away, I couldn’t pass up these great little waves or the chance to surf at 46 degrees south.

P10203125 mm wetsuit and booties on and away I went on my we 5″8 four fin – it’s a flying machine and perfect for these conditions. After a nervous couple of waves I headed for shore looking over my shoulder the whole way.

After a beautiful meal of Blue Cod (thank you Alan), I headed out to see if I could see some Kiwi in the wild. I joined a group that arrived by boat and we all traipsed across to the same beach. Low and behold, 6 gorgeous, dumpy, strange flightless birds – what a treat. I’ll process the pictures, but I didn’t want to scare the birds so no flash.

What a day – great company, oysters, a surf, blue cod and Kiwi in the wild – does it get any better?

I’m heading north now hoping to get a little surfing in whilst on my way to Christchurch. Tigs is coming across which is a special treat…

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