Sunday, December 7, 2008

Completing our trip to Otago Harbour

A clear sky and no wind, just what we needed to kayak the remaining 40km to reach the Otago Harbour. Left St Clair at 7am with perfect sea conditions. After rounding Cape Saunders we stopped at Papanui beach for lunch with several yellow eyed penguins who made their way past us on their way to feed their chicks nested in the hills backing onto the beach. Good conditions continued and we were soon rounding Taiaroa Head to land on the beach below the DOC albatross centre. While we were kayaking around Taiaroa Head it was great to view two albatross that flew close by after taking off from the breeding colany.

At 4pm Margaret arrived with our vehicle and it didn't take long to load up & start off to Tony Linburg's home for a clean up, meal and a good nights' sleep. Special thanks to Tony from Watercooled Sports for his support during the later part of our trip.

We've made it to St Clair beach!

Started off from Toko Mouth with a 2 - 3 metre southerly swell and a slight southerly breeze, ideal conditions for a good paddle. Landed on Taieri Island about mid day and had lunch with a bunch of Little Blue penguins, while a couple of Yellow eyed penguins stroled over to our kayaks for a look see. Had to land in a big surf break at St Clair, but 'got it right' and impressed the local surf club, who invited us to use their facilities and stay there for the night. We would like to thank the St Clair Surf Club for allowing us to stay there and for the use of their showers and club rooms. Kayaked over 55km to-day. The forecast is good for kayaking around Cape Saunders and Taiaroa Head tomorrow into the Otago Harbour. Picture is of a yellow eyed penguin checking out Mel's kayak.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rough seas continue

Kayaking through a huge surf was not a good start to the day. A 3 metre southerly swell and cold conditions made for unpleasant paddling and we've decided to abandon our kayaking with a rough landing at the Tokomairiro River mouth. Spending the rest of the day taking a look around the small Toko Mouth settlement and watching the sea. Have our fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Strong winds & stormy sea.

Two hours after leaving Kaka point we were hit by a Southerly storm and had to make an unexpected crash landing on the beach near Wangaloa. Local farmers offered us the use of their caravan to shelter from the storm, along with food and blankets to keep warm. We would like to thank local people Luke & Nakita, and Tim & Marina for the hospitallity they showed us. Didn't sleep all that well as the southerly wind blew strongly throughout the night and we hope for a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Caves, lighthouses and flat seas.

Blue sky, no wind and a flat sea, perfect conditions for sea kayaking. We paddled directly from Tautuku Pt. to Long Pt. and on to our lunch stop at the DOC camp site at Purakaunui Bay. Were able to kayak through the 'Remarkable Caves' and then around Nugget Pt. Paddled with lots of seals to-day and saw our first yellow eyed penguin. Staying at the backpackers at Kaka Point to-night, hot showers & ice cream, great stuff. Picture is of one of the caves with Nugget Pt. in the background.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Camping under the Francis Pillars

Paddled into a strong NW headwind to-day. Going was very difficult around the shear but spectacular cliffs of Chaslands Mistake. Were unable to paddle against very strong winds in the afternoon so made camp on a small beach just south of the Tautuku Peninsula. Picture is of Melanie kayaking in the surf beside the Francis Pillars. A tough day on the water.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Porpoise Bay & going well

A fine day saw us on the water at 7am. Reached the old slipway at Fortrose by mid morning and rounded Waipapa Point before lunch. Have seen lots of seals and one pod of dolphins swam by. One seal followed us for 15 minutes, playing as it swam between our kayaks. A southerly breeze assisted us in the afternoon which helped as reach the camp ground at Porpoise Bay by 4pm.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Continuing our trip from Bluff

A late start from Bluff but good to be back continuing our planned paddle around the Catlins. A tiring paddle along the endless Toetoes Bay shoreline ends when we make camp at Waituna Lagoon. Good day with fine weather forcast.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our Journey Continues...

Firstly we would like to Thank you all for helping us along the way.

Our trip started off with some bad weather down to Dusky Sound, we had to be patient & wait it out until the weather became better.

Our five person trip turned into a 2 person trip as time went on. Both Bob & Ian ran out of time & had to get back to work & John left us earlier on.

We were then able to take advantage of the better weather & tides. The Fishing & Charter Boats in Dusky Sound & along the coastline were keeping an eye on us. On our way through Preservation Inlet the guys at Kisbee Lodge were also very helpful.

A big Thanks goes out to Bill & Mary, our friends from Palmerston North now living in Dunedin. Bill had a weather forecast waiting for us every night when we rang. Also Margaret, who relayed messages for us. Thanks to Matt who was our blog man & kept you up to date with our journey.

We will be traveling up to the National Sea Kayak Forum where we will do a presentation of our trip so far around Fiordland. Soon after, we will travel back down to Bluff & carry on our journey up to Dunedin where we will do another presentation at Watercooled Sports.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Made it to Bluff!

Good day to-day and made it to Bluff.

Winds turned to Southwest and made it very choppy and difficult to paddle into. Were glad to finally struggle around Southwest Point and finally paddle into Bluff Harbour.

After changing into dry clothes we treated ourselves to a delicious meal of fresh Bluff oysters. Then packed up to start our long journey home.

Photo attached is of us at Bluff.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Destination - Oreti Bay

Today our destination was Oreti Bay


To-day was very long and ended in a rough surf landing at Oreti Beach.
During the trip we kayaked through a bird feeding frenzy of Shearwaters,
shags and several different sea birds - it was a bit scary as fish were also
jumping out of the water. Also, just before surfing into Oreti Beach a
Hectors dolphin swam alongside our kayaks.

Phone call this morning, today will
be their final day, finishing at Bluff.

They hope to be at Bill's tonight and will send their final report along
with some more photos. Have to drive back up to Te Anau to get Bob's and
Ian's kayaks before going to Dunedin.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Kawakaputa Bay

Reached Kawakaputa Bay and stayed for the night. E2110470 N5412717

What the heck are these Easting and Northing coordinates that are posted in each article? Well, if you really want to know then head here...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Te Waewae Bay!

We've finally reached Port Craig (read more about it here) and managed to get cell-phone signal to call in this report (E2075174 N5428253). Port Craig was once the largest timber producing town in New Zealand, with it's own jetty and ships docking regularly, and it's own rail, however - there's no road access to anywhere else!

We can almost see Riverton from where we are - sitting on the jetty, eating tea and watching two dolphins playing. Managed to get everything washed and even had time for a swim.

We plan to cross Te Waewae bay tomorrow (Sunday), then to Bluff on Monday. Expecting a slight southerly but conditions should be good enough.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another great day

Grid reference E2048852 N5425486
Another great day - that's two in a row.
42 kms today - conditions good and both feeling pretty good too, especially as we are nearing the completion of our journey. Hope to make Port Craig on Saturday.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Great progress - at last!

Thursday 10th April. Great Progress.
Grid reference E2018062 N5432557

Paddled down from Newton River into Chalky Inlet, around inland side of Chalky Island and past Gulches Head. Very rough, confused conditions at this point. Paddled into Preservation Inlet and enjoyed going through all the big archways.

Met the very friendly people from Kisbee Lodge
who kindly provided us with our evening meal of crayfish and paua. Living like kings. On past the old gold mining town where there had been a pub and a post office but now only an A-frame hut.

Camped on Puysegur Point at oil shed where we have bunks and preparing for a good cookup. Spent 2 hours walking up to the Puysegur Lighthouse.

Really feel like we are making progress now. Plan to get to Knife bad Steel Harbour tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Farewell Ian & Bob

Wednesday: E2001725 N5457760

Up at 5am! to farewell Ian and Bob who have left us to paddle up to Supper Cove to be choppered out at 4pm. Bob has run out of time available for the expedition, and Ian is suffering from a wrist injury.

Noises during the night (thought it was opossums) turned out to be a kiwi wanting to reclaim his patch.

Max & Melz headed south to West Cape (again) in similar conditions but this time only a 3m swell and made it to Newton River (just under West Cape). Both fit and well and enjoying the trip. The people they are meeting en-route (fishing boats etc) are really friendly and they've managed to score veal and venison sausages as well as a bit of blue cod.

Forecast is good for the next few days so we are hoping to make good progress down the coast over the next two days.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hard work! Little progress!

We left Luncheon Cove, heading South into a 4-5 metre swell and 30 knot southerly off West Cape making very slow progress. After 6 hours we stopped to discuss our options and decided to turn back, taking 3 hours to return to Cascade Cove. Very tired after such a long paddle (around 9 hours). A real hard battle in pretty nasty conditions. Camped today at E2011731 N5469362 (Cascade Cove) and hoping for a break so we can get down to Chalky Inlet.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Goose Cove to Anchor Island

(An excited Max reports...)
Sunday: Breezy wandering around Dusky Sound. Left Goose Cove early and visited Pigeon Island (E2007853 N5480325) whereRichard Henry set up the first bird sanctuary in New Zealand, and transferred as many flightless birds as he could from the mainland to avoid predation (read more here...)

Onward to Stop Island where the ship Waikare sank. The Captain ran the ship aground and all aboard landed safely more...

Indian Island (E2010749 N5470672) where the first encounter between Maori and European took place - the Maori family here were later wiped out by a Te Rauparaha war party.

We finished our day at Luncheon Cove on Anchor Island (E2006585 N5473919), the site of the first European house (for sealers) and where the first ship was built in New Zealand.

Big jump tomorrow, weather permitting, to Chalky Bay.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fuscia to Goose Cove

N5485913 E200801 Woke to find a flock of yellow-crested penguins camped beside us in Fuscia Cove. Lunch at Breaksea Island, lots of seals.

Now in Goose Cove - didn't go via Acheron Passage - went thru a wee gap in Five Fingers Peninsula.

Good following sea, 4m swell and good paddling - around 50km today. Cold and miserable at the moment, but still quite good.

Heres a couple of older pics to show what we mean...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Rough weather

N5517988 E2025137 Big seas and heavy swell, likely to stay in for the next couple of days.

John returning to Deep Cove and should be back home on Saturday. (John ended up getting back real quick - probably picked up by a passing boat).

More rough weather.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Gut Hut to Fuschia Cove, Dagg Sound

Rough day today! Max endoed when landing at Fuschia Cove (in Dagg Sound). John is suffering from over-exposure and pulling out so today they're paddling down to the end of Dagg Sound and portaging into Haul Arm? and then John will be returning to civilisation.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Doubtful Sound, Gut Hut

Well, yesterday's paddle was a real battle with strong head winds - we managed around 26km in 4 hours but reached Gut Hut. Unable to report in until today as we had trouble with the batteries in the sat-phone, and we couldn't take the mountain radio with us as it was too big to carry (guess that's why they're called mountain radios), however now sorted and able to get weather data (fingers crossed) each evening from Bill Anderson in Dunedin. We had a great spot of fishing and a good variety of fish for dinner. Heading today to Dagg Sound in perfect weather.

More or less as reported by Max

Monday, March 31, 2008

Summary of our earlier progress...

1st Day Jackson Bay to Hope River Hut, Barn Bay. Good days paddling with spectacular views going around Cascade Point.

2nd Day Hope River to Big Bay Hut. Stopped at Gorge River to visit Robert & Catherine Long. Paddled with a small pod of Hector Dolphins at Big Bay. They were very friendly and swam alongside our kayaks and leaping into the air. A very good day full of excitement.

3rd Day Big Bay to Martins bay. Rough seas from the South: Max capsized off Martins Bay but was able to safely roll up again. Could not make much progress and had a difficult landing at Martins Bay. Only did 16km.

4th Day Martins Bay to Poison Bay. Seas settling down. Stopped at entrance to Milford Sound for lunch – awesome views with towering cliffs. Found a good camping spot in Poison Bay.

5th Day Poison Bay to Caswell Sound. Very long paddle to-day – 62km. Conditions were perfect but we were really tired that night.

6th Day Caswell Sound to Gut Hut, Secretary Island. Strong winds from the north allowed us to surf all the way to Thompson Sound. Also had a good paddle to Doubtful Sound where we eventually found the Gut Hut.

7th Day Gut Hut to Deep Cove. Good day with spectacular views of sheer cliffs with small water falls cascading into the sea. Great to stay at the backpackers at Deep Cove and enjoy a hot shower.

8th Day Deep Cove to Gut Hut. Refreshed, restocked and ready to make our way further South. Thanks to Reg & Jo Calder for all their help.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Completing the Fiordland Paddle

Hi Folks

Just a few more sleeps to go 'til we're on the water!

We'll be keeping this map and blog up-to-date with our progress, blog entries and pix as we progress through the remainder of our Fiordland Expedition - sending info most days via sat-phone (we hope).

The purpose of our trip is to complete the paddle around Fiordland (and then, who knows?) and more importantly to raise money for the Child Cancer Foundation.

We'd be very grateful if you'd like to contribute to this worthy cause by sponsoring us or making a pledge, click here.. or wherever you see the Child Cancer Foundation logo.

Thanks to all those who have made this trip possible through your support and generosity.

Max & Melz Grant