Day one we all gathered at the shed, five of the team had spent the night on the shed floor, and five more made their way from Nelson early on the Thursday morning. The teams for the trip:
Debbie & Elizabeth (Bob) – known as Anzac II
Brendan & Katy – known as Anzac I (one being superior to two in this case)
Michele & Hans – team greatest height difference and
Michael & Caroline – team U S A.
All lead by our on water co-leaders Emily and Lyndsay flying solo.
Before the trip we had a mixed weather forecast and our initial plans were to be changed as conditions predicted on the water, sometimes rather quickly. In all the weather held and for the most part the water was calm and the sun was out.
Our friendly crew set us up and drove us out to Tennyson Inlet where we launched the boats at around 13:00 at Duncan’s Bay. The first day was pretty short and uneventful, but we were introduced to our first CROSSING. This crossing in front of Maud Island (MI) was tame compared to some of our other more advanced crossings later on in the trip
We stayed at a nice little campsite in Waiona Bay, the Weka capital of the Marlbourgh Sounds. As would become the campsite ritual, the tarp was set up and the fire was started. We got a great sunset followed by an impressive moon rise (one day before the full moon), the Weka’s did their best to disrupt the peace and managed to get away with some of Lyndsay’s bread and also nearly managed to provide us with dinner after one ran through the fire trying to escape its pursuer (another Weka).
The next morning the winds from the north were up a bit, but as we could not see the white caps from our tents we set off at nine. We were going to make our way across to MI and then move clock wise around towards Pelorus Sounds. Here came our first crossing of any note, with the tide running out and the winds whipping in from the North we were confronted with a monster swell (1/2 a foot), turning our noses into the waves we made our way across to MI battling the seas for 30 minutes or so. Once we had closed in on the shore we spun 180 and tried to ride the waves into the island. Some of the crews were really good at riding waves and some really struggled.
Everyone had their eyes peeled for the giant Tuatara and the uncoordinated Maud Island frog; unfortunately there were none to be seen. However we did see a delightful seal pup in the water at the point of the island. A search along some uninspiring farm land did not yield any spots for lunch so we made our way into the Pelorus Sounds and into Wilson’s Bay for lunch.
After lunch we cruised over to Jacobs Bay where a fair bit of confusion set in with half the group thinking we were camping in Nydia Bay and the other half wanting to stay in Jacobs Bay, eventually it was decided by vote that we were going to stay at Jacobs Bay and the people who wanted a longer paddle could make their way around the next few bays while the light was good. This was the first opportunity for the group to drop a line: heaps of bites and lots of lost bait with the only fish caught being an unidentified small thing (official term for it). Extra bonus at the Jacobs Bay campsite was the jetty’s thriving oyster population; downside was the available campsites meaning Debbie plonked her tent on top of the trail, tisk tisk Debbie, oh and the water was a little dirty.
The next day we started on the water again at nine after a noisy night near the nesting shags, we checked out Fairy Bay, Penguin Bay, Chance Bay and finally into Nydia Bay, very nice bush right down to the water line was present in these bays and made for a nice start to the day. We ventured further into Pelorus Sound and stopped for lunch at Pipi beach campsite, perfect spot to stop as it allowed us to get out of the current when it was strongest. After lunch and dodging a few shadflies we made our way down the bank towards the opening of the Kenepuru Sound, for this crossing we needed to remain tight as a unit as there were plenty of boats using this area to get out to the outer sounds, after the crossing we made our way into Kenepuru Sound until we reached Ferndale campsite. When we turned up there was a family in the large camping area; after a short discussion they decided to move to the other end of the beach, obviously they had heard of the WTMC mafia.
On the Saturday night we ate fresh mussels and oysters and Hans somehow lost the chocolate pudding when he tried to set it in the cold water of the rising tide, we suspect he ate it under a tree.
Sunday morning we were blessed with the best conditions of all four days: The water was glassy, the sun was shinny and the wind was nowhere to be seen. We cruised around into bays of the scenic reserve and into Mills Bay, before it was time to turn for home. We stopped briefly in Broughton Bay for lunch and then back into Pelorus Sound past two fairy penguins and all the way back to Double Bay.
Anzac I was found to be superior to Anzac II, in straight-line speed situations, but was found to be less reliable when there were obstacles, namely mussel farms buoys.