Chatham Island

Simon and Kitty van Hagen
Tue 12 Feb 2013 21:15
Yesterday ten miles away from the island there was still no sign of land.  Low cloud on the horizon but nothing else. Even with GPS and all the electronic charts we still check again that we are on the right course. Suddenly a nipple of a hill becomes visible. These are low lying islands. Meanwhile the air is thick with birds. Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Fulmars and terns wheel and swoop around us.  We identified various endemic species which is a thrill in itself. To our surprise it is much warmer here than anticipated. The water temperature has only just dropped from 20 c to 16c. The wind is forecast to stay in the northern sector so we decided to anchor in one of the bays that showed an  anchor on the chart. no cruising guide yet to the Chatham's! Ocean bay looked too open so on to the next, Port Hutt where there were fish works marked, looked the best option. A scattering of sheds on the shore, a rough slip with a rusty tractor at the head, two rusting hulks - and that was it. Dodging cray pots and patches of kelp we nosed our way in and dropped our anchor in 6 meters of sand. Excellent holding. Within five minutes I'd hooked a huge cod and a sole! Fresh fish for supper.