Simon and Kitty van Hagen
Tue 19 Feb 2013 23:29
167:33:78WMore from the Chatham Islands.
Port Hutt. The water was expresso coffee coloured from the run off ashore where the beach gave way to solid peat. so we had no idea what the bottom was like. It's easy to avoid the patches of kelp and the many cray pots. The beach ahead was white sand so we dropped the anchor in 6 metres and it set immediately.
It didn't surprise us that the following morning we were woken up at daybreak with the cray fishermen swooping past us in their boats to get a good look at us.Later that day they returned and we were given a generous gift of crayfish.
gifts from George
Where are the Chatham Islands? For most New Zealanders it's the last place to mentioned on the Marine weather forecast but few of them know that the time difference is 45 minutes ahead of New Zealand time - yes we crossed the date line. For those of you who use Navionics on their Ipad, our track shows us having travelled right the way around the world in 2 days ..... surely this is a yachting record?
The islands are situated right in the path of the roaring forties so we were lucky, or just good planning, that we had fantastic weather. The Moriori, the first inhabitants, called the island Rekohu Misty skies on account of the mists that rise from the confluence of cold subantartic currents meeting warm subtropical streams west of the group. We noticed the change in water temperature as we approached. This merging of currents creates upwellings of nutrients that have attracted whales, seals and feeding birds to this part of the ocean in large numbers.
Chatham Island Albatross
Albatross are so hard to photograph, thank goodness for digital cameras! We moved from our first anchorage over to Waitangi, the main port where there is the Chatham Island Hotel, the store, a church, bottle bank and hospital. There is also a courthouse/jail/Policeman who visited up by canoe!
We asked Paul if he'd like to come on board for a beer but he declined saying everyone is watching and longing for me to fall in! We tried to arrange a trip over to Pitt Island but there was no chance. We rented a car for the day and had a happy day's outing.
Many of the islands' native plants and animals are found nowhere else.
Chatham Island aster
trees growing shaped by the constant wind.
Gurnard - delicious fish
Perfect Sunset with a royal Albatross wheeling past. Sadly we ran out of water and had to cut short our visit. The fishermen on the wharf told us that the water was definitely non drinkable and our water maker had decided to pack up. In spite of Simon's efforts it just flooded the boat with water.... so headed back to Napier. Just 100 litres of water seemed like severe drought to us. Especially with fresh water flush loos. So buckets of salt water for them and it was back to the old days of cleaning your teeth in salt water and washing in a cup of fresh.