Back to Stewart Island

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 9 Feb 2021 05:51
Back to Stewart Island
Position: 46 53.63 S  168 07.98 E
At anchor Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island
Wind: Sw F3  Sea: slight  Swell: E 0.5m
Weather: overcast, some drizzle, cool
Day’s run: 70nm

It was my intention to make straight for Halfmoon Bay where the village of Oban is located but as things turned out we were going to arrive at around 2300. I had not entered Halfmoon Bay before but knew that it was quite crowded with moored boats and there were a few submerged rocks that could prove hazardous to the unwary. Also the wind was still quite fresh from the NE and Halfmoon Bay is quite exposed to this quadrant. Consequently, I decided to make for Golden Bay in Paterson Inlet where Kate and I had anchored Sylph several times in our last visit to Stewart Island, so I felt a lot more confident about coming to anchor there in the dark. Quite a few islands and rocks lie to the east of Paterson Inlet but there is a reasonably wide channel between them and in these days of GPS it was relatively straight forward negotiating the passage even though unlit. I contemplated what I would have done pre-GPS and would no doubt have hove to the east of the islands in clear water until daylight.

At 2330 I let go the anchor in eight meters of water then, after clearing up a little, had a wash, a cup of tea and turned in.

I did not surface until 1100. After breakfast I contemplated my options. The wind had already swung into to the SW and was forecast to strengthen. So the logical thing to do seemed to be to head for Halfmoon Bay before the wind picked up. At 1230 we weighed anchor and motored the six miles back out of Paterson Inlet and into Halfmoon Bay, where we arrived at 1330, dropping anchor once again in eight meters.

After a light lunch I got to work inspecting the windvane struts to try and work out where the creaking could be coming from. From the vantage point of the dinghy I could see no indication of any movement and all the bolts were as tight as I could make them. The only other thing I could think of was that maybe the hull was flexing a little where the struts attached. Being a steel hull, I had not bothered with backing plates on the inside and had not needed them previously, but at thos stage I can think of no other explanation for the creaking noise. I have now made up one backing plate out of some scrap steel I keep in the bilge with the help of my new battery powered angle grinder and drill (lithium-ion batteries – another marvel of modern technology).

Tomorrow I will complete the second backing plate. After that all I need to do is top up the fuel supplies and we should be ready to continue on our way, though I will try to do some sea trials on the windvane around Stewart Island before venturing up the west coast. And, of course, we will be wanting to wait for a favourable weather pattern before trying to push around Puysegur Point.

All is well.