Pitt Island

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 10 Mar 2021 04:25
1700 Position: 44 18.0 S 176 11.0 W
Course: ESE Speed: 3 knots
Wind: NNW, F5 Sea: slight Swell: N 1.5 m
Weather: cloudy, mild
Day’s run: 50 nm

The day dawned calm and peaceful but, with a fresh northerly forecast for the day, I decided to slip the mooring that I had so kindly been allowed to use for the night and look for somewhere else to anchor for the night. I had in mind the east coast of Chatham Island in mind. The extensive lagoons looked interesting and I thought if I was lucky I might be able to anchor off the beach out of the dominant SW swell might and then get ashore for a bit of an explore.

To this end we got under way at 0900 and headed out of Petre Bay then south down the west coast around the dramatic cliffs of Cape L’Eveque. But, as we started heading east along Chatham Island’s south coast I caught sight of the basalt spires of Pitt Island ten miles to the south-east. How could I just pass them by? But could I anchor anywhere for the night? Earlier I had read the pilot and an account of another yacht that had sailed in the area and had noted some potential anchorages. Reviewing my notes, the most promising was off Waipaua on the SE coast. So, I made a slight alteration of course and changed our destination to Pitt Island.

At 1620 we gybed around North-East Reef and started to close the coast looking for the mouth of the Wiaipaua Stream where the water was shallow enough to anchor. However, it soon became clear that conditions were not going to be suitable. While the dominant SW swell was blocked by the island, there was still a significant swell from the north and probably the remnants of the SW swell wrapping around the island from the south. There were breakers all along the shoreline and the northerly breeze was also wrapping around Kahuitara Point keeping a small sea running. If I did manage to find somewhere to anchor it was going to be an uncomfortable and anxious night. I decided it would be less stressful to stay at sea for the night.

So, we tacked and are now heading out to the east of Pitt Island under a reefed mainsail. The wind is forecast to back two points into the NW and to ease to 15 knots overnight which should make things more comfortable. And tomorrow a front is expected to pass through around midday bringing a southerly change. With the southerly change other options for anchoring will be available so for now the plan is to loiter off the east coast of Pitt Island until morning and see what the new day brings. At least with a fresh southerly, if no anchorages can be found on Pitt Island it will be a relatively quick passage back to Chatham Island. At least I can say I gave it a go.

All is well.