ARCA’s Christmas Cruise

May 12, 2018 | Passages

Last year’s trip to Auckland gave Gavin inspiration as this year he sailed to Lyttleton. His memory of the trip down is hazy due to illness and tiredness. Gavin’s report is as follows:

I decided to head for Lyttleton the day after school finished and set the alarm for 5am. When I woke up I must have had an attack of the nerves because I started to vomit so went back to bed. Perhaps just as well as the gale blowing in Cook Strait was still pretty rough. In fact I got away the next morning with Greg as crew but whatever was upsetting my tummy was not quite right so I did not fully enjoy the spectacular sleigh ride down to Cape Campbell on the tail of a 40kt gale. The whole trip took exactly 48 hours, and Greg and I did manage to see some whales blowing in the distance. Much to my surprise I got to see a whale close up in Cook Strait on the way back.

Greg headed back to Wellington for Christmas and Joss, Gareth and Diana arrived by car in Christchurch. A mini heat wave hit Christchurch over the next few days with three days over 30 degrees. Joss and I did sail out to a couple of the bays outside of Lyttleton Harbour during the time we were there, but most of the time was spent relaxing in Diamond Harbour, walking ashore, or sitting under the sun shade out of the sun. I especially enjoyed walking through Hagley Park and along the banks of the Avon River.

The first photo is of Cass Bay where a friendly local offered me the use of his mooring. This meant we could go ashore for a few hours and not worry about the boat dragging its anchor. Rowan and his girlfriend arrived just before New Year and we drove them up to Arthurs Pass where a young peoples music event was being held on a sheep station in the hills. 48 hours of rock music is not my scene but they said it was wonderful. Joss and I also used the car to drive over to Akaroa.

The trip back to Wellington was a bit of a mixed bag. My crew was sick for the first 24 hours and I had trouble sleeping so got progressively more tired as the trip progressed. A NW wind enabled us to reach along the coast almost to Kaikoura but the Southerly which we were waiting for came through much stronger than the forecast and we had to hand steer in quite rough seas for about 8 hours. Then of course the wind died. Which is worse? Four hours to motor up around Cape Campbell and into misty fog. Everything wet. It took another 7 hours of motor to work up to Tory channel, and yes just as we get there the wind returns when we don’t want it.

One day in the Sounds catching up on sleep while my crew fished over the side for hours. Then Ships Cove to Mana. The forecast said Northerlies developing. Sounded good to us. But we motored 7 hours across and the wind was just beginning as we got there. However: the bonus was coming across a whale asleep in the sun. This meant we got right up close. The second photo is of the tail as it dived when we came up next to it and “woke it up”