Bluff, Fiordland & Stewart Island

After returning to Australia for Scott & Sarah’s wedding, where I broke my wrist and had to have a Titanium plate surgically implanted in my wrist, we returned to Carey;s Bay and began our journey around to Bluff, the very bottom of the South Island of New Zealand. Due to my broken wrist and inablility to lift anything, we decided to get some help for the journey around to Bluff. Foveaux Straight can be one of the roughest stretches of water in the world and we didn’t want to push our luck with me with only one working wing. We were lucky enough to get Artie on board for the trip, a retired Crayfisherman. We had an uneventful but very interesting trip, hearing lots of local tales. We were lucky enough to come across Arties son, Gavin on our trip down. Gavin was fishing for Flounder and put a few in a plastic bag, tied it to a 2 litre plastic milk bottle and threw it overboard into the ocean. We, after a few attempts were able to retrieve it and had a beautiful meal, with the fish cooked by the expert on board, Artie! We picked up Murray & Jenny ( my brother and his wife from Blenheim) in Bluff and after some provisioning in Invercargill, headed around to Fiordland.
Fiordland was amazing, the scenery, the fishing and the fishermen we met, were unforgettable.
All of the fishermen in Southland have a nickname. We met “Shitbox”, “Pumpkin Head”, “Big Ears”, “Whitey”, these guys were so generous all giving us the most incredible huge Crayfish. We had them on board for drinks and dinner and it was pure entertainment. “Shitbox” provided us with some of his marninated dried fruit – marinated in homebrew Rum, Gin or something! These guys are salt of the earth, they work hard and play harder. Unfortunately in the short time that we were in the Bluff and Fiordland area 3 fishing boats hit rocks and needed major assistance. No one was hurt but the boats suffered extensive damage. A reminder of the harsh environment they have to work in every day. We also met “Paddlefoot” (Mark) from the charter boat “Tekapo” in Bluff. Mark was so helpful with advice and local knowledge. He also was in Fiordland and assisted one of the stricken fishing boats that hit the rocks.
We had a wonderful 10 days in Preservation Inlet, Dusky Sound and Chalky Inlet, with Murray & Jenny, fishing, sight seeing and playing 500 (cards). Pretty sure that Murray and myself were the winners 🙂
We also had the pleasure of catching up with “Dirona” the Nordhavn 52′ from U.S.A. We had a lovely night with James and Jennifer Hamilton on board “Southern Star” for a freshly caught Blue Cod meal.
The return trip from Fiordland to Bluff through Foveaux Straight was so calm that we played 500 most of the way back. We arrived back in Bluff late one night, spent half of the next day cleaning the boat and provisioning again before Murray & Jenny drove back to Blenheim.
We then departed Bluff that afternoon for Stewart Island, we headed for Paterson Inlet anchoring in Little Glory Cove. We cruised around to Half Moon Bay and had a couple of drinks in the pub. When we left we saw three Ducks giving way to the Seagulls on the pedestrian crossing. (truly, we only had two drinks!!) That night we went “Kiwi” spotting and were lucky enough to tag along with the guided tour group. We spotted 8 “Kiwi’s” fossicking for sandhoppers in the sand with their beaks. Very beautiful birds.
The next day we departed for Port Pegasus, in the South West corner of Stewart Island. We anchored in Disappointment Cove and trekked over the hill to try and spot a Yellow Eyed Penguin. Alas, no luck but we did spot their foot prints in the sand. We did spot “Dirona” again, but James and Jennifer were trekking up the mountain so we missed them. We left the next day and returned to Bluff. It was a rough crossing and we had to “tack” into Bluff Harbour. Its a difficult area to berth a boat as the current absolutely roars through the port where the fishing berths are, it was tricky every time we had to berth there. We met another friendly local, John Hawkless, an ex Crayfisherman. John was real helpful and friendly dropped us into town a couple of times.

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