|Home||Uniquely NZ||Travel||Howto||Pauline||Small Firms|
Sailing in New Zealand 2008
The Marlborough Sounds
This description has two very different parts, firstly an introduction to sailing in the Marlborough Sounds which will also form part of our overarching page on on sailing in New Zealand. Secondly there is a day by day account of our first experience of sailing in the Sounds on a Raven 31 called Zig Zag chartered from Charterlink South in Waikawa.
All the pictures on this page provide details of where they were taken if you hover the cursor over them and they can all be clicked to open a larger version in an Overlay (Lightbox style) or Popup Window. The image display options can be changed using the settings links at the bottom right corner of every page which includes pictures. The 'Spanner' icon or the following link takes one to a page covering the Image Display Options in more detail including bandwidth reduction options.
The Marlborough Sounds are very different in characteristics to the other popular sailing areas in New Zealand, and even in the world. There is nothing quite like the area elsewhere except perhaps in Norway. The Sounds are an area of great natural beauty with long inlets and steep hills rising generally to 2000 feet (600m) and in many places to over 3000 feet. Superficially it is seen as an area of sheltered waters but the winds can also be accelerated by the hills in some wind directions. There is seldom the distance to build up big seas by ocean standards but they can still be uncomfortable for cruising boats and dangerous for small craft. The water is generally deep to very close to the shore and then falls away rapidly, mimicking the way the land descends to the water.
The open sandy beaches favoured in many areas are little use for anchorages in the Sounds where such bays have a foreshore area and low saddles through which the winds are funneled making them only suitable as 'picnic' use. The best anchorages are those surrounded by hills of uniform height, especially those with small coves into which the boat can be placed. Even then the ferocity of wind gusts means that the use of stern lines to the shore to pull the boat into the lee of cliffs or trees and to stop them swinging and loosening the anchor is not unusual. The deep water close in makes this possible but clearly anchoring safely in anything but calm conditions often needs local knowledge. To ease the situation many buoys have been installed by boat clubs, resorts and charter firms. These are often disturbingly close to the shore to strangers to the area but provide excellent shelter without needing stern lines. We found that more often than not the back eddies meant we were pointing out with the stern right under steep faces or trees but swinging through a considerable angle.
The Queen Charlotte Sound is considered by many to be the most attractive part of the Sounds. There are many holiday homes which are only accessible by water and for the most part it is bush covered or has pine plantations. Only Picton, the Grove Arm and parts of the Endeavor Inlet have significant road access. It is however perhaps the more challenging for anchoring. Consideration also has to be given to avoiding the considerable wash from the Inter Island ferries between the entry of the Tory Channel and Picton. The Grove Arm and the Inner Sounds are the most sheltered. The outer areas are increasingly influenced by their proximity to the Cook Strait and can have local winds speeds up to 10 knots higher in some directions. The tidal range in the Queen Charlotte Sound is only about 1.5 meters.
The Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds have a tidal range of up to 4 meters. and longer wider reaches which can produce testing seas particularly in those lying east/west. The passage between the Queen Charlotte Sound and the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds involves a coastal section in the Cook Strait. The Cook Strait has the reputation of being one of the meanest pieces of water in the world with wind and tides funneled through the narrow gap between the North and South Islands. One is exposed to the open sea for about 25 Nms.
If you plan to sail in the Sounds it is worth obtaining a copy of the "New Zealand Cruising Guide Central Area" by Keith W J Murray and Baron Ralph von Kohorn, published Steven William Publications, ISBN 978-0-9597848-9-3 before you start. It has a vast amount of detail on the local conditions, anchoring techniques and covers every possible mooring throughout the Sounds. It will let you know what to expect and let you realistically plan your trip - we wish we had one before we started and have bought one for planning in the future.
Much of the above has drawn on the advice in the guide above but what of our own experiences? Much of our time was in condition where strong winds were forecast in the Cook Strait - the forecasts from Marlborough Radio cover Cook, Stevens and Abel but have no general situation to put it into context and no interpretations using local knowledge as happened in the Bay of Islands - perhaps the area is too big and conditions too variable to make that worthwhile. We had forecasts of gale force winds of 35 knots from the North turning South and up to 40 knots in Cook (50 in Stevens) for about 5 days in total. We sailed most of those days in the middle section of Queen Charlotte Sound where in the 'channel' one had sight of open sea and exposure when the winds were Northerly.
We found that the local winds we experienced bore little relation to those forecast and was largely determined by the local topography with redirection down the long straights, funneling down the valleys and also swirling round hills and protrusions, not to speak of the willywaws (swirling vortexes ripping down from mountains) . Even down the centre of the Sound the wind was sometimes 180 degrees from what one might expect. It is difficult to be sure of the local wind speeds we experienced but I think the worst was probably 25 knots gusting to 30 knots, it was the rapid direction and speed changes which made it interesting rather than the absolute speed. There was no swell penetrating but much of the surface was occasionally rough enough to give us a soaking over the front and a rough ride.
We could predict some of the effects of the shape of the land, Pete used to be a glider pilot and had done mountain flying in the Alps which forces one up a steep learning curve on how the air moves round mountains. What we had not anticipated was the rapidity of the changes, one needs to look at the topography for a broad picture but also carefully read the sea surface. One could be becalmed and try to progress tacking through 180 degree wind swings yet know one needed to be reefing whilst one had the chance as the water surface indicated a region of gusting winds which would have the rails under water only a few hundred meters. ahead. Several times in the early days we followed the wind round though 360 or more degrees then a couple of minutes and a few hundred meters. away we were hanging on to the rails try to haul in sail. To be fair, this is exactly what we were told in our briefing.
We found the roller furling mainsail a real boon, and generally we found keeping the main well reefed and set up so we could pull in if required was prudent. Making the major changes on the jib was very quick and did not need going into a wind which was never from where one anticipated for long. The Ravens are very tolerant and will sail well with two conventional reefs in the mainsail at all settings of the jib. We also spent some time on one of the worse days just motoring round trying to learn how to read the local conditions, taking paths closer and further from the edge down the arms and out into the more exposed areas. We ended up spending one day swinging on a buoy but that was mainly because the rain was so hard there was no visibility and sailing is also supposed to be fun. That all may sound rather too interesting for normal sailing but we are talking of winds outside of the Sounds of 35 to 45 knots which would stop most amateur sailors and those chartering from leaving their marina anywhere else. This all paid off on the calmer days when we could choose our course to utilise the local changes - one could spend years gaining experience here. I am also sure what little we have learned will benefit our sailing elsewhere in places such as Great Barrier Island and Whangaroa Harbour.
We have visited the Marlborough Sounds every year when we have taken a holiday in the South Island but this was the first time we had sailed in the Sounds. Mostly we have spent three or four days relaxing at Te Mahia resort, in Kenepuru Sounds, with a little fishing, walking and kayaking. It is just over an hour to drive there from the main road at Linkwater near Havelock.
In 2008 we already had a week arranged sailing around Waiheke Island and were then heading to the South Island. Arriving at Picton on the ferry from Wellington it was only a few kilometers to Waikawa Marina, and Charterlink Marlborough was based there with its fleet of boats, including our favourite type a Raven 31. So, in October 2007 we booked 8 days on 'Zig Zag' for a period which would include Pete's birthday.
We had some information about the Marlborough Sounds from DOC books and leaflets, but none of our boating books at home had useful boaters information about the bays, coves and moorings. Waikawa is very near Picton, partway along the Queen Charlotte Sound. From the Grove Arm in the west to Cape Jackson in the east, the Queen Charlotte Sound measures some 25 nautical miles as the crow flies, and just less than 30 nautical miles along its course. In size it compared well with sailing in the Bay of Islands, with the additional possibility of a day spent sailing down the Tory Channel to see the remains of the old whaling station in company with the inter-island ferries. Our typical sailing days are 25 nautical miles. So the hope was that we would be able to leave the Queen Charlotte Sound, turn Cape Jackson and spend a few days exploring the Pelorus Sound and then the Kenepuru Sound and perhaps even anchor outside Te Mahia, before returning to Waikawa.
Here are a few pictures showing the various moods of the Sounds to wet your appetite.
It is not cheap to charter a yacht, even a small and older yacht like the Raven 31, so we limited our ideas to 8 days. Email contact was efficient and we received a useful list of ideas for our first night mooring. It was explained that mooring was easy because Charterlink have their own private mooring buoys. Usually we anchor each night, and we prefer isolated moorings. It was obvious that sailing in the Marlborough Sounds was going to be different. On arrival we purchased the Marlborough Sounds chart NZ615 so that we could mark our daily travels. Of course, Zig Zag has a set of charts as well as useful local sailing guides. The Queen Charlotte Sound is very deep, typically 40 to 60 meters. deep along most of its length, and most of the bays for mooring are too deep for anchoring which ideally needs a length of chain and line 5 times the depth of water. For example, in Tawa Bay in Endeavour Inlet our bright yellow mooring drum gave us 12 meters. of water under the keel, and we were only 3 or 4 boat lengths from the shore. It is very handy for collecting mussels at low tide and we are glad we did not bother paying the extra to rent an outboard for the dingy.
Zig Zag is a Raven 31 and we have chartered three Raven 31s from Charterlink in Auckland in the past - Calana May, Latitude 55 and Largesse. Zig Zag was different to them all, with a chart table and double berth on the starboard side instead of a double cabin. We think it is a better layout. The combined fridge/freezer was very well insulated and we managed to freeze our milk until we learned better. The internal woodwork was in excellent condition although one of the saloon windows had been broken and had a temporary repair. We presumed Zig Zag had only been in the fleet for a short time. According to the Raven Owners Handbook her owners live in Palmerston North, so are not local.
Sailing Zig Zag is easy. Zig Zag has the usual self furling headsail but she has also has been modified to have a self furling main sail: a Leisure-Furl made by Spar Specialties Ltd of Auckland. We were given careful instructions as to its mode of use as they are possible to jamb if you operate it with the boom at the wrong height or fail to keep the halyards and lines taut. It works very much the same way as a self furling jib with a roller along the boom - as you pull the mainsail up with the halyard you are rolling another line onto a drum and to bring the sail down you pull that line in, both are taken back to the cockpit. There is also a position for a standard winch key on the drum at the front of the mast if you want to reef from there however you still really need the main halyard and the reefing line kept taut from the cockpit. There is also a ratchet which is engaged at the mast so all the load is not taken when sailing by the furling line when reefed. The height of luxury is that there is even a power operated winch on Zig Zag to pull the main up and to furl it making life very easy. We found it all very convenient and it was possible to reef very quickly from the cockpit in high winds and rough seas - the only trips to the mast were to engage or disengage the ratchet. The only disadvantage is that the sail shape when reefed is less good than slab reefing but that seems a very small price to pay for the ease and safety of operation from the cockpit.
Zig Zag was equipped with a very old (1998) Navman Tracker 900 GPS chart plotter which however proved useful after we had read the instructions a few times. One also needed great patient as it took ages to draw the screens. As always, we had our own GPS too. Having left West 12 berth 14 at Waikawa Marina, we decided to go to the Charterlink mooring at Double Bay and see what was involved in using their private mooring buoys. As well as the bright yellow drums owned by Charterlink we also have use of the red WPM buoys of the combined local yacht clubs of Waikawa Picton and Marlborough.
Double Bay is just beyond the entry to the Tory Channel, and we had a good view of the Bluebridge ferry from Picton to Wellington, followed shortly afterwards by an Inter Islander ferry heading the same way. We were motor sailing, so could keep well out of their way. Double Bay is an easy afternoon from Waikawa Bay Marina. We logged 8.2 nautical miles and 2.5 hours of engine. We decided to learn about the self furling main the following morning. Having settled with a glass of wine and our fishing gear we caught our first blue cod, unfortunately too small according to our North Island fisheries leaflet so it went back. Young blue cod are white with brown stripes. They have a broad bull-like head and distinctive bulbous eyes. Mature blue cod lose their stripes. The second fish was bigger, was measured, and went into the fridge. Our fishing book explained that blue cod are abundant around the Cook Strait and are an excellent table fish. Filleting them is easy. We usually cook fish whole after cleaning, but the blue cod has very few bones and is very easy to fillet. Double Bay was full of little pink jelly fish so there was no temptation to go swimming. On the radio later we heard of yachts who had swallowed the jellyfish into their cooling water to the engine with unpleasant effects. he day ended with a nice sunset.
After noting the weather forecast at 0835 we were off to start sailing. Marlborough Radio gives forecasts at 0835, 1135 and 1735 each day and records subscribers cruising plans. It is a useful service, very similar to Russell Radio in the Bay of Islands. Winds were forecast to be from the north for the next few days so we decided our eventual initial destination would be the Charterlink yellow drum in Tawa Bay in the Endeavour Inlet. It was almost opposite Double Bay, but we planned a long sail to explore all the bays on the north side of the Queen Charlotte Sound. The Leisure-Sail worked well, and we liked the way that reefing could be done exactly as required. We were undecided whether to try and go to Pelorus Sounds because we knew there was going to be a change of weather on Saturday,and even if we did not suffer from the predicted 40 knot winds in the Queen Charlotte Sound, it would be unpleasant doing the sail around Cape Jackson in those conditions.
In order as we headed north, the bays are Endeavour Inlet, Resolution Bay and Ship Cove. As we approached Ship Cove the water became choppy and the sailing wind increased - a common occurrence in the area because of the open sea and the abrupt change of depth. The white memorial of Captain Cook's visit stood out on the beach but it was overshadowed by a small cruise ship at anchor close to the combined club mooring. As we approached we saw it was the Oceanic Discoverer. We also investigated the Charterlink mooring in Resolution Bay, for the future. With the aid of our binoculars we easily found the yellow drum at School House Bay, and then went for a closer look and almost touched it. It was a delightful spot on the edge of a beach, but for another day. It was too early to moor up. We sailed into Endeavour Inlet, past Tawa Bay and turned at the head of the inlet opposite Furneaux Lodge. There were a lot of trip boats, small ferries, water taxis and even a helicopter in this area. Our yellow drum was still unoccupied and we settled down. The dingy was put in the water because it was low tide and there were clusters of plump blue mussels which went nicely with yesterday's blue cod, washed down with a nice Cloudy Bay 2004 Riesling. Our total day was 24.5 nautical miles in 7 hours, of which almost half was sailing.
Could we ever get tired of blue skies and sunny days? It is colder in the evenings and early mornings here than in the North Island, but the scenery is superb like a combination of Whangaroa and the Bay of Islands. Other places to explore included East Bay, which was directly east of Endeavour Inlet.We started off in that direction but it was choppy and windy on the nose so Pauline suggested a change of plan. We turned back and were blessed by seeing a large pod of dolphins, leaping out of the water, accompanied by a small Dolphin Encounter trip boat. They might have been the Hector's dolphins, which are the smallest of NZ dolphins, and quite rare.
We continued with the wind nicely behind us to circumnavigate the Bay of Many Coves. This is a large bay, some 2 nautical miles long and 1.5 at its widest point, next to Endeavour Inlet. It contains the Bay of Many Coves Resort as well as many nice waterfront houses hidden in its many bays and coves.
We hoped to return to Tawa Bay for a second night, but there was a launch already on the mooring. In the Queen Charlotte Sounds it is not unusual to have to share a mooring buoy, and there are instructions as to how to arrange ropes when joining another Charterlink boat. While rafting can work well with similar boats it can be more difficult with a mixture of launches and yachts due to their different heights. We confirmed that the launch was indeed another Charterlink rental, then turned out hopefully towards the mooring in Resolution Bay. There was already a yacht tied to the yellow drum, but he was not from Charterlink and moved away rapidly when Pauline put on a lifejacket, dangled fenders and spoke loudly about having never rafted up before, what an interesting a new experience it would be and how much we would enjoy it! The nearby combined club moorings had three boats rafted together. As we settled down we heard on the radio that the launch had left Tawa Bay to go fishing. In 8 hours we had done 29 nautical miles, with 3.2 hours of engine. The late move from Tawa Bay to Resolution Bay had taken an hour of engine time, because the wind had dropped.
It was another lovely morning, and this time we easily made the crossing to East Bay. Inside East Bay the wind funneled strongly across from the north, as we had expected. It gave useful extra experience in reefing the self furling main and reducing the head-sail. We have got to see the real advantages of a self furling main, and are thinking of suggesting that Kev incorporates one on his trimaran. Our journey out of East Bay was effortless and around 6 knots was a good speed with so little sail. We were on course for Endeavour Inlet and it was suddenly full main and head-sail and crawling along. Sailing here is such a contrast in a short distance, due to the influence of the hills. There was no wind in Tawa Bay, and no boats, so we stopped early after 15.1 nautical miles.
Until now the winds have always been from the north, but the weather for the weekend was predicting a northerly gale in the Cook Strait followed by a change on Sunday from NW 45 knots to southerly 40. We decided to wait, sit on our yellow drum, and see what happened. Saturday morning we were just planning to depart at 1140 when the rain began, and then increased until we could not see across to the other side. We expected poor visibility in rain but this was bad and persistent. Sailing was cancelled for the day. On the radio, other Charterlink boats left the marina and got to Double Bay, as we had done on our first afternoon. We did not envy them meeting the ferries as they crossed the Tory Channel in the conditions. Zig Zag has a spray dodger, with an additional zipped cover so we could watch the rain through the clear plastic door while writing our notes of the trip so far. We discovered that the spray dodger, probably original equipment, was far from waterproof, but sliding the hatch cover reduced the drips. The zipped cover is a great idea and we have taken photos to show Charterlink Auckland.
Sunday was Pete's birthday and he wanted to go somewhere. But first there was fishing and a nice 33 cm blue cod obliged. In the morning the weather seems to always be calmer than in the afternoon and we motored the 2.2 nautical miles across to the Punga Cove Resort, picked up one of their mooring buoys at the second attempt and were collected to go ashore for lunch. Their mooring buoys have a very thick rope strop and the hook on the boat's pole is too small to go round it properly. The restaurant is only open for dinner but there is a cafe on the waterfront and we ordered a good homemade pizza and a plate of blue cod and chips to share, washed down with local Founders beer.The moorings were quiet, with only four boats by the end of the day and just one on the nearby combined club mooring. Our chosen mooring buoy was close to the jetty and and had a long cable so we had a close view of the regular mailboats and launches who delivered people and their luggage when we swung that way. Many people walk the Queen Charlotte Track with a day pack and the regular boat service carries their main luggage. We even heard one boat was going to be collecting two bicycles.
We explored the waterfront area, with its swimming pool and table tennis before climbing to the restaurant. Scuffling in the bushes led us to see two Weka birds. The path up is steep but flat, and the tractor and trailer combination used by staff reminded us of our visit to Sark in 2007. Punga Cove Resort has 14 units, ranging from simple studio chalets with views to a delightful penthouse chalet with full kitchen including dishwasher and washing machine. There is also a Lodge and 9 cabins. It was busy, partly because the Queen Charlotte Track had been opened to mountain bikes on 1 March. As we went back to Zig Zag a group of canoeists arrived, holding keys for the Lodge.
Punga Cove Resort restaurant menu gave us the following choices:
Dinner at the restaurant was good, with scallops and mussel chowder which we shared as starters followed by an excellent rare fillet steak and lamb rump as mains. Pete said his steak was as good as on the Queen Victoria, which was a serious compliment, and the vegetables better. We could only just manage to share one tarte tatin dessert with feijoa ice cream, and it arrived with a smile and a little candle for his birthday. We wished we had brought a camera with us.
Monday dawned with the promised change of wind direction to the south. The forecast was for a gale of 40 knots in the Cook Straight and Storm force 50 knots by Stevens Island fairly close to us. We were glad we weren't on a ferry in a southerly in over 40 knot winds. Relatively sheltered in the Endeavour Inlet we explored the other possible moorings in a southerly, and came upon three boats rafted together in Pukekoikoi Bay and another cruiser in Bakers Bay. Both places were very sheltered and if they had been unoccupied we might have stayed there. An Oceanis 35 had left Punga Cove ahead of us and was plodding towards Picton and we could see that the water beyond Edgecombe Point looked choppy with white caps. What is the Queen Charlotte Sound like when there is a southerly gale in the Cook Strait? We found it was unpleasant but possible motoring under bare poles if had been essential.
We also looked into Tawa Bay, our previous mooring spot, but the wind was blowing straight in and the cruiser there looked uncomfortable. We were glad we had moved to Punga Cove Resort, and turned to go back there for another night, having charged our batteries. The wind had been rising steadily and we were heeled over even with bare poles. We are not sure what wind speed that takes but it was howling in the rigging. Endeavour Inlet is a large sheltered area, over 4 nautical miles long and 2.5 wide, so a full exploration would have been over 15 nautical miles. We had traveled 8.8 nautical miles.
Another excellent pizza each accompanied by a glass of beer cheered us up and we booked for dinner again in the restaurant. The fishing lines went down and after a quiet period it all started, first a nice Blue Cod, small but legal quickly followed by a kahawai as well as a couple of what we think were spotties which went back..We just had time to clean up before Chris arrived to collect us in the Resort's ferry for supper. This time we only shared one mussel chowder, then had another excellent steak and a venison, finishing with the crème brulee and the tarte tatin. Tonight the tarte tatin was a slight disappointment. It was exactly as it should be, but the previous evening it had much darker and caramelised to almost the colour of molasses. We preferred the darker style. It must be a different chef on Sunday to Monday.
We now know the weather pattern so we were off our buoy just after 0730, and were already out of Endeavour Inlet before the new weather forecast at 0835. We heard that the Dolphin watch boat was going out so we were confident that the waves were kinder. Indeed it was choppy alongside Blumeine Island, but much easier than yesterday. We listened to Channel 19 and heard the ferries coming into the Tory Channel from Wellington, and everything seemed to be getting back to normal and the wind slowing down. We raised the main sail with one reef, and began an exploration of the Grove Arm. Mostly we missed the rain showers but we had some lovely photos of rainbows just ahead of us. It was quiet in Governor's Bay and the temptation to moor on the Charterlink yellow drum was too much. It was close to shore, and at low tide we recorded 3.0 depth, but Zig Zag is only 1.7m so that was perfect. We had completed 17.5 nautical miles, which is a reasonable day. After lunch the sun came out and we settled down to a serious discussion with the fish. Although we have a feed for tonight in the freezer, one more blue cod for tomorrow would be good. Sadly we had no luck and the mizzle began, so we brought forward our usual start time for dinner to 1730, and lit the stove which also warmed up the boat. Spectacular fluorescence that night with waves breaking on the beach lit up brightly as well as the more usual display of 'fireworks' when a stream of water hits the sea. Even tapping a bucket of sea water collected earlier gave lots of little flashes.
The high winds had passed and the morning was warm and sunny. It was perfect for our last day and we did 25.3 nautical miles whilst exploring all the side arms and bays in the Grove Arm and a few in the Inner Sounds that we had missed earlier. Our first bay was Ngakuta Bay which was recommended as an anchorage in most weather. It is popular and there were many boats, all on their mooring buoys. We saw no-one at anchor but there was lots of space on the 10 meter line. There is a Charterlink yellow drum at the far end of the Grove Arm, at Tirimoana Okiwa Bay. We circled it. There was a lot of activity at the Cobham Outward Bound School, but otherwise it was quiet. By now we hoped to be able to sail and we duly floated slowly back up the Arm. There was very little wind so we didn't turn into Onahue Bay. One large yacht was very gently emerging and it was clear there was little wind. It gave us a chance to admire the new green flashing buoy on Houhou Point. At the end of Onahue Bay there is a footpath up to the Queen Charlotte Track and along to Te Mahia.
The wind gradually increased as we passed Lochmara Bay and we were able to explore. The Lochmara cafe looks a nice spot for lunch and another yacht traveling behind us stopped there. After Lochmara Bay there is Double Bay which includes the Lochmara Lodge. Confusing isn't it! Fishing is not allowed in Double Bay, and we were trolling, so we just looked and then explored Torea Bay. At the end of Torea Bay there was a trimaran - Illusion- but we do not know whether it is a Pivar. Maybe Kev will tell us when he sees the pictures. Torea Bay also has a track up to the Queen Charlotte Walkway to Portage and there were a series of ferries to deliver and collect walkers. Our final exploration was into Kaipakirikiri Bay, to see the final Charterlink yellow drum. It was in a lovely little cove and if the weather had been from the north we would have stayed there. Unfortunately it was from the south and so we turned back and sailed with the wind behind us. Yes, that sounds like a contradiction but the local winds are often very different to the prevailing winds, until the evening when it all settles down.
Just as we passed the entry to Picton harbor, goosewinged, we caught a kahawai which, in trying to slow down the yacht enough to bring it on board, managed to escape. It was the second time our shiny troll had collected a kahawai today, and both times the fish had escaped off the hook. Governor's Bay was empty when we arrived and so we completed the entire holiday without using the anchor. We were very grateful to Charterlink who had let us extend our holiday from lunch time until overnight. It had been an excellent day sailing with a complete mix of wind speeds and directions. The Marlborough Sounds is a good cruising area to hone sailing skills.
The final day was dull with a little mizzle but that was fine for the 5 Nm run back to the marina. We called Marlborough Radio and said how much we had enjoyed our time in the Sounds and appreciated their service, Charterlink's advice, Punga Coves sanctuary and food and the friendship from everyone. It was then time to put Zig Zag in her berth - Steph came down to take lines and it was only light winds for a change so Pete reversed in so we could unload easily. Fortunately it went well in front of the Charterlink staff - a good end to a good time!