Beach, rainforest, desert and storm

Where have we been, what have we done the last 2 weeks?

 After they had left we went back on a beautiful and calm sail to Abel Tasman, anchored at Adel Island to enjoy paradise.

That's the last time I blogged. Then via some stupid coincidence (I had not changed the settings of my Mac again after I installed the new OS and so it automatically downloaded updates without me noticing) all of a sudden all our internet credit was gone. We used this to be off for a while since there was no chance anyways to top up our prepaid account - no store / hotel or anything near and in the next bay no reception anyways. Plus our monthly budget did not allow top up anyways.

We decided to enjoy a good week at Abel Tasman National Park and its Bays. We went over to „Anchor Bay" and did some beautiful hiking there, the most fun definitely to „Cleopatra's Pool" which is a freshwater basin found beneath a little waterfall. Of course I had to go in and enjoy a little massage under the waterfall. Too bad that the water was so so cold. I still enjoyed the refreshment! I loved it so much that I came back the next day. The hikes in Abel Tasman Nat'l park bring you through beautiful forest landscape, through (rain) forests, over almost deserted hills, along creeks and over rivers, along beaches or on hill tops with amazing views. From green to dry everything is there. In this season now lots of plants are in bloom or just past or starting to. The ocean is blue, the beaches golden and the skies are blue. It's in the sunniest area of New Zealand.

Unfortunately out in the west, behind those mountains which rise to about 1200m the wild west is happening. A the low pressure systems come up north, bring very cold air and lots of wind. The rain mostly stays in the rest, the wind finds its way up and then falls down accelerating. These are the gusts coming through on a protected anchorage. In Patagonia this effect was called „Willy". 

So the weather made us first anchor back near Adel Island and then move on to an anchorage past French Pass, 45 nm and 8hrs trip away. Again sailing through Tasman Bay was very rough, with wind wave of 1,5 m directly against a swell of 3m. Boy was I glad when, after 6 hrs rattling and rolling, we reached the other side of the bay and got into hiding behind D'Urville Island. We put the anchor down for 45min and then continued through French Pass and with beautiful sailing (good wind, no wave) to our night anchorage. Next morning we continued on to Queen Charlotte sound, „Resolution Bay" anchorage. We knew we had to be there befor the next storm comes. 

After Breakfast we lifted anchor again and went over to Motuara Island, a bird sanctuary There we found a little penguoon in a nesting place and enjoyed hearing the cycades singing their song in a choir of thousands of them. We enjoyed the litte hike there again a lot. From the top you have a good view over Queen Charlotte Sound.

That following night however became sleepless. We anchored in Resolution bay again, knowing the finds funnel down a lot and there is not a good holding. All buoys were taken and we had a hard time putting down anchor at all. The problem in the sound is that all the spaces which might halfway be suitable for anchoring are taken up by moorings from the local boating clubs and we can't take those moorings. So we're bound for bad anchorages. As the wind speeds increased and the pressure went down, we got more and more nervous despite our electronic anchor watch. At 6 am in the morning it finally beeped, we were dragging the anchor towards onshore, the wind had shifted. We both had not really slept that night. We lifted the anchor in then already serious winds and puring rain. 3 hrs, min. 10 anchoring tries, 3 bays and soaked foul weather gear (which did not hold back the rain) later we had found a good holding. The pressure had dropped to the lowest I have ever seen, 976!

But we were restless anyways. We did not go to bed until night, after 3 movies and being secure that a) the winds were less strong and b) the anchor definitely holds. What a good sleep we had. Next day, as if nothing happened, the sun was out and the sea was flat.

It's hard to describe the feeling of relief and happiness, almost like after a big work out. After another day out there we came into the marina and got lifted out yesterday. 

Tomorrow afternoon we'll be back in the water with Alita mostly fixed up and beautiful again. Constantly people come and talk to us about the boat. She is an eye catcher and contact maker….

We have been very lucky here with internet. There is a restaurant that has free WIFI and it works great and fast, especially at night ;-) What a treat that is! That's why I am uploading all the pix…

Seems like on saturday we're heading out to sail to Akaroa, should be there late at night or the morning after. Hoping to see dolphins on the way! 
Talk to you soon!

The photo gallery is updated. See all the picutres and more from the last month there. Enjoy!

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