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Port Underwood to Fighting Bay.

Posted by: | February 18, 2010 | 2 Comments |

Fighting Bay is on the East coast of the Port Underwood Peninsula bordering Cook Strait and is home to the Cable Station where all the electricity from the South Island is sent over to the North Island, and sometimes vice versa.

Marty had heard that there might be a spot for camping in the bay, a rare occurrence for that rugged part of the coast, and was keen to investigate. When the forecast was for fine weather and light winds we took the opportunity to explore.

We launched from Robin Hood Bay in overcast conditions and a dead flat sea which allowed us to hug the coastline out of the Bay and check out firsthand the interesting rock formations and sea caves.

Paddling in a direct line to Robinson Point across the entrance to Port Underwood the sea remained glassy calm and provided a water-bed for a little blue penguin who seemed to be tired out from its morning’s fishing expedition. As we continued up the coast we were delighted to find numerous tunnels, caverns and rocky chasms to navigate around. Backing out from one dead end I disturbed a seal in a shallow area of kelp which showed it’s ire by snorting then shooting out in a wall of water so fast we initially thought I’d disturbed a shark.

Tucked behind Walker Rock was a sandy beach, unusual in this area of rocky bays, which provided a good spot for a brew. Walker Rock marks the beginning of the Fishing and Anchoring Restrictions of the Protected area for the Cook Strait Cables. A few more craggy points and bays later and we were entering Fighting Bay, the cable station, employee’s housing and pylons marching up the hillside leaving us in no doubt that we had reached our destination.

We were met by Murray Eagle, the resident caretaker, and treated to Fighting Bay hospitality with tea and biscuits on the lawn. Murray and Irene have lived here for the last 27 years, having previously been lighthouse keepers on Stephens Is and Portman Is. They entertained us with stories and a run down on how the station operates. It was situated here as this was the only piece of flat land on the coast. Murray informed us that approximately half a million volts DC pass through the two lines. They were happy for visitors to camp as long as prior arrangements were made. Campers would share the grassy bay with the feral goats which made it their home each day. Wandering down from the bush in the morning to be fed by Irene, they kept company and looked pretty during the day until their afternoon feeding time after which they would wander back into the hills for the night.

We farewelled our hosts and returned to the sandy beach behind Walker Rock for lunch and a swim. The last leg of the journey was marked by a choppy sea and a lowering mist not before we had checked our compass bearing and set a steady pace to arrive back in the early evening.

Jo Kay

under: Home

Nydia Bay Trip

Posted by: | January 13, 2010 | 1 Comment |

Nydia Bay TripNydia Bay

The northwesterly was still blowing as Jo and I headed out of Moetapu Bay thinking, were we ever going to make Nydia Bay before night fall if at all. Our first goal was to make it to Putanui camp site for a brew, about an hour’s paddling away. It’s a beautiful camp site nestled amongst the Nikau Palms. Next would be Pipi Beach for lunch. Well we made it to Pipi Beach surprisingly enough We managed to dodge the worst of the wind. As we rounded the point into Nydia Bay the wind seemed to have settled a little.   It had taken us more than 5 hours, that’s including plenty of rest and recovery time, we were quite happy with that.

Nydia Bay is also a lovely spot nestled in the native bush, almost like a movie set. We pitched camp, had tea and headed off to bed. Unfortunately I was crook in the night and still recovering on the Saturday.     I did manage a paddle to Nydia Lodge where I have been a couple times on school camps.  Jo had left about 10ish, she wanted to go for a hike up to the Kaiuma Saddle. There is still a lot of beautiful native forest, and it’s worth a visit just to see that.

Sunday morning arrived fine but overcast. We were keen to get on the water before the wind came up, however that wasn’t to be. It too was up bright and early. Looking out into the main channel we could see white caps, water spouts, water being sucked up in the air in huge white clouds at frightening speeds, swirling and eventually dispersing.  Who would be so crazy enough to paddle in those conditions? Maybe if we were to hug the shore like we did on the way there we could miss a lot of that, and we did even to the extent of sailing back, as it was a tail wind. The worst of it seems to stay in the central part of the channel, or were we just lucky.

To make sailing more comfortable and safer we rafted up, and if it blow too hard we would let the sail out and spill the wind. While the wind was manageable and going with us we carried on to have a late lunch at Moetapu.

Even though I was crook for a day, the trip was enjoyable. It is one of many beautiful parts of Marlborough Sounds.


under: January 2010

Saturday paddle with a norwester…

Posted by: | January 4, 2010 | 1 Comment |

Marty wanted some photos of around the Whites Bay area. The winds had been high over the last few days but generally a northwester meant it was calm in Whites Bay. Or so we thought…

We unpacked the kayaks and went down to the beach to launch. The wind whipped down the hills and out to sea, taking the sand and blasting it around our legs. This was going to be a fun trip!

We launched with no problem but with the wind behind us and blowing steadily at 20 knots (my guess), it didn’t take long to get out the bay and around the point. In fact we were blown out more so than we paddled out. When we got in to calmer waters we both looked at each other and said that getting home was going to be fun!!

We headed around the rocks and caves, getting photos and looking at the amazing cliffs and rocks. This is a great area to paddle and sight see and on calmer days you come across seals sun bathing.

Time to go home. As we approached the point to head in to the bay the winds grew stronger. This was going to be a challenge in anyones books and if you didn’t have the wind right on your nose then the kayaks would get blown off course and it would take some effort to correct it. The wind didn’t seem to let up and was one continuous blow. At one stage I had to brace with paddles down before the wind whipped the paddle out of my hands. Then I started to go backwards quickly.

Quick short flat strokes help keep my position and then stronger strokes to make headway. We headed for a cave to rest for a few minutes before we tackled the last 200 – 300 metres to the shore.

It certainly was an exciting paddle home with a couple of times I thought we might need to go back around the point and try again when the wind died down.

Whites Bay is a great area to paddle and explore. There are lots to see and great caves and rocks to kayak through and around. Just don’t do it when it’s windy!


under: January 2010

Sea Kayak Marlborough

Posted by: | January 3, 2010 | No Comment |

This is the start of the Sea Kayak Marlborough blog.

Over the next few weeks we will be bring you pictures and stories of sea kayaking around areas of Marlborough.

Be sure to check back later.

under: Home