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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

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  1. By: Marty on February 22, 2010 at 8:45 am      

    You will one day. In the meantime family is more important.

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