Cascade Bay, Dusky Sound

Cascade Bay, Dusky Sound Fiordland, New Zealand March 5, 2021

After holding up at the head of Dagg Sound for a few days for rainy weather, we finally decided to bite the bullet and head south. We knew it wasn’t a perfect window, but the wind wasn’t scheduled to kick up until later in the day and it was only a 2 hour hop out in the open ocean.

Westerly swells were shooting straight into Dagg and we motored into them on our way out, climbing up the walls of water and skidding down the other side. Once out in the open, we were assaulted by swell from the northwest and southwest along with the westerly swells. The forecast gave their height at 4 meters but we feel that it wasn’t that large where we were. The conflagration of different swell directions however was a recipe for sickness. Since I was a little stingy when buying our seasickness meds before we left, we are being frugal with them. With only two hours on the outside, I didn’t want to use up a whole pill.

Usually, Isa is our sick puppy, but she was totally fine! She and Adelaide played and giggled under the dodger while having a nice view of Cameron and I at the stern, each taking a side and offering our breakfast to the ocean gods. It was a short, windless passage and we were very thankful when we came into the lee of Breaksea Island. Finally into the sounds we got some wind behind us and we were able to have a lovely sail, if a little drizzly, down Acheron Passage. With more weather on the way, we wanted to be someplace snug. We took a look at Fanny Bay, but after motoring around and watching the wind funnel in, we were unhappy with it and decided to sail two more hours out to Cascade Bay.

When we pulled in, we were expecting to see an old Oyster Vessel that you can tie onto tucked behind a point, but we found a very modern-looking barge with a helicopter pad on top. Next to it, a dive boat was tied onto a mooring with a stern line to shore. They shot over to us in their tender and suggested we tie onto them as it would be the safest place in the coming blow. We were more than happy with this and were quickly tied to the side of their boat. They had a group of divers on board and passed us over two lovely crayfish tails, cooked and everything! That was dinner sorted.

In the morning they took off for more dive spots and handed us the stern and bow mooring lines. We are snug in here, but boy when it blows! We had a nice bottle of wine sitting on the steps which took a tumble when a squall went through. Cameron spent the next hour cleaning wine out of the bilges. Booming thunderstorms, hail, and a few intimidating lightning strikes peppered the morning but cleared enough for us to go out for an exploratory bushwhack and dinghy tour around the bay and up the river in the afternoon.

The day before the water hose had stopped working for some reason. Compelled more by an engineering challenge than the need for water on board, Cameron followed the line up and spent an hour working on the water sump and got the hose going full blast. This was much appreciated by a different dive boat who was looking to fill up. The fisherman have rigged gravity flow hoses from the rivers in many locations. There’s usually one or two in each sound and the water is awesome!

Completely soaked, but happy, we all enjoyed a hot cup of cocoa inside snug Banyan and settled in for dinner (more tuna) and a movie.

Luncheon Cove, Dusky Sound Fiordland, New Zealand March 5, 2021

Yesterday we took Banyan and anchored right where Captain Cook anchored his boat, Resolution while he did a 30 day refit on her in 1773 after returning from the Antarctic. He watched the transit of Venus there at what is now dubbed Astronomer’s point in order to establish a more precise location of New Zealand. We hopped to shore and did the short walk, read the plaques, and saw where they had set up their forge, cooperage, and sailmaker tents. It is really quite amazing what they could accomplish.

While there, we met another boating couple on SV Sojourn II. Jo and Ross are from Russell where we passed much of last winter and we’d seen their boat but hadn’t yet met them. It turned out that we were both heading for Luncheon Cove (where Cook enjoyed a lunch of crayfish:) for the evening so we made plans to enjoy cocktail hour together. We had a lovely time with them and found we had a few friends in common. They were immensely helpful to us in our planning for the rest of the trip and gave us some great pieces of advice as they have just come from the area we are going to. After the info swap Ross pulled out his guitar, Isa, her violin and we sang into the evening.

The next day they were off and we stayed put to explore some of the bush walks. We got some great bird watching in as well as having the pleasure of watching a baby seal pup playing just near our boat. Tomorrow we will likely head south, making our way to Chalky Sound if the weather looks cooperative in the morning.

Hoping everyone and everything is well in the big wide world. Ciao For Now, The Banyan Crew


  1. Marianne McGriff says:

    Good morning, Banyan Crew
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the updates…we are on our way to spend a night with Stokelys in Boca Grande and then to Naples for a few days. Nothing like your adventures, though—now have added New Zealand to my bucket list, thanks to your trip…sending much love and Blessings, Marianne and Carver PS I can’t wait for your pics

  2. Fred & Janis Blue says:

    Hello Vawters, Always great to read of your excursions and what is a normal daily life for you. Fred & I received our 2nd Covid vaccine 2/24, but are not going to let our guard down. Have had some sunny days, but still pretty chilly. We had to get a new computer last Sat., and so far I’m not overjoyed with it. Hopefully I will get used to it. Keeping you all in our prayers. Love A Janis & U Fred

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