Doubtfull Sound

February 28, 2021 12pm Leaving Doubtful Sound

Our stay in Precipice cove was lovely, but we were confined to the boat a bit. With some rain and limited on shore activities we ended up getting a lot of school done. We got to know a few of our neighbors as well. Most coves we’ve been in, we’ve been completely alone, but with the wind forecasted and the protection offered by Precipice Cove, we had 6 other boats in there with us. We met Ted and Adrian on Otama who had us over to their boat for drinks one night. We swapped intel as they are going North and we South. Interestingly we hardly ever felt any wind inside Precipice, although we did hear that outside the sound there was a true 55 knot wind.

With a moderate forecast on the way we took off to check out Gear Arm and then swung down into Deep Cove. We hadn’t expected much in the way of services in this area, but SuAn, a German boat we met in Milford let us know that you could get groceries delivered in there. What Luxury! We tied on to the hawser line and made our way across the tail race (the water spillway coming from the Manapouri Power Station) to order our fresh veg and fruit which arrived the next day at very reasonable prices too! Billy, the manager, and Jim, the relieving manager were so kind and even allowed us to do a load of laundry in their washing machine! Whoop Whoop!! Billy had us over for a cup of tea the next day after we took a good hike up to Helena Falls. It was dreamy just to sit in a lazy boy chair and be fed biscuits for an hour. We were able to fill up on diesel and petrol, but no LPG or garbage service FYI.

We are living under a little bit of a lucky weather star these days. It has been beautiful and warm with only a few days of rain here and there. I can’t wait to share photos. The scenery is just so striking. I keep thinking that Anna and Elsa are going to pop out and start singing. Olaf would definitely need his personal snow cloud with all this warm weather and blue skies.

With the moderate northeaster that was forecasted, we decided to use that to finally get some sailing in again and head down to Dagg Sound. On our way out of Doubtful, we stopped at the famed Blanket Bay Hotel to fill up on water. It’s not a hotel in the normal sense. The fisherman use the island for storing gear, the rustic house to stay a night away from sand flies and the rickety dock and freezers to load and store their catches. Happily, we ran into some fisherman while we were there who had some extra crayfish (lobster) to spare! They loaded us up with 6 crayfish and gave us yet another way to prepare it.

Although the forecast said 25 knots from the northeast as soon as we got out of Doubtful and past the broken islands we entered a heaving ocean with irregular and weak winds. I just about heaved myself but managed to keep it together (mostly) in order to help pull in the two bluefin tuna who decided to jump on the lines. After a short passage south we tucked into Dagg and Cameron cleaned fish while Adelaide and I sailed then motored Banyan into the head of Dagg Sound. It is a stunning cove tucked away so you feel like you are in a mountain lake. When we pulled in it was so still that the only way you could distinguish the edge of the water was by noticing where the patterns of rocks and trees came together at the point of reflection. There is lots of area with 35 ft below the keel so we can free swing (anchor normally without having to tie to shore). Again, I can’t wait to share photos as it’s just impossible to fully explain with words.
Cameron cooked up the crayfish while the girls looked on, giddy with anticipation (and clean after their shower:). We had a feast but weren’t able to finish it all, so saved some for risotto tomorrow – and maybe lobster bisque the day after that!

March 1. We earned our lobster risotto today by going on a very cool scramble/hike from the head of Dagg Sound, where we are, over to Haulashore Bay at the head of Crooked Arm, a part of Doubtful Sound. It was warm and humid as we scrambled through the Middle Earthish forest. We were all hot and tired and ready for an early dinner and a good night’s rest. Now after dinner, with a little sprinkling rain on the decks, some classical music playing, and the girls working away on their projects (Adelaide on her book and Isa a drawing)we are feeling blessed and rested.
Tomorrow we head out of Dagg to make our way down to Breaksea Sound. Hopefully, we will get some reception to send this out soon.
Caio for now, Banyan Crew


  1. Marianne McGriff says:

    Dear Banyon Crew,
    I LOVE reading about your adventures. Although, I can’t wait to embrace the photos, you do a splendid job of describing your experiences.
    Definitely, you have inspired me to travel to Milford Sound. Cameron shared some hiking ideas in an email! Please tell the girls that they can come and ‘chef’ in Zionsville for Carver and me. Well, maybe, just me…Carver will have a hamburger!!!!!
    Sending much love and Blessings,

  2. Douglas Vawter says:

    Thanks Anne, another great post and we look forward to learning again when the pictures arrive!! I’m not surprised with how frinedly the NZ people are! I still remember several experiences of generosity when I traveled to NZ for business while we lived in Sydney. Your family will have sooooo many memorable times from your sailing adventures and your association with other sailors and land services! Stay well! Indy virus numbers have drastically improved and all is well with spring in sight!! Love to all. Mimi and Gramps may not recognize our grand daughters if you go a couple of months before connection is available to download pictures!!

  3. Libbey McKendry says:

    Another wonderfully written blog. The hiking sounds adventurous. I can not wait for pictures. Love you all!

  4. Bruce McKendry says:

    Cam’n Anne: jason wants to know what’s the best club for learning to sail for him and Tessa.

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