Milford Sound

We did it. We got our medical checks, our blood draws, and chest x-rays which will hopefully satisfy the New Zealand government that we are not a burden on their medical system. The doctor joked that he hated families like us as we were too healthy for him to make any money on. In our communication with Immigration New Zealand, they said that we would not get approved for the COVID-19 visa as that was for people who were actually attempting to leave the country (ahh :), but that the VISA for boaters will likely work for us. They haven’t yet decided how long this VISA will give us. Given the state of the world, we are hoping for LOTS of time.

On our trip south we stayed one extra day so that we could be a part of Cameron’s sister Kim’s ZOOM wedding!!! This was so cool and gave this utilitarian journey a rather sweet twist. The ceremony was so lovely, Kim and Colin were giddy with delight in their union, and everyone so happy to see them tie the knot. We were thrilled that we could be there to support them.

Banyan did just fine while we were away. There are plenty of moorings the size of elephants in Deep Water Basin and there was no charge! We boarded Banyan with a few more fresh veggies and a plan to explore Milford until the next bit of weather comes along to help us south. Yesterday we walked the last part of the famous Milford Track which was beautiful and quite easy with an excellent trail. Today we took the short walk up to the lookout and around the shore just at the head of the sound.

The weather has been beautiful with no rain and the sandflies have been rather manageable. With just a bit of bug spray, they don’t bite. If we are moving along the trail we don’t even notice them, but if we stop for a snack, they hang around our heads annoyingly. We have also started back up with school after a 6-week break. That will give us plenty to do while we wait for the next Northerly blow to get us down to George Sound.

Cameron of course has found boat jobs to do… it amazes me that in a space of 43′ x 12′ that there can still be things to do. He is installing a GPS antenna for the AIS system which will hopefully improve our location finding ability. Due to the steep nature of the Fiords, our GPS on our iPad is very erratic and our new Vesper AIS could barely find sufficient satellites to gain a fix. The antennae allows the Vesper to find a sufficient fix within less than a minute and we can broadcast that via wifi to our other devices (Navionics on iPad and Open CPN on the computer). He is also fixing the handle of a few cabinets that were broken.

That’s about it. We heard that New Zealand went into level 2 COVID warning last night. It doesn’t have much of an impact on us way out here, but praying that we don’t get fully locked down here… that would be crazy…
ciao for now The Banyan Crew


  1. Ruth says:

    Praise God you are too healthy a doctor can’t make money off of your family. Continue to be wise, safe, healthy, and happy. Love you.

  2. Barbara says:

    Vawter’s on the Water, you are Amazing and Blessed! We are grateful you were with “Kim, Colin and families” during their marriage celebration, So much appreciated! Thankful your health exams went well, welcoming extended visas. The beauty around you must be breathtaking, so thrilled you experience this together. Love

  3. Marianne McGriff says:

    Anne, Cameron, Adelaide and Isa,
    Thank you for the post and great news on all the medical tests!!! Your photos are outstanding and I’m thinking seriously of putting Milford Sound on my bucket list. Cameron has given me a few ideas for hiking in the area! Praying for safe travels to George Sound…sending much love and Blessings, Marianne

    • Anne Vawter says:

      haha! Yes, we should. Cameron gets his fill climbing the mast! I climbed Mt Hobbson on Great Barrier Island and I think my knees may never be the same 🙁 good to hear form you Dwayne!

  4. Kathy Lord says:

    So good to read about your continued adventures and that you are all so very healthy and safe!
    Anne, I don’t know if you ever had the chance to meet Rachel Pollard’s friend Angela Hartman. She lives in New Zealand about 30 minutes outside of Nelson on the top side of the south island in upper Moutere. If you need any assistance, information, etc. her tele number is 0272921988. She said feel free to give her a shout.

  5. Jan Jopson says:

    Glad to hear that your expedition to Invercargill and Riverton was successful. You will be seeing parts of the sounds that few people get to see. Enjoy! The short stint to a heightened COVID level is over for all of us except Auckland .. for which we are also grateful. Hopefully these short sharp restrictions will keep us all at maximum freedom in the foreseeable future! Love hearing about all your adventures 🙂 Jan

  6. Fred & Janis says:

    Love you all and your adventures. Great that you both are so work and recreational savvy. A friend in upper MI used to stick pine twigs in her hair to ward off the pesky flies. So happy that you got to see Kim’s wedding. Think of us here in the snow!!

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