01 Feb 2010

Topaz II was recently chartered by two families with small children for a long weekend in Marlborough Sounds. It sounds as though they had a pretty good time and have sent us the following testimonial:

View Marlborough Sounds Charter in a larger map

Hi Geordie and Kim. We have just returned from our trip on Topaz II and wanted to say thanks heaps for providing such a great boat and the weather to go with it! We got three days of amazing weather with glassy water and sunny skies. The southerly storm that came through on Sunday was an experience, but we all stayed tucked up in the saloon and were snug and warm - I'm glad we were in a big boat for that one though!
Departing PictonDeparting PictonDeparting Picton in the evening sun we first headed up Tory Channel to find a mooring for the night. We meandered up to Ngaruru Bay, poking our nose in to a few of the bays on the way to have a look at some of the cool holiday houses nestled up there, to find that the mooring was already taken by another boat with some serious partying going on to a 70s - 80s classic. We assessed the weather conditions and decided that because there was zero wind that we would just find a nice spot in the bay to anchor. There wasn't a breath of wind all night and the next day we awoke to another clear, calm day.
Bacon and eggs on the BBQBacon and eggs on the BBQOnce we had finished our bacon and egg cooked breakfast we carried on out to the East Tory Channel entrance to see what the sea conditions were like. It turned out that the sea fog that had been plaguing Wellington for a few days was back in the Cook Strait and a quick check on the VHF radio and radar confirmed that there were no incoming ferries to share the entrance with so we headed out to find that visibility was actually quite good.
Heading for the BrothersHeading for the BrothersWe headed up the coast to the Brothers Islands and the sun came out to give us a very pleasant fishing/snorkeling experience where we got to catch 4 Blue Cod and swim with a seal! 

Anchored at the Brothers IslandsAnchored at the Brothers Islands
Once we had the first part of our dinner gathered we then headed for Ships Cove. On the way we stopped and gathered some paua and muscles from <undisclosed location... hehehe> before the short trip into Ships Cove. We were originally going to stay the night somewhere in Endeavour Inlet, but once we were graced by the presence of dolphins frolicking in the bay and diving under our boat we decided that this was a pretty good spot to spend the night on the anchor as well!
The next day we headed around the corner into Endeavour Inlet where we discovered Punga Cove Resort. An ice-cream from the shop and a play on the beach was a good way to spend the morning so that the kids could stretch their legs and use up some of the energy that they are able to produce at an alarming rate. There is a Pelorus/Waikawa/Mana mooring here that we were able to pick up while we were there and we just used the tender to ferry everybody across to the beach.
Furneaux LodgeFurneaux LodgeOnce we were done there it was time for the adults to unwind with a cool ale at Furneaux Lodge. What a fantastic spot with a large lawn, good facilities and some nice.... refreshments. This gave the kids another opportunity to run around chasing each other around the trees and finding lots of cool stuff to bring back and show us, including leaves, flowers, crabs, sea snails and even small fish! Before we got there we just radioed ahead on channel 63 and asked to pick up one of their many moorings. This wasn't a problem and we just jumped in the tender again and headed over to the jetty.
Cook Strait southerly: The view from the Bluebridge ferry on the way homeCook Strait southerly: The view from the Bluebridge ferry on the way homeThat night we knew that a strong southerly front was coming through and that we needed to find a good sheltered bay with a mooring so that we could actually sleep without worrying about getting blown away. We found such a spot in at Double Bay (not to be confused with Double Cove). We were able to pick up a mooring here and that night a 30-40 knot southerly came roaring in and showed everyone who was boss. But Topaz II is so solid and sturdy that we had a very comfortable night without even realising how bad it was outside. It really wasn't until we started making our way back to Picton that we were glad that we were in such a big boat that we could lock ourselves inside and be safe from the elements. The ferry ride home from Picton to Wellington was an interesting one... to say the least! (see right)
All-in-all it was one of the best holidays that we have had. The weather was great, the boat was great, the kids were great.... *cough*. The boat easily housed 4 adults and 4 young children with ease. We weren't all tripping over each other and the facilities made it just like being in a small bach. So thankyou very much and we will certainly be back for another adventure next year!
The Presling families.