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15 August 2008

Picton to Nelson (side trip to Australia)

Hello To You All

We left Picton in the top of the Marlborough Sounds on Thursday 17th July (Help that was nearly a month go!] on a mild overcast winter morning with no wind, so motored out of Queen Charlotte Sound and back into Cook Straight where we were back into winds of 20 -25k with moderate seas!!! Also it started to rain. Oh well it is winter. By 3.00pm we were back into the sunshine and motor sailing into Pelorus Sound. This really is a pretty part of the country. We found a lovely sheltered bay where we tied up to a mooring buoy for the night. Alec and I put the tender into the water and motored off to find a spot to drop his Cray pot. Once back on Shamal we then watched the seals on the other side of the bay swimming around the cages of a salmon farm looking wishfully in for an easy meal.
Next morning when Alec picked up the Cray pot it had four baby brown sharks in it about 2ft long. Just what we did NOT need! We motored on out to D’Urville Island and dropped our fishing lines over the side. Alec got two barracouta which are uneatable, one blue cod which are just the best, and, a baby grey shark which are just a pest. I caught two blue cod and three baby grey sharks. [we found out later that the grey sharks can be eaten but you have to prepare them correctly – not for us thanks!] Enough of fishing we motored on down through French Pass, and area of strong eddies, currents and whirlpools which made for an interesting trip, and on to a bay about 30nm north of Nelson where we dropped the Cray pot again, and then the anchor for the night. That evening a swell came in which had us rolling around most of the night. By morning the wind had got up to around 35k and a good sea was running which made bring in the Cray pot nearly impossible. But we did hoist it on board only to find another three brown sharks in it. I tell you that pot is now called the shark pot!! But we hope one day we can call it by its correct name by catching a crayfish or two.

We had a bit of a slog on down to Nelson in moderate seas with strong winds, but were safely in the Nelson marina by 1.30p.m. We spent the next few days calling in at the different boat yards and boat shops sorting out all the different jobs that need doing while we are here. This is where we will take SHAMAL out of the water plus get her all ready for our big trip next year.

We were only in Nelson for a few days before we all flew back to Auckland as Alec and I were off to Australia to a Seawind Dealers Conference and then the Sydney Boat show. We left Murray in Auckland. He had been on board with us for six weeks and really enjoyed his time.

Our trip to Australia went really well. We arrived on the Saturday evening and on the Sunday morning the company arranged for us to go for a sail and lunch on Sydney Harbour. That was a wonderful way to meet everyone and made a great start to the week. At the conference we met up with Dealers from around the world which was most informative and interesting. We had wonderful hosts and all the crew at the factory where it was held went out of their way to do all they could for us. We moved back to Sydney at the end of the week as the Sydney Boat Show was on, and the company had their boats there. We all helped out on the stand for the first two days then the Dealers went their own ways. Alec and I stayed on an extra day just to check out the other exhibits and the competition of the other brands of catamarans. We are still convinced that the Seawind is the best value for its size. We flew home on the Sunday and stayed there for a few days to check up on our properties to make sure they were alright as two storms passed through while we were away in Oz. We then flew on down here to Nelson - last Thursday – the 7th August. Shamal was fine but a few boats in the marina suffered damage in the storms, one being blown over in the cradle as she stood out on the hard. We were told winds were in excess of 70ks down here in Nelson. We can see where trees in the parks have been ripped out of the ground. Brigitte has come back with us this time.

Nelson usually has a very good history for nice winters, but this year has sure been different. There have been storms which thank goodness we were away for, but the first morning we were back there was snow on the hills just behind the city. The next morning we had a hard frost all over the deck of the boat, and since then rain, rain and more rain, and when it is not raining there are snow storms in the mountains around us. This seems to be one of the coldest and wettest winters for quite a number of years. We will all be glad when the warmer weather comes.

OK will sign off for this post. Hope it finds you all well.

Love Ann and Alec

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