George Sound/Te Hou Hou, (‘Georgious!’) – Fiordland

Logbook entry says, ‘Choppy Sloppy!’
Marcus usually smiles and hand steers through the rough stuff!

The run outside between Caswell and George Sounds is around 14 miles. We left early to try to beat some forecast rain and gusty NW winds, and almost made it. The rain started just as we made our turn in. Diana logged the max wind at 27.2 knots, then went down and crossed it out to a revised 29 knots. By the time the wind had blasted us another two miles down the sound, Diana had crossed that out to record 42 knots. Looking on the chart with the wind howling behind us, we were concerned if Anchorage Cove would be able to offer any shelter from this angle of wind, even though it’s listed as an ‘all-weather anchorage.’ We worried it might be too gusty to safely negotiate the narrow spot between the river bar and small rocky island. We decided to poke in and check it out if we could. Right away the wind dropped into the low twenties then the teens, which still felt like a lot to try getting into the tight spot where fishermen had set up a line we could theoretically side tie to. The rain hammered down as Diana watched from the bow for shallow rocks off the island and I maneuvered Allora in, ready to back out if we needed. Despite whitecaps just outside, the winds this close to the little island dropped to near zero and Allora was able to hover effortlessly while Diana (in the kayak) quickly tied lines on the bow and stern, getting absolutely soaked in the process. It was a kind of a crazy feeling, the sudden stillness and security of that spot with gusts in the forties not half a mile away. We wouldn’t have guessed even from a couple hundred yards out that it was worth chancing. ~MS

Super tricky spot to get Allora tucked up into, it required getting sidled alongside the fishermen’s line while keeping Allora out of a couple way too shallow spots. We sat in 6’8″ of water at low tide and we draw 6’6″!
Good thing I love RAIN! (less so, freezing rain!)
We were tied between an island and the very close shore, with all sorts of debris having also been deposited in the relatively calm cove.
Weather’s clearing! The George River valley as seen from our small spot called, ‘Anchorage Cove.’
A new day dawns!!
Heading up with Namo to explore the George River (Marcus with fishing gear, me with a camera, both with awe).
Might we hear Wyatt saying, ‘watch your back cast Dad?!’
Luscious landscape!

I meandered along the trail in the woods while Marcus ambled upriver casting. People often ask about how we manage to find alone time living on a boat – this is one way.

When I saw this ‘rock of plenty,’ I knew I’d not make it too much farther up the trail!

Found this online: “Nurse logs are described as offering a verdant opportunity to contemplate the passing of time, the generational handoff, and the support we can offer each other.” HERE, HERE!

I was right there with this and still don’t know what it is I was seeing?!

No fish, still smiling – tough day on a beautiful river.
Heading back out of the river just in time for some new rain to fall. Allora is just there on the other side of the river bar.
Before we left this anchorage for another, I had designs to see if the existing water hose was flowing so we could fill our tanks. My outfits are devolving, but my motivation was intact!
This was the waterfall right near Allora which was off color from the recent downpour, but the hose would have been buried far above in cleaner water (I hoped).
Sadly, the hose wasn’t producing more than the faintest trickle. There was a fair surge in this little cove and the thick, heavy hose was all entangled in the exposed low tide rocks. Got that cleared but still no water. After some soaking wet, slippery scrambling a ways above the falls, I found the other end of the hose and ‘yahoo’, all I needed to do was secure it back in the water! I was PRETTY tickled with my own cleverness and couldn’t wait to tell Marcus about my heroic efforts (yeah, I’ve been reading about the role of the ego, yeah, I still need to read more!) but you probably can sense the anticlimax here – it didn’t work!!! UGH. So sad. I was exhausted and deflated, but thankful that I’m also reading about gratitude so I could be appreciative of our water maker!
We moved down to the end of the sound, poked into a somewhat famous (for sandflies) anchorage called, ‘Alice Falls,’ but didn’t stay because we were itching (pun) to sit at an old school free- swinging anchorage, which was also an option at the head of the bay.
More typical weather for Fiordland.

Little Blue Penguins seem pretty tiny to handle what Fiordland must dish up?!
My mom moved from southern to northern California while we were in George Sound. Thank you, dear siblings, for manifesting such an effort! Wish we could have helped, but know that we were sending soggy hugs from Fiordland! Weird to be on the other side of the planet when bigger life changes occur.

The rain eased but the wind came up in our free swinging yet exposed anchorage, so we moved back over to Alice Falls – tucked back in a very sweet cove offering lots of protection. Believe it or not, besides the prolific sandflies, this place mainly gets complaints about the noise from the roaring falls!

The next morning, we had glorious sun!
Good thing, because EVERYTHING was wet! Scenic laundromat.
We took Namo over to the George Sound DOC hut, to take the hike up to Lake Katherine.
Again, mainly a hunter’s cabin, but it was past the season, so we found it empty.

This hut is mainly used by hunters during the season. There is also an ‘expert’ rated 18 km (one way) tramping (backpacking) route from Lake TeAnau to George Sound, but it’s seriously overgrown and described by Wyatt as ‘burly.’ We hiked up just 2k (one way) to Lake Katherine and it took AWHILE on some very soggy but ‘georgeous’ trail!
Nicer hut than the Caswell 2 person.

One of the first things we had to do was something Marcus had hoped to avoid entirely – a classic 3 wire bridge with no netting or boardwalks. These are being replaced almost entirely by swing bridges or suspension bridges, but some remain in Fiordland. This river was just too high to try to wade.
So many glorious hours spent traipsing through Fiordland’s grand forests. In Japan it’s called, ‘shinrin-yoku,’ or eco-therapy forest bathing. (It was our most frequent bathing!)
Noticing the wee ones.
Textures, too.
And oh so fresh mountain water!!!! (Consider that we normally drink reverse osmosis water from our de-salination system).

Some Root Beer gummy worms?

Had hopes of seeing this Wapiti at the lake since this track was so fresh.
Lake Katherine.
Look what showed up just as we arrived?!
Sweetly imperfect.
Colorful plate mushroom.

Our return. More my kind of thing – I’d have paid to go on it!
Idyllic scene, lovely day.
It’s entirely unnerving to send that drone up and off the deck of Allora. I give Marcus huge credit for being willing to face the tummy tumult -maybe he’s tempted by the comfy clothing?
He uses the screen and I watch the actual drone, just in case.
So worth it, right?!
We tried scrambling up the true left side of Alice Falls the next day to maybe reach Alice Lake, but neither of us had what it would take!
After 5 nights in glorious George, we set out on a ‘splitter bluebird’ day for Bligh Sound. Too cold for sandflies on this sunny am!
And LOOK WHO accompanied us, smiling all the while?!
Thanks for the mighty sweet escort!

Northward to Charles/Taiporoporo Sound, Mesmerizing – Fiordland

We glided through Thompson Sound early in the am so as to avoid forecasted weather and seas on the outside.
On our way out to open ocean. Had to go check out this unusual formation?!
What looked like snow was actually bare white stone under shallow rooted vegetation (including trees) which ‘slide’ in big rains.
This mauve color was authentic and WOW!
The rocks at the fiord ‘mouth’ are always treacherous and we keep PLENTY of distance. This weather is more characteristic of the area than the gorgeous month + we’ve been wildly lucky to enjoy.
Of all the fiords, we only skipped Chalky Inlet and Nancy Sound. This was the narrow entrance to Nancy and although you can’t see it in this pic, it looked sufficiently tight and rough to make us feel ok about our earlier decision to give it a miss (based on our need to get to Picton for some much needed boat work before our Fiji passage in June).
Charles Sound/Taiporoporo. It had rained the day before, and often we are on the lookout for debris, but this downright tree wasn’t going to be missed! Later, we did hit a log at full speed and never saw it, just heard the dull thud on Allora’s hull 🙁

Charles Sound doesn’t have quite the extensive ‘tentacles’ as Doubtful or Dusky – there are only two! We chose Gold Arm and found such a dear spot for Allora just through this narrow gap, behind Catherine Island. There was a fisherman’s line in place, so we pulled right up alongside it and secured Allora at all 3 cleats, Voilá! (No anchor.)
Birdsong and sandflies aplenty!
The shoreline of Charles is entrancing!

Seaweed left high and dry on display at low tide.


My favorite of Diana’s photographs from Fiordland are the “abstracts,” which she discovers by looking in a very careful, unique way, at the tidal line along the rocks, that magical transitional space between the hidden world underwater and the green, vibrant life-on-fire world above. Bare stone, stained and painted with time and color, bent and reflected by the still, secret, freshwater shimmering over the tide, the infinite, creative capacity of nature. Diana uses framing to share this vision, to point out Nature’s mastery of abstract art. It’s no surprise (and no accident) that these images feel so profoundly connected to her mosaic work. Most of the time these photographic expeditions are her solo meditations, which she shares with me when she gets back to Allora (after hours in the kayak!). But I’ve also been with her, paddling Namo gently into position, sitting right next to her, appreciating the wholeness of a beautiful place but without quite seeing what she is seeing. These images, for me, represent a particular (and particularly magical) collaboration between Diana and this very, very special world we are navigating in Fiordland.~MS


We heard dolphins exhale RIGHT beside Allora, so donned our goofy outfits, lowered Namo off the davits and went out around the corner to see if they’d still be about. A visual feast: the bush, the shoreline, dolphins and the water, ahhh!!!
There were 6, and they were nonplussed by us. (I just went down a Wifi wormhole reading about how ‘nonplussed’ is a contronym!)
See the dorsal fin shape in the intertidal zone, too?!

After that glorious evening light, we settled in for what would be torrential rain all night. We saw 38.5 knots of wind as our max, but from the N/NW – a good direction for this location.
In the morning the water was chocolate colored and there were gushing waterfalls EVERYWHERE!

We had hopes of taking Namo up the Windward River at the head of the bay, but it was a raging ‘NO!’

Sinuous lines, ‘tidelines’ of foam where two currents meet.

Instead of moving Allora over to Emelius Arm, we left her tucked by Catherine Island and ventured 5 miles with Namo in the FREEZING early morning! Visibility was almost nil, but we went slowly and visualized a log free path!
By the time we arrived at the head of Emelius Arm, the sun had started coming up over the peaks, so we knew we’d be warm soon! It’s always harder than we imagine to find where the river (which comes from up high in the canyon ) flows into the sound. Sometimes our guide books showed an approximate position, but not always. We were tempted to follow these shadow arrows, as they seemed to be pointing the way!
Found the Irene River, though at this early stage it was as still as a lake. Our plan was to take Namo up as far as we could and then hike up beyond that until the tide dictated we return.
Hallelujah for the sun!
Sun makes us all so warm and fuzzy!
Through a narrow little offshoot, trees all around, we took Namo back and in (following the sound and a glint of white water) and look what we found?!


Looked it up on our favorite (offline) app, NZ TOPO 50, and learned that this beauty is Marjorie Falls!


Super hard visibility for seeing the myriad snags. It was gorgeous, but took intense focus getting upriver.

Time to hike/fish and let Namo rest.
And to the cicada’s surprise, two new creatures showed up!

Happy to get in the forest on foot and lay some hands on these wise elders!
Marcus didn’t end up seeing any fish, but it was such a pleasure: gravel beds, a reasonable trail on the true left bank, deer sign and a sun dappled forest.
I left this for Marcus so he might see it on his way back down river. Glad I took the pic, because he didn’t!

A fine, fine day!
Had to tear ourselves away and still we left about 1.5 hours after our intention, so the water was REALLY ‘skinny’ for our return.

We negotiated snags the whole way and had to walk/pull Namo out the last 200′!

What a beautiful sight, to see Allora peacefully resting just as we’d left her! Phenomenal day!
Left Charles Sound at 10am – 3 days of solitude and bliss.


Doubtful/Patea, aka Gleeful Sound – Fiordland

Dash from Dagg to Doubtful:

The relatively short distances between sounds along Fiordland’s rugged coast allow for mad dashes timed to brief calms, but you can’t really read the ocean’s mood sheltered in the steep granite walls of the fiords. Often the designation, “all weather anchorage,” means that fishermen have figured out that even in the worst conditions, certain spots are spared. The only way to know when it’s time to go, if you don’t have the benefit of years of local knowledge, is to study the weather models that we download twice a day from PredictWind. Because they are downloading via Iridium satellite, the resolution of the models cannot be higher that 50km. So there’s a bit of an odd effect as the models average how much the wind on the Tasman Sea is slowed down by the mountainous Fiordland coast, giving the appearance of lighter winds close to shore. They probably are a little lighter compared to what they are 20 miles out at sea, but our experience is that the models generally underestimate what it’s like on the outside and overestimate what we’ll experience once inside.  Wind or no, gale or no, the seas are almost always a mess, particularly where local winds funnel through the openings of the sounds. Schedules are well known as the bane of sailing but in the land based world they are unavoidable, and Wyatt had a particularly narrow window of time to squeeze in a visit to us amid preparations to leave New Zealand. So we considered ourselves unreasonably lucky when the wind that pinned us down for a couple of days in Daag, relented in perfect time for us to make the dash. We arrived at the opening of Doubtful with what Wyatt would call a ‘splitter bluebird’ sunny day. ~MS

We saw the full flow of waterfalls after the previous day’s rain as we left Dagg Sound. By the time we got to Doubtful, they were less vigorous, heading into their ‘elegant’ phase!
The clouds came and went, as they do; a reminder that Wyatt would soon join us and then be off again. Even these monolithic mountains, seemingly in stasis, are ever in flux.
We scooted directly on up to Deep Cove so we’d be all set for Wyatt’s morning arrival the next day. SO EXCITED!
Allora on a mooring (all by herself) in Doubtful Sound, tucked right up next to the roar of Helena Falls. Evening spent getting the aft cabin clear of STUFF to welcome Wyatt the next day. Here, I don the particular ‘happy parent’ expression, just moments after snagging Wyatt off the bus!
Yep, the same one!
Triad of smiles.
Wyatt made a fairly long journey from Wanaka to meet up with us: ( 4 hours via car to Manapouri via Queenstown, Ferry across Lake Manapouri to West Arm, Bus via Wilmot Pass Road).  We hardly paused before whisking Wyatt away on the last leg of this long adventure toward Hall Arm.
Oh, how we love VISITS!!!
It was a dramatic day, light wise. Sometimes it’d be broody and dark and then beams of sunlight would break through and highlight just one sliver of the mountainside.

Think we would have been happy gathering anywhere, but this is most definitely Wyatt’s giddy inducing environment!
I have interspersed Wyatt’s pics throughout this blog post – and used ©WS to indicate his shots.
These two …
We had to stay ‘on our game’ to keep anchoring strategies as thorough despite Wyatt’s being with us. Thankfully, the weather cooperated, with the max wind being 21 knots, and Wyatt always has a good sense of being responsible to the situation, anyway.
Anchoring – We never did buy the ‘marriage saver’ headphones which might be a bit softer in the decibel department for communicating between bow and stern. But in this steep sided environment, sometimes our voices would even echo! (Fun for music playing, too!)
Found our spot! Hall Arm is actually breath-taking!!
Oh yeah, this’ll do!
©WS We anchored in 68′ of water – so pretty deep – with all our rode out.
I think all 3 of us held a quiet awareness around how hard our next goodbye would be, as Wyatt was planning to leave NZ after spending 2.5 years building community in Wanaka and sharing some real quality time with us.

Ok, let’s go EXPLORE!!

©WS Snagging one of these close ups sometimes involves a bit of scrambling! (Wyatt was too busy grabbing me from the icy water after I slipped and fell in to take a picture!)

Ha, Wyatt caught us both entranced!

We have experienced a profound cumulative effect traveling through the wilderness of these southern fiords, as we mash through the tangled forest or glide like a whisper through glassy, watery mountain reflections. We feel a growing, deepening awareness of the liveness and power of this unfettered place. Every day Diana peers a little closer into the magical profusion of the rainforest, its tiniest creatures (or the smallest we may perceive) all this abundance of life fueled by fresh water, gray stormy clouds, shifting rays of sunlight, massive stone faces fading softly into the distance. The boundless imagination of nature is vividly accessible here, free of scheming human interference. Inexhaustible, effortless celebration. We feel blessed to feel like we belong, to participate at our particular scale, with our particular way of perceiving. Gratefully reconnected as dolphins come to play alongside Allora, turn and smile and look back at us with familiar eyes, into our own delighted gaze. As the sky softens at sunset, or looms heavy with rain before the storm, as water gushes from waterfalls that were not there before the deluge, thundering into the fiord, as williwaws tornado in wild rainbow mists across startled coves, how delightful it is to be alive, a part of, this marvelous, miraculous world. ~MS

The layout of Doubtful/Bradshaw/Thompson Sounds. You can see why they’re called ‘arms.’
©WS We moved each night because Wyatt had just 5 with us and although we KNOW ‘more isn’t more,’ we couldn’t resist! Also, weather necessitated we seek certain protection, so we had THAT excuse (wink).
Gaer Arm up Bradshaw Sound is a famously hard spot to set anchor, normally only a daytime or fair weather anchorage. The Camelot River is at the head and offers great potential for dingy/kayak exploration at high tide, so we strategized and came up with a plan since we had some moderate winds forecasted.
Anchored off the mud bank of the Camelot at the head of the arm.
Just starting up the Camelot, Allora barely in sight. We timed our Camelot River foray and left two hours before high tide, towing the kayak behind Namo. We crept up 2k carefully avoiding snags and rocks until reaching a clear ‘no go’ spot for Namo. At that point, the guys hiked a couple more kilometers up the gorgeous river and I turned back toward Allora with the kayak, so as to be on the boat for the predicted winds.
Learned something about how cloudy days can actually be more subtle light for shooting.
I turned back toward Allora while Marcus and Wyatt fished upstream.
Making my way back to Allora in some pretty ‘skinny’ water. There were sulphuric smelling hot water bubbling spots all across the shallows!
Allora nicely sitting just where we left her and in very placid conditions. The wind did end up picking up, but not in any significant way and our anchor stayed set nicely.
We moved across Bradshaw Sound to Precipice Cove/MacDonnell Island, an all weather anchorage.
Still quite giddy about having one on one time with Wyatt before he flies back to the States.
Wyatt went off on a long kayak while we heard word about our long awaited boxes of pre-ordered ‘fresh’ veggies! Real Journeys offers the service in collaboration with a grocery store in Te Anau. It’s kind of a miracle and although it didn’t go flawlessly, we were more than happy to jump through a few hoops to get celery and lettuce and carrots, oh my!
The Milford Mariner, a boat run by Real Journeys, called us on the VHF and said they had our 3 boxes of veggies! We were expecting them to arrive the day we picked up Wyatt, but they kept going missing. Anyway, we zipped over to the head of the bay and their lights made them look even more angelic in my eyes! The first ‘freshies’ since leaving Oban a good two months ago! I definitely did a vegetable dance!
Instead of the 45 knot winds which were predicted, we saw only a few mild gusts but LOTS of rain, enough to almost fill both of our water tanks (200 gallons!).

Before heading to Crooked Arm, we went a bit farther on to see some of the waterfalls at the head of Precipice Cove.
©WS Yeah, it DID rain A LOT!
Marcus was super generous to be helmsman while Wyatt and I ran around gleefully taking pictures!
Looking down into Thompson Sound from Penoulo Reach.

A frisky band of Bottlenose Dolphins took to leaping in the wake of a Real Journeys boat which whizzed by us. We weren’t even sure if the folks on that boat saw the antics because they just kept on keeping on. Meanwhile, we stopped and spent over an hour and a half with these VERY social and smiley creatures! All of these dolphin shots are Wyatt’s. My camera fogged up and he needed an SD card anyway, so I just spent the whole time giggling!
Always and already …
We spent our last evening at the end of Crooked Arm, just 1 mile as the crow flies to Dagg Sound. I was sure Wyatt would want to run across, but we didn’t arrive till quite late in the afternoon and we were cherishing our last time for sweet conversation.
And what an evening it was! Fiordland showed off a wee bit.
We shot this when we thought Wyatt had the possibility of extending his stay one more day, hence the smiles. We learned soon after that we had to rush in the morning to get him back to Deep Cove for an earlier bus because they’d cancelled the other option. 🙁
One last kayak outing.
Leaving Crooked Arm and working our way back to Deep Cove, Marcus maneuvered Allora right up next to these stunners.

Last things to say. This appears to have more lightness and less tears than I remember?
©WS Such gratitude.
Back at Deep Cove. We ran Wyatt over to the place where we’d picked him up and we saw his bus leaving – 15 minutes EARLY! It was against my better interests, because I’d have loved to KEEP him for 2 more days, but I screamed my throat raw, the driver stopped and he made the bus. No Italian style protracted goodbyes though – he was off in an instant! OUCH, rip the bandaid! (Was glad we’d had that heart to heart in the morning!) Ciao bello!
Marcus and I took a walk, hardly talking, just savoring the blissful blur of the 5 past days traipsing all over Doubtful Sound with our baby!
The light was even a bit melancholy.
Never too disheartened to be lit up by a new mushroom find!
We found a trail right up to the base of Helena Falls.
Last light of the day along the tail-race looking in the direction which Wyatt headed, starting this new chapter in his life.
We had to fuel up Allora and do some laundry (real life after sustained play), so we stopped one last night in Snug Cove/First Arm of Doubtful before heading northward.
Almost like a dream …


Doubtful we’ll ever forget this.


Dagg/Te Ra Sound, shared only with Wapiti in the ‘roar.’ – Fiordland

Heading north along the west coast of the South Island, soon to turn east into Dagg Sound!
The sun started making an appearance, highlighting the seemingly endless layers unfolding into … infinity?!
We both saw a crazy optical illusion as we headed out of Breaksea Sound – of breaking waves in the distance ACROSS the entrance/exit. Turns out, the path was clear and calm, but some light bending effect had us both pretty focused and ready to retreat back to Stevens Cove if necessary! In general, the chart plotter and real life conditions both need our attention. We found our Navionics charts to be thankfully accurate in Fiordland, though still a fair amount of erroneous depth readings and the occasional goofy moments when small islands would be charted which weren’t there.
Approaching the Dagg Sound entrance.
Always a nice exhale when we cross from the ‘outside,’ to the ‘inside!’
The ‘grotto’ beneath this waterfall must have been gorgeous?! I wanted to drop the kayak and go over there, but we had an anchorage to go find.
Dagg Sound is 8+ miles long and branches into two arms. We first chose
‘Anchorage Arm’ and had glassy calm conditions. Instead of trying to find shallow enough depths in the middle to anchor in, we snugged up super close to shore utilizing some fishermen’s lines which are rigged in place. Wonderful protection from winds, mellifluous creek sounds and voracious sandflies!
Such a little creature to cause so much mischief!
My armor: fleece onesie, scarf and balaclava/hat (ready to be dropped over my whole face when, after about 7 seconds of being outside, every sandfly in the universe descends on me. Haha, unless Marcus is out there too!)
Caught this Albacore on the ‘outside,’ just seconds after videotaping Marcus setting out the rod and line, and commenting that I wasn’t sure I wanted to even catch a fish because of the large swell!
Went out on Namo with MS to explore the colorful shoreline at the end of the day.

We moved to the southern arm of Dagg to the ‘All weather anchorage’ since bigger winds were predicted and we liked the idea of a swing anchorage instead of being tied so close to shore.
Always fun to see what’s around the corner!
New spot!

Something happened when the twenty North American Wapiti Roosevelt gifted to New Zealand in 1905 found their way into the heart of Fiordland’s steep and impenetrable wilderness. Maybe there’s a perfectly rational scientific explanation (maybe it has something to do with crossing breeding with Red Deer?). They got a bit smaller than the fat and happy elk of Yellowstone (which certainly makes good sense given the dense rainforest) but they also changed their tune, no longer bugling with that iconic, haunting call that resonates across the frosty parklands, lodgepole forests and granite peaks of the Rockies. Our visit to Daag coincided with height of the “roar.” It’s a sound that does not “belong,” but also feels so fitting, as though giving voice to the thick ferny jungle of that unpeopled wilderness. Deep, guttural, plaintive and haunting (in their own way) – their roars echo across the still water and ridiculously precipitous canyon walls. You can hear individual stags make their way up and down the steep shore, and we paddled Namo as stealthily as we could manage along the shore hoping for a glimpse, and though they often seemed very close, we never saw them. We could only imagine their antlered heads tilted back, belly’s trembling as they gave voice to the wilderness.~MS

There’s a 1 kilometer trail between Dagg and Doubtful Sound, so we set out (too late) to try to dash across, but only got halfway and had to turn back, both because of light and falling tide.
One of the many amazing things about the bush is that there are very few ‘pokey’ things. I am in the occasional habit of ‘greeting’ the ferns as I walk by, but I found one that didn’t want to be touched.



We had one day and night which was cloudy and rainy; the water became very brown with loads of fresh on top, heaps of forest debris floated around us and new, gushing waterfalls sprouted everywhere! Most folks agreed that these conditions were more the ‘norm’ and that we’d been having wild good fortune to experience a of almost non-stop glorious conditions.
Guess we’re playing music!


When the weather cleared, I went on a ‘playdate with nature’ hike across to Haulashore Cove/Doubtful Sound, while Marcus went out on Namo to perchance catch sight of the Wapiti which roared in ‘surround sound’ most of the time we were there!
Ok, wanna go have a close look?!
Seaweed on shore, looking so ET!

Last sight of Allora for a few hours.
Even a ‘dead’ tree stump is quite full of life.

The kōtukutuku, also known as ‘the tree with the peeling bark’ or Fuchsia, is one of the most easily recognisable trees in the New Zealand bush. I must have been hungry, because I saw artisan CRACKER!
Most of this short trail is in dense forest, but occasionally I’d pop out and see these peaks.

Too many years of berry bewareness to feel free enough to nibble these, however tempting!

Just seein’ if you’re paying attention!

Classic ‘Tarzan’ vines following their twisty, viney nature! And Spanish moss/Tillandsia usneoides is not a moss at all, but a bromeliad, which means it is in the same taxonomic family as pineapples and succulent house plants!

Although Spanish moss grows on trees, it is not a parasite. It doesn’t put down roots in the tree it grows on, nor does it take nutrients from it. The plant thrives on rain and fog, sunlight, and airborne or waterborne dust and debris.

Known for it’s friendly, ‘cheet cheet’ call and it’s crazy flying antics, the Fantail or Pīwakawaka often follows another animal (and people) to capture insects. Time and time again, though, they acted as guides; when we were off track in the woods, they’d appear, chirping energetically, as if to say, ‘no … not that way, THIS way!!’ I learned to always follow them!


Some fungi fun: I haven’t had the time to research ID’s on most of these, so write me if you know and are keen to share?!

These ‘nurse logs’ are fallen trees which become garden beds for new life with the help of insects, microbes and fungi, eventually turning back into rich humus.

REALLY want to learn about this ‘web,’ which was considerably thicker than any spider web I’ve ever seen and the filaments looked to be made of the same ‘stuff’ as the mushroom?! Anyone?!

My very favorite find! In a process called, ‘gutturation,’ the mushroom will ‘weep’ excess pigmented moisture!!

Quite late by the time I got back to shore.

Marcus had dropped me off, so I hailed him on the handheld VHF to come retrieve me – thankfully he could get across the ‘bar’ in what amounted to no usable light.
Our red half way track and my green, very distracted by flora track. A 1 k hike turned into almost 6 round trip! I didn’t get any interesting pics from the Doubtful Sound side, but that’s our next Fiord, so there will be PLENTY!
Eagerly heading out of Dagg … Why? Because Doubtful is our next Sound and Wyatt is joining us there!!!! Allora scoots along with a bit of extra oomph!
Formations near the exit of Dagg Sound.
Wonderful little ‘nook.’
On the outside now, through the pass. Last look back at Dagg.






Vancouver Arm: Head of Bay, Third Cove, Stevens Cove, Breaksea/Te Puaitaha Sound – Fiordland.

Bathymetric chart of Vancouver Arm – gives an image of the size, shape and distribution of features underwater.
We just spent one quick night at the head of the bay in Vancouver Arm. We had plans in place to meet Wyatt in Doubtful Sound, 2 north of here, so we had to strategize our short stays with the weather predictions and what protection each anchorage might offer.
Third Cove Anchorage. We worked hard finding suitable depths to anchor in here and ended up dropping in 25 meters (83′), which is quite deep, but the mud bank at the head of the bay was also tough to see and the edge of it fluctuated, so all in all, challenging. Our ‘guidebooks’ didn’t say anything about where other ‘yachties’ would anchor. First impressions: amazing birdsong and echoes in this biggish bay!
I wonder if we were hideous even to the flora/fauna …?!
… ok, I feel better now. This flora is pretty ‘warty!’ We had heaps of fun checking out the very colorful intertidal zone. Started at higher tide, but it was dropping really fast, so we had to be sure Namo didn’t get stuck ‘high and dry.’ Not sure what these are, but they were ALL OVER!
You can probably imagine the smell that went along with this falling tide and exposed sea creatures?
Marcus found this one shell just sitting in this position. No others about.
Then we made it to the very spongy and lush forest. We’d been told there was a waterfall to be found, but we never found the ‘trailhead.’
No matter, there’s plenty of water and wonder right here!

The Audrey Hepburn of the plant world – playful and elegant, both.