Posted in Overnight Charters, Multiday Sail; Tagged Te Harinui, Abel Tasman National Park, Sailing holiday, New Zealand Holiday, National Park Hikes, New Zealand Wildlife, Jamarh, Off the grid, Nature, Fishing, Fairwell Spit, dophins, orca, Te Pukatea Bay, penguin; Posted 18 months ago by Gareth Renowden
Fourteen Sailing Adventures in twelve years and many more to come...
Gareth shares his story on what keeps bringing him back to the region, to sail with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures.
It was a grey day leaving Nelson, not all that promising for our first outing on a catamaran. We weren’t even half way across Tasman Bay when an orca and its youngster spied sailing catamaran Jamarh. The baby whale came splashing up in our wake, I grabbed a picture. A little later the sun came out, we saw a penguin, went swimming, and spent the night in beautiful Te Pukatea Bay in the Abel Tasman National Park. We were hooked. That was in 2006. In the intervening 12 years we’ve repeated the exercise 14 times with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures.
We’ve enjoyed one and two day sailing holidays, showing the Abel Tasman to friends from overseas (there is no better way to walk sections of the Abel Tasman track), but the centre piece of our summer, every summer, is a longer five or six day sailing holiday, exploring different facets of the Abel Tasman and Marlborough Sounds. Under the expert guidance of Martin the owner and skipper, we fish and forage for food, take walks and explore the coast. We get up close and personal with wildlife - orca, dolphins, stingrays, seabirds of all kinds - and see parts of the Park and Sounds that trampers and campers can only dream about.
Most of our trips have been from Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures Nelson Charter base, but we’ve also sailed from Havelock to Picton on a memorable journey through the outer Marlborough Sounds, and circumnavigated D’Urville Island.
Skipper Martin’s knowledge of the region and its waters is second to none, and even after all these years he manages to find new things for us to see and do. A couple of years ago we sailed into the lee of Farewell Spit on the high tide and moored up. As the sun set in glorious technicolour, the tide ebbed leaving us to float in the only puddle of water in an ocean of mud and sand.
The skipper is an excellent fishing guide and knows the good spots to get us a feed of blue cod. We’ve also caught tuna and kingfish, dredged scallops, foraged paua for breakfast and feasted on mussels. If we’re lucky, he’ll put on his diving gear and disappear for a short while - returning with crayfish for dinner. We eat well.
We look forward to boat time. On every voyage there are long passages when you’re out of touch with the world, when digital things die and it’s OK to lounge in a hammock with a glass of chilled wine or beer and read the books you’ve been saving for summer. The pace of life is reset to a more natural rhythm. For a brief interval it’s not the phone batteries being recharged.
We fell for this life on Martin and Jane-Marie’s trusty old sailing catamaran Jamarh, a cat they sailed to NZ from it’s old home in South Africa, but we’re now aficionados of their new and luxurious catamaran Te Harinui, a bigger boat with four double cabins and ensuite bathrooms. We’re older and wiser, and have earned the extra comfort. But either boat will take you to places you will remember for the rest of your lives.