Friday, February 29, 2008

Hell in Barn Bay

1st March.
James writes: Babs has been stuck in Barns Bay for 5 nights now after being sick the day after she arrived, missing a critical window to get through to Port Jackson and past a major mile stone both mentally and physically. But the weather has boxed her in with pouring rain and constantly strong winds. From brief messages and the odd satellite phone call, Babs is feeling very frustrated, wet and depressed having sat in a small tent in these conditions. So if people would like to send an encouragement hit the comment link below, she got a real lift last time she saw these.
Here is a photo when Babs left Milford in more favourable weather.I expect new photos any day, so watch the blog.
It is predicted Babs will be able to make a break Monday morning with better winds a N1m swell.
Hang in there Babs!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Kept going, safe at Barns Bay..

26 Febuary
James writes: An hour after updating the blog, a new message "TUESDAY EVENING AT BARN BAY" so that was pretty long day with approx 75 km of paddling in not best of conditions. Tomorrow all going well a half day into Port Jackson.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Martins Bay

26th Febuary:
James Writes: Sat phone message that Babs was in Martins Bay at around 10am NZT after leaving Belinda and Stanley who followed her out to Anita´s Bay. Paul Caffyn sent a mail saying the ses are quite big. Its a 45km padle to next possible landing in Barns Bay and another 30km around into Port Jackson where there is the next road and any connection with civilisation.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back to Milford

Monday 25th Febuary
James Updates: Babs went back to Milford today with Stanley & Belinda. The plan is to go out to Anita´s Bay and wait for a good opening in the weather for Jackson Bay. Ideally not landing would be a good goal but things happen…..
Here are also two pictures Babs mailed over from Thomson and Milford Sound.
Fredagen den 22 februari, lördagen den 23 februari och söndagen den 24 februari. Dagarna på land gick snabbt med fågelskådning, besök hos min favoritradiooperatör Meri och ett mindre föredrag. Läste alla positiva kommentarer på hemsidan och kände mig uppåt. Under lördagen blev vinden allt starkare och skulle enligt prognoserna gå upp till 60 km/h med vindbyar på 90 km/h. Ja, tala om att det kan blåsa på denna ö!
Friday the 22nd till Sunday 24th Febuary: The days on land went quick with bird watching and visit to my favourite radio operator Meri. Then a small public talk. I have read all the positive comments on my blog and it gave me a positive lift. Thanks! On staurday the wind gwas very strong and according to forecasts up to 60 km an hour with gusts of 90 km per hour. It really does get windy on this Island!

Torsdagen den 21 februari. De kommande dagarna skulle det bli nordliga vindar på upp emot 50 knots! Och matförrådet behövdes definitivt fyllas på! Men istället för Te Anau fick jag lift till Invercargill och blev åter varmt välkomnad av Belinda och Stanley.
Thursday the 21 Febuary: The coming days it shall be northerly winds of up to 50 knots! And food supplies definitely need filling! But instead of Te Anau I took a ride to Invercargill and was welcomed home to Belinda and Stanley.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Diary from Riverton till Milford

Saturday 23rd Feburay
James writes: Below you will find Babs diary she has sent me by text message the last days while she was back in Invecargil to esacpe the poor weather in Milford. Babs plans to be back on the water early during the week with a 2-3 days paddle to Port Jackson. I hope to get some pictures in the next week from Babs, will have a selection quickly up for all to see. Having spoken a bit on the phone with Babs, she would like to pass on her thanks and greetings to all the boats and people she has meet along the coast and Fiords the last days.

Onsdagen den 20 februari: Paddlade i lugn takt in mot Milford och kunde konstatera att jag befann mig i ett underbart landskap. Men den ihärdiga lufttrafiken var lite väl ihärdig och själva platsen annorlunda från vad jag hade förväntat mig och kom ihåg från tidigare besök.
Wednesday the 20 Febuary: Padled at a relaxed pace into Milford and could see that I was in an amazing landscape. But the large amount of air traffic from the airstrip was a little disappointing. Milford itself was different from what I expected even after having been there before.

Tisdagen den 19 februari. För ovanlighetens skull verkade vindarna bli milda denna dag och det var fortfarande mörkt när jag tog första paddeltaget. Med kraftiga dyningar men en lätt bris passerade jag Nancy Sound, Charles Sound, Caswell Sound och det underbart vackra George Sound. Med ett så perfekt paddelväder bestämde jag mig för att göra ett försök att nå Milford Sound. En vacker solnedgång ersattes av en klar fullmåne och på Anitas Bay satt en paddlare vid namn Fiona med en värmande lägereld.
Tuesday the 19th Febuary: Unusually it was mild winds today and it was still dark when I took my first strokes. With a large swell and light breeze I passed Nancy Sound, Charles Sound, Caswell Sound and the beautiful George Sound. With such perfect weather I decided to try for Milford sound. A beautiful sunset was replaced by a full moon and at midnight in Anitas bay at the entrance to Milford Sound, sat a kayaker named with Fiona with a welcoming campfire.

Måndagen den 18 februari. Det var kallt och fuktigt om morgonen men så lite vind att jag åter beslutade mig för att hoppas på en säker morgonpaddling. Jag fick kämpa hårt med höga vågor, lurig brottsjö och en otrevligt växande vind. Men desto gladare var jag när jag kom in i det underbart vackra Doubtful Sound! Fick senare oönskat sällskap av mängder av sandflugor.
Monday the 18th Febuary: Cold and damp this morning but little wind, so it was decision to hope for a safe morning of paddling. I had to fight with large waves and rough conditions and wind changing direction all the time. But I was glad when I made it into incredibly scenic Doubtful Sound! Then I meet my regular companions, sandflies!

Söndagen den 17 februari. Ytterligare en dag med prognos för starka vindar. Men om morgonen var det lugnt och med endast fyra timmars paddling till nästa landstigningsmöjlighet i Daggs Sound tog jag en chansning. Väl i nästa sund dröjde det inte någon lång stund innan vinden var så kraftig att jag trodde att tältet skulle gå sönder. Dessvärre fick jag en väderprognos för morgondagen med starka sydvästliga vindar, fyra meter höga vågor och "rough sea". Suck!
Sunday the 17 Febuary: Another day of of forecasts for strong winds. But the morning is calm and with just four hours paddling to my next safe landing in Daggs Sound I took the chance. Well it didn’t take to long after arriving that the wind took force and I thought the tent was not going to hold up. And the next forecast was for strong southwest winds, four meter swells and rough seas.Ahh!

Lördagen den 16 februari. Ännu en dag på landbacken med vindar om 35 knots. Förvisso starka vindar men varmt och soligt i den skyddande viken. Och även denna dag kom det in en båt med trevligt kvällssällskap!
Saturday the 16th Febuary: Another day on land with winds of over 35 knots. Despite the winds it was warm and sunny in the sheltered bay. And even today came a boat with some people for company.

Fredagen den 15 februari. Prognosen var vindar om 35 knots. Men trots de friska medvindarna fick jag en kort men härlig paddling genom Anchor Passage med stupande klippväggar. Ännu en dag i ensamhet? Nej, några timmar senare kom en charterbåt in i viken och snart hade de plockat över mig för några timmars trevligt sällskap och Carls underbara mat.
Friday the 15th Febuary: Forecast winds at 35 knots. But despote the fresh winds behind me I did a quick tour into Anchor passage with steep cliffs. Another day alone? Nope, a few hours later came a charter boat in and asoon they collected me for a few hours company and Carls delicious food.

Torsdagen den 14 februari. Det skulle blåsa från 20 upp till 35 knots under dagen. Men om morgonen var det hyfsat lugnt och jag gav mig av. Ute på havet var det hög svall och luriga brottsjöar (overfalls) men inte förrän strax innan Dusky Sound fick jag känna på de riktigt starka vindarna. Fick en härlig eftermiddag i den vackra skyddande fjorden och var lycklig över att ha klarat av den värsta sträckan!
Thursday the 14th Febuary: It should blow up between 20 to 35 knots today. The morning was relatively calm for the area so I took off. Out at sea it was a high swell and tricky conditions with overfalls, but just as I came into Dusky Sound I felt the real strong winds. Had a great dinner in the beautiful protected fiord and was so happy to have cleared that dangerous section of coast.

Onsdagen den 13 februari. Sov över på fiskebåten och vid tretiden var det dags att gå upp för att fylla en massa lådor med kräftor innan helikoptern kom för hämtning. Spenderade resten av dagen i lugn hamn med vindar om 40 knop ute till havs. 
Wedneday the 13 Febuary: Slept on the fishing boat and at 3am it was time to get up and fill a lot of boxes with crayfish before the helicopter came for collection. Spent the rest of the day in peace in the harbour with winds at 40 knots out at sea.

Tisdagen den12 februari. Det blåste kraftigt när jag vaknade och det blev ytterligare en sovmorgon. Viljan att nå Dusky Sound var stark men vinden starkare. Istället paddlade jag till Port North för vatten och fick efterlängtat och trevligt sällskap av fiskarna Cyril och Michael.
Tuesday the 12 Febuary: It blew strongly when I woke up and it would be another sleep in. I wanted so strongly to get to Dusky Sound, but the wind was stronger. Instead I padled to Port North for water and got a welcomed onto Cyril and Michaels crayfish boat.

Måndagen den 11 februari. Starka nordliga vindar skulle bli lättare sydliga vindar mot kvällen. Men... Även om kvällen ryckte vindarna i tältet. Längtade tillbaka till de härliga kiwis jag lämnade i lördags. Började misströsta. Kanske dags att ge upp?
Monday the 11 Febuary: Strong northerly winds should be lighter southerly by the evening. But… even during the evening the wind tried to destroy the tent. Long after to the “Kiwi`s” I left on staurday. Starting to get down, maybe its time to give up?

Söndagen den 10 februari. Det var denna morgon som jag skulle paddla fyra timmar längs en stökig sträcka utan landstigningsmöjligheter bort från öns blåsigaste hörn. Det blev en heldag i tältet medan regnet vräkte ner och vindarna ändrade riktningar men inte styrka. Och jag var ledsen och förtvivlad. Fast igen på en liten strand med tusentals sandflugor....
Sunday the 10 Febuary: It was to be the day I should paddle four hours along a very nasty piece of coast without any safe landing. It would be in reality a whole day in the tent while the rain poured down and the wind changed direction but not strength. And I was sad and frustrated! Stuckm ona beach with thousands of sandflies….

Lördagen den 9 februari. Prognosen var sydvästliga vindar om 30 knots, dyningar på 4 m och grov sjö. Men om morgonen är det lugnt och trots mitt härliga sällskap beslutade jag mig för att göra en kort morgonpaddling. Marc och Gavin vinkade av mig och det kändes märkligt att paddla ut i mörkret!
Saturday the 9th Febuary: Forecast is southwest winds up to 30 knots, swells of 4 meters and heavy seas. But this morning is calm and despite my great company a decided to do a short morning paddle. Mark and Gavin waved me off and it felt strange to paddle off in the dark! (Babs made it to Welcome Bay).

Fredagen den 8 februari. Ännu en dag med trevligt sällskap och en vandring medan det stormade ute på havet. Och med matlagningslektioner under kvällen.
Friday the 8th Febuary: Another day with great company, a walk while it stormed out at sea. Then food cooking lessons in the evening.

Torsdagen den 7 februari. Under natten var jag sjuk. Kramper i magen. Kände hur otroligt utsatt jag är när jag färdas utan sällskap. Frisk men otroligt sliten om morgonen. Senare blev jag något förvånad när tio personer kom iland. För att tillbringa en semestervecka i detta fjordområde. Ett härligt gäng och en sen natt med underbar skaldjursmiddag!
Thursday the 7th Febuary: During the night I was isck. Stomach cramps. Felt how worn out I was with out company. Felt better in the morning but tired. Later I was surprised when 10 persons came onto land. They were having a week of holiday in the area. A great group of people and we ate a great seafood dinner!

Onsdagen den 6 februari. Denna dag och de kommande fem såg ut att få tillbringas på land pga nordvästliga vindar på upp över 40 knots. Men övergiven kände jag mig inte för redan om morgonen kom en helikopter förbi och gav mig tecken om jag var ok. Fördrev dagen med au vandra omkring i en vacker och intressant omgivning.
Wednesday the 6th Febuary: Today and the next five saw to it that with northwesterly winds over 40 knots was on land. Dereted I didn’t feel at all though, a helicopter came by and checked on me and I gave them the signal I was OK (Meri had asked it while training a pilot to check on Babs). Spent the day wandering in the wild and interesting enviroment.

Tisdagen den 5 februari. Jag insåg att jag måste ta mig bort från detta område men de brytande vågorna och den redan så starka vinden gjorde mig gråtfärdig. Men jag tog mig ut och jag höll båten på rätt köl vinden det tumultartade havet till trots. Senare lugnade sig havet och vindarna. Och det var en lycklig Babs som rundade det beryktade Puysegur Point. :-(
Tueday the 5th Febuary: I saw I have to get away from this landscape with breaking waves, and with the strongish winds I just wanted to cry. But I took me out and stayed upright despite the wind and sea conditions. Later it clamed down and it was glad and relieved Babs that rounded into Puysegur point ☺

Måndagen den 4 februari. Ännu en dag på land! Först pga den starka sydvästliga vinden. Men även pga kraftigt brytande vågor och tufft hav. Börjar bli less på vindarna. Nu vill jag styra fören norrut! :-(
Monday the 4th Febuary: Another day on land! Firstly due to the southwesterly wind, but late even for the powerful breaking swell and tough sea. Starting to get annoyed at the wind. I want to get North!

Söndagen den 3 februari. Enligt väderprognosen skulle det bli starka nordvästliga vindar och redan vid niotiden var det full fart. Fram emot kvällen stillade vinden men vid midnatt drog en stark sydvästlig vind in istället. :-(
Sunday the 3rd Febuary: Forecats says strong winds and already at 9am its in full force. In the evening it calmed but by midnight a strong southwesterly came in to replace it. ☹

Lördagen den 2 februari. Avvinkad av Belinda, Jacqui och Tim. Bra paddelförhållanden över Te Waewae Bay och lunch i Port Craig. Fortsatte men hann inte långt innan vinden tilltog snabbt och för starkt. Ännu en för kort paddlingsdag! Stort tack till alla hjälpsamma människor i Bluff och Invercargill! Ett varmt tack till Belinda och Stanley!
Saturday the 2nd Febuary: Waved off by Belinda, Jacqui and Tim, good conditions over Te Waewae Bay and lunch in Port Craig. Continued but not long till the wind took hold fast and strong. Another short days paddling! A special warm thanks to Belinda and Stanley.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Anitas Bay & 100k

Entrance to Milford Sound (Google Earth)
20 Febuary 1am NZT
James  writes: Its been a bit of a long morning here in Sweden waiting for a message from Babs, maybe the satellite signal was shadowed or...?
But one hour after midnight New Zealand time I received a message"MIDNIGHT.ENTRY AT MILFORD. SAFE AT ANITAS BAY.SLEEP IN 2MORROW.NO MESSAGES!"   Measuring the distance on google Earth its is just on around 100km in distance! So I think she deserves a sleep in before 16 km into Milford for a hot shower.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Storm Saturday (But Luckily it was avoided-see bove)

For 23 Febuary
19 Febuary
James: Waiting to hear from Babs to se how far she came today, but you can se she needs to ideally reach Milford soon, otherwise she will be stuck by herself in a bad period of weather around Saturday the 23rd with winds exceeding 35+ knots and 6 to 7m seas in a westerly direction, perpendicular to the coast. As Jette who left a comment "Man undrar om det någonsinn ska komma lugna fina dagar...?" we too are wondering when there will be some better weather, everyone was telling Babs it will be a perfect "LaNinya"summer, hmmmm....

Deas Cove Thomson Sound

18 Febuary
James Writes: Babs sent a message to say she made it to Deas Cove inside Thomson Sound. Winds seem to have calmed down as she messaged first it looked rough and she was going back to bed as it was cold. The next days will lead into another long wait, but the 19th has good weather with a change to northerlies in the afternoon. These will last for a few days and t will get quite rough out beyond shelter of the Fiords.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dagg Sound

17 Febuary
JamesWrites: Text Message From Babs via the Satellite phone DAGGS SOUND.BUT YOUR FORECAST WRONG. STRONG WINDS 40 KNOTS AFTER LUNCH" so I guess I cant be right all the time, but Babs did get a bit further towards Milford and a hot shower!
It seems difficult to get the forecasts right down there, even the different services conflict sometimes. 
Tomorrow could be strong southerlies and a large 4m Swell, but Tuesday looks good with Variable winds under and around 10 knots, so we hope she makes for North of Secretary Island via Doubtful Sound where she has a little more sheltered paddling. "Seems the more settled weather from the LaNinya (opposite to a El Nino) has yet to kick in" comments Paul Caffyn.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heading North Breaksea Sound!

15th Febuary
James writes: "Good as gold" Meri in Bluff sent me a quick e-mail that suprised us all. Babs was now safe in Dusky Sound! One of the fishing boats had been keeping an eye on her as winds gusting up over 30 knots were expected and the swell was at 3m from the South West.
An hour later I received a quick call from a very tired and cold Babs with news she was in Sunday Cove Breaksea Sound 70 km from Chalkie Island where she had moved to get away from the Sandflies and have company on a Crayfish boat!
So now its just 110 km or so to Milford where Babs can send us some more great images and reload some energy before heading towards Port Jackson.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gone fishing

12 Febuary
James writes: With stronger winds than forecasted, Babs was not keen to get out in 3m Swells and 20 knot winds, so she has moved to Port Chalkie across from Landing Bay to escape the sandflies a little. She has also meet up with a Crayfisherman who Babs will join fishing today, so we can guess whats for dinner!
 Hopefully the weather will settle soon and then Babs can really head north towards home. Just a 25 km paddle around Cape Providence into the shelter of Dusky Sound is holding her back.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Chalky Sound & New Pictures..

Friday 8 Febuary
James Writes. Have had problems with messaging to the Satellite phone and just as I was updating Babs blog I received an e-mail from "Good as Gold" Meri that Babs just landed in Landing Bay Chalky Sound and is happy with her mornings effort. Next window is Wednesday afternoon or Thursday, where she will make a dash for Dusky Sound, another exposed section with little sheltered landings. 
Meri in Bluff who operates a great service with the VHF Radio network, I would best described as the short wave angel of the southern ocean :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Stuck at Puysegur

8 Febuary
James writes: Babs has beed stuck or for a better word sheltering at the Puysegur boat shed, she has good company of some fisherman I believe who are friends of  a Kiwi we know here in Sweden, small world even in Fiordland. There is a chance Babs can paddle for a few hours tomorrow morning. I also received 3 DVD of photo´s and I hope to get these on her web site tonight.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Tuesday 5th Febuary
James writes: 4pm NZT I checked my mail (4am CET) knowing Babs was heading towards Puysegur and just as I did a mail arrived via the satelite phone:
Thanks to Paul, Meri & Karel who all have been monitoring her progress and weather!

Well Done Babs! 

The Crux...

Monday 4th febuary
James writes: Babs is stuck still at Frances Burn due to high seas and winds. Its hoped she can escape to Puysegur (see bild) if not Green Islets this morning (5th), there is little sheltered landing till then with the tough navigated entrance into Port Knife and Steel that has 1 km southerly reefs on each side. The outlook is not good until after Sunday and everyone is asking when the more stable weather in Febuary should arrive? As Paul Caffyn says this is the toughest piece!
On a lighter note, Belinda from Invercargill sent some pictures of Babs. Thanks Belinda!

Arrived at Riverton
Leaving Monkey Island for Port Craig
Early Start

Friday, February 1, 2008

Frances Burn.

2nd Febuary
Text message via Satellite phone: "1 KM E OF FRANCIS BURN. SE WINDS TOO STRONG" 

To Port Craig then Fiordland...

2nd Febuary
Update from James:
After some time in Invercargill with Belinda and Stanley babs left for Port Craig from Orepuki (Monkey Island) a distance of just under 30 km across Tewaewae bay, which has a it of natorius reputation for surf and wind. Babs strategy will be to wait for clear window before rounding to shelter behing Point Puysegur, reputed as one of most dangerous pieces of New Zealands coast, where New Zealand meets the force of the mighty southern ocean.At this time Tuesday may be a good day (see weather map above), but one thing is for sure things can change very quickly. Below is the current forecast or go to and watch the animated wind and wave forecasts.
Below is from Babs on the last week via SMS. (special thanks to Belinda and Stanley for their incredible enthusiasm and hospitality as hosts, Babs and James ask they come to us sometime).
Torsdagen den 31 januari och fredagen den 1 februari. Åter två dagar på land på grund av starka vindar. Fördrev tiden med att läsa, besöka museum och utflykter till havet. Dessutom kom jag underfund med varför jag inte har mått bra den senaste tiden. Min sista visdomstand är inflammerad men nu har jag fått bra mediciner och värktabletter. 
Thursday the 31st January & Friday the 1st Febuary: Two days on land with strong winds. Spent the time reading and some trips to the local museum with some visits to the sea. I have also come to realize why I haven’t been feeling to well, my wisdom tooth is inflamed, but now I have good medicine and some pain relief.
Onsdagen den 30 januari. En kortare paddling från Riverton till Orepuki längs en kuststräcka med mycket rev och stränder med stora surfingvågor. Vid Monkey Island fanns det en säker landingsplats och där väntade Belinda och Jacqui med fika och glada tillrop. Det kommer att bli ytterligare två dagar på land på grund av ohälsosamt starka vindar.
Wednesday the 30th January: A short paddle from Riverton to Orepuki along a iece of coast with many reefs and beaches with large surf. At Monkey Island there is a safe landing, and there waited Belinda and Jacqui with some food and shouts of encouragement. Its seems it will be another two days on land with bad winds. 
Måndagen den 28 och tisdagen den 29 januari. Två dagars paus hos Belinda och Stanley i Invercargill för att ladda med mat och laga utrustning. Och inte minst blev jag bortskämd av Belinda och Stanley som är hängivna friluftsmänniskor med hjärtan av guld.
Monday the 28th & 29th January: Two days pause with Belinda and Stanley in Invercargill. Restocking food and repairs to equipment. I was spoilt by Belinda and Stanley who are outdoors people with hearts of gold.
Söndagen den 27 januari. En lugn morgonpaddling med en tepaus hos Helen i Omani. Fortsatt färd till Oreti Beach i bästa paddelväder. Och den första frivilliga simturen!
Sunday the 27th January: A quiet morning with morning tea with Helen in Omani. Continued to Oreti Beach in the best of weather. And my first voluntary swim! 
Lördagen den 26 januari. En underbar paddeldag med perfekt vind och solsken. Trots bra väder kunde jag föreställa mig hur hemskt det kan vara att passera den ökända udden Waipapa Point. Enformig paddling förbi Toetoes Bay och strax innan Bluff blev motvinden så stark att jag fick ge upp och tälta med aluminiumverket som närmsta granne.
Saturday the 26th January: A wonderful paddle day with perfect winds and sun. Despite the weather I could see how terrible passing Waipapa Point can be. Passing Toetoes Bay and just before Bluff the head winds became strong and I had landed tenting just before Bluff with an Aluminium plant as my nearestneighbour.
Fredagen den 25 januari. Upp tidigt men nästan lika tidigt fick jag en envist stark motvind. Iland på Dummies Beach för en bit mat och sedan ett nytt försök att trotsa vindarna. Men jag blev kvar på samma vackra strand som visade sig vara populär både hos människor och sjölejon! 
Friday the 25th January: Up early but following my start so was the strong winds. Landing quickly at Dummies Beach for some food and another try despite the wind. But I ended up staying put alog with both Sealions and tourists!
Torsdagen den 24 januari. Vinden skulle vara stark även denna dag men senare under förmiddagen var det fortfarande lugnt och jag gav mig av. Det blev inte någon trevlig paddling mot dyningarna från tidigare dagar och när motvinden snabbt tilltog gick jag iland. Sorgset kunde jag konstatera att det blev en kort paddling men Les och Sues sällskap och berättelser piggade upp mig.
Thursday the 24th January: Forecast was for strong winds today, but after lunch it eased and I got away. It was not pleasant paddling with a large swell and wind became a head wind it was time go I again. Sadly a short paddle but Les and Sues company and stories lifted my spirits.