Clean Wake Productions Ltd
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Ships Log

A Rough Night at Anchor - Stewart Island

Dated: 14/03/08

A Rough Night at Anchor - Stewart Island

Calm before the storm, Stewart Island
Calm before the storm, Stewart Island

Kay and I did finally get into the little village of Oban on Stewart Island. We were able to buy some diesel fuel at the pier and Kay picked up a few things at the little store and our mail at the post office.

The wind came up just as we were leaving the pier and was really blowing within 30 minutes. We went to one anchorage and felt that it would not be wise to stay there in the predicted weather so we headed to a better anchorage five miles away called Little Glory Cove.

As the night arrived the wind howled and screeched, blowing through the anchorage with over 50 knots of cold southern ocean air. We were up all night and watched with fascination as the wind would tear the water from the surface of the bay and blow it up in huge spumes of spray that flew off into the night.

Mai Tai was heeled clear over to her rail as we swung one way and then the other on the anchor. We were only 100 metres from the beach, yet the waves coming past the boat were already a metre high and blowing across the deck in sheets of cold water. Somehow our Rocna 25 anchor held through the night but we still can't believe it as the tension on it must have been a zillion tons. In all my life, I have never had worse weather while at anchor.

There were three other boats in the anchorage that night, two were commercial fishing boats and one was a 44 foot American yacht sailing around the world. We were the only boat that didn’t drag anchor or break loose. We were also the only one using a Rocna anchor. The American yacht had to put out two anchors in the middle of the night to keep from blowing out of the anchorage. The commercial boats ran their engines all night to keep their anchors in the bottom. We did neither!

The weather eased some the next morning and as evening approaches the wind is only blowing about 35 knots with rain. We may head north on Thursday as there looks to be a break in the weather then. We haven't finished filming here yet but we can't even get off the boat in these conditions. Summer may be over!