Tasman Bay - NelsonDated: 16/06/08
On rounding the northern end of D’Urville Island, the waters of Stephens Passage were rumbling like a witches’ cauldron, but luckily we had the wind and tide with us, so the going was easy and Mai Tai was spat out on the other side, into Tasman Bay doing 9.3 knots over the bottom.
D’Urville Island is covered by some private farms and large areas of protected native bush which reach right down to the waters edge. The two large harbours on the western shore, Port Hardy and Greville Harbour, both offer dozens of stunning secluded and sheltered anchorages, so quiet that the only sounds to be heard are the chatter of birds in the trees and the gentle lapping of water on the foreshore. There is a natural boulder bank that forms a natural breakwater and leaves only a very narrow entrance to enter Greville Harbour. The cruising guide explains it well and once inside, it becomes hard to choose which all-weather anchorage to experience first.
Across Tasman Bay, 35 miles to the west, is the Abel Tasman National Park, which has a coastline fringed with bays of sandy crescent beaches, making this area a popular destination for Nelson boaties. Torrent Bay was our favourite. The long stretch of fine golden sand is the first thing you see as you round the point into this bay, before tucking in behind the headland to the protected anchorage. Since this is just 30 miles from the city of Nelson and cannot be accessed by road, you can understand why this is a favourite escape for the locals.
A part of the famous Abel Tasman Track runs along this beach. Ashore, tucked in amongst the trees, is one of the Department of Conservation huts for the use of those trampers who take the 3 days to walk the full length of the track.
From Torrent Bay, we made our way slowly down the coast before sailing in to Nelson, where we will be spending the next few cold winter months at the marina. Nelson is reputed to be the sunniest city in New Zealand, so we look forward to spending some time here.