Saturday 29th February (from A52 point to A53 point)
The weather for the coming week looks good compared to what it has been in recent weeks. Late departure, after getting to know Anne-Riai, a German kayaker and climber living in NZ, and Ricky, kayak and trek guide at Deep Cove.
I pay my visit the Helena Waterfall and Hall Arm, where the surface is a mirror where you can contemplate the mountains without looking up your eyes. The slopes are covered with primary forest, intertwining of creeper shrubs, lichens and ferns and peaks of more rare vegetation. Along the coast, I hear birds with songs incredibly different from those I’m used to. I now recognize the Bellbird with its 3 or 4 repeated notes, the Black Robin and its curves, the Pigeon, the pretty Fantail which comes to parade by deploying its white tail in a fan, the Kaka and the Kea parrots with hoarse song and impressive beak, the Weka who comes begging without fear and which calls as the worst alarm clock.
The attraction of the open sea is very strong, so I head off for direction Secretary Island, at the entrance of the Fiord, paddling along the islands and the north bank.
Sunday the 1st of March (from A53 point to A54 point)
Another beautiful day ahead, sunny and not too windy. Exactly what I need to explore the entrance to the Fiord and see what the 3 meters swell looks like on the Tasman Sea.
The exit is impressive with the surges on the rocks of the pass, the surf and the outgoing current. On the other hand, the sea offshore is regular, even with 3 meters of swell. I feel perfectly in my element and I embark on the tour of Secretary Island by the West, 2 long hours of navigation where I feel the ocean current which brings me back towards South. The Craypots buoys are a good indication of the distance to be respected to stay out of the possible swell surge zone on the cliffs. This west coast is very vertical, with pointed peaks, pleated and ax-hewn slopes, everything turns in a pretty green when the sun shows up.
Then it’s the entrance to Thompson Sound, narrower and well hidden in the folds of the coast. I fall back to the pretty Deas Cove Hut to shelter from the next day wind gale forecasted.
Monday 2nd March (A55 point)
The wind shakes the Hut with its battering gusts. Rest and good meals on the program, with an in-depth study of the weather forecasts for the days to come (Plans A, B C …) all protected from sand flies, so cool! No doubt a nice window to go to Milford Sound … but afterwards, it’s the unknown!
Let’s talk about Sand flies? They are Black flies, little flies that don’t sting! The males are harmless, just annoying to land near the eyes, into your crocks or into any fold of clothing. The females, for their part, bite our skin! Ouch and itching or infection may follow.
They won’t land on you as far as you’re moving. Maoris have a legend explaining that Sand flies have been created to prevent men to stay still, to help them to keep being active. It works!