Part Five


Stewart Island:

South Arm, Port Pegasus

Boat Harbour Cove







March 16, 2012

Boat Hbr. Cove:  47 14'.17S  167 36'.59E


There is a trail marked on our chart from a little cove at the southern end of the South Arm of Pt. Pegasus across to Boat Harbour in Broad Bay.  We were told it is very pretty and there was once a settlement nearby.  Hoping to hike over and see it, we motored a short distance and anchored at the spot called Boat Harbour Cove in the guidebook. It is not named on the chart.



Again we dropped and secured the anchor before I paddled two sternlines to opposite shores.  We've got that down now. I tie the ends of one sternline and the kayak's painter around my waist and paddle to shore where I climb up on the rocks or stand up to reach an overhanging tree and attach it with a big loop (to reach at low water) and a bowline.  Then I go back to the boat and repeat it for the other sternline.  From now on, though, I will always tie them directly around trees and not use loops in existing lines.

The kayak works so well for this!  It is much lighter and more responsive than the bulky dinghy, so way more fun to check out the area in too. We've only lowered the dinghy 3 times (not including rescuing the snorkler) since leaving Opua two months ago.



It was low water and I could see the rocks clearly between swaying kelp near the shore.  I paddled slowly while looking down at the beautiful colors in the brilliant sunshine.  Then I saw it - a large paua in 6 inches of water!  Excitedly and stupidly, I reached in and tried to quickly pry it off.  No gloves, no knife.  It clamped on but I pulled a little longer really wanting to surprise Jim.  All I succeeded in getting was a bloody finger from the sharp shell.  Paua was a bonus, I was hoping to get scallops as the season ended that day.

I paddled back to the boat where Jim bandaged up my finger.  He finished the arrival procedures while I pulled on my wetsuit and grabbed my gear and my proper paua prier.  We both climbed down into the kayak on a mission for dinner.



Until then the weather had been cloudy and chilly and I was hesitant to get in the cold water without first seeing scallops from the kayak. Jim and I had paddled around several small coves near Evening Cove gazing over the side but not seeing a single horseshoe shape in the mud.

"Katie you have to actually put your wetsuit on and dive for your scallops ..." were the slightly sarcastic instructions from Billy in Deep Cove via email.



As we paddled along the rocky shore looking for more paua, a suicidal blue cod sprang out of the water and flopped about on a flat rock right next to us. I quickly scooped it into the kayak and we paddled back to get the fish ruler.  He was 32 cm long and the legal limit is either 30 or 33, we're not sure where Stewart Island fits into the rules.  Regardless, he was a little guy so we let him go after snapping a photo.



In the center of the cove I slid over the side of the kayak to have a look for scallops.  They were everywhere! 











"Hi Katie,  Dont be a bloody woosie get in the water and paddle around looking down and you will see them."

Well okay then.  I am not a woosie. 



I quickly gathered twenty scallops which is the limit.  There were so many that I could be choosy and pick the largest ones. The water was only 4-5 meters deep and very clear.  Jim paddled our dinner back to Tenaya and put them in a bucket full of saltwater while I stayed in the water and went over to the shore to try to get the original paua.  Again I failed so I went looking for others.  At one point I found four large ones in the space of one square meter.  I couldn't pop a single one off.  My technique is terrible! They were as wide as the legal limit is long.

I gave up on those and swam in and out of the kelp looking for others. I found a smaller one which popped right off but it was a little too small so I placed it back where I'd found it.

Different types of fish swam all around.  At one point I looked down and saw a nice sized blue cod sitting on the bottom.  Apparently camera shy, he moved into the kelp as I approached to take his picture.



After an hour and a half in the water my legs began to cramp so I came back to the boat and had a long, hot shower.  Jim transferred the scallops to a big bowl so he could use the bucket to get more saltwater. When he looked back into the bowl there was a tiny octopus swimming around.  He went below for something and returned to see the little leggy creature had escaped and was making a break for it across the deck.  Back into the bucket he went so I could see him before he was set free.  He must have been hiding in the big, empty shell.



Scallops are interesting things.  They open and close their shells and often make a sneezing sound just before spiting out a fistful of water high into the air.  It took a while to clean all of them but we had a yummy dinner that night.



Later that afternoon we went in search of the pretty beach in Broad Bay.  We quickly lost the track, if we were ever on it, but made our way up one side and down the other before Jim feared we were getting lost.  How were we sure we were going the right way?  Well, we weren't.  How would we know how to get back to the boat?  Well, we just turn around and go back.  He wasn't convinced so we did just that.  Came out exactly where we started although not by retracing our route exactly.



A chest-high green blanket of dense, course scrub covers all the land in sight.  Here and there stands of taller, brittle trees and bundles of flax are woven into the fabric and every so often a pile of granite boulders appears for relief.   If a track does exist in the nearly impassable foliage, it is mostly overgrown.

Armed with a compass and a heading we set off again the next morning.  This time we got hopelessly lost as we were trying to go in the right direction rather than taking the most obvious way through the thick bush, where a track may have been found.  We finally gave up and turned around, but not before acquiring multiple  scrapes, scratches and bruises along with pockets full of twigs and leaves by climbing over, under and through that thick, green blanket.  I managed to plow through something dead and decomposing which made my lower legs and boots stink to high heaven.  Not every adventure can be a good one.


Go to March 2012 Part Six - North Arm, Port Pegasus, Ben's Bay


Read about our visit to Stewart Island last year

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