Sailing accross the Cook Straits

New Zealand part II - Posted On

Picton, Waikawa Marina. 

When we arrive first in Picton, we nose around for finding a ride on a sailboat to cross the Cook straight to the North Island. This is now our last opportunity to do it. The last three times we crossed it were using the ferry after having failed to find a sailboat. Our line MUST be followed with no motorized means, following the main rule of our ‘big game’.

Most people advise us to put adverts on the notice boards and to give a look to Nelson Marina. Fine, we are up to go there anyway. But we fail to find promising opportunities there; and the only option is an old couple with a boat living very far into the wild sounds in the area, with no fast means of communication.

So we leave Nelson with only one option left, the marina of Picton. We would stay there a week if needed. But Luck, this old friend, come to visit us once more. First day there, as we just speak to the lady of the marina, her phone rings, telling her a man is coming for us to take us across the straight! Captain Tony, on the s/v Vega, was getting ready to leave, when someone spoke to him about us. As he was up to cross on his own, he decided it would be a better party to share the joy with others!

Here is the article we wrote on the local newspaper to thank our captain:

"Fly’n’Roll crosses Cook Straits on Vega"

Olivier Peyre, 32, started his adventure in July 2008 from his home in France on his bike, carrying a paraglide and a big dream: Touring around the World Tour with Fair Means, meaning with no engines, no petrol.

Then how about crossing seas and oceans? By sailboat as crew member, hitchhiking his way through!

On the way, Nadège has joined the team and together, they have already done the first half of the journey sailing the Atlantic, from North Africa to Brazil, biking all around South America before sailing the Pacific from Panama to New Zealand. All along the way, they play discovering secret sceneries thanks to their paraglide wings.

They plan four years more to close the World loop, passing by Vanuatu, Australia, Indonesia, Asia, Orient and Eastern Europe until home.

Last 1st of February, Waikawa Marina, Picton, South Island of New Zealand, they had just finished their complete South Island loop and were looking for a crew position from Picton to Wellington. There, while they started to feel quite desperate to fulfil their dream, Tony Nesbitt from the Vega appeared and generously offered them to cross the Cook Straight on his sailing vessel.  Within a few minutes and with very few words the two bikes were settled in the Vega’s main cabin. Tony and his smiling fresh team members left the South Island at one o’clock in the afternoon. 

Forecast was good enough with a 30 knots North wind, so that they could use the jib almost all the time. Tony had a watch in his eyes with the tide timetable. They departed with the high tide getting out in the Sounds and targeted the up-side tide for getting in the Wellington harbour. With no much wind in the sounds and extreme current in the straights, it was necessary to motor sail all the way.

They arrived seven hours later at the Seaview marina with broad smiles on every face. Warm and cheerful salutations came from some boat around, as Tony is well known in the area as a serious boat builder for many years. Some good fresh beers at the local yacht club help to debrief this beautiful journey into a journey.

Olivier and Nadège would like to thanks the good heart of their captain Tony for his motivation to help them in their project: Accomplish a world Tour (nearly) without engine use. This shows very much the spirit of the sea, where adventure means a lot in every seaman soul.

Thanks again Captain Tony, may always be good wind into your sails! 


Nadège writes:

By chance we arrive in Wellington at the beginning of the “Seventh”. This rugby competition, played with seven players instead of eleven, is the opportunity for a huge carnival party in the city centre during several days. It is wonderful to see so many people dressed up, maybe 100.000, they say! Each group of friends choose a theme for dressing up before going down to the city centre for drinking, watching games at the stadium or on the giant screen at the harbour. Here and there we find some Mario Bros or Louis Armstrong... Crazy kiwis!!

We aren’t use to party like this, drinking alcohol, and going to bed so late… and we need a few days to recover, but it’s definitely worth it!!