Fiordland Trip 2019

Departure: November 2019
Trip duration: 7 days

When seeking the most untouched and rare nature New Zealand has to offer, Voodoo’s owners saw the opportunity for the trip of a lifetime for them and their friends – to visit the remote Dusky Sound in Fiordland and the south-western most point of the South Island. The UNESCO World Heritage Area of Fiordland – or Te Wahipounamu in the local Maori language – is known to be one the most wild, dramatic and breath-taking places in the world, a reputation that fell short of the reality.

 

Voodoo left from Wellington, travelling down the length of the east coast of the South Island, to Invercargill. From Invercargill she explored rugged Stuart Island and then powered across to the southern coast and around into Dusky Sound (Tamatea), ready to swap crew – no ordinary experience in such a location. We had been offered by Voodoo’s owners the wonderful opportunity to take her for 9 days of exploration. The five of us were collected by a helicopter on the lakeside in Te Anau, on the other side of the mountains and near impenetrable cloud banks that isolate Fiordland from the rest of the country, and told that we had a very short window in the weather to get in. After loading up the chopper took off at speed, flying low and fast through the valleys, rising to just kiss the ridgelines where necessary to stay below the squalls and cloud cover, and the worst of the storm. Descending into the mist of Supper Cove, surrounded by tall ancient forest and waterfalls plummeting from cliffs above the clouds, the chopper skimmed low over the water to drop us on a tiny spit of beach where we met the previous Voodoo crew. A quick load up of their gear and the helicopter was off again at full speed, disappearing into the mist in seconds, to get back through the break in the weather before it closed, sealing us in this mystical place.

After spending the night in Supper Cove we took the extremely narrow and deep passage – in places only 50 meters wide but 260 meters deep! – between the southern side of Long Island and the cliffs out towards the entrance of the sound and Anchor Island. On the edge of the open ocean we picked up Hapuka in a quick spot of fishing, then meandered our way through the myriad of small islands – the aptly named Seal Islands and Many Islands – encountering pods of playful fur seals before anchoring in Luncheon Cove. Tendering ashore, we went for a walk through the beautiful native bush, where we were thrilled to see a Kākāpō wandering casually across the track. Kākāpō live only on three remote offshore islands in the world – one of which is Anchor Island – due to being critically endangered, on the brink of extinction. There are only 213 Kakapo alive today.

We stayed in Luncheon Cove for the rest of the day drift-fishing and diving as the big blue cod were plentiful. In the evening we shared a beautiful meal of crispy skin Hapuka on a romanesco sauce accompanied by an exceptional Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc. The next morning Craig and our fishing expert Darryl dived the cold waters around the Passage islands for crayfish, that were found walking proudly above striking trees of black and red coral usually only found on deep water continental slopes. From there we headed through the needle thin entrance into Sportsman Cove to spend the night. The tea coloured water in the cove was so reflective and still it completely hid the line between sky and sea, perfectly mirroring the tall Beech and Rimu forest and blue sky. At low tide the glassy water line on the rocks gives a book-matched pattern which looks like the skin of some gigantic ancient reptile or Taniwha, lying dormant and undiscovered on the water’s edge.

The satellite reported a big storm coming the next day so we headed back out to Anchor Island to nestle into the luxurious comfort Voodoo provides. Dave was quick to put Voodoo’s large open galley to use, serving up beautiful fresh food in the form of spicy miso crayfish tacos with a Foxes Island dry Riesling for lunch, pan roasted blue cod in citrus miso for dinner and a delicate roasted cod omelette with lemon yogurt dressing for breakfast the next morning before the storm blew in. As the rain swept over, covering everything in a constantly shifting, dense grey shroud, the myriad of small islands and rocks became as creatures in the fog, seemingly roaming the fjord as they faded in and out of view. The wind howling through the trees and rumbling low through the rocks added to the whimsical choir of birdsong and the distant deep drumming of the ocean on the unyielding coast, giving voice and substance to the mystical atmosphere that has surrounded this place since ancient times.

Once the storm had retreated we set off for a fish, and to Crayfish Island for dive. Ashore in Pickersgill Harbour we walked the Cook Astronomer Point Trail to the site that, under the brilliant light of the Milky Way, in the autumn of 1773, Captain Cook and William Wales fixed the position of New Zealand, making it the most accurately located place on the globe. That evening in Cascade Cove we had encounters with the rare Dusky Sound Dolphins.

From there we made our way quietly up through the very slender Acheron Passage feeling very small on 300m deep water looking up at the grandeur of the 450m tall sheer cliff faces, above which rose 1000m mountain peaks. As we cruised we saw that Dusky Sound now overflowed with stunning waterfalls, cascading through the forests and falling from every cliff into the sea. The lush cliffs of Acheron were especially beautiful, covered almost completely with verdant moss out of which grew soft ferns and the rare Alpine Daisy. Driving the boat by remote control from up on the foredeck allowed us to get right up to the cliffs for a close look.

As the sky cleared to shimmering blue we met some conservation researchers from DOC who, upon hearing of our encounter with them, went wizzing off to find the dolphins they were studying. We continued to explore the marine reserve up Wet Jacket Arm and on to Breaksea Sound, discovering yet more untouched natural beauty. That evening we enjoyed a stunning Terahiki ceviche with a Foxes Island La Lapine.

After another night and early morning of heavy rainfall we meandered our way back through the Acheron Passage. Up on the bow we saw the leavings of a visiting albatross so we found an obliging waterfall to save us the work washing it! As we cruised around into all of the many bays around Resolution Island we saw more Fiordland Crested penguins, which we had been seeing throughout Dusky Sound.

We spent our final day and night back in Cascade Cove with the dolphins again, before the helicopter arrived to drop off the next crew and collect us. Dusky Sound was firmly planted in our minds as one of the most beautiful wildernesses we’d ever seen – and thanks to the owners of Voodoo – the trip of a lifetime we won’t soon forget.

As we lifted off we had a spectacular view straight down the fjord, before we crested the first snow-capped rise, leaving behind this phenomenal place and began our thrilling return journey, sweeping through valleys and soaring across lake Manapouri back to Te Anau.

Into the Mystic

Into the Mystic

Screaming Reels

Screaming Reels

Special Delivery

Special Delivery

Tight Lines

Tight Lines

XF 50

Length (m/ft): 16m / 52ft
Area (m2/ft2): 143m2 / 469 ft2
Sprint Speed: 38-45knts
Cruising Speed: 30-35knts
Range @ 30knts: 500-1200nm
Range @ 8knts: 2400nm

XF 60

Length (m/ft): 18m / 59ft
Area (m2/ft2): 179m2 / 587ft2
Sprint Speed: 37-45knts
Cruising Speed: 30-37knts
Range @ 30knts: 600-1200nm
Range @ 8knts: 3000nm

XF 66

Length (m/ft): 20m / 66ft
Area (m2/ft2): 236m2 / 774ft2
Sprint Speed: 37-45knts
Cruising Speed: 30-37knts
Range @ 30knts: 600-1200nm
Range @ 8knts: 3000nm

XF 80

Length (m/ft): 24m / 79ft
Area (m2/ft2): 325m2 / 1066ft2
Sprint Speed: 37-45knts
Cruising Speed: 30-37knts
Range @ 30knts: 600-1200nm
Range @ 8knts: 3000nm

Go further, faster

Immensely fast and utterly luxurious the Voodoo is the perfect high-speed vessel for the modern explorer. Utilising a unique foil-assisted catamaran hull the Voodoo is capable of cruising at speeds in excess of 40knts with genuine offshore passage making range.

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