Stewart Island: scenery to take your breath away

Last February, the crew of Saga spent three weeks on Stewart Island, New Zealand’s southernmost island. An unforgettable stopover in a magnificent landscape.

Who: Bénédicte and Loïc, Arthur, Anna & Victor
Where: Port Pegasus, Stewart Island, South Island, New Zealand
Multihull: Outremer 55
Facebook: @sagavoyage
It was a dream we’d had for years: to sail in Patterson Inlet, and above all to stop off at Port Pegasus, where Yves Parlier repaired his boat during the 2000/2001 Vendée Globe. Here we found an abundance of marine life: daily encounters with penguins, fur seals and sea lions - impressive marine mammals that hunt at night, play on the beach in the morning when they return from fishing, and spend the rest of the day lounging on the beaches. Numerous seabirds are also present, including albatrosses, which followed us around like ducks. On land, it’s all about New Zealand’s endemic species - parrots, tuis and saddlebacks. We were all moved by our encounter with two kiwis, New Zealand’s iconic bird, which we spotted in their natural element during an evening walk in the forest: they’re much bigger than we thought and their curved beaks and long necks give them a strange appearance. Patterson Inlet’s charm lies in its unspoiled primary forest, made up of immense Rimu pines, tree ferns and an incredible amount of moss: a setting for an Elven legend. Moving further south to Port Pegasus, we were greeted by a breathtaking landscape, one that is more rugged as it is battered by southerly winds. Meandering inlets, moorland and huge granite boulders encouraged us and the children to enjoy some beautiful, unmarked trails. Our only information was taken from a 1996 cruising guide published by the Mana Cruising Club in Wellington. You have to find the start of the trail, then follow the little threads tied to the shrubs or the stone cairns, which requires us, (more sailors than mountaineers), to utilize our sense of direction. This stopover was without doubt the most memorable since the start of our second round-the-world trip.

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