Day 43 Stewart Island – Ulva Island
Today I have a couple of things booked around Stewart island, first up is a morning fishing trip. I get up after having a good sleep, nice to have a proper bed for a change, and head down to the wharf after a quick breakfast. Meeting up with Seepy our skipper for the morning, and 3 other guys coming along for a fish as well. First activity I’ve done on this trip, where everyone is from New Zealand. The sea out at the islands that Seepy normally goes to, is pretty rough today, we can see the wave breaking over them from onshore. Seepy decides to head up the coast a bit and try our luck.
After steaming for 20mins Seepy gets our lines ready and then takes us in close to the edge of the kelp below. We drop our lines but nothing much happening so we get told to pull up our lines and we’ll try just around the point. As we were pulling the lines up one of the other guys hooked a Barracuda, playing with it for a few mins he final pulled it up to the boat before letting it go. Next spot was a lot better. As soon as all of our lines touched the bottom, Bang we all had 2 fish on each of our lines, we pulled them up Seppy took them off, new bait a down the lines went again. Straight away more Blue Cod hooked up.
By the third drop we had drifted off the spot, so we pulled our lines up and Seepy drove the boat back over to the fish. Same thing fish after fish nibbling at the bait and with a tug of the rod they were hooked. We carried on moving back over the spot until we had our limit of fish. It was now time to head back to the wharf, all the guys pretty happy with the fish caught in a small amount of time. On our way back, Seppy filleted all the fish and packed into bags for us. The Birds loved the left-over bits he was throwing back over the side, Albatross fighting over anything that came there way, these massive birds just gliding behind the boat waiting for a free feed.
We get back to the wharf and I head straight to the hotel, I have to be at another wharf in another bay in an hour, I quickly get out of my smelly fishy clothes and head across the road for a quick lunch before needing to head over the hill to Golden Bay Wharf, I get there right on time and so does the rain. This afternoon I’m taking a guided tour of Ulva Island, a predator free island close to the entrance of Paterson Inlet.
I meet up with Angie my guide for the afternoon and we head down to our water taxi, we then set off for the short trip across to the island. We arrive at Post office Cove Wharf, Ang tells me a bit about the history of the place and points out that this is where the post man use to live in the late 1800’s, he would put a flag up on the hill next to his house so it would be visible to all the loggers, chopping down our native timbers back in the day, and they would all sail over to give him there mail so he could send them on the ships to where ever they needed to go.
The place is full of birds singing and flying around, with all the predators and pests like rats and possums been caught on the island, the native birds are thriving. Fantails, Tui’s, Weka’s, Stewart Island Robin and Red Crowned Parakeet all around us. Carrying around the path, keeping a good eye out trying to spot any kiwis our for an afternoon snack, Ang tells me a bit about the native trees of the island and some more history of the post
man and his garden, the only introduced spices of trees and plants on the island.
Further around the track we get to see a Kaka playing around with a stick in the trees. We then pop out at a beach, where a Weka comes running towards us, Angie tells me this bird loves it when you start flipping over rocks for it to find little crabs for it to eat, he follows us around and we flip a few rocks over but no luck on the crabs so we leave him to it and carry on our way. Then around the corner was some South Island Saddlebacks, some of the rarest birds of the island. Parent feeding its young one, the adult been black with a brown patch on its back giving it its name. After trying to get some good photos of these things dancing around it the dark bush, we have to start heading back for our ride home. Playing around with a few Robins and spotting a few of the wood pigeons, we arrive back at the ferry for our trip back to the main land. Once there I catch a ride back to town with Angie, and she drops me off at the hotel. The weather still not the best so I stay in the rest of the night. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice and fine so I plan to see a bit more of the island.