Things continue to be very quiet on Stewart Island for Team Galactic. We just spent two nights in a lonely anchorage at the head of Paterson Inlet, listening to the wind blow, catching improbable fish (a barracuda! a shark!) and tending the family garden. We went ashore for a walk and found the track to be lightly used and rough. At first it looked like a disaster family outing - Elias suddenly howling and crying about "Stupid bushwalks" and "Stupid tracks!" the way that he sometimes does, and the track in fact looking much too narrow, hilly and root-obstructed for the safe passage of a two-year-old. But for some reason everything came good. Elias turned things around, Eric calmly put up his arms as a signal to be carried when the going became too difficult, and the whole family enjoyed our brief stroll among the ferns. With the kids, it's the mood, not the setting, that determines the success of the day.
It's easy enough to concentrate on the hard stuff at times - the constant effort to keep the boat going, the kids getting antsy, and on my nerves, when they've been cooped up on the boat too long. But really, our time on Stewart has been exceptional. We've been getting the endless family time that is the great benefit of raising your kids on a boat, we go for a walk every day, we have Elias' schooling to give each day a bit of structure, and we only know the day of the week because we have to organize a quarantine inspection with the Department of Conservation before we go down to the Aucklands. And meanwhile we are poking around Stewart Island, slowly getting a feel for the place.
It's a nice way to start off in this new country - to delay our introduction to it in a way, to just concentrate on the familiarity of family life for a week or two before we dive into New Zealand.
So now we've made the hop down to Port Adventure, and are nestled in Abraham's Bosom (see the map to the right), waiting for a forecast northwesterly blow. A little fishing boat, the Tequila, a one-man show, as they say in Alaska, is sharing the anchorage with us, and the skipper very kindly threw us a plastic bag full of blue cod fillets before picking up his mooring for the night. I don't think he sees boats from Alaska in here all that often.