Have just finished a 3 day ( 2 nights camping ) excursion from Elaine Bay and back to Havelock where we parked the 5 th at the marina car park . Been an interesting paddle – the sounds are dominated by 2 major industries that both have significant impacts on the environment. Firstly the forestry which has resulted in a huge amount of wood debris that litters the area and some eco vandalism associated with harvest . The second industry is the mussel farming industry with huge areas taken up with mussel farms. Photo under a stark example , thousands of cubic metres earth moved to make this track to harvest the logs. The run off , erosion and permanent damage to the land spectacular.
We set out from Elaine Bay fully equipped with camping gear and all the food and condiments essential for cooking mussels. Also a special bit of kit , a mussel stripper designed to snag a dozen or two mussels from the farms . The famous green lipped mussels are deeper than common black mussels and you need some help. The farms have vertical rope droppers and the green lipped mussels start from about half a metre down.
THE MUSSEL STRIPPER
Simple bit of kit that worked very well . One $5 broom handle and a $11 ss grater firmly attached by screws to the handle .
our first campsite was at Kauauroa Bay , a log littered spot with only wekas and sandflies for company . The first harvest of mussels was cooked with coconut cream plus all the spices .
I cooked while Barb enjoyed one of her most favourite activities , swimming . Sorry no pics @ forbidden 😉
Day 2 was a short day – a little paddle down to Jacobs Bay reserve site . We arrived just in time as strong winds pounded the sound all afternoon and only dying down as dusk settled . The mussels were delicious , the recipe was a green curry base and we also had fish as an entree we caught trolling.
Our last day started early as predicted wind forecasts made it sensible to make as much progress as possible . We headed up the sounds dodging the log debris that litter the inner sounds . Raided our last mussel farm and decided to find a nice spot to cook up our special lunch , this time a butter sauce with crushed garlic , crushed ginger , fish oil , and an onion
unfortunately the tide turned while we were having our last leisurely lunch and also a contrary wind added to the woes. We only needed to paddle about 5 kms on the upper arm to get back to Havelock . In the last km we had a really interesting tide race to battle and we sought refuge in the eddies close to the coast . Muscles screamed for respite but with the town so close and the 5 th with a hot shower near we fought and won.
Enjoyed a lovely evening still parked up in the marina and had a night out on the town at the Slip Inn restaurant . They specialise in mussels , but we respectfully declined for other options .