January11,2011, Maria island
Well, its not all beer and skittles. The weather changes as it does in Tassie and so we set out for Maria island in light easterly flow. Past the sea lion colony of the Ile de Phoques and then onto the Il du Nord just off Maria island itself. The sea lions can be seen, heard and smelt. The anchorage is in the "deep hole" (6m - the rest of the bay is 3.2m!) of Chinaman's Bay. Rain. The cloud base is trying to visit our deck. We have sundowners with John and Sue from "Aurielle" a beautiful example of an Adams 54 footer. The new day brings no improvement so the plans for walking are shelved.
January11,2011, Schouten island
It was 120 nm from Cape Barren island to Schouten passage with a significant portion slowed by adverse flood tide past Swan island. Consequently, despite departure at first light we arrived off Schouten passage at midnight in 33 kts of NE wind pushing us hard onto the coast. Wild seas. The passage is 0.5nm wide and we have never been in before. A lee shore of massive granite cliffs either side. Oh, did I mention it was pitch black with no moon. All one can see is a large mass blocking out the stars directly ahead of the bow. Hmmm. Should we go all the way around Schouten island instead and come into the anchorage from the west. Its at least another 10 miles and plenty of other rocky hazards in those miles.
A redeeming factor was the nav beacon on Schouten reef some miles to the west of the passage. We caught a glimpse of it just outside the passage so we were reasonably sure that there was a gap in the land! Of course, it was radar o'clock. The radar overlay on the electronic chart was spot on. A second redemption. Diomedea bucked her way through the now chaotic backwash seas returning from the cliff lines as we plunged into the dark mass ahead of us. Andrea stood up looking ahead out of the glow of the instruments to preserve night vision. She had the big spotlight in her hand but the salt spray in the air rendered it useless.
I was at the helm, glued to the radar screen and depth sounder. Night vision totally gone, so I see nothing else. First waypoint just outside the gap ... confidence levels still not good. Push on. Ten degree turn to starboard aiming for mid point in the gap. Radar returns very solid on the chart now ... I am feeling better. Soundings excellent. Suddenly the waves moderate and the wind begins to fade. I feel the weight of the cliffs above us as we escape the constriction and we are through. Unbelievably the temperature of the air shoots up 5-10 degrees almost immediately and we peel the heavy watch coats. The anchorage is only a stone's throw now and is windless. The bay is festooned with 20 boats as we thread our way to rest and a glass of wine. Here's to Diomedea.
What we did not know was that we had managed to miss all the lobster pots set right across the passage, as you can see in the picture. From Bryans corner we re-anchored the next day at Schouten island to hide from a southerly. Climbed Bear Hill for outstanding views. Our medical skills were also brought into play when we helped effect a helicopter rescue of a lady with a fractured tibia and fibula. Very exciting as the chopper did not land, winching people up and down instead.
We sailed close to many islands and then ran out of wind. The peaks of Strezlecki can be seen before we end up in Thunder and Lightning Bay west side of Cape Barren island for a windy night. The last photo is of early morning cloud over Clark island before we plunged into the washing machine of Banks strait (20 kt NE against 3 kt east flowing ebb tide - yuk - but we were doing 9.2 kt SOG - noice)
January11,2011, Deal Island, Bass Strait
We are currently sailing at 7.2kts south south east from Deal Island in the middle of Bass strait, bound for NE tip of Tasmania proper. Conditions are gorgeous - crystal clear sky, flat sea, easterly of 8-10, power courtesy of Code Zero headsail. Had a wild ride to Deal island but totally worth it. Absolutely fantastic destination. Walked up to the redundant but very spectacular old Deal Is lighthouse, took in the museum, had a good look at Cape Barren geese. Our plan has changed to take us down the East coast as time has slipped away - but you get that.
The crew of Diomedea went to the Wooden Boat Show and had a look at some golden oldies. We liked the entirely non-mechanical yacht from France, Gretel II, Boomerang, the cray boat Julienne, and well ... just about all of them.
See the photo gallery.
|19. Coastal cruising|
We sailed from Sydney to Newcastle on Friday the 13th of August. The winds were forecast SW at 20-30 but we experienced pure southerly of this strength. The main feature of the day was the extremely large seaway generated by a low in the Tasman. We had sets of swell all day of 5-6 metres. This was confirmed on the Sydney Waverider buoy, which also recorded an 11 metre wave at 10 that morning! I thought some of them looked rather large. Of course we had 2-3 m seas on top of this. The Tuggerah reef near Norah Head was breaking enormously. Avoid. We left Kirribilli at 7am and were in Newcastle at 4pm. Diomedea was fantastic.
|19. Coastal cruising|