April5,2011, Southern Ocean
An article explains how the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) flies upwind. Read it here
March6,2011, Norfolk Bay
The dense cloud cap obscured Mt Wellington. Occasional gaps appeared when the screaming SW gale ripped the cover apart. What was the white stuff all over the summit?
Down in Storm Bay - well you guessed it. The Scots call these conditions "full" and I agree. Diomedea blasted across the bay toward Betsy island with 25-35 SW, rain, big seas, and a possible hail shower. 2 reefs and staysail. The reef south of Betsy was a seething mess of storm-driven surf fighting for supremacy with the jagged rocks. Rounding the island and then turning to the NE meant a series of gybes in the big stuff. Surfing down the swells 8's,9's, 10. The last turn at Sloping Island and then into the relative shelter of Lime Bay at the furthest limit of Tasman Peninsula. The bay itself was quite windy so we anchored behind cliffs to the west. Very tired and very cold. Heater on.
As the high came over conditions improved slowly on Saturday and we moved along the various bays to anchor in Taranna. We went ashore to find everything locked and barred despite the Saturday afternoon timing. Back on board Diomedea glowed in the stunning sunset.
Sunday forecast was for no wind and that is what we got. The long motor trip back to Kettering followed, this time going to the north of Betsy island, past Black Jack rock and close to Iron Pot. Finally, back in D'Ent. Channel we sailed slowly for about an hour enjoying a fantastic lunch in the postcard setting.
The pictures and chart are in the Photo Gallery
February8,2011, D'Entrecastaux Channel
Sailing back from Dover a SW squall of 25 kts came through. The two boats in the picture got caught and rounded up big time as the squall hit no long after the pix were taken. We rolled up the jib and kept going. After a while sun was back out and we had an excellent ride north with full rig.
February5,2011, Port Esperance
Oh my god! Oh my god! The frother for the cappuccino machine is not working. I don't think we can go on. I offered to replicate the machine with an attachment onto my cordless drill but the wife said no. Frothless flat whites.
The frontal system was moving in so we decided to roll south to meet it. The outgoing tide in the Huon river whisked us onward and then it was a close reach down to Port Esperance followed by a series of tacks (windward!!!) to gain the anchorage tucked in behind Rabbit island in the south western corner of the bay. Perfect for a SW blow. We rigged some fishing lines but it was too cold to stand around and use them. Hmmm. Must be time for a sundowner.
February5,2011, Copper Alley Bay, Port Cygnet
We had a delightful motor in no wind from Kettering to Missionary Bay on Bruny island for a lunch stop. The forecast cold front for the following day was giving us notice with a constant display of mares tails and other Patagonian skyscapes. Leaving our meal stop Diomedea sailed south in 10-15 kts SE seabreeze and then it was up the Huon river past the absolutely gorgeous Huon island and sundry fish farms before turning north into Port Cygnet. The aerial displays continued as we dropped anchor in Copper Alley bay. A beautiful quiet night.
Internet was unbelievably good. Wired internet access is available on Deal island at the caretakers cottage and they are very happy for anyone to use it. Diomedea found excellent internet reception everywhere south of Deal island, even anchored in remote bays on the west side of Cape Barren island and well off the east coast of Tasmania. I don't think we were ever out of reception in fact.
The setup we have is the high gain marine antenna from Maxon http://www.maxon.com.au/shop/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=32&osCsid=47de7bbd45c50c0b9a2915da633a8e74. This is a passive antenna and is mounted to our targa arch. The cable runs to the nav station and then there is 10cm of patch lead (http://www.maxon.com.au/shop/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=74&osCsid=47de7bbd45c50c0b9a2915da633a8e74) to join the cable to the antenna socket of the Telstra Elite wireless broadband USB dongle. (http://go.bigpond.com/wireless/?2473PSEM&pid=td_tc-wbb-ggs-semt-GGSiteLinks_PlansandOffers&s_kwcid=TC|4297|wireless broadband telstra||S||6485737386) The dongle plugs into the USB port on your computer and away you go. We watched the ABC website videos of the Qld floods in obscure locations with this system. The system works equally well for Mac and IBM (I'd Rather be a Mac) computers.
I had taken our Iridium sat phone for downloading NOAA grib files but only used it once as the internet was so good.
We also found the BOM Wind forecast technology to be very useful http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/marine/wind/index.jsp especially with endless gale warnings in the far south.
VHF radio coverage was fantastic with good relay of weather forecasts, updates and notices to mariners. We listened to Tamar radio, Coast Radio Hobart, and Tascoast radio. They all do HF coverage as well.