A spirited ride south
03 February 2011 | Wet Jacket Arm, Dusky Sound
We were up early, 0545, and after a quick weather check, decided to head out and continue south. In the bare light of dawn, we hauled the CQR anchor and stowed it. The main anchor was really dug in, but we had it up and we were on our way by 0720. The morning sun was bright, but the dark western sky was ominous. A big SW swell was evident about 3 miles before we reached the exit and we could see huge breakers crashing against Castaway Point at the sound's entrance. Behind us the sunlight played on the clouds of mist settled in the valleys and the rain met us as we made our hasty exit out of the sound.
The short 10 nm ride south in the Tasman Sea was rather "spirited". We had 25-30 kt northwest winds behind us and 15-20' southwest swells to contend with. Cups did well and the crew managed to keep down breakfast, but it was a long 10 miles. We were heartened to see Breaksea Island at the entrance to Breaksea Sound. As the island provided protection from the southwest swell, the northwest swells became more evident and gave us quite a push into the sound against the ebbing tide. We skirted around Entry Island and hung a right into Acheron Passage, named after the steam paddle-wheeler that performed the first complete survey of the area in 1851. We anchored behind tiny Stick Island in Muscle Cove in Wet Jacket Arm. Great name, huh? This fiord arm was named "Wet Jacket" by Captain Cook himself when his Lt. Pickersgill was caught in a storm while exploring the area and returned "in no good plight". We know about "no good plights"...been there, done that.