Sleigh ride to Port Davey
23 February 2012 | Port Davey, Tasmania
After a rocky, rolly, sleepless night in Neilson Cove, we couldn't wait for the dawn and time to leave. However, the wind was howling from the WNW and the forecast was for continued strong winds and large seas. Should we stay or go? Since the anchorage was so uncomfortable and the strong winds would be with us, we decided we'd stick our nose out and give it a try. Light comes later now ... around 0645. We were anchor up midst the fishing fleet by 0700. We threaded our way through the lobster pots the fishermen had put out the night before and headed out of the cove and down the final leg of Tasmania's west coast to Port Davey.
It was an exhilarating ride. Big seas from the NW and the ever-present big SW swells sometimes made for confused seas. For the most part, however, we flew south with only a reefed yankee before the wind. With this small sail area, we still saw more than 10 knots at times and averaged better than 7 knots for the sleigh ride to Port Davey.
We saw literally thousands of birds...shearwaters, albatross and gannets. Dolphins surfed the breaking waves along side us. Sometimes it drizzled; sometimes it poured. The wind varied from 20-35 kts and we saw gusts near 40. A squall hit us just before we rounded the corner into Port Davey dumping buckets of rain. Then miracle of miracles, it passed and within minutes a bottom-of-the-world blue sky appeared and the sun poked through.
We entered Port Davey with huge SW swells pushing us along, then ducked behind aptly named Breaksea Island to the welcome, calm conditions in its lee. We threaded our way down the Bathurst Channel and into Schooner Cove. With the brilliant sun above us, we anchored in calm waters and breathed a sigh of relief and elation.
The cruising guide refers to Port Davey as "the ultima thule of cruising in Tasmanian waters". (??) We haven't translated this yet, but we figure it's bound to be good.