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I must go down to the sea
Lesley and Phil
03/06/2012, Chinaman's Bay, Maria Island

The weather, not us. We are at anchor in Chinamen's Bay, Maria Island, just off the Tasman Peninsula. We came here from Triabunna, a small fishing town at the top of Spring Bay where we had spent the night on a marina. The town had quite a community feel as it was very tidy, had memorials to the fishermen, a community arts centre, and a community shed. It had a bit of interesting history in that there is a small island nearby called Dead Island where the early settlers buried the dead. One of the gravestones has an inscription written in the early 1800's which we though quite sobering:
"Remember me as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you will be
Remember death and eternity."

The cruising guide recommended the local hotel for a meal so we followed this advice and each had a lovely seafood dinner.
Although only a short sail from Triabunna, we left early this morning in calm conditions so that we would arrive before the forecast 20-30 knots. The wind came in and it started to rain just as we were anchoring so good timing. It has been raining on and off for most of the day, and gusty winds to 28 knots and it is quite chilly, being a southerly. In between the patches of rain, Phil caught about 8 flathead in quick succession, most of which were too small to keep, but we have enough legal ones for dinner tonight. The sea and ocean gulls became quite interested in our boat when Phil was filleting the fish, making a fair racket. We have been snug for the afternoon, cooking (a curry) for another day, listening to music, planning our next passage, knitting (Lesley, not Philip) and playing board games.
Tomorrow (early again), we will go to Hobart (Bellerive Yacht Club) via the Marion Narrows and Denison Canal, which short cuts the Tasman Peninsula. Unfortunately, the weather has chewed up some of our time, and so we will not be able to fit in Fortescue Bay and Port Arthur as we had hoped. Further, we have noticed a tear in our smaller headsail which we will need to get repaired before too much longer. So we have arranged with a local sailmaker to get the repair job done over Thursday and Friday. While we are waiting for this, we will catch up with friends who live near Hobart. Once the sail is repaired we will be ready for the next stage - the D'Entrecasteaux Channel for which we are hoping to be joined by friends from Melbourne.

03/06/2012 | GAYLE TOUT
Hello Lesley and Phil, Love reading your blog and glad that you added the photos. The one with the storm clouds is amazing. The weather seems to be making your adventures interesting! By the sounds of it you might have your jumper finished by the time you get back. Safe travels and look forward to the next installment. Gayle & Bruce
Weather games
Lesley and Phil
03/04/2012, Spring Bay, Tasmania

This morning we thought that we would spend the day confined to the cabin waiting for the horizontal rain to stop. However, by lunch the skies were clear, and knowing that the westerlies were coming, we weighed anchor and headed for a more favourable spot. It was an afternoon of change. We started with a comfortable beam reach in about 10 knots and sunshine. Then the wind and seas built with a warm north westerly and we were again zipping along. Eventually we furled the headsail. By now clouds were gathering, and next thing we were getting quite wet as a white out of rain passed. Fortunately we saw it coming in time to get the wet weather gear on. When we got to Spring Bay and anchored, the sun came out again and we enjoyed sundowners on deck before feasting on fresh flathead. We will go further up this bay to Triabunna tomorrow for some provisioning, and after that we are not sure of our plans. The winds are not particularly favourable for going south, so we are not sure where we will go next.

A tale about a gale
03/03/2012, Byan's Corner, Freycinet Peninsula

Well despite the title, this blog has relatively little drama in it. After assessing the weather (multiple times), in particular the longer range forecast, we decided to leave St Helen's and make a run for the Freycinet Peninsula and make ourselves secure before some forecast strong and gale force winds were due to come in. The alternative was being stuck in St Helen's for another 4 or 5 days. So we left St Helen's on Friday afternoon when the tide was right, and simply followed the GPS track which we made when we came in with the escort from the Coast Guard. Our timing was good as just after we crossed the bar, two waves passed under us and then broke several boat lengths behind us. We motored around to nearby Binalong Bay where we picked up a mooring to wait for the easterly to come in at around 2am. After some difficult getting off the mooring, we got under way in good conditions. It was a very quick trip down, with winds at 15-20 knots and Sandpiper zipping along at 7 knots on a beam reach. The weather was not great though - cool, cloudy and with showers following us, but fortunately not catching us. Early in the morning we were accompanied for some way by a very large pod of dolphins. We passed Wineglass Bay which did not look inviting at all under these conditions. Once we got into Schouten Passage, we were sheltered by the mountains, and the wind swung 180 degrees around the mountain, and dropped to 2-3 knots - a funny phenomenon. Phil spotted a 2m shark nearby while going through the Passage, so any enthusiasm I might have had for a swim quickly waned.
We arrived a Bryan's Corner in time to make ourselves very secure for the night, putting out 3 anchors- 2 in tandem, and all the chain and anchor line we have in anticipation of 30-40kn winds in the early hours of the morning. There were 7 other boats in there obviously with the same plan. Once settled, Phil caught a decent flathead (yay!), and I sent him out to get another to make a meal. We went to bed very early (8pm) and slept very well - not one anchor alarm all night despite the wind. This morning, it is windy (35.7 knots highest we recorded) with horizontal rain and poor visibility. The photo shows a fishing boat that is anhcored near us. Good conditions to be snug inside the boat. We are expecting the wind to die down somewhat and to shift direction so we will need to re-lay the anchors later. There is more wind to come tonight. It is likely we will have to move tomorrow morning as there is another wind change which will make this anchorage unsuitable. Hopefully by then, we will be into the next weather pattern with more favourable conditions to continue cruising.

03/03/2012 | Judi Chatwood
Hi Phil & Lesley,
Great read! Made we hanker for the old cruising days! Hope the trip is a roaring success and you enjoy many new challenges. Been there, done that!
Judi & Trev Chatwood
03/03/2012 | Patricia Mackevicius
Hi Lesley & Phil, Eddie & I are enjoying your blog and have been reminded about the time we spent in Bryan's corner - an idyllic place! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time and that the weather is being very kind to you. We've had lots of rain in Melbourne so a very wet start to autumn. We are planning to get down to Queenscliff for the long weekend as the weather is looking ok (so far) for Friday. Your photos are great & we are looking forward to the next installment! Love from Eddie & Trish
On the move
03/01/2012, St Helen's

We will be on the move again this afternoon. Tide and wind right for crossing the bar, so we will go out on the high tide and wait for the east to north east wind shift to come in when we will head south again for Schouten Island, aiming to arrive Sat afternoon in time to get ourselves secure for the night.

03/03/2012 | Alison
Hi Lesley & Phil. Like others, I've really enjoyed reading the bog. It's good to be able to follow your progress as you make your way down south. Don't forget to let me know if you would like a mooring outside my parents' place near Pipe Clay Lagoon - their neighbours have morrings there and can probably help. Penny & Michael will be here for the weekend of March 17/18 - perhaps you'll be here then? Love Alison
03/04/2012 | David & Jenny Bock
We're still following you and enjoying the tales - and now also the photos.
02/28/2012, St Helen's Tasmania

Looks like we might be staying in St Helen's until Saturday due to predominately southerly winds. It is a nice little town with good services so we will find things to do plus catch up on some boat maintenance and ready ourselves for the next part of our trip.

02/28/2012 | chris maine
Attended the Cruising Group gathering tonight to hear Robert Bradley on "Anchoring". He mentioned using two anchors. David Bock said you were away and how to Google you. I have just read your whole blog including using 2 anchors! Tried to learn the provenance of "Rebecca Bay" to pass on but not readily obvious at 10.50pm. Will find out more. Your blog is enchanting. Such adventure! Best regards from "Thirsty".
02/28/2012 | Kirst
Hi Lesley & Phil

We are really enjoying following your magical journey and Mikey is fascinated by your stories of meeting seals & dolphins along the way!

Look forward to seeing some more photos on your return. In the meantime enjoy the serenity :)

Kirsten & Mikey x
02/29/2012 | Iris
Magical. What an interesting and varied time you are having, Lesley and Phil. Pleased to see that Mikey is enjoying it, Kirsten. Take care. Love and hugs from Mother and John.
Preservation Island to St Helen's part 2
02/27/2012, St Helen's, Tasmania

So we invited the two adventurers on board for dinner which they gratefully accepted. Phil picked them up from the beach in our dinghy- couldn't really expect them to paddle over in the kayaks! It was quite a sight as our dinghy is only small, so there was not much waterline by the time the three of them got in. We had an enjoyable meal with Peter and James, although they were clearly very tired. They certainly appreciated having a meal cooked for them. Phil rowed them back to the beach were they were camped for the night in a little tent. While they were gone I heard splashing out the back of our boat and looking out to investigate, I saw apps of dolphins who had come into the bay on dusk, probably rounding up fish for thei dinner. There was a baby with them who looked very cut doing his little jumps as he swam along side the adults. Phil got to row back among them which was an absolute treat. People say that these islands in Bass Strait rival the Whitsundays and we would habe to agree, although it is obviously different. We fell into bed after a fabulous day in a truly beautiful spot, and with Tasmania in sight (literally).

Next day was the leg to Eddystone's Point on the north east tip of Tassie. Unfortunately, we had to go against the tied again, unless we wanted to leave in the very early hours of the morning, and the wind was not very strong. There was also more swell than we had had for mot of the trip, so we had afailry uncomfortable day with the boat and sails flopping all over the place, making slow progress and in hot humid conditions. It was a bit of a shock after the relatively easy time we had up to then. Still we got there in the end, but then had a very restless night as there was a considerable easterly swell and our anchorage was not protected from that.

And so to the final leg of this section, the trip to St Helen's which was much better. Decent breeze and good boat speed. Getting into St Helen's means crossing a bar and so we had arranged with the local coast guard to come out and meet us to guide us in which they did. The crossing went well,but we could see that it could be very treacherous in the wrong conditions. So now we are at the wharf, rated up to a fishing boat which is not going anywhere for a few days. Last night we enjoyed long showers and a night uninterrupted by any anchor alarms, wind shifts, or swell. Will spend today here before we set off tomorrow for the next section of our trip, down the east coast.

Thanks to very one for your messages. It is great to be able to stay in touch, and I expect that Internet access should be more reliable for this next section. It seems that we have to upgrade our blog membership in order to put up photos which I will investigate in the next few days.

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