28 December 2020
So I have not posted for a few weeks!
Could this be because too little has happened, or too much? Should I exaggerate, or should I understate?
Let me put it thus:
I left Port Welshpool far less eventfully than my arrival. Had to motor for a few hours due to light winds. Progressively the winds increased so I could cut the engine and sail. The seas and winds built and I felt very alone but very much part of the world. Deal Island appeared on the horizon, seemed forever to bring it abeam as the sun went down. Around midnight the wind deserted so I went to start the diesel. Nothing. (DEAL ISLAND STILL ABEAM,) the currents and gravitational pull of Deal Island (and countless rock columns threatened to ruin me, sans diesel, sans wind.
Spent all night sailing light winds to avoid the rocks. Dawn brought freshening winds as I escaped Deal to skate the eastern side of Flinders Island. The 6 hours I lost overnight meant tide against wind (huge standing waves) which killed my autopilot. On top of dead diesel, this meant no leaving the tiller for the next 36 hours, I had to once - by this stage the wind was 30 knots plus and the main had to be dropped!). I passed anchorages that I'd marked but no hope of turning upwind to make them sans diesel, so another sleepless night in the offing.
That night I got 30 minutes sleep impossibly heaving to in waves that I thought would mock my end (alas I underestimated Galarea).
Morning brought a nice Northerly across Banks Strait as (in my insominiacally insanity), I argued amiably with my chatty windvane over competing insanity (she won!). But the wind faded and it seemed the approaching humongous Westerly front would have the final say. I hugged the Bay of Fires in anchorable depth, still optimistic that I'd make St Helens by nightfall. A rainshower hid the too close beach an hour before the front hit.
The rest is history. I feel so so alive coming mildly but too close to the fate of 50 fellow sailors who died on the St Helens bar! (I do though hope to die in the wonderful St Helens community, just not for another 20 years or so)