TUESDAY FEB 18th
to Port MacDonnell
Photo : Dawn again and the beginning of the dodge and weave.
Yes, another dawn to see in, but at least it was slightly light before we left as we had a feeling it would be difficult going so far as those dreaded buoys were concerned, and we were right. A constant vigil had to be kept as we discovered that they were indeed going to once again be our constant attendants on our trip south. Like guards of honour they appeared in long rows on either or both sides of Venture, some trailing ropes that floated on the surface for anywhere up to 30 metres behind their accompanying buoy. Talk about a propeller hazard! We found that weaving so that they were on the starboard (right) side often made it easier until suddenly there were others that would almost magically appear on the port side, then the whole dance began again. It was going to be a long day.
Photo : City on the horizon?
Photo : Not quite. Freight ship below horizon, but freight containers above.
The weather was light, with little wind that occasionally touched 8 knots and low waves of less that ½ a metre. As such, we found ourselves motoring in the morning with the promising forecast of strengthening NW swinging W winds of 10 - 15 knots that just never arrived and instead blew straight up our nostrils the whole way. It was disappointing (but fairly typical) that the forecast was wrong again. One day it's actually going to be right and I won't be able to function because I'll spend my entire day utterly gobsmacked.
One thing that did brighten our trip though was the appearances of more albatross along the entire length of coast. From just the odd one or two, we were soon seeing flocks of them bobbing about in the water, either scattering like gawky ten pins as we approached or curiously watching us pass as they corked about in the rippled briny. They were so silly, we decided that, on approaching the next flock that we could see in the distance, Dave would sit up front with the video camera. So, all set, Dave was sitting on the bow looking at the little video screen as we approached. By now the birds should have been moving but they weren't. Hmmmmmmm. Suddenly Dave looked up from the screen and yelled "Um..... They're not albatross!" What they were was a whole bunch of buoys that were now about 20 feet from our bow! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu....! An instinct I didn't know I had saw me punching the button to put the boat in standby and yanking left. By now I was giggling uncontrollably. The buoys were practically brushing the hull as we chugged past and tears were streaming down my face. Dave also had a bad case of the giggles and it did take a few minutes to bring our wobbling mirth affected bits under control. I really think you had to be there.
Photo : Lighthouse near Port MacDonnell
After about 9 hours of motoring and as we were within about an hour and a half or so of our destination, we were minding our own business when a power boat drew up level with us and shadowed us as we chatted back and forth with the crew. It turned out that they had been out abalone fishing, were bringing in a big haul and wanted to tell us how nice the boat was, asked where we were headed, we asked about moorings. Just the normal banter you have out in the ocean. Actually I say we all chatted but what the conversation actually consisted of was a lot of screaming back and forth over the sound of a conglomerated engine symphony. After a few minutes they went on their way but not before they wished us all sorts of good things for the trip. It was lovely to come across such really friendly guys.
By the time we rounded the huge breakwater I think we'd both had enough. We wended our way through a veritable maze of fishing boats and nabbed a mooring but due to the type of mooring it was, with a double ring on top and on a short chain, it was difficult to thread a rope through. But no sooner had we realised that there might be difficulties, when along came another couple of guys in a tinny who immediately gave us a hand. Once safely tied up, we looked around and saw that Venture was the only yacht in the harbour, looking like a rose amongst the thorns. It really had been a long day but we had met some really nice people.
WEDNESDAY FEB 19th
Dave was up early for whatever demented reason he may have had, and so was luckily awake (unlike me) when the gift arrived on the boat. I rose at the very decent time of 'after Dave' and was oblivious to the visitors we had had apart from hearing something bang into the hull, which I think is what actually brought me closer to wakefulness (the noise turned out to be an anchor banging the cap rail). I bumbled out of bed in my normal foggy way but the fog lifted instantaneously when, upon reaching the galley (kitchen) and reaching for the kettle, my eyes lit upon a wonderful vision of gastronomic loveliness sitting in the dish drainer. My very... own... LOBSTER! I touched it and then picked it up, holding it before me like a magical amulet, not believing that this had been delivered to my threshold (so to speak). I turned to Dave and in the most inquisitive voice my morning brain could muster, uttered the question... "Huh??" The Lobby Fairies had come at last!
Photo : Look what the fairies brought me!
It turned out that the abalone guys from the day before had decided to welcome us to Port MacDonnell with some of the absolutely fresh local seafood. I think I love them. It was such an awesome thing to do and would do us nicely for dinner.
Later in the morning the dinghy was readied as we prepared to nip across the bay to the Foreshore Caravan Park to have a shower and do some laundry. The forecast wasn't great but we hoped that any rain would hold off for a while. It was a little windy, with breezes around 15 knots and a little bit of chop on the water but it wasn't too bad. We did, however, underestimate the distance to the caravan park and what it might be like in the bay out of the protection of the breakwater. We chucked the laundry bag, backpack and my handbag into the boat and climbed in, looking skyward. Not too bad.
The plan was to motor up hard and beach the dinghy then jump out onto the sand and drag it further up the beach. There have always been reasons why I dislike plans because they rarely work and eventually we found that this was no exception. The surf along the beach was high enough to drive us well onto the sand so we caught a wave and Dave rammed the engine. We hit the beach but were immediately pulled back by a bigger wave and spun as surf hit the side of the boat. Dave heroically jumped out in water up to his knees, socks, shoes and jeans soaked, and dragged the dinghy towards shore. While he was doing that I raced to get my socks and shoes off and roll my jeans above my knees. Together we dragged the boat up the beach and tied hooked the anchor behind a rock. The beach was far flatter than we had thought it was going to be, and the tide was rising so vigilance was a priority.
The toilet and laundry areas were great, with a big undercover pergola/verandah and tables and chairs, surrounded by plants and trellis work. We took turns showering, Dave changed out of his wet clothes and put on a pair of shorts from the laundry bag that weren't too bad. I put the wet stuff in with the load of laundry then sat flicking through a Woman's Weekly magazine from 2009. The weather looked to be fining up so our concerns about the dinghy lessened a bit. While we were waiting for the washing machine to finish we got chatting with a lovely lady named Jenny Shultz (hopefully correct spelling) who had just arrived at the park with her husband Gary. An invitation to join them for coffee just made our day and so we made the decision to find them after I'd transferred everything to the dryer. Meanwhile, because the undercover area was so well protected from the elements, we hadn't noticed that the weather had turned and rain was building until we heard it on the roof. Suddenly Mother Nature had switched her programme to wet mode, and turned the wind up a notch. Oh well... we'd wait it out if we had to.
We found Jenny and Gary's caravan and sat under the awning for a chat and coffee as though we'd known them for years. Meanwhile the rain was drumming just that little bit harder and the wind was beginning to push it sideways so we decided that the best course of action was to go and get the now dry clothes, pack them away and try and make our way to the dinghy. We had brought wet weather jackets with us just in case, so we donned them, Dave changed back into nice warm jeans (but in bare feet as his shoes were soaked from the dunking) and trudged to the caravan park entrance to wait the rain out until it hopefully became less heavy. And wait. And wait some more. The wind had become icy and our hopes for an end to the rain were in vain so a dash had to be made (and I don't dash well so it was more of an accelerated saunter).
At the beach, the tide had risen quite a way but was still not yet at the dinghy, so at least we had that in our favour. Dave retrieved the anchor, I took off my socks and shoes and once again rolled up my jeans and, stuffing the bags and shoes into the bow of the dinghy, we each grabbed a handle and dragged it into the now thrashing water. I got in and Dave pushed us out a little then jumped in to start the engine. He pulled the starter over and over but it wouldn't start and the waves were now beating into the boat, sending up flumes of spray and spinning us like a top! Though I fought against it, I began to panic because we had stupidly not taken life vests. Dave jumped back into the thigh deep water to hold the boat steady and suddenly lost his footing, ending up chest deep in the turbulent flow. I grabbed out for him but his phone and all went in the water. The fearfulness finally grabbed hold and like a baby, I began to cry. He found his feet again, managed to start the engine and then launched himself back into the boat. I helped drag him in but waves that threatened to tip the boat now crashed over the bow, soaking not only us, but our bags. It was a struggle to get over them but eventually we broke free of the shore and pounded our way back to Venture through the rising swell and the pouring rain. It, and I, only calmed a little when we came behind the breakwater. I really have to learn to man up, so to speak.
Photo : Wet, wet, wet.
Safely ensconced on the boat, we stripped off the wet gear, hurriedly threw on warm, dry clothes and slippers and vowed never to do that again. Life jackets will be taken on every trip. If the weather doesn't look good, it can wait. Never again will we be caught in that kind of situation if it can possibly be avoided. Both bags were soaked and a good lot of the laundry was damp with salt water, my handbag and the contents were wet, including my phone cover but luckily not the whole phone, my shoes were also wet. A line was hung inside and I pegged up everything I could find that was soggy. What a trip! It rained for most of the day and the wind rose to gale levels. All in all it was just pretty miserable but that night I cooked that lobster. A little brightness on an otherwise fairly shitty day.
Photo : I apologise to all vegetarians but mmmmmmmmmmm.
Mind you, it hadn't quite finished. As I was cooking said 'delish lobbie' the funnel vent over the galley was facing so that the wind blew directly down it, causing the galley to steam up so Dave volunteered to go and turn it around, a trip of about 5 feet from the cockpit. In that 5 feet he managed to lose a slipper overboard but luckily it landed in the water between the dinghy (which was tied to the boat) and the boat. He retrieved it and it joined all the other soggy stuff. No more.... I had run out of room!
After dinner we had our inaugural game of Scrabble Twists and Turns, a game my son Daniel gave us for Christmas. It's an excellent game that Dave ultimately won, and since I am Scrabble Queen, it kind of sucked but it was still fun. Tomorrow we plan a trip into town if the weather holds.
Photo ; Crappy weather through the porthole.
THURSDAY FEB 20th.
The weather didn't hold. In fact it developed incontinence and major flatulence overnight to the point where poor Dave was up and down checking every sound, every creak, every tap, every boing. The broken moorings that we'd had over the past couple of weeks had him paranoid about drifting. He finally came back to bed at 5.30. He was absolutely knackered and I hadn't realised how much until we woke up, he looked at the clock and said that we had better get up and have some lunch! It was 11.30! Once up and about, I spent an enthralling afternoon dusting the boat from top to bottom. Dave baked bread rolls and they were FABULOUS!!
Photo : I knead you... lol. Dave making bread rolls.
Photo: Yummy hot rolls. They were delish!
And that's about all I can say about that day. Yawn! Hopefully TOMORROW the weather won't have the gripes.
Photo : After the storm'