23 December 2017 | Great Sandy Straits
28 November 2017 | Burnett River Heads
31 December 1969 | The boat
Capes, Convicts & Coming home
14 April 2018
Image:The Iron Pot and Mt Wellington welcomes us home.
After sailing 20,000 nautical miles and spending 13 years away from from Tassie we are now back from where we started to realise the place we actually left has all the values, community and environment we are now looking for in life - thats that old cliche.... the irony of leaving a place only to discover the place you left is the place you want too be!
The sail from Maria Island National Park via Port Arthur, (both 19th century penal settlements) across Storm Bay and into our home port of Hobart under 'the mountain' on the Derwent River was a wonderful experience. It's been such a long time since we'd sailed in Tasmania that everything seemed new, exciting and fresh, with just a dash of deja vu. A bit more irony, as I found that you need to leave a landscape to really appreciate just how truly stunning and beautiful it is in a local and global context.
After very warm and emotional catch ups with our families in Hobart, we are now anchored 'down the Channel' (the D'Entrecasteaux Channel) in one of Australia's most sheltered anchorages called the 'The Duck Pond' on Bruny Island as light rain gently falls on glassy tannin stained waters with Blue gums growing to the waters edge.
Check out the images of our trip from Maria Island NP to Hobart' - click on the image 'first light Port Arthur' under galleries to see other photos.
Autumn equinox in Tasmania
22 March 2018
Image: Tangaloa, Maria Island
Wowsers, the butter has finally gone hard and the equinoxial weather at 43 degrees south has been at its best. 30 to 45 knots of NW gales have been our home coming. The barometer is 1040 and its rather haughty!
For two mornings in a row ( from 0300hr both days) we stood 'anchor watch' as white sea spume raced across the Triabunna harbour and with each violent volley of dense cold air Tangaloa healed from one side to t'other as she tugged heavily at the mooring.
Besides gale warnings throughout Tasmania, the VHF radio forecast notes there will be snow on higher peaks! Time to unpack the diesel heater flue and get our Dickinson cabin heater choofing for the first time since we left New Zealand almost six years ago.
Despite the weather keeping us below decks, we made the most of the stormy conditions by breaking bread, cooking, eating (especially pink eyes and duck river butter) and generally chilling out.
After about 50 hours of stormy weather we were excited to catch up with Vick's mum and dad T&R for fish and chips, mince pies and walks with Cleo the Captivator. We were also welcomed into the home of Penny & Geoff for a wonderful meal/conversation in a way that only Tasmanians know how. The people of Triabunna have reminded us 'why we have come home. We couldn't of wished for a more friendly and warmer welcoming. Thank you Triabunna and a special thanks people who welcomed us home!
We are now snuggled in Chinamans Bay on Maria Island, as the 30kt N/NE pass overhead - smiling because we are home, distances short and can light the heater to keep warm!
Back in home waters....
16 March 2018
Image: Bear Hill, Schouten Island
Our sail across Bass Strait (aka 'The Paddock') can only be described as text book perfect and as Vicky says "patience makes for predictable voyage planning" - so waiting for a suitable weather window in the shelter of Twofold Bay was worth it. We departed Eden last Wednesday 7th March and dropped anchor at Schouten Island Friday night after a wonderful down wind sail at an average of six knots!
It's been over 12 years since Tangaloa's keel last slipped through Tasmania's crystals clear waters so making land fall was a mixture of emotions full of rich memories, melancholy and excitement all slightly numbed by sleep deprivation and a stiff dram of whisky to celebrate our arrival.
After a good nights sleep we awoke to the familiar smells of coastal vegetation, a hint of autumn chill in the evening, the calls of clinker currawongs and the amazingly beautiful vistas of the dramatic granite coastline around Freycinet National Park. The image of Bear Hill on Schouten Island with Tangaloa in the foreground says it all!
One week later and a little further south in Spring Bay, Triabunna, the VHF radio reminds us we are home. The forecast is "Strong and gale wind warnings - 25 to 40 knots from the north"! Nothing like a fresh breeze to reinforce that we are home at 42 degrees south again.
Wowser its autumn already
02 March 2018
As the mornings and nights draw in, we are reminded that we are heading into the latitudes of 40 degrees south.... warm sticky heat is a distant memory as we slowly don warmer clothing, unpack wet weather gear and enjoy the comforting scent of wood fire smoke as it forms valley inversion layers and drifts down into our sheltered anchorage.
We have been in Twofold Bay for a week and although we have been awaiting for a suitable weather window to cross Bass Strait (aka The Paddock) we have taken advantage of exploring the area and the rich historic Whaling sites.
Walks along the the coast line and forests also remind us that we are moving south. Fine seaweeds are giving way to more robust kelp communities, cool climate shellfish colonise rocky shores and in the forest sub tropical plants are replaced with sclerophyl forest where the harmonic calling of Bell Birds ring out through the canopy tops and Lyrebird scratchings evident amongst the leaf litter.
The weather forecast to cross The Paddock is indicating a 'window' mid next week (8/3/18) before the next southerly front abruptly roars across Bass Strait and along the southern NSW coast. For those interested in our 'crossing plan' we have included a couple of wind maps in the latest gallery images.
If the weather turns to 'custard' before we leave we will wait and explore some more - we have learnt that patience leads to predictable passage making.
Blue Bottles and the Jervis Bay Shuffle!
15 February 2018
Image: Portuguese man-of-war (aka Blue Bottle)
Sail's up but nowhere to go... Like the Portuguese man-of-war(blue bottle) we have drifted into this beautiful bay but are unable to leave - bit like the song 'Hotel California' 'you can check out any time you like but you can never leave'!!
Yes we were up again at midnight doing the Jervis Bay shuffle as the wind changed from the north to the south which takes about an hours steaming from one side of the bay to the other. So snug in bed again by 2am.
We arrived in Jervis Bay over a week ago and have now moved anchorage nine times - not sure if that is a record but there has been a 180 degree wind change every day for the past week or so which is very impressive in anyone's book.
A big positive of our moves to the southern anchorage is access to the small coastal village of Vincentia just south of Huskisson. The town has a fuel station, supermarket, laundry and bottle shop. On the northern anchorage within the Beecroft Weapons Range we have access to wonderful bushwalking, daily dolphin dancing and swimming. What else could a sailor ask for?
The long range forecast is suggesting there may be a window to sail south to Eden next week... so with that in mind we have bought fuel, groceries and done the washing with the hope of joining Crush and Nemo again on the EAC to Eden.
If you want, check out some images from our stay (Galley with Vick & the washing)
13 February 2018
Image: Another weather change, time to move!
In our view sailing the NSW coast is more challenging than an off shore voyage. It also explains why cruising yachts need time to avoid the worst of the weather.
In the words of one of Australia's most respected cruising guide authors Alan Lucas:
"The sailor wanting a fair wind for a north or south passage along the coast will be hard pressed to carry such a wind for any length of time. Running south before a north - easterly a southerly change must be anticipated, and running north before a south-easterly there is every chance of deteriorating conditions and heavy rain.
Good for the power cruiser, ironic for the yacht, is the fact that settled summer weather on the coast tends to bring fickle variables or the first-mentioned north-easterly in the afternoon and light offshore winds at night."
So although our next leg is only about 130 nautical miles to Eden we technically sail through three metereological weather zones and for the last few days these zones have all had different wind directions/strengths in the same period which bodes well for challenging sailing along the 130 nm rhumb line!
Even as we wait in the shelter of Jervis Bay, we have had to move from one side of the harbour to the other seven times in the last seven days - cruisers refer to it as the 'midnight shuffle' which describes how each time there is a wind shift the crew have to up anchor and move 6 nm to the opposite lee shore on the other side of the bay irrespective of time of day, wind strength or sea state!
If you are interested, we have posted four weather forecasting images showing a typical four day period for this part of the world and a 'wind warning'. Hope this helps explain why we seem to be taking our time moving south. (Besides the fact that we are really enjoying the bushwalking and swimming in the marine and national parks.)
PS Today's forecast just in - a good example of wind from all directions!
Today: N-NE 15-20 ahead of a gusty southerly change of 20-30 knots
Thur: S-SE 15- 30. Winds becoming variable then NE 15-20
Fri: E-SW - 10-15 turning S-SE AM then turning SW 15-20 then SE PM
Hows that for a mixed bag? Back to shuffling across the bay again today!