Return from the wilderness
16 March 2008 | Cygnet
Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour are a World Heritage wilderness area and the only way in is via boat, on foot or fly in to a small airstrip. Hikers can hire an airplane to fly in then take 5-10 days to walk out along the spectacular southern coast. During our time here we experienced all the changes of weather you would expect from this remote corner of the world, from beautiful sunny days to gales and everything in between. The photos attached could never do justice to reality. We did see 5 or 6 other boats in the area but this is the peak season!!!
There are a number of walks to be done in the area and we chose to climb Mt Rugby
a 2534 foot (772m) peak overlooking Port Davey, Bathurst harbour and Melaleuca inlet. The guide book stated it is not for the fainthearted so undeterred we set off. It turned out to be one of the more difficult day walks we have done; the track was slippery with the undergrowth never below waist height at times above the head. As we approached the last part of the climb to the summit through a mass of boulders and brush filled crevices the book said it would be wise to mark the trail as it was difficult to pick the track on the way down as the boulders all look the same and many people have taken a wrong turn and become lost. In fact the day after we did the climb 3 men from another boat went up and one went missing. The authorities were radioed and about to send out a search helicopter when he turned up at the foot of the mountain. Despite the effort it took to get to the top the views were stunning. Hopefully the panoramic photos give you some idea. Over the next 3 or 4 days we kayaked (using the folding kayaks we treated ourselves to one Christmas) and took an eventful trip in our dinghy up the Davey river. This day was a grey day with low cloud and some rain but this didn't stop us. The river is coloured brown by tannin and meanders into the wooded valleys. The guide book says that you can reach each of the 3 gorges upstream by dinghy but beware of rocks as you get to the last one. I am not sure how far we got but after 1.5 hrs of motoring the river narrowed considerably and we were enclosed by trees at this point (just when we were about to turn back) we hit an underwater tree root and lost the propeller from the outboard. It couldn't be found in the dark waters so we had to row all the way back, at least it was more peaceful than with the outboard apart from the foul language that was filling the air.
The whole trip was definitely worthwhile.
Came back along the south coast with a strong 25 knot wind behind us and had a great sail back into Recherche Bay and Cockle Creek. We did one of the more interesting day walks from here to the South Cape a 20 km 4 hr return which is the end of the South West walk. The terrain is varied from tea tree, heath, marshland, crystal clear waters and opens up to the crashing aquamarine surf of the southern ocean, not a bad lunch stop.
One of the issues we have on board when away from facilities is the amount of rubbish acquired and how to store it. Jean read in an article about a method of storing rubbish by cutting it into small pieces and putting them into a large plastic bottle. It was amazing, she managed to cram 2 weeks of milk cartons, tea bags, food packaging, banana skins and god knows what else etc etc into at 4 ltr bottle. (See pic)
Over the next few days we slowly made our way back into civilisation and are currently at Cygnet on the Huon River.
By the way my attempts at fishing are getting better. We have had a couple of meals care of the sea over the last week or so and with lessons from an experienced fisherman on Bruny Island I can now clean the fish and keep the fillets in one piece.
Thanks to those who leave comments we do appreciate it. Is there anything you would like to know about our life afloat that I can add next time?
Dave and Jean