Bass Strait, Wineglass Bay
04 January 2011
As I lie in my bunk I hear the sounds of the surf on the beach, and am aware of the ocean swell rolling the vessel gently: it is around two-thirty or three in the morning of our departure. The crew lie abed, jousting with a mosquito. At dawn, we will drop our borrowed mooring here in the small town of Eden, New South Wales, start the engine and motor out into the Tasman Sea just 40 sea miles north of Bass Strait.
This infamous strip of water has been the site of many storms, and the sinking of many ships, in the days when, having no sure knowledge of their longitude, sailing ships from England would enter this relatively shallow strait only to be wrecked on the islands which stand within and beyond it. It is about 200 nautical miles wide, and together with the north coast of Tasmania south to Wineglass Bay, that will make a little over 300 miles for our next passage. Good weather - light to moderate northerlies - is forecast.
Yesterday, Bluebottle was tied up alongside the old timber wharf with fishing boats, to take on water and groceries. A kind 60-year 1ocal, Ian, gave us a lift up the hill to the town, and another angel, Con, new owner of the IGA supermarket, drove us and our groceries in his van to the wharf, helped load them into the boat, and then drove us back to town for lunch. A friendly people, Eden.
It is now nearly 4 am, and time to haul the dinghy aboard and start preparations for going to sea. The passage, we estimate, should take 3 days, and two more old friends will climb over the hill from Coles Bay to Wineglass, to sail the remainder of the way with us to Hobart. Our families and a blessed rest await us there, after our nine thousand miles of seagoing.
Phil has a gig for me there, too, he tells me, and I got out my banjo last night for a practice. Thanks, Phil! See yous all on the wharf in Hobart! Get us a warm day, for heaven's sake!!
UPDATE, 7:15 am, heading east out of Twofold Bay now, passing Seahorse Shoals, off Red Point, the southern extremity of the bay. Light easterly wind.