Friday, April 21, 2006

 

Hunter Island-Three Hummock Island

April 24
Awoke at 3am, decided to have a leisurely breakfast and head off. If there is no wind it means we will travel slower.

April 23
Fidelio and another yacht left for Melbourne today fom Stanley, but we felt it would be too rolly until the swell subsided and settled so are leaving early tomorrow morning. Listening on the radio it was very rolly but it and the wind cut out about 12 noon.

Again we stayed on the boat, Paul went fishing to catch more flathead to put in the freezer during period of rain and wind squalls in the morning.

Later we secured the boat ready to sail when we got up in the morning. During the night the boat swung more SE so pulled the anchor and moved further out into deeper water.

The night was so clear you felt like you could reach out and touch the stars they were so near and so large. The moon had not risen above the horizon and the sounds of the penguins were loud plus the phosphorence in the water making the night very beautiful.

April 22
Stayed inside, very cold, rain squalls and overcast. We listened to the fishermen on the radio complaining about the cold and swell.

April21
Still here- "Shelley" delivered a cray for dinner tonight, we got to the beach for a much needed walk.

April20
Moved from the north side to the south side of Telegraph Bay

Another 2-3 days of gale force winds from the W-SW. Monday looks like okay to go, but will check it out Sunday as the weather patterns change quite fast.

News report stated that two people got knocked over with a rogue wave ion Bass Strait (Coal frieghter) one person died, the other is in hospital. Thank goodness we are not out there.

April18
Moved from Rainbow Bay to East Telepgraph Bay as SW swell coming through and making the boat uncomfortable.

April17
"Damian from "Shelley" recommended that we move around the corner to Rainbow Bay for the expected NW 30-50 knots expected and it would be more protected from the swell. It is a beautiful protected bay and one can see the bottom quite clearly.

I pinch myself every time I go outside-CLEAR BLUE WATER and I can see the bottom!! It is like paradise, the beaches are white and when the wind it not blowing and the sun is shinning I can imagine this being paradise.

April16
Woke up late afternoon after our trip. Arriving at Shepherd's Bay marked the completed circumnavigation of Tasmania for us.

The weather forecast was for NW gale force winds later on. Shepherds Bay was reasonable but we decided to move to East Telegraph Bay where is was more protected. We moved at about 6pm and it got dark very quickly, thankfully the moon came up to give us greater visibility. We arrived at this beautiful bay at about 7.50 and anchored near "Shelley" a fishing trawler.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

 

Macquarie Harbour

April 15/16
Early rise 5am out of bed, pulled anchor just before 6am, sunrise. It took us two hours to get to Hell's Gates. "Jacinta" went before us and radioed to state that the swell was reasonable, so out we went. We had rainbows to farewell us and sunshine.

The trip in total took 20 hours (6 hours ahead of schedule), our average speed was 7.5 with just the genoa. We had to pull the genoa in to Number 2 at times as the winds got to 40 knots, a lot stronger than was forecasted. The swell was over 4 metres, but thankfully all behind us. Both of us were seasick. Cockatoo handled it well.

Arriving at Shepherd's Bay marked the completed circumnavigation of Tasmania for us.

We put the anchor down at 2am at Shepherds Bay on Hunter Island, we did not go through the Hunter Passage due to the swell and that we were travelling at night. There was a full moon which made visuals good. We slept well, Fidelio arrived at about 6am and Sara about 8am.

April 14
Paul has headed off to Trevor's to help them with their computer. It is raining and very calm, we are expecting SW 30 knots this afternoon, so when Paul returns we will head around to Mill's Bay. Had Evan and John from "Fidelio" on board to discuss possibility of heading off tomorrow to Hunter Island group, John from "jacinta" a fishing trawler from King Ilsnad is also heading off as well tomorrow.

April 13
The generator is due today. It arrived at 5.15pm. Spent the day in town and had seafood chowder at the fish and chip shop in Strahan for lunch.

April 12
Trevor from "Stormbreaker" lent us his car and we took the guys from "Fidelio" up to see the township of Zeehan. Well there was not a lot to see but we checked out the beach and swell on the way back. There is still a significant sea out there.

Went to the pub that afternoon for Happy Hour. Met some of the locals and headed back in the dark to the boat.

April 11
Spent day doing washing and shopping. Borrowed Trevor's car and went to see the Ocean beach and Hell's Gates from the land.

April 8-10
The sun is out, a short reprieve until the NW winds (30-40 knots) come. We have moved anchorages to Risby Cove near the town of Strahan. While the sun is out we will get some more provisions and go for another much needed walk. Fidelio is here as well, they have tied off at the jetty. Looks like Sunday may be the day as there is a high on its way, but cannot confirm if this till closer to the date as the weather can change quickly.

There are lots of fishing boats now in the harbour waiting out this weather. We hear that there were 8 metre swells off the coast, so are happy we are here at the moment waiting out this next lot of NW gale force winds. Had a sundowner on "Fidelio" to celebrate John's birthday.

April5-8
Moved around to Mills Bay which is more protected. Strong SW winds 30-40 knots. There are three other yachts also anchored here as well as numerous large fishing boats. Cold, wet and windy days on anchor, we did get a morning ashore for a walk in between blows. We expected to be able to head off Sunday but northerly winds are expected sooner than we anticipated (we need 18 hours to get to the next anchorage). So looks like we are here for another week.

April4-5
We returned to Strahan, refuelled, provisioned and filled up with water. Stayed the night on the refueling jetty. It was an uncomfortable night as the wind was picking up and rubbing the boat against the jetty. The fenders moved sometime during the night and there is a spot that is exposed metal which we will paint when the weather improves.

Apr 3 - Gordon River
See Gordon River photos
Motored back down the Gordon passing a large tourist boat at the enterance, we headed back to the beautiful Double Cove. The wind was on the nose so we motored arriving at 122 noon in time for lunch. We are back in internet and email range so have caught up on a few emails and Paul with e-bay. Paul went inside the fish farms into Double Cove finding that there was enough room and depth to do so.

We had lovely HOT showers and a glass of red wine on our arrival.

We are staying here tonight then back to Strahan tomorrow to refuel and fill up with water. There are stong 25-30 knt winds predicted the next two days.

Apr 2 -Gordon River
Motoring up the Gordon River on a clear crisp morning. Views again, spectacular highlighted with mist in the trees and mountains. We passed only one other yacht on the river.

Arriving at Warner's Landing near Sir John's Falls we prepared the mooring ropes as per normal. As we were coming along side the jetty I remembered that we had not secured the mizzen (back) mast boom and it was in danger of hitting the jetty and bringing our mast down. Just as I yelled out the mizzen and solar panels hit but luckily with no damage. Paul in the meantime had told me to leap of the boat onto the jetty (the superwoman that I am) which I consequently did, missing the jetty and landing on a rope which was slipping slowly into the water (due to my great knot tying skills-NOT). I was able to hang back onto the boat but could not get my body up onto the deck. Paul rescued me (he really does love me). I really did not want to swim in the Gordon as the water is very cold.

We did secure the boat all with an audience of a load of tourists which had come by float plane to see the falls. What a laugh- really I wonder at times what I am doing out here! Thankfully we did secure the boat with no damage to anything except our egos.

We scratched our hull with a bolt hanging off the jetty - must tell Trevor when we get back to Strahan.

Taking the dingy across to Sir John's Falls where the float planes take the tourists, we walked a short distance on a boardwalk into the most amazing falls surrounded by rainforrest. I felt like we were taken back to pre-historic ages.

Motoring in the dingy up the Gordon we encountered a number of small rapids which Paul negotiated very well. We took the turn to go gup the mighty Franklin River. You will have to see the photos-just more stunning trees, mountains, etc. Well worth saving. We got as far as a large rapid which (if I had remembered to pack the lifejackets) would have attempted to go up. As it was we got a bit close and the dingy filled up with water and Paul and I got wet. Deciding that caution would be better we headed back to the yacht to motor back down the Gordon to the mooring at Marty's Rock.

Apr 1 - Gordon River
Wind has abated but is still cold and rainy. We have decided to move further down the bay. Pulling the anchor we discovered that the chain had wrapped itself around the anchor. Vision is not great as there is drizzly rain. We were successful in picking up a mooring bouy near "The landing". When the sun came out we took the dingy across the bay to an old jetty and explored ruins of an old railway and shed near the shore. Exploring the otherside at "The landing" we found the remains of an old minesite cleared and an old walkers hut.

Deciding to head on as the wind was picking up (again!) we put the genoa up and sailed up Birche's Inlet (max. 7knt under genoa) and then motored out of the Inlet, into Macquarie Harbour and into the Gordon River. We were getting 30 knt gusts of wind in Macquarie Harbour but all fell away inside the Gordon River. There is a clear enterance with marker bouys showing the way in.

Rainbows greeted us on our journey up the river. Again we were treated with spectacular views of trees right to the waters edge and mountains surrounding us.

We picked up a mooring near Marty's Rock on the Gordon river, passing a group of kayakers on the shore.

Mar 31
Rainy, windy and cold, will stay here today. Spent the day reading and resting.

Mar 30
Bacon and eggs-Paul is a great cook, It takes a while for me to weake up in the mornings. He has a fix for the sonar and is currently setting it up to output depth.

When that is done we will bring up the anchor and head for Birches Inlet, east of Macquarie Harbour, closer to the mouth of the Gordon River. There are strong Northerly winds expected tonight so want to be somewhere protected. The sun is out and it is another beautiful day here.

We motor sailed to Birches Inlet, sailing for nearly one hour with just the genoa up. Birches Inlet has a very shallow enterance and it is recommended to keep close to the west side for sufficient depth. The sonar proved a useful navigation tool in this instance.

We have anchored in Hawke's Nest Cove surrounded by trees down to the waterline. We will be well protected here from expected winds.

Mar 29
Awaking early we both decided to treat ourselves to a cooked breakfast on shore. We had mail to collect, phone calls to make (the appointment had been cancelled) and faxes to send. All of that took nearly all day.

During the day we took off to explore the art gallery at Risby Cove and at the Magic Cottage. Very inspiring.

Paul spent the afternoon dealing with superannuation finances and share investments, having to make a trip back into town to post letters early evening.

We can now head down to the great Gordon River.

Mar 28
Waking up to a glorious day we went ashore to explore the beach and forest. The forest again had huge tree ferns, trees, and moss every where. The beach was made of lots of little rocks, which gave my feet a good massage. Paul discovered a well made lean to just off the beach.

Taking off from the shore we headed out to the fishfarms. These litter the coast making it look like cities on water. There were three memn working on the closest one so we went by and asked if we could watch.

They were preparing the large nets for a swim through from a smaller net. Using a dingy and outboard they dropped the weights from the nets and loosened the nets enough so they could be raised by hand. Quite gueling hard work.

I had to chuckle they were complaining about the heat. It was a lovely sunny day and Paul and I still had our jackets on. Paul gave them a hand raising the nets and was rewarded with three huge ocean traout. We took them back to the boat and all are in our fridge and freezer. Yum!

It was a cold night-put four blankets on the bed and it was just enough to keep us warm-any colder and it will be tracksuits and socks as well.

The left over shark was made into a fish pie which (if I do say so myself) was very delicious.

As we had an appointment in Strahan we motor sailed back to Strahan arriving late afternoon. Tamara has found a job, we wish her well.

Mar 27
Cold and overcast with rainy periods. We had a late breakfast, bacon and eggs doning raincoats and boots to explore the mainland.

Kellly Basin was developed by the North Lyell Company as its port during 1898 but was later abandonded in 1903 due to the merger of the company with the Mt Lyell Company. Over 1000 people lived here, hard to imagine as only ruins remain and the forest has reclaimed most of it. There are ruins of jetties that had large ships alongside, ruins of kilns, steam boilers, etc.

We had fun exploring the area and less fun picking the leeches of us on our return. After lunch we headed over to Double Cove. The wind picked up enough to allow us to sail with the genoa, giving us over 6 knots, although it did not last long and we turned the motor back on. Negotiating the fishfarms at the entrance we anchored in a beautiful secluded bay.

We have got phone and internet access here, Paul has spent all evening on the computer. Tamara has just emailed and said that she has defered from university and is looking for work.

Mar 26
Sarah Island was the next stop, we pulled anchor and left Farm Cove to arrive at Sarah Island just prior to the first tourist cruise boats tying up at the jetty. We had a self guided tour brochure but tagged behind a group which gave more information. Nothing like following a flock of sheep.

Sarah Island has the ruins of the old penal settlement which has quite a harsh history. We had a beautiful day weather wise. After the tour we took the dingy around the island, Paul climbing to the top of the old ruins to obtain telephone and internet reception-desparate aren't we. We also landed on grommet Island, a small island where the nurses and later the hard men where kept. The girls slept in caves during their time here. Life was harsh back then.

As the wind started picking up, we moved across to the beautiful Kelly Basin. We slept soundly as we picked up a mooring.

Mar 25
Pulled the anchor and headed down Macquarie Harbour, ending up at a beautiful bay-Farm Cove. Paul put the net out and caught 8 shark, which are all in my fridge. Fresh fish tonight. It was interesting that we only caught shark and nothing else-could it be because of all the fish farms nearby?

The scenery is stunning, with huge mountains in the background and trees and ferns right down to the waters edge.

Mar 24
The mail will arrive today, as it is a country town it does not get sorted until 2pm. We have had a coffee and a wander around. It is a beautiful sunny day so also enjoying the weather, it is expected to rain Sunday.

We went back to the boat and sorted through the mail, a big packet and it is a big job. We have items to follow up, mail to reply to, bills to pay. It really is quite an exhausting day, exciting but exhausting. As we are leaving tomorrow for a more secluded spot in the harbour further around Macquarie Harbour we have to finalise as much as we can today.

For dinner we have been invited to a BBQ at the caravan park were we will sneak in and have HOT showers (Bliss) and have a lovely dinner with Jos and Terri as they are leaving tomorrow. It has been so good to catchup with them again.

Mar 23
Jos, Terri and we all took the bus to Queenstown and caught the train back down through the wilderness forrests, we left at 8.30am and arrived back in Strahan at 3pm. It was fabulous, we had a great time. We saw a Huon tree, how the train a little steam desiel gets up a steep hill (gradient of 16-1) and the King River which was so polluted and still is with the banks all covered with mine tailings.

We got a phone call from a Hobart boat who bought a radio off Paul, the second radio he has sold whilst here in Strahan (all from a poster on the post office wall). He also spent the evening emailing marinas and clubs in the Melbourne area to try and secure a reasonably priced berth in Melbourne for our arrival. We shall await their reply.

Mar 22
We know we have hit civilisation, there are boats coming to and fro, there are helicopters, and seaplanes taking off and landing all the time. The noise is surprising after spending about three weeks in perfect seclusion at Port Davey, the only real sound was from the wildlife or other cruising boats.

This morning Terri and Jos picked us up from the wharf and took us for a drive around Strahan, we saw Hogarth Falls and surrounding area of Strahan. We had lunch in town and a fabulous dinner in their tent that night.

Mar 21
Leaving 3pm from Spain Bay-Port Davey we had a lovely motor sail up the west coast. Along the way we saw lots of crayboats, many looked like squid boats they bwere so litup we could see them from miles away. One or two came quite close after appearing from nowhere out of the sun. The trip was an overnight motor sail from Port Davey, The swell was running at 3 mtrs but a long way apart and the wind started off as a westerly at 10kts then changed to a easterly at 7 kts.

We entered Hells gates the entrance to Macquarie Harbour at 6.45am.

Paul (I was too buggered) motored into Strahan Tasmania at 8.30am, the trip took us 18 hours in total.

The township of Strahan is beautiful, overlooking the Habour. It has a population of 500 and there are a number of tourist cruising trips one can take, one boats takes out over 100 per day so there is a big influx of tourists in this area. We made contact with Trevor from "Stormbreaker" who takes people on wilderness trips on his boat. He also has mudmaps of the Gordon River and the area for sailors so we will purchase these off him before we leave.

We checked out the post office and provisioned from the local IGA store who kindly drove us and the shopping from the store down to the wharf.

Guess what, Terri and Jos from Fremantle Sailing Club are here too. They saw us sail in as they were baording the cruise from Strahan and rang us on thier return. It was lovely to see them again. Jos and Terri are camping thier way around Tasmania and are heading back to Perth in a couple of months. We last saw them in Bremmer Bay WA.

Rang Samantha for her birthday and as we are now back into internet range have caught up with all the emails and let people know we are back in range again.