Adelaide to Portland, Victoria

Dear All,

Apologies for the delay in these posts, life has been very busy for a while!!!!

I am slowly catching up, so you can expect a few in the coming days. On the Home Page you will always find a few words that will give you an ‘up to the minute’ position for us.

Above: Troubridge Light

Our New Years Eve began extremely early at 4am as we pulled the anchor at Troubridge Island(on the western side of Gulf St Vincent) to make the 40nm passage ENE to Adelaide in absolutely perfect glassy conditions the entire way. What a way to end a magnificent year of cruising! 6639nm through some of the most awesome, remote regions of our country. We needed to be in Adelaide by midday as Alan’s son, Graham was flying in for a few days to visit and he had changed his flight and was arriving early.

We had booked a berth at the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia and found our berth and reversed into the berth, only wide enough for Opal Lady and a fender each side!! Snug and protected. Cousin Helen and daughter, Tamra arrived 1/2 an hour later and we enjoyed a quick lunch before heading off to the airport to pick Graham up.

Craig and Kerry invited us to go out and view the fireworks for the evening on board Scarlett with their newest crew member Anneliese, and Kerrys’ friends from QLD. See Scarletts’ blog at.…/Entries/2011/12/28_Day_239_-_242_-_Hahndorf%2C_Adelaide_Beaches_and_NYE!.html. . . . . .

Beautiful display of fireworks, although by midnight our eyes were stinging from lack of sleep, and then it was another 3 & 1/2 hrs before we arrived back on Opal Lady to lay our heads on our pillows. I turned off all phones and we slept peacefully until 11am!

It took us several days to get over the lack of sleep, one of the few years that we have seen the New Year in!!

It was great to catch up with some of my family while we were here!

As with any visit to shore, Opal Lady had to have a complete washdown to get the layers of salt off.

Helen took me to visit the supermarket for supplies that would take us through to Hobart in March, whilst Alan had the maintenance and oil changes on the motors, genset and watermaker to complete, whilst keeping an eye on the Australian Cricket Team as they played and won the test match.

Our carpet was in desperate need of cleaning, I rang the local Electrodry franchise and Luke came and picked it up and returned it the following day. Excellent Service!! We normally have this done every 3-4months, when we reach the larger cities. It is a special rubber backed carpet with bound edges, so it can be removed easily.

I had been watching the weather closely as I do at all times, and the Low pressure system was moving east faster than first predicted. So our departure scheduled for Saturday had to be brought forward to Friday. So with an out going tide, variable winds, or lack of, all in our favour we motored out of our pen 1/2 hour after our carpet returned at 3pm. We had groceries to still pack away and the carpet was dumped into the saloon, but with calm seas we were able to do this after we were safely out of the harbour. It was a great run south, with the setting sun highlighting the hills behind the city. Darkness happens late in SA, between 9pm and 9.30pm which gave us longer daylight hours to travel in, and the sun also rises early at 5am. So after getting the latest weather at 6pm we decided to continue through the night to arrive at Cape Jaffa at approx 1700 hrs (5pm) Saturday. Adelaide to Cape Jaffa is 155nm.

Rounding Cape Jervis we encountered a 2 knt tidal current against us. This lasted for 10nm as we navigated through Backstairs Passage, between the mainland and Kangaroo Island. It wasn’t long before we entered Encounter Bay. The Murray River enters the sea here. We were able to resume our 7 knot pace which we maintained throughout the night. The lightening flashed in the sky to our west. Alan witnessed a huge pod of dolphins playing beside us, they lit up the sea like the New Years fireworks as they moved through the water with Phosphorescence, surrounding them.

We arrived at Cape Jaffa as predicted, with the rain coming down, and made our way through the channel to be met by Lindsay the Harbour controller, he assisted us tying up, as well as extending an invitation to join the town at a local vineyard for Sunday @ The Station.

Above: The scary path on the chartplotter screen!!

Around midnight we guided Scarlett into their berth beside us, informed them of tomorrows plans and quickly jumped into bed, it had now been 36hrs since we had been to bed!

As predicted the wind blew up during the night, 40+ knts, and continued to blow for 4 days. As promised, Lindsay arrived the next morning to take us all to Wangolina Station for a day of wine tasting, music and meeting new friends. Once there, the boys lent a hand to the station owner as the winds were causing havoc with the marque. They decided to hold it down by using a tractor and car as stakes to tie the ropes to.

Above: Kerry and Craig at Wangolina Station

The day progressed with wine, music food and more wine, as we weren’t driving we could sample plenty!!!! Mellow and content from the wine and the cray baguettes we arrived back on Opal Lady with a few new friends to enjoy a cuppa and chat. 

We were very grateful for a lend of a vehicle that would transport all 7 of us around the neighboring towns of Kingston and Robe.

The following day we all went for a mystery drive to Kingston. Alan played “Bus Driver”, we visited the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse that had been dismantled and repositioned at Kingston, although rumour has it that Cape Jaffa is now trying to claim it back!!!!

Following our walk up the stairs to the top of the lighthouse with our guides, some very informative ladies keeping the history alive, we went in search of the Big Crayfish, another one of Australia’s BIG icons. Unfortunately the cafe there was closed and so was any other cafe in town, so we visited the supermarket for a few supplies then returned to the boats.

The weather was still very heavy and didn’t look like easing so Scarlett’s newest crew member, Annelise, decided to leave as she had work commitments back home. We all went for a visit to Robe an hours drive south where we farewelled Annelise and then explored the township and enjoyed a great lunch.

Above: Robe Customs House

Above: Entry to Robe Harbour

Above: Obelisk at Robe

Eventually the forecast improved so we refuelled in the Cape Jaffa harbour and prepared to leave the following morning as the cray boats headed out. We followed in their wake well before dawn. It was a pleasant days travel, 90nm, we arrived at Port MacDonnell just as the sun was setting. Port MacDonnell has a large breakwall and behind has extensive moorings full of cray boats in not a lot of water. Struggling to find a space to anchor, we had a visit from some friendly locals who directed us to one of their moorings for the night. Much appreciated!!! When Scarlett appeared an hour or so later they were also given a mooring. The local boys were very happy with the few beers that we gave them. We had a peaceful nights sleep and left with the cray boats again in the wee small hours.

Above: Cape Jaffa Harbour/Marina

Scarletts passage out wasn’t quite as easy as they got tangled up in a cray pot and unfortunately had to cut the rope to free themselves, and No there wasn’t any crays in the pot!!! We just love our Spurs Line Cutter on our prop shaft!

The next day we continued to dodge cray pots until the border, it was here that they all stopped! It was a very pleasant trip around the headland past the large industry and into Portland. Friends, Richard with his children and Barry with his son, drove to the lookout and took photos, little did they know that they were tracking the same people!!!

Above: Anchored in Portland Harbour

We arrived into the safety of the harbour for the weekend. Portland is a commercial shipping port and one of the main ports for the oil and gas rig supply vessels. It was also the weekend for their main fishing competition, so the harbour was very busy. We had contacted the Harbour and Port control in regards berthing arrangements but were only directed to a few very large RED concrete mooring buoy!!! All too hard and large, we could see it causing more damage than it was worth, so we anchored within the harbour. Scarlett arrived shortly after and they also decided not to add red striping and bumps to their hulls.

Shortly after we anchored, Richard arrived with his tinny for us to use for the weekend. The weather had turned freezing cold, so while Alan and Barry reminisced the last 20+ years since they had worked together, over a few cold ones at Barry’s local watering hole, I set off in search of some warmer clothing at the nearby shops.

Later in the afternoon Richard and Rose bought their 4 children afternoon tea on board Opal Lady. We greatly appreciated the lend of their car to do our provisioning and also the great meal that Richard cooked for us Sunday night. Thankyou!!

Above: After hearing of Alan’s run in with the local Water Police, Craig armed himself with all the safety equipment, so he wasn’t their next target!!!

With such a busy weekend, we had not seen a lot of Scarlett but we did arrange our departure for early Monday morning.

Above: The Gas Well in the middle of Portland Harbour, that we past at 6am!

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