Better late than Never!

Strahan to

Hobart





The 25knt southerly winds, 3m swell and 1m waves died down after several hours and the rest of the 17hr trip to Port Davey was very quiet. We did loose Internet and phone but not until 50nm south of Strahan. Alan took the first watch that allowed him to watch the final day of the Cricket on Sat TV(this has worked everywhere except in extreme seas). We had planned our departure from Hell Gates and the arrival into Port Davey to coincide with some daylight, this was necessary because of the difficult surroundings. Arriving at Port Davey we only had to wait 1/2 hour for first light to appear and we were then able to make out the shapes of the numerous islands at the mouth, before proceeding to a nice secluded anchorage for some much needed sleep.

In the maze of islands and bays we anchored in the shallow Hannant Inlet. Just inside the mouth is Lourah Island and we found a little deeper hole at the northern tip of the island to put the pick down. Of the 35 boats remaining in the cruise, by nightfall 23 had arrived in Port Davey.





It was now Day 28

and the 10th March, a cloudy overcast day but as time was running out we pushed on to explore the Bathurst Channel and Bathurst Harbour. As we moved into the channel the sun came out and a few other boats were also on the move. Breathtaking scenery, high rocky mountains, fantastic reflections were all around us. Most of the mountains were void of trees, around the edges of the waterways were Tea trees and reeds. The Bathurst Channel is 12 klm long and varies in depth from 15 to 40m made of a mix of tannin rich fresh water from the Spring River and the numerous creeks and rivulets around Bathurst Harbour and the tidal saltwater from Port Davey. As we came past Platypus Point and entered Bathurst Harbour we turned to starboard and headed south to Claytons Corner for the trip down Melaleuca Inlet. There anchored just before the inlet was Skie

N55, they were sitting on their boatdeck, wine and relaxing whilst taking in the scenery! So it was only right that we should stop and join them! So that curtailed any more sight seeing for the day!

Day 28

– 11th March Alan’s Birthday. It was a the most beautiful morning, the clouds were laying low over the surrounding mountains, and the morning mist just sitting above the yachts anchored in Claytons Cnr made for a score of fantastic photos. We accepted the invitation to go up Melaleuca Inlet in Skie’s

tender. Other than a minor hiccup, running aground at 20knts!! Alan was thrown forward and he is still wearing the war wounds. We flew past the dinghy from Miri

earlier, the tortoise in the story, who came to our rescue and managed to spread the story of us running aground in record time! At the head of the inlet was the Airfield and the Southwest Conservation Area where National Parks has their office and cabins available for visitors. 3 small aircraft landed while we were there bringing in tourists, some to trek through the park and others that were there for a day flight and cruise. You can imagine their surprise when coming around a bend to encounter so many yachts! We visited the Bird Hide and watched a Fire Tailed Wren feeding from a tray, came across a Kangaroo on the path before heading back to the boat.

An impromptu BBQ had been scheduled for lunch at Bramble Cove, this was back out in Port Davey so the procession of boats started heading back out the Channel. Once on shore, BBQs heated and the smell of steak and sausages wafting through the crowd, wine and laughter before someone made the call “cricket match, Tassie Vs Victorians” well into the afternoon they played, with the rules ever changing. Alan enjoyed playing although he gave away his past with the professional stance whilst batting, bowling and wicket keeping! Of course Tassie won- due to the fact that they scored! Our evening was spent visiting Masterpiece and then had a birthday cake and candles for supper.



Day 29

– We headed to the northern reaches of Port Davey 43 14S, 145 56E, and anchored Opal Lady at Carvers Point before heading up the Davey River in the dinghy. 13klm upstream the river narrowed and we entered the Davey Gorge, more stunning scenery! We were lucky to experience it all to ourselves, until we turned around to head back when we encountered more tenders full of people coming up the river! In total the trip took us 4.5hrs and 3 tanks of fuel! Carvers Point was not suitable for overnight so we made our way south to Spain Bay. 18 boats also had the same idea! Anchored alongside was Aurora from Lake Macquarie, drinks in hand we went visiting for Happy Hour and were invited to stay for dinner, Roast Lamb and Veg! Very nice! During the nightly sched we heard that all vessels in the bay were departing for Recherche Bay early in the morning.

Day 30

– The alarm rang in our ears at 5am, the kettle whistled as I started the motor and Alan began to raise the anchor. Most of the boats had already left and first light was still an hour away as we motored out of the bay. The 65nm trip in completely calm seas, we mean dead flat, no swell or wind! Great for us! The sailors were whinging! The only obstacles were little clusters of Cray pots with a fishing trawler not far away keeping an eye on things. Our course took us around South West Cape we left Flat Witch to starboard and the Big Witch (De Witt Island) to port. As we went between Maatsuyker Is and the mainland the call on the radio was from Bill from the boat Maatsuyker proposing a toast to the island and celebrating his passing of the island. It was 9.30am! We toasted with our cups of tea! With such flat calm seas we made the trip quite quick and we were abeam of Recherche Bay at 2pm so Alan decided to continue onto the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The waters between South East Cape and Southport are sprinkled with rocks and reefs. Southport is at the start of the channel, on the mainland. Several Barracouta were caught in quick succession so we decided to catch up with Westwind N40, they were hunting Crays in Tinpot Bay, Bruny Island and may have been able to use them for bait. We found them anchored in the bay and out in their tender fishing. Not long after we were anchored we saw them attempting to row back as their outboard had given up working, but 3 men in an inflatable, uncoordinated and laughing did not make an Olympic rowing team!! More circles than anything!

Day 31

Saturday 14th March. Grey skies and drizzle kept us onboard for the majority of the day, with only 10nm to Dover it was an easy day. We past numerous fish farms (they are everywhere around here – remember that when you eat Atlantic Salmon next!) and a load of fishing trawlers and cray boats they unload their catch at the Dover Wharf. The invitation to a 5pm happy hour on Westwind

to help celebrate Lyns’ Birthday was accepted, with wet weather gear on we headed off in the dinghy. Tony had decorated the saloon with 21st balloons and caught crays and served them on a platter with Champagne for the girls. He was trying to build up his score of brownie points seeing he had spent the past 5 weeks away with his mates on the cruise. We took an opportunity with a break in the weather to go ashore and have dinner at the Dover Pub. Not quite sure what time we made it home! The pub was full of cruise participants, and the partying continued.



Day 32

– 15th March WOW!! Happy Anniversary Day! Where has that year gone! So much done, so much seen and so much has happened???

After enjoying bacon and eggs we continued up the channel. With only 13nm to Port Cygnet Sailing Club most vessels motored. Turning to port we entered the Huon Channel passing Huon Island to starboard again the scenery was beautiful, lush green hills and some wonderful historic homes. Passing Egg and Bacon Bay we then rounded Cygnet Point and entered Port Cygnet 43 11S 147 05E, which was full of moorings. The evening scheduled BBQ provided by the yacht club was delicious, home grown, home made sides and desserts. The potatoes were apparently dug the previous day, can’t get much fresher! During the evening Tony and Lyn arrived with a poesy of recycled balloons (they had put stickers over the 2 on the 21st balloons) for our anniversary. They also made sure that Cruise Commodore Graeme announced our celebration.

Day 33

16th March – Most of the crews spent the morning exploring the town before leaving for Barnes Bay, Bruny Island 25nm away, 43 07S 147 20E. We will be able to go back to all the waterways and towns in the channel in the next 12 months whilst we are down here. By now the rush of getting to Hobart and doing the cruise is starting to take its toll on us and we are in need of some quiet time!!

Barnes Bay is on the north western side of Bruny Island and offers shelter in a number of excellent anchorages. There was a 20knt southerly blowing and we all sought shelter at Sykes Cove. At the end of the bay was a timber lean-to built on the shore, with an outhouse nearby. A working bee was held on shore to collect firewood for the evening BBQ and for warmth. Maatsuyker anchored next to us and with Bill feeling a bit under the weather, Julie joined us for the dinghy ride to shore and dinner. A couple of showers during dinner meant we all squashed under the shelter while they passed, with another one threatening we scurried back to the boat.

Day 34

– 17th March – We headed the 18nm back to the RYCT on the rising tide. Many of the boats also arrived back and most spent the day unpacking and cleaning out their boats. We caught up with the washing and restocking the refrigerator! No beer, no coke, no veges but plenty of rum!

The Presentation Dinner was held at the club on the 19th with many of the crews that did separate legs of the cruise all getting back together. It has been 5 weeks of fun and 1035nm of exploration, giving us the opportunity to explore Tasmania with the help and knowledge of those that know the area well and have done the trip several times before. We have met a lot of great people and formed many friendships.

Footnote:

Apologies for the delay in the posting of this blog. I had a whoops and gave the laptop a drink, it doesn’t respond well to hot tea! The unfortunate thing was that I had spent the morning typing and was nearly finished when it happened so I lost everything I’d typed. Lesson learnt, I now cut and paste to the web!

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