Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bass Strait - Apollo Bay to Tamar River, Tasmania

Monday - 18/11/2013

We hardly had any sleep just laid there waiting for the time where we had to sail, it gets you like that, you think about what has to be done before you get underway and the brain ticks over and you can't sleep.
We had to get the lines sorted before leaving the dock we had prepared everything else earlier to get away quickly. As we left the dock we had to get all the fenders and fender boards stowed before going out to sea this took a short time but we got it all done then started to head out of the marina. I followed the track on the chart plotter that was our track in, things look different in the dark of night although we had the bright moon shining through the clouds.
As soon as we were out we hoisted sails, I had to tack behind 'Banyandah' who had left the port in front of us as I had to take a different course to them as we being a catamaran cannot point into the wind as well as the monohull.
It was a pretty good night with the light of the moon even when it was behind clouds it lit the area up, we had a few ships moving some fishing boats and some cargo but not close enough to worry about. The air was not quite as cold as it has been, maybe due to the wind direction.
As we progressed through the night we were parting company with 'Banyandah' and they appeared to be getting ahead of us, we would pass King Island a lot closer than 'Banyandah', by daylight we could not see each other. We had a radio schedule organised for twice a day to ensure we were both safe.
(More dolphins come to play)

We passed King Island and it seemed to take forever to pass it, it is a very long island, by the 1800 hour radio sched we were 10NMS north east off Three Hummock Island, 'Banyandah' was 20NMS off the same island abeam of us but naturally we could not see each other at that distance.
(Near sunset)

We sailed through the night and picked up some speed but I knew it was going to be short lived as checking the weather on the net we were heading for a wind change to light winds of 5 - 10 knots from the east meaning we would be heading into it. We made the best of the good wind and I thought we may leave 'Banyandah' behind, but come the morning sched they were only a few miles off our beam where we could see each other. We had both suffered the weather not giving us the winds that were originally predicted before we left, the predictions had changed as the updates came through. However, we had made good time and we were entering the Tamar River at 0930 hours which gave an average of around 6.3 knots which is not too bad considering wind directions, due to the wind and the different types of yacht we probably  sailed 10NMS further than 'Banyandah' we entered the Tamar  River just in front of them.
(Nearing the Tamar River our first daylight land sighting)
(Entering the Tamar River)
(Nearing George Town)

Glen had organised a space for us at the marina at Beauty Point which is part of the Tamar Yacht Club and is run by volunteers, mainly Dave and Ron who were both there to meet us, they came out and met us in a dinghy, guided us to the berth and assisted in docking and tying up, tow very nice blokes. They run the marina along with the maintenance and cleaning as volunteers in the club and they work a month about with each other but since we have been here they have often both been here with other volunteers constructing items to make the marina better. They both live close by on the hill looking over the marina. The marina is right next door to most importantly a hotel that has very good meals and the Australian Maritime College that is a very large college with quite a number of facilities, ships and boats.
(Beauty Point Marina, our home for a while)

Well we will be in Tasmania for some time and hopefully we will have some stories and pictures to show. Our plan at this stage is to stay in the Tamar until after Christmas as Glen, Nigel and their families have invited us to stay for Christmas and have it with them. We also have a fair bit of maintenance to do, we have broken a few items and we now have some leaking hatches to repair after the bashing of heavy seas and age of the seals. We also need some better weather to go around Tassie and it does not come until January, so we will update as we can.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Apollo Bay

Friday - 15/11/2013

Up very early and set off at 0400 hours, going out of Port Fairy in the dark we had to follow our track on the chart plotter because once we were away from the buildings you could not see anything in the river.
As we cleared the port entrance we hoisted the mainsail and unfurled the headsail, it was going to be a long day with 82NMS to sail and again the wind direction was not that kind to us it was often necessary that we had to have an engine because the wind was just off the close reach to on the nose.
The coast line was incredible, some of this coast is where the Great Ocean Road nears the Twelve Apostles, the coast was beautiful.  As we rounded Cape Otway and Franklin Point the wind back off completely and we dropped the mainsail and a little while later furled the headsail and started both engines and motored the rest of the way.
(Rugged but beautiful coast)
(Cape Otway)
(Cape Otway Lighthouse)

(Approaching Apollo Bay)

Nancy had contacted the Harbour Master by phone and he had given us directions to get in the port, the entrance is silted up because of the constant easterlies they have had this year. So instead of following the leads we had to line up the centre of the entrance with the centre of the boat ramp and enter on that line. Taking this line got us in but there was one area that was very shallow.
After entering the marina area we had to go further and tie up at the dockside as there was no room in the small marina, a short time Banyandah came in and they said they entered and the depth gauge showed that there was no water under them at the entrance.
(Alana Rose alongside the dock)

After we got settled Phil came down to book us in and for us to pay our fees. This was followed by Angela and Alison arriving, (Angela is one of Nancy's daughters), they now live at Colac some 60kms drive. After all the hugs and kisses hello, the girls went for the take-away pizzas and red wine for dinner. We had a good night and good feed, the girls stayed the night and we all went into town the next morning for breakfast.

Saturday - 16/11/2013

We all worked into town for breakfast at a small cafe, with more chatting over breakfast them we returned on board, Ange and Alison spent time with Nancy going through some of the photos of the trip whilst I borrowed Ange's car and Glen and I did a fuel run with our containers to the garage and back.
After this they had to get back home as Ange had an assignment she had to finish for her studies in Marine Science Management, doing studies and working keeps her very busy.
Glen and Nigel moved their yacht to the marina after another monohull had sailed. The marina actually has a public dock that will fit two yachts and like most marinas they do not advertise these. I am not sure about here but in some states marinas have to provide a public dock, they do not advertise these they do not even put a sign up. The public dock here is between fingers.
The afternoon was spent getting the boat sorted ready for sailing re water and fuel, then the boys came over for sundowner's which went till near midnight, but a good night was had.

Sunday - 17/11/2013

We had planned a walk to town at 1000 hours to go to the market and have a look around followed by lunch, Nigel came with us and Glen followed a little later. The farmers market was quite small but they did have some good produce there. We had a walk around town and had coffee then Glen joined us and we headed for lunch and discussed the plan on leaving.
(Apollo Bay from the harbour)
(Wooden carvings in the park)

(Apollo Bay Harbour)
(The slipway and Seafood Cafe on the hill)
(One of five resident geese in the port)

I suggested that we leave at 0100 hours being high tide, Glen preferred to leave an hour before high tide just in case they did ground at the silted area they have water coming in that would lift them off. So we agreed we leave at midnight having 205NMS to go to the Tamar River and the Beauty Point Marina, this would be two nights at sea.
(We will have the moon with us tonight sailing)
After lunch we returned on board to get organised so that when we got up after a possible sleep we could get going straight away. We had a couple of beers for sundowner's early dinner and tried to sleep.


Cape Jaffa to Port Fairy

Wednesday - 13/11/2013

Up before first light and prepare to get underway by 0500 hours, as we prepared to leave the fishing boats were also getting underway we waited for the last of these to leave so we did not hold them up. The seas had settled down which was good in the sense that ports on the side of the GAB have the SW swell roll in and going out of these port places the sea on the port side beam of the boat, this can push the boat sideways.
'Banyandah was in front of us so we took a track a little further to the north to head out to sea which was close to the track that we came in on, our plan was to get out at least 8NMS off the coast and if there were problems with lobster pots we would go further off the coast.
We are fortunate with our boat that we have a good view from the shelter of our cockpit, we noticed that Glen and Nigel were taking turns on standing out on deck looking for lobster pots and it must have been freezing cold out there. We learned later that not long after leaving they actually picked up a lobster pot, the first they noticed the yacht slow considerably, as it would dragging a lobster pot behind them, they got it free but that gave them concern enough to keep a watch out on deck.
(Glen standing on watch for lobster pots)

Many of the fishing boats went well out to sea when they left the marina which pleased me but a few went south in the direction we were heading. There was a positive in this as when we went along you could see the boats working in the distance so that gave some pre-warning that there were lobster pots in the area. Initially we came across a large number of pots that we had to change course to get around, however, as we got south of Southend they seemed to be closer inland than the 10NM from the coast and we had a clear run although we still kept a close watch.
When we left the marina we knew that we would have to motor sail most of the way, we did sail out to sea but then had to motor sail until near the Victorian Border after passing Port McDonnell where we changed course and was able to sail until near Port Fairy. It was a long overnight sail with the bitter cold weather, everyone we meet complain about not having a spring it has been winter all the time with very strong winds.

Port Fairy

Thursday - 14/11/2013

As we arrived at Port Fairy Nancy contacted the Harbour Master who was actually the Dredge Operator standing in for the Harbour Master who was away. This proved handy as he was dredging the entrance of the port and was able to give us directions. The port is a narrow river with docks along each side as you get further in. It pays to book well ahead as there is little space left on the docks.
I was quite taken with Port Fairy, the port itself is very attractive with all types of boats lining the river on docks and a small marina at the end near the bridge. Many of the houses go back in time but have been well looked after.

(Port Fairy water way and Alana Rose alongside)

'Banyandah' was about 20NMS behind us so after we docked we went for a walk and a look around, we chatted with a local and the dredge operator and got information of where the best place was for a feed for tonight. We figured we deserved a night out. As we walked Glen called on the phone and said he was about an hour away. We told him the directions in and that he would have to raft up with us and we would be back on board to assist them.

(A shady street)
(No 16 Wishart Street)
(Below: great old buildings)

We walked some of the streets, one street in particular had a lot of heritage with the old houses all in good order. I really liked the character of the place, Nancy said to me "you like this place don't you?" I said yes I could retire to a place like this if it was in a warmer climate, if I had to give up sailing there would still be the waterfront and boats and boaties to chat with. Let's hope that day is a long way off yet.

We returned to the boat and waited for 'Banyandah' they came up the river and secured alongside us then when they were settled we all headed off to the Caledonian Inn locally called 'The Stump', it is the oldest hotel in Victoria established in 1844. It is very homely and the meals are very good and reasonably priced, plenty of food served up on the plate.
(Banyandah coming up the river)
It was a quiet night as we were having another early start tomorrow morning, it was a very nice night.
('The Stump' or Caledonian Inn)


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kangaroo Island to Cape Jaffa

Tuesday - 05/11/2013

Slipping the mooring at first light and headed out of American River winds were a little on the nose so we had to motor sail once again, we knew it was going to be a mixture of sailing and motoring as what the weather had predicted but once again there was that narrow weather window if we did not go now we would have to stay in American River for quite some time not that I would have minded that much as it is a lovely place.
Changing course after passing Snapper Point we had a rhumb line for Cape Jaffa and we were able to sail at a reasonable speed the winds lightened late afternoon and it meant an iron sail had to be started. Nancy came on watch at midnight and we probably could have gone under sail alone but it would have been a lot of work as the wind shifted with the squalls so I left the engine going to make things a little easier. I came back on watch at 0400 hours and the wind strength had picked up so we went sail alone. One of the concerns we had was the lobster pots in the area as the season had started. I noticed on the chart that there was a pathway of sand seabed through to Cape Jaffa so I changed course to pass through that knowing that lobster pots are placed on rocky seabed and fortunately we did not see any pot markers or pick any up in the props along the way.
(We have had many dolphin moments across the southern coastline and they are always magical)
(Another sunset at sea)
(The clouds tell the story)

Cape Jaffa

Wednesday - 06/11/2013

It was a pretty good crossing really we have been fortunate enough to pick the right weather windows.  We arrived just after first light and was alongside and secure by 0730 hours, our dear friend Leigh off 'Mi Querida' was there to meet us. Leigh is our friend that lives in Kingston 25kms from this marina and we met in the Caribbean and sailed some of the way across the Pacific with and parts of Australia. He had organised the marina berths for us from a friend John Goode at no cost to us which was very generous of him. John is a cattle farmer and also runs a winery , 'Wangolina Station' which we had to visit and did.
Leigh sat and had coffee with us before he had to head home to do some work and he got Nancy to go with him to drive his Toyota flattop back so we had a vehicle to use. He said it is only a three seater so we may have to shuttle run about being there is four of us. He also invited us to his home for a BBQ that night. Leigh has a house that he built in Kingston and his farm is out of town which he share farms with a neighbour an arrangement he started when he commenced his 13 year circumnavigation of the world. If you ask Leigh he will say he was naive when he first started, he thought it would  take him 3 years to build his yacht and 2 years to circumnavigate the world, it took him 12 years to build the yacht and beautiful craftsmanship it is, and 13 years to properly circumnavigate the world.
Soon after Leigh had left another fellow came down to say hello, his name was Bert, he also offered to run us anywhere we needed to go and if we needed anything just to let him know and if he could help he would. Bert and long time partner Janet have a trailer sail boat, a MacGregor, this type of yacht was the first type I ever saw planing across the water, they come standard with a 50hp outboard motor, they are almost flat bottom with a draft of around 80mm, the hull has a void space that is filled with sea water when ballast is required for sailing. Many use these as a caravan when travelling the road and sail or motor the waterways in their travels.
After this it was a reasonable time to go and look for the marina manager and we found Lindsey in one of the houses that is being used as an office. He was a very nice bloke and issued us keys for the gates and also said if we needed a lift to get items he would run us around. He told us about the marina although in its infancy the marina has the potential of being a very good marina. He said that before they stated building they looked at many marinas and wanted to build the best. At this stage the marina only has two fingers, one is used by the professional fishing boats and the other is being used mainly by recreational boating.
This marina is very nice and looks like it is similar to many other marinas that are being built today mainly catering for real estate sales of house blocks and not many have been sold and some of the homes that have been built are now up for sale. One can only assume the reason for this is that Cape Jaffa is quite a distance away from anywhere, it is 25kms from Kingston and about 35kms to Robe. Cape Jaffa village which is about a 15 - 20 minute stroll from the marina offers a Cape Jaffa Caravan Park with managers Chad and Kristy, a lovely couple with a young happy baby. They have fuel and a small store. They also offer the use of their laundry which has washing machine and dryer. Lindsey from the marina also told us we could use the caravan park for hot showers as the marina does not have showers, apparently they have only put in three toilets not all that long ago and unfortunately were not that clean as they are open to the public that may visit. The other downfall with the marina is that it has one small rubbish bin which was full when we arrived and was in the same state when we left.
It is probably due to the economic downturn we have experienced over the last few years that the marina complex including housing estate has not got off the ground that well, some locals say that it should have been built closer to Kingston where the waters and wind are calmer. Apparently some months ago the marina berths that had not been sold were sold at auction without a reserve price and sold between $5,000 and $15,000 where the original buyers of the other berths had to pay $80,000. Putting this aside the marina is a good protected area to visit and shelter when on passage and the people there are wonderfully friendly. It offers very nice beaches, wineries and walks.
Sometime later Glen of 'Banyandah' went to talk to the fishermen to find out about the lobster pots locations for when we leave for Port Fairy, he met Mark Rothall a fisherman and a farmer, after chatting and Glen saying we were here a while waiting the weather window Mark said that we would be stuck with Cape Jaffa a good distance from anywhere, Glen said we had Leigh's vehicle but only a three seater and then Mark said he would bring his Toyota GXL Land cruiser down for us all to use tomorrow.
I have mentioned it before in previous posts that the wonderful people that we have met along the way that have done things for us it truly amazes me and at the same time makes me feel good about the Australian kindness is still alive and well.
Later in the afternoon Nancy drove Glen to Leigh's then came back to pick up Nigel and myself and we had the BBQ at Leigh's place. He is an amazing bloke, he is self-taught  in what he has done over the years in building the house to building the yacht making his own marine plywood and machining stainless steel fittings and the craftsmanship he shows you would not get in many places today.
(BBQ at Leigh's. L-R, Leigh, Nigel, Nancy and Glen)

We had a very good night with Nancy being the designated driver and returning us back on board at the end of the night.

Thursday - 07/11/2013

Mark dropped off his Toyota for us to go sightseeing, we headed south for Robe. We had not set any sailing plans at this stage, we had not decided whether to do short hops down the coast sailing during daylight hours so we could see any lobster pots along the way or go out to sea far enough to keep away from them and sail overnight. So this little trip was also to check stop over anchorages.
(Fishing boat races into the marina, seas were building)

(One of the many classic buildings in Robe, The Caledonian Hotel)

When we got to Robe the swell was so great that anchoring there was out of the question, the marina was quite small and busy with fishing boats, many racing in because of the conditions out at sea. After having a look around the marina and waterfront we had a walk around town and found a place for lunch. After lunch we went down to Beachport to have a look around and the anchorage which was a little wild on the sea and raining. We watched the fishing boats racing in to their moorings, pick up the mooring and hop in the dinghy and race to the shore. Not a good place to anchor in such conditions.
(Moored fishing boats that were bouncing in the water at Beachport)

We then headed down to Southend, this was reasonably calm for the SE winds and rolling seas, there was a gentle roll of swell coming into the bay but would be alright for anchoring. We then started to head back on the inland route back to Robe fuelled the car and back to the marina.

Friday - 08/11/2013

This morning we headed to the caravan park to do the laundry and had a chat with Chad and Kristy, with the damp drizzle rain it took extra time to dry the cloths with the dryer sucking in moist air to start with. The boys had headed into Kingston in Mark's vehicle as we had Leigh's. Our plan was to take Leigh for lunch as we did. After the washing was done we headed into Kingston and picked Leigh up and went to the Crown Inn for lunch. Lunch there was very nice and after a couple of beers we headed back to Leigh's as he had work to do, had a coffee and we all left in Mark's car back to the marina via a look around Kingston. I also collected Leigh's computer, Leigh often has trouble with the computers due to the fact that crew members  when he was sailing would suggest that some program would be good for him to have  and load it, naturally these would build up and sometimes create conflict, Leigh is not computer minded and other than doing the things he needs to do does not want to learn, he simulates it to when he was at school and had to learn Latin, he could not see the sense in it and has never used it. So I will go through it and tidy it up for him.

Saturday - 09/11/2013

We all headed into Kingston to the laundromat Nigel had checked it out the day before and it had a good number of machines and driers. We also took our rubbish into town to dispose of it, next to the laundromat is a craft and nick-knack  with coffee shop, great coffee there. When we had finished all the washing we went for a drive around and then had lunch at the Big Lobster, apparently this place has only just re-opened and I wish them all the luck because the food was excellent.
(The old Cape Jaffa Lighthouse built 1868-1872 relocated here in 1975)
(It is said that the ship that this came from sank half way around the world from here and the crew escaped on this lifeboat, they were then rescued and the lifeboat continued to stay at sea drifting for around two years before washing up ashore nearby, it is believed the engine still works and the only damage is sun damage)
(The Big Lobster)
(Nancy inside the Big Lobster Restaurant)

After lunch we headed for Wangolina Station winery, we had to visit a winery and as John Goode had been so kind it was important to visit his place and it was well worth while, it is in very nice farm type complex with a lovely building which to enter for the wine tasting and purchase of wines at very reasonable prices. The staff are very friendly and obliging. We did not meet John there but fortunately we were to later. After the tasting I was fond of the Shiraz Cabernet so a carton of that was a must along with a few of white wines that Nancy liked.
(Wangolina Station winery and cattle station)
(Some of the Wangolina Wines, very nice)

Then it was back to the marina and try the wine at sundown.

Sunday - 10/11/2013

Quiet day to start with, we have Mark, Jackie and Leigh coming for dinner tonight along with the 'Banyandah' crew so Nancy was doing some cooking and I did some maintenance on the boat.
Mark and Jackie arrived for dinner and what a great couple they are, it was a pleasure meeting them, Leigh also arrived and we had a very good evening, Glen returned the keys to their Toyota with full tank and carton of beer, (good Australian currency), and of course many thanks from all of us.
(L-R, Me, Mark and Glen pre-dinner drinks in the cockpit)
(L-R, Leigh, Nigel and Jackie)

Monday - 11/11/2013

For some unknown reason we were a little slow this morning, I think I found the reason for this as I removed the bottles to the rubbish bin and looked at the half empty carton of wine.
We went for a walk to the caravan park just after our moments silence for Remembrance Day at 1100 hours, there we bought an ice coffee and an ice cream and headed out for a walk to the old ruins of the lighthouse cottage. As we walked down the street we met up with Jackie and her son Tristan, Tristan is confined to a wheelchair after being spear tackled in a football match, it is sad to see such a fine young man injured in such a way.  If you spear tackled someone outside the game of football it would be a criminal offence, there is no reason for this to be done inside the game.
On our walk along the beach we met up with a seal and some old bones of a whale that beached itself some four or more years back.
(Cape Jaffa Lighthouse cottages)

(Old whale bones)
(I think this seal was distracting us away from a baby seal that Nigel had come across)

After returning on board I continued working on Leigh's computer, running checking programs etc. and cleaning up the hard drive.
Bert came down to pick us up for dinner at around 1830 hours, he showed us around his farm before going into the house where Janet was busy cooking. A little while after John Goode arrived, so it was great to be able to personally meet the man who had been kind to us in letting us the marina berth. After dinner we sat there talking and time just got away, it was around midnight when we got home to the boat.
(L-R, Me telling stories, John Goode, Janet and Bert)

Tuesday - 12/11/2013

A quiet day working on Leigh's computer where someone had tried to make movies with Windows Movie Maker and did not succeed but left all the projects there but lost the original movies, so I had to make the movies to save what had been lost before deleting the projects.
Leigh arrived mid afternoon and we said our farewells as we leave tomorrow on a weather window another overnight run for Port Fairy.
A quiet night was had and an early night, we set off at first light in the morning. It has been a great stay at Cape Jaffa Marina meeting some great and generous people, I thank you all it has been a pleasure meeting you.