Thursday, November 21, 2013
Kangaroo Island to Cape Jaffa
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.