Saturday, March 29, 2014

Flinders Island to Eden

Wednesday - 05/03/2014
As I mentioned in my last scribbles that we left the dock at 1700 hours and drifted in the harbour of Lady Baron to stow fenders, fender boards and ropes ready for sea. The local Police Officer Matt had given me some information regarding exiting the bar on the eastern side, and that was to favour the red side slightly as the bar has moved, he said we would see it when we got out there and we did. Where the leads indicate the waves are breaking quite well but just to the port side on exiting there is calm reasonably water which we went through and some as shallow as 3 metres.
It is a fair way out to the sand bar but the ebbing tide pushed us along at 9 knots. When got out there the predicted ESE winds of 10-15 knots  was there which pleased me although I am expecting a short burst of strong easterlies later tonight for a short period.
We passed Babel Island at a good distance just on dark and dolphins came out for a play at the front of the boat then the night settled in and a dark night no moon. Then the wind changed to ENE and came in strong 20-25 knots. I checked Meteye on the net and it still indicates we should be getting ESE 15 knots. As we went on the winds got stronger and eventually we had 35 knots and the waves standing up quite a lot, to get any benefit from the sails I had to change course to head for the Victorian coast, I figured if we had this wind all the way when we got close to the coast we could then change course and the wind may not be as strong.
Come the time of change of watch I did not wake Nancy, it was a little scary for me out here, it would be very scary for her to be here and besides I would not sleep worrying about her out here. Nancy got up a couple of times and I told her to go back to bed. She finally took the watch at first light, things had calmed down some we now had 20-25 knot winds still from the same direction and very uncomfortable. It is not often in a catamaran we lose books and stuff off shelves but we did last night.
Thursday - 06/03/2014
The day brought rain squalls and strong winds but not as bad as last night, I am on my third set of clothes the others being very wet. Last night we had waves coming over the top of the boat as we crashed into them. I was looking out the side checking for any other ships when one wave hit and I ducked under cover, thinking I was smart that the wave missed me I stuck my head out again just as the boat rolled and all the water on top of the bimini went down the back of my neck.
We are still get water over the bows and spray over the top occasionally but today the rain is coming in with it. We kept our normal watches today and I got a bit of sleep, we still have today and tonight to go before we get to Eden. We are still on the same course for the Victorian coast and hoping for the wind to give us some favour tonight when we get close to it.
(This short video is of the second day from Flinders Island when things had settled a little)

On these overnight runs Nancy always makes a big pot of stew or alike in the Shuttle Chef, so we have plenty to eat and can grab a feed whenever we feel a bit hungry. The food also warms you when it is cold and it is cold.
Friday - 07/03/2014
The weather has not changed but at least now the predictions are showing what we are getting in fact that did occur yesterday morning to be fair. As I mentioned before weather this time of year in Bass Strait is very unpredictable with so many low pressures over the mainland.
The sad fact is that we are not going to get any change in the weather until we start heading north for Eden so we have to stay on course for the Victorian coast and then change to an eastward course when we are a few miles off and bash into these east winds until we can turn north.
I change to the eastward course during my watch after 0400 hours and was pleased to change course northward some two and half hours later, daylight came and although there were a few squalls the sea was calmer than it had been it poured rain for a few minutes at a time as the squalls came by us. After the squalls the seas settled and we just motored along into Eden.
(Cape Green as the rain squall goes by)

We arrived at Eden at 1130 hours going alongside the dock for a couple of days.


07/03/2014 cont.....
It  is quite a long approach into Eden  and it is rather a large harbour taking in the different bays, we had contacted the harbour master to go alongside the dock, unfortunately it is on the side that has the swell pushing us onto the dock but conditions were good at this time, the cost of the dock is $25 per day for vessels of out length. Again the dock has pylons so the fender boards were required  and we have to watch the tide levels with the length of docking lines. We soon learned to also take an anchor  45⁰ off the bow away from the wharf naturally. We did this by me lowering the dinghy and taking our large Bruce anchor out and dropping it in the appropriate spot and then tensioning the anchor rope this helps to hold the boat off the dock.
(Alana Rose alongside Eden Dock)
(Fisherman behind us repairing nets)

Just after we got settled a fishing boat came along the other side of the dock from us and people started arriving, one of the guys wives told us that they go out getting prawns and when they get alongside they cook them and sell them from the boat as well as to the fish shops. So that is what we had for lunch, 1Kg of cooked prawns as fresh as $20. A nice lunch of beer and prawns.
Fortunately the harbour master told us to get settled if we did not catch him today see him Monday, by the time we went for a walk ashore he had gone home so Monday it was.
Whilst we got our prawns organised along came Peter and Chris off 'Honey Bee' a monohull yacht, they had been looking out for us as we had them having been told about each other by three sets of mutual friends, so we finally met each other, they were anchored out away from the dock. They were heading off to town and we told them about the prawns  so they bought some and we stored them in our fridge until they came back.
We also talked to a couple from Victoria that was walking the docks, they love looking at the waterfront and boats, so we had a chat and as they were interested in what we had done I gave them a card so they could check out our blogs. They thanked us and asked if we needed a lift into town to do the shopping and we said we are fine.
We had a quiet night aboard as we were both a little bushed from the last couple of days.
Saturday - 08/03/2014
We decided after breakfast we would head into town so off we went  as we got to the end of the dock the couple we were talking to yesterday were there to meet us and ask if they could drive us into town. What a nice gesture,  again the Aussie spirit comes forward, there are a lot of nice people out here. We took their offer and they drove us up the steep hill to town, we thanked them and they asked if we wanted a lift back and we said we were fine and they realised we were used to doing what we do.
 We had a look around town and checked where things were and on the way back we called into an important shop to get a few bottles of red wine then we headed to the Whale Museum, a very interesting place, Eden has a lot of history not only being the first place in Australia to start shore based whaling but also maritime events and political. It was first thought that this is where the houses of parliament would be. I bought a book from the museum called the Two Fold Bay Story, great little book.
(Eden Killer Whale Museum)
(A painting that shows how the men chased and killed whales)

(The skeleton of 'Old Tom', you can see the damage by the infection on the top of his right side jaw and the damage to his teeth on the left bottom, this damage was caused by Tom helping the whalers by grabbing the harpoon line and dragging it down to drown the harpooned whale)

Australia's first shore based whaling station started in Snug Cove in 1828 when Captain Thomas Raine sent a party of 25 men who stayed for 3 months and others followed after them. Many of the places and streets are named after the men who started whaling in the area, fortunes made and fortunes lost. There were  many aborigines worked the whaling boats and the man they worked for treated them fairly and they were paid well which was different to many others and the incredible part is that the killer whales (Orca's) that worked with the whalers. They would round up a whale and drive them in the bay and it was known for one of the killer whales to come into the bay and let the whalers know they had a whale and would lead them to the whale they had rounded up. You may ask why the killer whales would do this, well it was for reward, killer whales like to feed on whales lips and tongues, they learnt that the whalers once they had harpooned a whale from a whaler boat not a ship and once they had tired it they would then kill it and tie a buoy to the harpoon rope the whale would sink, this is when the killer whales would feed on the dead whales lips and tongue, some day later the body of the whale would start to decompose filling the body full of gases and the whale would float and that is when the whalers would tow them in.
The killer whales would work in groups and in one group there was a leader and the most famous in the area was a killer whale named Tom, Tom's skeleton is in the museum, Tom was found dead in the bay aged around 35 years it looked like he had an apses  on a tooth which had eaten away part of his jaw, they feel that this prevented him from eating and he died from starvation. Tom was thought to be a lot older as they thought he had been around many years before, apparently they are identified by the shape of their fin, but apparently there must have been two Toms, one replaced the other.
 Whaling ceased in the area for a number of reasons, a gold rush started at one time, then there was the industry of sleeper cutting which many whalers took on outside the whaling season and in the end felt it safer to continue sleeper cutting rather than tackle the monsters in the sea where their lives were at greater risk. This combined with less whales coming to the bays for the simple reason there were fewer female whales, the fact was that the whales that came to the bay were looking for some place to have their young so many of the whales that were killed in those times were in calf this naturally lessened the numbers  of the future whales to be.  The other thing to was that there were now whaling ships and chasers operating, the chasers did the harpooning and the n fill the whales full of compressed air keeping them afloat at the end of the day they would tow them in and tie them to a buoy ready to be hauled ashore.
Some of you may feel disgusted that this occurred but one has to remember that  this was the only oil for lighting and other uses of that day, it is not really any different to what we are doing today in drilling for oil and other products but most drive cars that uses these fuels and oils but every time there is a disaster in the industry we all get up in arms about it, but as I say again we all use these products as the people did in the days of whaling. Whatever your thoughts it is part of our history and a very interesting one. Eden and Two Fold Bay has a lot of history besides whaling , the later days of fishing which is now falling away with new restrictions. This place used to have an enormous amount of fishing boats today they are but a few.
One thing I have noticed in our travels is the many smaller places closing down as the industry has been taken away from them and there is nothing to take its place, empty shops and business premises and the crime rate rises in the way of theft.  I believe we have to protect the environment but sometimes I wonder whether we are going too far the other way, look at the crocodile population, let's face it today they do not have a predator in this country and as the waters warm up they will move and already are moving further south. Food for thought. One fact is that many governments try to encourage people to move to rural areas to reduce the growing numbers in the cities, but the problem is they are also creating much red tape and restrictions that business cannot survive in the rural areas and they are closing down.

(The Cafe I mentioned below is in part of the historic building)

Sunday - 09/03/2014
It is a wet rainy day today so we decided to head into town early with the washing for the Laundromat and whilst the washing was being done head to a cafe for breakfast and there is a great little cafe in town  called 'Cuppaz Cafe'  if you want a great feed this is the place very friendly service and most the locals go there. When breakfast and washing and drying was complete we headed back to the boat and whilst it was calm decided to go and anchor out as the seas were going to get a little rougher today. On returning we got things organised started engines let go of the docking lines and then I pulled the Bruce anchor up which as I did helped pull us away from the dock, we went out just passed the moored boats and dropped the anchor.
(The view from our anchorage of Snug Bay)
(Eden docks Snug Cove)

(HMAS Stuart going into the naval dock at East Boyd Bay, this is where the naval ships pick up their explosives, they closed down the Sydney armoury in 2003)

Eden town has two supermarkets and many other shops to get all your needs. The is also a great fish and chip (plus other seafood) shop near the docks, it is the one that is around the corner from the larger cafes.
Eden is a very nice part of this world and worth a visit, people are friendly and the place is very clean and tidy. For travellers there are toilets and showers down by the docks. Quite  a unique shower it has a preset temperature of around 40⁰C and it has a timer button instead of taps so you have to keep pressing the button whilst you have a shower.
As far as using the dock it costs $15 up to 12 metre boat and $25 for 12 - 15 metres per day. The problem I have mentioned before if there is a surge it can bounce you against the dock, the other alternative is contact one of the fishing boats and raft against one of those or just anchor out.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Freycinet Peninsula to Flinders Island and Flinders Island

Saturday - 01/03/2014
We set off at 0720 hours and we will have to sail overnight to Flinders Island. The problem with the coast from here up is that it has anchorages for  south sector winds and north sector winds but not anchorages that have a change of winds north/south sectors during the night, tonight we have  NE winds and around midnight they change to SE winds, many of yacht has come to grief in these situations.
There is another factor that one must realise sailing this area this time of year is sudden weather changes, what is predicted this morning can change within a few hours this is often caused by the low pressure systems on mainland Australia, we can have a high pressure system in Tasmania giving good SE winds to sail north then halfway through the day a trough in a low pressure system pushes its way into the northern side of the high pressure changing the wind to strong NE winds.
Sailing north was going well until around 1400 hours and then the above happened and we had N/NE winds on the nose and it started to strengthen so we slammed into the wind and wind waves and watched the coastline go passed slowly.
(We have had many dolphin moments and this was another)
(Choppy seas at sunset)

The other challenge ahead is when we get to Banks Strait, this is the stretch of water between mainland Tasmania and the Flinders Island group, it has very strong (3 knots) current flow ebbs to the east and floods to the west, we need to get there when it is a flood tide. As it turned out we were a little early but we were not affected by the full tidal flow as we crossed at an angle until the flow changed direction and then went with the tide.
We reached Clark Island at daybreak, the island looks quite baron with little vegetation probably due to the strong winds that it experiences plus the sea air spray. By this time the wind had gone and we had flat seas we continued on up to Franklin Sound which is the waterway between Flinders and Cape Baron Islands once at the mouth of this we still have 20 nautical miles to go.
(Entering Franklin Sound heading for the north passage towards Flinders Island ahead)
(Cape Baron Island which is south side of Franklin Sound)
(Very hard to see but these are fairy penguins as we got close to get a good photo they would dive)

The sea now had turned to glass the sea was so calm and no wind, as we entered Franklin Sound I noticed these small birds on the water when we looked closer they were fairy penguins as the boat neared them they would dive making it difficult to get a decent photo. There were quite a few groups of them.
After we had breakfast Nancy phoned the Harbour Master at Lady Baron and got permission to go alongside at the wharf in Lady Baron, this was given so we don't have to worry about anchoring.
Like most times of arrival it is often afternoon and what happens in the afternoon is the strong sea breeze arrives just when you want it to be steady to go alongside a dock. We arrived near the dock and checked it out so we could set up the fenders and fender boards which are needed because of the docks have timber vertical pylons about 2 metres apart. Once we had secured alongside the first thing I did was have a beer and relaxed for a while then had a nice shower.
(Alana Rose alongside at Lady Baron)

Nancy organised a hire car for a couple of days for in the morning and we had a quiet night aboard and early to bed.

Flinders Island

Monday - 03/03/2014
We hired the car through Flinders Island Car Rentals which is in the township of Whitemark some 24kms from Lady Baron. Whitemark is the main centre. So there is a charge of $30 for the car delivery, Rowena pick us up and we had to drop her back to Whitemark so we were armed with our shopping bags to go to the supermarket in Whitemark.
Flinders Island is quite pretty and has lots of farm land and good healthy looking cattle, it is a mixture of mountainous, undulating and flat lands and attractive waterways that can get stirred up with the strong winds at times.
After dropping Rowena off and getting some local information we headed into the township of Whitemark which is not very big, it sports a post office, hotel, garage/service station and supermarket, bakery cafes, hardware store  and a few other stores, shops and services.
(The Supermarket and garage at Whitemark, we met owners Leedham and Judy Walker and their daughter Alison who went to school with our friend Alison in Darwin)

We did the important things like get our stores for the boat and then went for a coffee at the cafe before taking the stores back on board, the next job was the fuel run, Lady Baron has a service station and store and the store carries all grocery items, hardware, clothing, gifts, you name it I think they have it and it is also a cafe with good coffee. We had to do two fuel runs to top everything up.
(The general store, fuel station and cafe at Lady Baron, with me filling fuel containers)
(At Whitemark Jetty, the ferry no longer uses this jetty due to tides they call at Lady baron)
(Mt Razorback from Whitemark jetty)
(Franklin Sound from the eastern lookout)
(Nancy at the lookout)
(At the lookout point I spotted this small memorial for a Kerryn Hatfield, it is just a plastic marker, I asked the locals about it but no person seems to know about it)

We then went for a small drive to some lookouts and then called into the hotel not far from the dock for a cold beer.
We returned on board had a checked all was OK and checked the weather before walking up to the hotel again for a couple of relaxing beers looking over the waterways. We had dinner on board and a reasonably early night.
Tuesday - 04/03/2014
The ferry 'Captain Bill' from Bridport arrived this morning, the ferry bring visitors and stores of all kinds for the locals and their businesses)

After breakfast we headed off for a drive to see some of the island the wind was quite strong today from the NE. The roads here are in very good condition even the unsealed roads are very good, we had a drive around and then returned to Whitemark for lunch at the hotel.  This hotel was built in 1911 and the lounge is very nice along with the meals are sizeable and very nice.
(Mt Razorback covered in cloud and healthy stock grazing)
(Wybalenna village area the old chapel)
(Near Long Point a boat ramp and fishing boats moored in the bay)
(Long Point is a bird breeding ground for Shearwater birds also known as Tasmanian Mutton Birds)
(Flinders Interstate Hotel built in 1911)

After another short drive we headed back to the boat had a shower and then walked up to the hotel , the Furneaux Tavern, we ended up staying there for dinner in the restaurant and I must say the dinner was very nice just as nice as what we had at Kermandie Hotel.
(This is the view from the Furneaux Tavern veranda)

Wednesday - 05/03/2014
We are watching the weather closely looking for that weather window to head across Bass Strait, looking at the net I think we may be able to leave late this afternoon and go through to Eden which will mean two overnight sails.
After breakfast we took the car up to fuel at the service station and had a coffee whilst we were there and had a chat with some locals and other sailors. We left the car by the tennis courts for Rowena to pick up later then we readied the boat for sailing later.
We placed our money in the honesty box for our stay, the charges were $11 for the day of arrival and $5 for every day after if we used power, if we did not use the power it would have been no charge.
Come 1700 hours the wind had died enough for us to get off the wharf safely with a little help from one of the sailors off a motor boat that released the ropes for us. We drifted in the harbour whilst we stowed fenders, ropes and fender boards then we headed out the eastern outlet.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Maria Island to Wineglass Bay

Thursday 27/02/2014
We were underway just after first light and motored out to deeper water before hoisting the mainsail, there is little wind but we may get some aid from what there is, looking at Maria Island as we go along and seeing a few old buildings ashore along with newer farm buildings one has to be reminded that this island was also a penal colony, it was not as bad as Sarah Island but the men that were sent to any penal colony some paid more than their penalty. Think of it seven years for stealing a hankerchief, some steal cars today and get a slap on the wrist.
The passage north was the same as the day before the wind came and went with the land form. We headed to the west side of Schouten Island where our original plan was to anchor in the beautiful northern bays for the strong SW winds predicted then the plan was to go across to Passage Anchorage on the southeast part of Freycinet Peninsula for the northerly winds tomorrow. However, we figured we could go through Schouten Passage checking the anchorages on the way have some time in Wineglass Bay and then head back tomorrow the 12NMS to Passage Anchorage for the weather change.
(Schouten Island ahead)
We have walked Freycinet areas some years ago travelling land side and it is very lovely it is equally lovely from the sea. Heading towards the passage care needs to be taken as a reef extends out on the NW corner of Schouten Island it has an Isolated Danger Marker to identify the rocks.  We checked the anchorages as we headed through the passage and made a mental note to self of where we would go if the change came through. Going through the passage with the tide raced us through at a speed of 9 knots, this passage would be dangerous to travel if there were strong  winds and high seas it was near flat when we went through with SW winds.
(Northern anchorages at Schouten Island)
(Schouten Passage)

After passing through the Schouten Passage and turning northward to Wineglass Bay we had dolphins to welcome us, one never gets tired of seeing them. The rock formations of the cliff faces are something to see and there is lots of them. We finally got to where we turn towards Wineglass Bay and headed in the SW wind met us head on but nothing to worry us just slowed our progress.
As we neared we could see other yachts anchored, a good mixture a large motor cruiser, a catamaran, a trimaran and one monohull. We dropped anchor and just took in the sights, the beach had quite a number of people and there were some going to a camp nearby. The two couples off the motor boat left the beach and went by and I gave them a wave to say hi and they returned the wave, later the two blokes went out in the dinghy fishing and on their way back they called into to say hello and gave us three large flathead for dinner. We thanked them and had a chat they were from Melbourne and touring Tassie. When they left I cleaned and filleted the fish ready for dinner.
(Freycinet Peninsula)
(Wineglass Bay)
(The free loader Gull)

Later in the afternoon the NE sea breeze kicked in and at first I was concerned as that put us along with all the other boats on a lee shore so we kept a close eye on things, it did not last long and we had still air and waters through the night. We had our great feed of fish for dinner and just relaxed.
Friday - 28/02/2014
The first boat to move was the motor cruiser, when I was talking to them yesterday I told them about our anchor winch problems, as they started to hoist their anchor they got it part way up and they had some trouble, I thought I had jonahed them. After some work they got it going again I think the chain had jammed somewhere and they had to unjam it.
The next to move was an old fella in the monohull, a solo sailor had to hoist the anchor hand over hand, he got it half way up and had to go to the cockpit have a drink and sit for a while before completing the task. It was not a large yacht and it had travelled, Queensland and Australian registered so he had been places, he came by us and wished us well as we did him. Then the other solo sailor in the catamaran went and we followed.
(The solo sailor pulling the anchor up and heading off)

We headed back down to Schouten Passage where the others headed out to sea to catch the wind that would come later in the day as they were going further south. We went through the passage and headed for the anchorage on the north side of Schouten Island, the reason for this is that a SW change could come through the night and I wanted to have a look at the anchorage in case we had to move in the dark, we motored around the area marking waypoints on the chart plotter so I would know exactly where to anchor in the dark plus the fact that when we moved away to the Passage Anchorage for the NE winds predicted it would leave a track on the plotter that I could follow back.
(Dolphins race towards us as we head south to Schouten Passage)
(Nancy taking photos of the dolphins)

Just after plotting and turning towards Passage Anchorage the strong NE winds kicked in we headed for the anchorage and dropped the pick ensuring that it grabbed well because the guide book indicates that this anchorage is dubious. So I made sure the anchor grabbed. Within the next couple of hours we had a total of eleven boats anchored nearby all with the same idea. By sunset things had calmed and although the southerly change did come through during the night they were light winds and no reason to move to the other anchorage.
(Passage Anchorage)

Tomorrow we head for Flinders Island it will be an overnight sail.