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.


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