We crossed Banks Strait yesterday, a stretch of sea that can be nasty! We are now in the Furneaux Group.A huge amount of the waters of Bass Strait gets channeled with each tidal sequence through Banks Strait, a narrow and shallow passage of 12 to 16 miles between NE Tasmania and the islands of Clarke and Cape Barren. Depths there vary between 10 or 12 meters to 50; the bottom is very uneven and the quick moving tidal flow is strong, running at up to 3 knots. All this causes angry streaks of white foam and spume, eddies and choppy waters, particularly when wind and tide are heading in opposite directions. So it pays to wait for the right conditions: ebbing stream with Westerly winds, or flooding tide with light Easterlies. The latter is what we used.
We remember reading somewhere the warning of a fisherman: “So you have crossed big mean Bass Strait and think you are all done. But then you start going across Banks Strait and get a slap on the backside, just to remind you who is boss. Don’t relax too early!” We always exercise caution with this body of water.
With the strong tidal flow and 15 knots easterlies, we were close into wind and had all three sails out so as not to drift west too much. We started out wanting to go as much east as we could so we set George, the autopilot, to steer 40 degrees to the apparent wind. We initially were hoping to come into Spike Cove on Clarke Island, then thought Preservation Island might be the go… But in the end the best we could do was Key Island Bay on Cape Barren Island. Not a bad effort, given it is one of our all times favourite anchorages.
We will be island hopping around these parts till the end of the month. There are many familiar anchorages to revisit, and new ones to explore. So expect quite a few posts about the Furneaux, as there is a lot to see.