A westerly gale has dominated these last few days, forcing us into hiding, and limiting our communication with the outside world. Despite this, it has been warm and sunny which makes things so much more pleasant.
With a slight reprieve on Tuesday, when the blow was downgraded to a strong wind warning just for a day, we made the move from Moriarty Bay on Clarke Island, a protected but very plain anchorage, to scenic Jamieson Bay on Cape Barren Island.
The 16 miles passage was a brisk and exhilarating downwind sail in 25 to 30 knot wind and ebbing tidal current, taking us inexorably east. It was a committal departure. Once underway there was no turning back. Going only with a furled up jib, we averaged 8 knots speed, but peaked at 13.5 out in the open, away from the lee of the land. The sea was covered with white caps, the roar in the rigging loud, and for once our pictures showed the state of the ocean. So often, an agitated sea looks flat as a tack in photos!
Jamieson Bay is one our favourite anchorages in the Furneaux – just as well, since we are stuck here for nearly a week! With Mt Kerford and Hogans Hill overlooking the bay, huge granite boulders covered in the characteristic orange lichen at either end of the long sandy beach as well as in its centre, big sand dunes over the back, turquoise water close in to shore, it is a photogenic anchorage and there is plenty to entertain ourselves. Diving, beach combing, walking, snorkelling, spear fishing… that is when the howling wind is below 30 knots! At times we were stuck on board with 40 knot gusts sounding like a freight train. Wade caught us a couple of dinners, spearfishing a Banded Morwong and a trout like fish, while I enjoyed taking less lethal underwater shots of intriguing species like the Ornate Cowfish or Long-snouted Boarfish. The Cowfish are particularly fun to watch; they appear all puffed up with tiny little fins and seem to hover about in the water in an unstable manner. When they try to get away from us, they move in a silly little wiggle that makes us laugh.
There is only one negative in this paradise: absolutely no internet coverage in the curl of the bay where we are holed in, hence our silence for a few days. We have had to revert back to using our HF Receiver for weather reports. Even radio contact is slim. A day of NE allowed us to briefly move to the other end of the bay, where we were able to publish this post! But we will be out of phone and internet contact for a while longer as the westerlies are returning with a vengeance and forecast to reach over 40 knots during the weekend, so we are going back to our hole in the curl of the bay. Not sure where to next, possibly the eastern shores of Cape Barren Island when the weather allows.
As you can see from the photo gallery, this little piece of heaven is not a bad place to get stuck in!