Sea Change: Passage to Docklands

We are getting awfully close to D Day now!  In the midst of the mayhem that goes with packing away our land life has come a welcome interlude.  We brought the boat from the Gippsland Lakes to Docklands in Melbourne.

The content of our Jan Juc house is in the garage, and the place is now rented. We are close to removal day for our Brunswick house which also has tenants lined up.  So we needed somewhere to stay while we finish off the to do list. Might as well get used to living aboard Take It Easy!

We drove from the city to Paynesville one last time and on 1 July we officially sailed out of The Gippsland Lakes for good, bound for the big smoke. Here is the chart of our passage.

To Docklands

A few days at sea brought a welcome change.  We were exhausted, a wee bit stressed and in need of a pause before the last push.  This sail to Docklands was really special as it marked the start of our new life.  But this would have to be the chilliest passage we have ever experienced.  Sailing in southern waters in winter is bitterly cold even with thermals, multiple layers of clothing and the full offshore gear, especially at night!

It also took much longer than we had hoped! The first bit went well. We motored out of Paynesville bright and early, feeling very excited and got to the Entrance a few hours later to find the bar was not safe to cross. So we waited a couple of hours. Fortunately it settled down with the change of tide and we had a calm bar crossing at noon on Saturday. We then did a 27 hour dash from Lakes Entrance to Cleeland Bight at Phillip Island. It was a hard start but the conditions were calm and at night the clear sky lit up by an amazing Milky Way was our reward, as was the brilliant sunrise the next morning.

However the next phase took forever. We had expected to be at Cleeland Bight for a few days to wait out a westerly front but then a second one came with some punch, making it impossible to move on. Given that we were on a Parks mooring and well sheltered, we can’t complain too much. Let’s just say we had a forced rest and we used the time to slow down, get into a routine and of course tinker.

Tied to a Parks mooring for 9 days!

But after 9 days, we started to wonder whether we’d ever leave the place. Finally we escaped on Tuesday 11/7 for a nine hour impersonation of a motorboat to reach Port Phillip Bay at last. We anchored overnight near St Leonards in totally calm conditions. Along the way we managed to spot a humpback whale and had lots of dolphins for company. The next day another five hour motor into light winds saw us reaching Melbourne and taking in the spectacular skyline.  It was quite amazing to go under the Westgate and Bolte Bridges, to finally come to moor right next to the Web Bridge, at the Yarra’s Edge marina in Docklands.

Melbourne Skyline

The Melbourne Skyline by a cold and misty morning

What should have taken about four days took twelve because of inclement weather. But I guess you have to expect this when you try to sail west at this time of year! Sailing in Victoria in the depth of winter is not exactly fun. We don’t hate it, but we don’t relish it either. We have WordPress friends who sail the Arctic – don’t know how they manage! It goes without saying that we will be heading for the tropics as soon as we are ready and go like the clappers to thaw out as quickly as possible!

Still, it feels really good to be on board, although a little surreal. We guess that once we finally leave Melbourne in a couple of weeks, the realisation that this is now our life will start to sink in. Here are a few images of this momentous passage.


19 thoughts on “Sea Change: Passage to Docklands

    • Actually, you should go back and have another look at the post as the changes I loaded last night with all the photos coming into Melbourne were not saved! Let me know what you think!

      • I just tried to leave a comment on the photo of the boat at Docklands, but then another photo came up, so it may have gone to the wrong one. Great place to moor.

  1. TIE in Melbourne, life to begin. Glad I did not have to endure the cold, I love my cosy nest here in the depth of winter. After Europe I am really feeling the cold. Good luck with the final tasks. 🐾🐬

  2. Hi Chris and Wade. Congratulations! I’d love to take my boat to Docklands one day. Just wondering… do you attempt to heat the cabin, or just rely on thermals and blankets?

    • We have a gas heater, but on a cat the heat collects in the saloon, so the hulls are still cold! Thermals and blankets very much needed too! While we are at the marina, we have invested in a $14.00 blow heater… cheaper than a 4kg bottle of gas! And truth be known, these last few days have been spent at home while we still have the house available. Removal day is Tuesday, so no more cheating after that.

  3. Thats interesting. I was wondering about cats and cold weather cruising. They are usually thought of as warm climate craft. If we were planing to winter in Tas after we move aboard, we’d probably look at the ducted diesel systems. Expensive to buy, but by all accounts pretty economical to run. But I think we will be crossing the pond ASAP and heading to warmer climates!

    • Yes we have some sailing friends on a mono who sail the Arctic and Tassie friends who sail in all seasons. Diesel heaters make sense for them. We just want to get out of the cold quickly and don’t intend to be cruising south in winter… not very pleasant and not good for arthritic backs! So the pricey gas bottle will do till we thaw out further north.

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