At long last we have left Wilsons Promontory and reached Lakes Entrance at the Gippsland Lakes on Tuesday night in record time. It was a bit like coming home, the Lakes were after all our home port for many years. But this time Take It Easy turned into Speedy Gonzales, even with reduced sails!
We had strong WSW winds, but being from our stern we knew we could cope with 25+ knots. It was an exhilarating passage, and a very fast one at that! In fact when we set off, we had intended to anchor off the Ninety Miles Beach overnight, and continue to Lakes Entrance the next day. However we were going so fast that we realised we could make the Lakes by 9pm that evening. We broke all our records: speed under the partly rolled genoa and double reefed main at 16.6 knots, fastest ever passage from the Prom to the Lakes in 14 hours. It was particularly cold with that wind, but the air was clear and the light amazing. A few brief showers made for numerous rainbows.
And then there were the many pods of dolphins which seem to particularly enjoy our speed. They are such endearing creatures, and so quick! They would escort us for a time, doing S’s at our bows, but then as if to tease us, would speed up effortlessly and leave us behind, only to make a big circle to come back and join us. So much fun!
Despite a night arrival for the notorious bar crossing, the conditions were perfect: light wind, no swell, flooding tide, all warning lights working on the breakwater walls. It was a smooth entrance.
Our stop at Lakes Entrance is allowing us to re-provision and top up water and fuel. We have done some chores, such as the laundry and clean up of the cabin. We have even caught up with a local friend from Paynesville who happened to be at the jetty when we arrived. Bengie has ventured outside several times, happy just like us to stretch her legs!
We hope to be on our way again on Friday. At this stage the weather looks right for a stop at the Skerries overnight, our last stop along the Victorian coast, then onto Eden in NSW on Saturday. But we will see what develops.
Here are a few more photos of this invigorating passage.