It is funny how you worry about time running out, but a few days of solid sailing changes everything. We have made great progress on our southerly journey. We left Jibbon Beach last Friday and 5 days later crossed the Lakes Entrance bar – a 256 nautical mile dash!As we said in our last post, we were prepared to motor and we did for a few hours on the first two days in light SE till the sea breeze picked up and Big O, the spinnaker, was put to work. But the following days the North Easterlies came and with the breeze on our tail from morning to night, we kept going: 6.00 am starts, easy day hops, flying Big O. This is a fast, smooth, easy way to go.
We got to Greenwell Point on Friday night (57nm), Barlings Beach opposite Broulee on Saturday night (76nm), Bermagui on Sunday (40nm) just in time for lunch with our friend Baz, and a few chores in the afternoon. Monday was a momentus day: we were going so well we pushed a bit harder, sailing straight past Eden and Bittangabee, and we crossed the border into Victoria at 4.30pm to anchor behind Gabo Island (73nm) an hour later.
Here are a few of our favourite images along the way:
We had stopped at Gabo before, but never for an overnight anchorage, so this was a first, a fitting way to spend our first night back in Victoria: clear night, Milky Way, serenaded by Little Penguins. Gabo is an interesting island in the shape of a clenched fist with a pointed finger. It lies only a few miles from the mainland, between Mallacoota and Cape Howe, which marks the state border. The island is of pink granite, and the tall lighthouse, built from it, seems to emerge from the island itself.
In a NE we sheltered in Santa Barbara Bay, and were very comfortable. Gabo can be quite exposed and is not favoured as an overnight anchorage, but as is often the case, in the right conditions it is just fine.
We can definitely tell we are in Southern waters now. The majestic albatrosses are back and both air and sea temperatures have dropped a fair bit.
The strong northerly shifted to an Easterly on Tuesday, with a forecast of a SW change on Wednesday, so we needed to do a big push straight to Lakes Entrance. We made a very early start from Gabo and completed the 100 miles to Lakes Entrance in 14 hours. Not a bad effort! We are in the Gippsland Lakes for a few days now while the SW blows. We hope to be underway again by Sunday.
We still have a way to go before we get back to Melbourne – about 250 miles, so just about the same again! From experience we can get stuck with the weather at the Lakes, the Prom, and Phillip Island, so we will keep our fingers crossed we make it back in plenty of time for our medical appointments and flight to France!