Twelve Days in the Bay

We came into Port Phillip Bay a little over two weeks earlier than expected, thus with time to kill. Port Phillip Bay is huge: 1930 km2 and the shores stretch roughly 264kms. It is actually a port area made up of over 16 bays. Having always moored our boat in the Gippsland Lakes, we have never spent time in the bay on Take It Easy, so there is plenty to explore not only along the populated shores, but also around the sand islands.Port Phillip Bay

The weather conditions have been unseasonably hot and stormy, which made our time in the bay interesting! We managed to spend time on the hot days around Sorrento, Mt Martha, then closer to Melbourne near Sandringham and Williamstown.



Bengie enjoyed a few beach walks, although sharing with dogs is not her thing and much growling and hiding happens when they appear!


The sailing was a bit lacklustre with a lot of motoring needed. Finding a protected anchorage that could take the predominant wind and often contrary sea breeze was also rather tricky. So Port Phillip Bay is not one of our favourite cruising spots.


Take It Easy anchored off Mud Island – it’s very shallow!

One of the highlights of our twelve days in the Bay was a wander around Mud Island, lying 10kms inside Port Phillip Heads. It is part of the Swan Bay and Port Phillip Bay Important Bird Area. Some 70 species have been recorded there, notably seabirds and waders. The walk right around the island takes you past different colonies, some defending their territory more aggressively than others. It is magic! For this little bird watching adventure, we used the ‘bird lense’, the Canon 100-400mm!  Go to the gallery of bird images at the end of this post to see the pick of hundreds of photos taken. Here is our favourite.


Silver Gull defending its territory

We survived extreme temperatures and several days of massive rainfall. It was unprecedented, with a major system of emergency warnings and updates from the Bureau of Meteorology. So those who deny climate change with their tinfoil hats can keep ignoring what is happening, but there is no refuting these severe weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity!

Despite offers from friends and family to seek refuge on land, we stayed with the boat! We chose to hook up to sailing mate Rob’s mooring in Williamstown. It was a good opportunity to dive on the mooring to check it out, since this is where Take It Easy will be while we are overseas. The boating community always seems to be so helpful. We have often lent our berth to other yachties while away in summer, and now the favour is returned!


We were booked in at the Yarra’s Edge Marina on Sunday, but with the rains and flooding, the debris coming down the Yarra makes it hazardous to moor there. So at this stage we have been asked to wait and are staying on the Williamstown mooring.


For now, enjoy our bird gallery. Do click on the first image to display the photos in full screen slide show.

24 thoughts on “Twelve Days in the Bay

  1. Wow! What a nice display of birds! Wonderfull shots all! I can see that Pt. Phillip Bay’s waters are flat with no wind what soever. It’s really very large in size too. Enjoy you waiting time. 🙂

  2. Wow, Chris, those bird shots are amazing. I know how tough it is to capture in-flight shots and you really nailed the focus and exposure on the ones that you have featured. I love that you were able to photograph so many species, virtually all of which look “exotic” to me.

    • Thanks Sue – we have actually managed to get in at Yarra’s Edge! Had to dodge a few tree trunks and waited for the Parks barge to clear the branches and logs out of the little ‘lagoon’ where they have put us, but we are now tucked in! It is a relief.

  3. it takes the Tassy ferries three hours to reach the heads from St Kilda. To us it is more like a sea than a bay. Interesting factoid for history needs like me: Melbourne was settled from Launceston and the first settlement was supplied from Pt Sorell until it became self sufficient. Also William Buckley was stranded in the Sorrento area for thirty years, living with the indigenous people, prior to Melbourne. Hence the expression Buckley chance!

  4. Ahh. I remember those moorings at Williamstown…the unloading facility was only being built when we were there – it was very noisy being ‘vibrated’ awake in the early hours of the morning during construction, and unfortunately the direct view of ‘town’ is now gone…. but that’s the price of progress. The Yarra’s Edge Marina is in such a good spot…although I held my breath getting under the Bolte Bridge….(we had to wait for low tide!).

    • Hi Trish – Your mast must be much higher than ours as we did not have to worry about the Bolte, but the Web Bridge is another thing as you have to come right against it to enter the ‘Lagoon’ where we are. Yarra’s Edge is super handy for friends visiting, and to get into town! Williamstown was interesting with the constant stream of large ships coming in and out of the Yarra!

      • Yes, a great place to have visitors. I remember certain friends who came to visit us at Yarra’s Edge who were responsible for Cilla’s assumed right to be fed when guests arrived. After your visit she automatically put herself in the corner waiting for whatever was offered off the plate. It wasnt always chicken but it was always very funny (especially when others obliged)…and always it made us think of you….
        ‘Interesting’ is one way of describing the mooring at Williamstown…’rocky’ would be another..and absolutely useless for tv reception as signal is lost for a couple of minutes every time a ship passes!

  5. What did you see underwater? I have to admit I have never looked since the mooring was installedl by Holdfast Marine.

    • Hi Rob – thanks again for letting us use your mooring. Wade found it in quite good order. Just a bit of wear on the shackles and lots of mussels along the ropes which he cleaned up. So all fine. He is about to call you for a chat! We are now at Yarra’s Edge, where the debris from the floods got cleaned up, allowing us to move on Monday after all!

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