The stars are lining up for us, so south we go! We are trying very hard to avoid overnighters, as we don’t enjoy two hour watches, Wade and I, but we are opting for super early starts, to get us to cover distances before weather changes. Take our 14 hour passage from Apollo Bay to Grassy at the bottom of King Island for instance. This was a 2.00 am start, as we needed to get to King Island by the afternoon before a westerly change. We had a full moon and starry night to start with, and although Bass Strait was lumpy, we sailed all the way, using various sail combinations.
We spent two nights in Grassy, just enough time to stretch our legs for a walk ashore and our own private penguin parade in the evening.
We were also very lucky to score a small crayfish, courtesy of the fisherman we borrowed the mooring from. We took great care to plan ahead with him for our visit and it seemed to impress him. One of the things that really annoy fishermen, is yachties turning up unannounced, using one of their moorings without permission and doing damage by hooking on to the lead rope instead of the heavy chain, which by the way was f#$king difficult!
On Monday the passage from Grassy to Three Hummock Island, off the North West corner of Tasmania, was a more acceptable 5.00am start. We had a magic 6 hour sail. When you have to get up early, you want to be rewarded for your effort and we were again! With the southwesterly slightly forward of our beam, the conditions were chilly and quite bumpy, but we all rugged up and hung on for the ride! We enjoyed a fast run, a golden sunrise, lots of albatrosses and shearwaters soaring, and a deserted anchorage on arrival at Coulomb Bay. Now that is what we all signed up for!
We stayed at Three Hummock Island for a couple of days. Plenty of beach walks for us and the pussycat. The ocean is a cool 180 C, but it does not stop us from jumping in at the back of the boat.
Today, Wednesday 7 March, we are headed for the big committal passage down the West Coast of Tasmania. We have two plans, depending on how the forecast develops. Plan A involves sailing 65 miles to Sandy Cape and anchoring there for the night, then covering the next 55 miles to Macquarie Harbour and Strahan the next day. Plan B is to bite the bullet and sail the 120 miles in one long day and night passage without stopping. Time will tell which option we take! Stay tune for the next instalment!