We have made it all the way back to Melbourne and have taken up residence at Yarra’s Edge!
The last two hops
At long last the SE returned last Saturday, enabling us to head from Cleeland Bight (near San Remo) to Port Phillip Bay. It was a very dark and gloomy day for our 60nm hop, but we sailed well all the way. We came through the Rip, between Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean at noon, encountering some mighty current and had to gybe in the midst of it, which was rather ‘interesting’. The Rip is a narrow passage connecting Bass Strait to Port Phillip Bay, notorious for its strong tidal flow through the very constricted entrance and for its breakers when the breeze is up. A wind against tide arrival is the sure way to get thrown around in the white water and eddies!
We proceeded inside Port Phillip Bay along the eastern shores, to anchor overnight near Dromana. We could have gone all the way into town, but decided to make it an easy day.
It then left about 30nm due north across to Williamstown, a bay suburb of Melbourne on Sunday. We started with a reef in the main, going at a fair pace, but then the wind gradually died down and we motor-sailed the last stretch. We were very lucky to pick up a public mooring there. Parks moorings often end up with derelict boats as was the case here two years ago and at Cleeland Bight just a few days ago. So we were pleasantly surprised. Williamstown is where Wade’s brother Murray left us and caught a train home.
Finally the next morning we motored an hour up the Yarra River to our spot in the Basin at Yarra’s Edge, in the heart of Melbourne.
It is always daunting bringing your yacht up the Yarra. First you wonder whether your mast will fit under the Bolte Bridge – there is only a meter or so to spare for Anui at the highest point. Then you have to go right up to the very low Webb Bridge which bars further access up river for yachts, and make a sharp turn just before it to get into a small basin. Luckily there was no other boat in there so we picked our spot and there we will be for a while.
The only area of deep water in the basin is between the floating jetty and the white buoys. It might get tricky to get out, especially if another boat is behind us, but we will deal with that little challenge later!
Melbourne has many bridges that cross the Yarra River, ranging from the West Gate and Bolte Bridges to the many others that take pedestrians, cars and trains from one side of the city to the other. The Webb Bridge is one of the most eye-catching and striking modern designs. It has won many awards in recognition of its unique composition. It was designed by famous Australian artist Robert Owen, in collaboration with architects Denton Corker Marshall. The shape of the bridge pays tribute to the Aboriginal history of the land and is modeled on a traditional Koorie fishing trap, used to catch eels. It provides a link for pedestrians and cyclists across the Yarra River between the Docklands precinct in the north and the residential developments to the south of the river.
Our spot in the Basin next to the Webb Bridge will be our base until at least the 11th. It is highly likely we will extend our stay beyond this, but we will see how things develop. In the meantime we dream of many more adventures to come, although we fear they might be quite some time away. Our furry crew Bengie is rather happy here in the cooler conditions, especially when dragon flies flutter under the nets and pique her attention.
It’s a wrap
We have come a long way! From Southport (Queensland) to Melbourne (Victoria), we covered 980nm, were underway for 23 days, but sailing for 11 of these including 4 nights. The rest was spent at anchor waiting for weather windows. We think we have done well. We are grateful for the hands-on help from Waz and Murray, thankful for the moral support from our friends who followed us on Marine Traffic and kept encouraging us.
As a safety measure and to ensure our efforts to sail all the way here don’t get derailed, we remind everybody that we are in lockdown on Anui until we have had our first round of specialist medical appointments – after the 8th of February. To our Melbourne friends, thank you for your patience. Have a brilliant week!