Passage to the Gippsland Lakes

Sometimes it is the unexpected that makes a passage enjoyable. We have done the trip from Port Phillip Bay to the Gippsland Lakes countless times. But this passage was just that: a series of surprises that made it fun.

We enjoyed a purple sunrise at Sorrento, a calm crossing of the Rip. We raised the main and jib once out and sailed at wind speed when we expected to motor-sail. In fact it was so good that we skipped a stop at Phillip Island and kept going straight to Wilson’s Promontory, arriving there at 9.30 pm. We watched seabirds soaring. We reconnected with cruising buddies on Purrfection we had not seen in years and shared a breakfast on Anui at Oberon Bay. We got a break in the weather and made it to the Lakes sooner than planned, albeit after a long day of motoring. It felt so good to be on our way!

Here are a few of our favourites shots along the way.

  • Sorrento sunrise
  • Point Lonsdale Lighthouse
  • Ocean side of Point Nepean
  • Short-tailed Shearwater
  • Sealers Cove
  • Anui at Sealer's Cove
  • Shy Albatross
  • Shy Albatross

Back to our real home port

We are now sheltered at the Gippsland Lakes. We made it through the Lakes Entrance bar on Sunday night, arriving there at the wrong time, with the tide rushing out, but those big engines of ours worked a treat. We powered in… what a difference!

The Entrance
Lined up to get in

Having arrived during a long weekend and at the end of the Marlay Point race, we were warned that Paynesville was very busy. So we opted to pick up a mooring along the Reeves Channel not far from The Entrance and stayed there for the night.

Mooring near Nyerimilang

It was totally calm when we woke up so we dinghied across the channel to the little beach on Flannigan Island and practised launching and landing the drone on terra firma. We are a bit nervous about using the new beast from the deck and are still learning how to use the Smart Controller. Chris thought she had taken dozen of photos… only these two were recorded – still a bit to sort out!

From foreground to back: Reeves Channel, Flannigan Island, Reed Bay, Ninety Mile Beach, Bass Strait
Reeves Channel looking towards Lakes Entrance

We moved to Paynesville later in the week and it was like a home coming. We might have Melbourne plastered on the back of our boat for our Australian ship registration, but Paynesville is our real home port. This is where we kept our successive boats over the years when we were still working. Felix, Medina, Take It Easy were all moored in the Gippsland Lakes, so we have a soft spot for the region, and know quite a few people here. This is also where we spent our first lock down on Anui two years ago! It was a no brainer to head straight for The Lakes to hide from strong winds, the remnants of a huge easterly low which devastated the East Coast of Australia.

We are having fun catching up with friends and have been very social, although us being on a mooring for part of the week rather than tied to a jetty made it a bit awkward. Gippsland Ports have added quite a few moorings throughout the lakes, but jetty-side spots are limited these days to 4 hour stays, so not as convenient as it used to be. We use the dinghy to get across the McMillan Strait, the body of water separating Paynesville from Raymond Island!

Anui moored near Raymond Island, McMillan Strait

As you can see from these aerial shots, we had another drone flying practice. We are now all sorted! Precision landing, good control and high speed in the air, longer battery life, excellent vision on the new screen even in full sun, and we are impressed with the camera both in terms of colour rendering and sharpness of focus. We figured out what was happening with the trigger button too. The new controller has a half press shutter release to focus the camera, like a normal SLR. It was just a matter of holding the trigger button a bit longer to take shots! Duh!

McMillan Strait

How long are we here for? A little longer! As well as waiting for the easterlies to pass, we had to stay till our replacement visa cards arrived. Both were compromised and had to be cancelled. So now that they have turned up, all we need is for the wind to shift west and we will head off… It is looking promising for early next week.

12 thoughts on “Passage to the Gippsland Lakes

  1. The new drone takes beautiful photos, wow! I’m glad you guys had a safe passage to home, enjoy your time with friends! 👍🏻🇦🇺

  2. Wow, it sure did not take you long to master the new drone, Chris. I especially love those final two shots, as well as the earlier shots with Bengie cuddling and the Ocean Side of Point Nepean. It must feel really good to be back in an area that is so familiar to you, given all of the craziness of the past two years.

    • Hi Mike, yes being in the Lakes feels like coming home: familiar, safe and friendly. And it is nice to be able to take shots from the air, which I had not done in this region. I am still tentative with the drone though. It is a more powerful and capable unit, which makes me a little nervous. I need more practice to regain my confidence after drowning the last one!

      • I am not quite ready for a drone, but I am considering renting a kayak and paddling around on a nearby river. I can’t decide if I feel confident enough to bring along my good camera gear on the water. If I do, I am pretty sure that I will get a “dry bag” to protect my gear when I am not actually shooting. As you are well aware, it can be pretty exciting to photograph water birds when you are in the midst of them rather than from the shore.

      • A dry bag is a must, Mike. I never ever take my Canon in the dinghy without it… let alone in a kayak. You would enjoy a paddle and access to spots you can’t get to any other way.

  3. Lovely to meet you today on the Paynesville jetty. Thanks for sharing some of your adventures and wonderful book. It was a great cup of tea too.
    Best wishes on your trip up north. Fiona and Andrew (Magic)

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