Roaming and moaning at the Lakes

We have had a mixed week at the Gippsland Lakes. The highlight was roaming the photogenic region and enjoying the company of our friends. We did a bit of moaning too as we have had to spend money on gear! But overall we enjoyed ourselves.

An aerial view of the Lakes

We love the Gippsland Lakes and have moored our previous boats here for many years. Every time we return we feel at home, safe and enjoy the peaceful feel. Australia’s largest inland waterways, this region is a network of lakes, marshes and lagoons covering over 600 square kilometres and separated from the ocean by coastal dunes known as the Ninety Mile Beach. Birds, marine life and furry creatures frequent many locations.

We discovered this handy map in our Lightroom Photo program. It shows the area we are in and where some of the photos were taken (marked with the red 5).

This week we are taking you to one of our favourite haunts: Rotamah Island. We escaped Paynesville and moored at Rotamah for a few days. Anui being a bit too big to tie up to the end of the jetty as we used to do with our old boat Take It Easy, we picked up a newly installed public mooring. Chris was brave enough to launch the new drone from the deck for the first time without shaking too much.

Anui moored in Lake Reeve, near the Rotamah Jetty

Rotamah is a very scenic spot with several lovely walks, including some to the Ninety Mile Beach. The only sounds you hear are bird song and the roar of the ocean as you get close to the beach. It is a soothing place.

We know the Lakes well but we never had the opportunity to see our favourites spots from the air until now. So it was novel to take the drone in the backpack on our wanders and send it up a few times to discover a new perspective! Here is a selection of aerial images taken during our walks on the island. They show case the ever-changing palette of colours and weather conditions.

  • The Causeway track at Rotamah Island
  • Channels at Rotamah Island
  • Aerial of Ocean Grange and the Bunga Arm
  • Rotamah and Little Rotamah from the air
  • Causeway on Rotamah Island
  • Ninety Mile Beach
  • The Bunga Arm and Ninety Mile Beach
  • Rotamah Island and Ninety Mile Beach

And of course sunsets are often breathtaking.

Moaning about boat gear

We had a good run for a few months with no gear problems, but we have put a stop to that! While we were in the Lakes, we destroyed the furler for our screecher. We have to be thankful this happened in protected waters rather than out in the ocean!

The furler was a Profurl continuous line furler, likely an original piece of gear on the boat. It had been giving us grief for a while, with the sail increasingly hard to furl and unfurl as the continuous line kept getting caught in the drum. It finally gave way all together while we were getting ready for a little sail from Paynesville to Emu Bight last weekend. It was pandemonium for a while as the drum unscrewed itself from the deck fitting and came off with the partly unfurled screecher flapping madly. It was a bit exciting bringing the 100sqm sail back on deck by hand! No photos of that little event, but this is what the drum looks like. The thread to the bottom snap lock shackle is stripped, the bearings in the drum dead, the drum itself deformed and cracked. It certainly explains why the continuous line was getting stuck! It is officially defunct!

Screecher and spinnaker both stored in the “coffin” for a while

After talking to our sail maker, Mike Sabin at Gold Coast Sail Makers, we ordered a new endless line furler, a Profurl NEX 6.5, the new generation of what we had. More assault on the bank account!

Thankfully the furler was in stock and arrived promptly. However when came installation time, neither the head nor foot of the sail fitted in the pins of the new Profurl. So we won’t have a working screecher until we get that sorted in Queensland.

We did a bit more moaning then with the wind in our favour we readied ourselves to leave the Lakes.

As we post this we are sailing along the East Gippsland coast. Stay tuned for the story of our trip to the Skerries and Bittangabee.

23 thoughts on “Roaming and moaning at the Lakes

  1. Wow, that metal seems too weak for the duty! The cracks are terrible but the drone photos are fabulous! Safe travels, guys! 🇦🇺

  2. Loved the drone shots, good to see you are underway again, enjoy. By the way a small parcel arrived the other day and I was expecting one as well so I opened it to find little black things. OOOPs not mine, sorry. all safe and sound at no 23.

  3. Love the geography lessons I am getting from you – should have known more about the Lakes than the name – great tutorial . . . and sent your drone photos to quite a few friends – they loved the photos and I the drone photo info I got back !!! Another silly question – how often do you have to touch land to fill up with fresh water . . . ?

    • Thanks Eha – we are rediscovering a very familiar region with the drone ourselves!
      We can make our own water with a desalinator on board when the sea water is clean, generally once a fortnight. When we are in not so clean waters, like in the Lakes, we top up the tanks with town water. The water maker gives us independence from shore.

  4. Great perspective of the lakes from the air. Its definitely on the list to explore with Asti at some stage.
    Very fortunate time to discover the failings on the furler (If there ever is a good time ). I wouldn’t want that to happen when surfing downhill with 20 knots up the tail. Retrieval would be much more stressfull.
    Safe passage.

    • Hi Graham, yes exactly! It’s bad enough in flat water and light conditions! The Lakes would be fun on Asteroid, lots of places you could get to where we can’t.

  5. The aerials are super cool. Ninety mile beach is impressive but doesn’t look like a place I’d like to go swimming. I can see flash rips everywhere, and I wonder about the men in grey suits that are said to enjoy the cooler water.

    Thanks for the update.

  6. Great photos of the lakes brings back memories when we first met you guys on Medina 2008 .

  7. How were the mossies? We camped at Paradise beach last year on a drive to Melbourne and had to get into the tent as soon as it hit dusk to avoid being eaten alive!

  8. Well looking at the timing of your post you may have been passing out to sea while I was frolicking in the wild surf at Marlo. The weather around the and heading north still looks challenging. Looks like you had a good stay in the Lakes though. Happy sailing!!!

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