Circumnavigating Australia Part 11

Fremantle to Tasmania

Fremantle and Perth

Tuesday – 10/09/2013 to Monday – 01/10/2013

Arrived at Fremantle Sailing Club and made ourselves at home we had sundowners at the bar. The bar is only open between 1500 hours and 1900 hours during most week days, the staff are very friendly and bar prices are good. This club is a wealthy club and tends to look after visitors and members.

(Alana Rose alongside at the collector dock Fremantle Sailing Club)

Thursday Nancy’s niece Sandra picked us up and we went out to her house for lunch then Sam her daughter took us out to Gosnells Railway Markets , these markets are situated in an old railway station and there are a couple of trains there and many other railway items. Then we went to Jadran winery and Armadale shopping complex, we had dinner there and then Sandra drove us back to the boat.

Friday – There is a bus stop just outside the main gate of the Sailing Club and over the railway line, the Red Cat bus service stops here about every 20 minutes and does the circuit into Fremantle shopping centre and CBD district, these buses are free, you can hop on or off at any bus stop on the circuit.

We visited the old Fremantle Gaol they run tours and they are quite interesting and well worth the visit. We had lunch at the cafe there, after lunch we went to Freemantle markets and then walked back to the marina via the water front. Our friend Reece and his daughter came to see us and brought our mail that we had forwarded to them, it was good to catch up with him once again.

(Fremantle Gaol)

(Tour tram) 

 (After the last woman was hanged at this gaol it was said that her ghost looked over the grounds from the centre window pain )

(The fact is it was a fault in the glass that had not been noticed before)

(The place no one wants to hang around, the hangman’s noose, the hangman was flown from interstate and was paid well, the noose you see has never been used, after each hanging the ropes were burned) 

Sunday – Sandra picked us up and we visited the Swan Valley which is filled with wineries, restaurants and other nice places like the Koffee Factory and Margaret River Chocolate Factory. After visiting those we went to Swanbrooke Cafe winery where we had lunch, then we went into Perth sightseeing and to the Kings Memorial Park. There was a celebration there for 50 years of ‘Flower Power’, remember the old flower power days, make love not war unfortunately at that period of time I was involved with the latter. The views from Kings Park is something to see and well worth the visit.

(The Koffee Shop, where they have different flavoured coffees)

(Swanbrooke Winery and Café where we had lunch) 

(After lunch Nancy and Sandra looking at the map to find our way)

(Perth and the Swan River from Kings Park)

(Kings Park war memorial)

(The inscription reads, “Let Silent Contemplation Be Your Offering, in the centre is the internal flame, it certainly made me take off my cap and stand in silence for a moment and give respect to the fallen)

(On a lighter note during September the parks offers the beauty of many wild flowers and these people are celebrating 50 years of Flower Power, doesn’t that make me feel old)

Tuesday – We went for a walk to buy some lunch and just get off the boat and stretch the legs, we found and IGA store a short walk from the marina, there are also a couple of coffee shops and art type places.

Wednesday – Glen hired a car which we are all chipping in for to drive north and see the places we bypassed when sailing and to see a bit of the land side of the coast. Our first stop on the way north was Hillary’s Boat Harbour which is quite impressive. This area is on the outskirts of Perth and has many very nice and probably very expensive homes. We did not look at the whole marina complex area but we did visit the Aquarium that is there and well worth the visit. They exhibit many sea life that is unique to Western Australia and once more they are very proud of it. We had a bite to eat at the cafe there before heading off.

 (Hillary Marina and Aquarium, some of the things I like to see behind glass)

(Sea Snake) 

(Dragon Fish)

(Jelly fish)

Our next stop was Two Rocks, I must say that these places are really going ahead with new housing estates being built, maybe I add WA with NT and say that they do not realise that Australia went through an economic downturn. It is probably due to the mining and gas field boom, god help us if that crashes. These houses are not small what they are building and as we travelled the coast it was evident that these places are going ahead even though they were out of commuter distance with the city.

(Two Rocks Harbour) 

(The reason for its name)

Two Rocks as far as us yachties we would have a problem getting a berth there it is very much fisherman oriented and they do not think much of us on the yachts so I have been told. If you needed to anchor it would have to be outside the harbour and conditions would have to be good and they are not at this present time.

Our next stop was Lancelin, the hope of the Pirates Football Team. This place is anchorage only and there are a number of fishing boats on moorings, although the reef was giving protection in the conditions we were experiencing it would not be that comfortable but tolerable.

(Lancelin, not a great place to anchor unless total calm)

(You can see the reef structure out to see which extends  through to Geraldton)

We then headed for Cervantes via the Pinnacles, I was a little insulted when we got to the rangers paying station to enter, it was a cost of $11 per car or $5 per car for seniors, the lady just said $5 please without asking.

What a well worth visit they say we should have stayed for the sunset but we were unable to as we had to get to our accommodation. It is worth seeing and you could spend many hours with a camera here.

(Nancy by the Pinacles)

(The Pinacles,  there is this section of land that these limestone structures protrude out of the sand)

We got to Cervantes and got our unit which was great, three bedroom with lounge, kitchen, bathroom, separate toilet and laundry for $160 per night shared with four of us was cheap.

Cervantes has an anchorage and what we saw although the conditions had calmed somewhat was good, leads to guide you in and shoals to protect the anchorage. If you visit the best meals in the place is at the bowling club and they have a liquor shop called ‘Linda’s Licka store’ , Linda the licensee has with her husband a sheep farm and conducts a bulk meat business, her husband named the bottle shop business. I would say the following question has been asked many times and our friend Glen asked it as we entered, “are you Linda the Licka”? and Linda answered straight away “no my husbands the licka”. Sorry I only tell it the way it was. We have to be a little broad minded.

We had a very nice dinner at the bowling club and then headed back to our accommodation where we had a couple of wines before retiring.

We asked Glen last night what time he wanted to get up and moving he said 0600 hours, not a problem for us as we are often up then or before, the boys were a little slower but we got underway early and headed north. Jurien Bay was the first stop, and again although far from the city it is a go ahead place with large new homes being built. This place has a sizeable marina and boat yard, no anchorage in the harbour but could anchor outside the wall with some protection. But it must be considered the weather conditions, looking at getting in and out of the anchorage with the waves. With the conditions we had I feel we made the better decision of going straight from Geraldton and to the Perth/Fremantle area. This area is the third windiest place in the world and the typical give-away with this is the wind generators at Cervantes.

(Jurien Bay Marina, the area looks quite up market with some beautiful homes near by.)

 (A little boat with lots of comfort)

From here we went to Port Denison, nice shallow harbour and the fact is you are not allowed to anchor in the harbour, the anchorage area is taken up by moorings and they look private. If you wish to stop here you have to anchor outside and under good conditions that is not a problem or you have to pay for a dock and I believe it is around the $90 mark. The place is very nice and the neighbouring Dongara is quaint with its older buildings and the main street with Moreton Bay Fig trees.

(We called into a little place Leeman and spotted these Australian Shelduck  and the Grey Teal below on the way) 

(Port Denison, good size harbour, shallow in places, the area where once you could anchor is now filled with private moorings, you can anchor outside in the right conditions or pay a fair amount for a timber pole berth). 

(A sea eagle keeping an eye on us)

(Main street Dongara, next to Port Denison, incredible fig trees cover the street)

(The Seasons Tree Café where we had morning tea)

(The big lobster outside Dongara)

This was our turning point to head back to Freo, (Fremantle) as it is known. We took the inland road back and it is quite unreal the difference other than the sand hills tend to go a long way inland, you see a sheep farm then in the middle is a sand dune. On the whole journey we noticed the different vegetation, the pretty wild flowers along with bushes and tea trees. It was well worth taking the journey.

 (Some of the wild flowers along the roads)

(The Windmill Roadhouse, unique shelving, the back end of a 1960 Holden station wagon) 

(The windmills and a couple of emus below) 

Whilst we had the car we did the fuel runs and shopping, we had to do two fuel runs to top up the tanks and have the fuel reserve in the containers as we had used a fair amount of fuel getting here from Geraldton.

Glen and Nigel went to dinner at the club we had declined as we have to watch our budget a little and I figured we would be going out to lunches and dinners a few more times before leaving here catching up with family and friends. We had dinner on board and started to watch a movie, we were three parts through the movie when we had a visit from Glen and Nigel, they had a good night and I think they had a few drinks, well they had a few more by the time they had left.

Earlier today we had a racing yacht raft up alongside, why they could not go to the dock like the other beats me, it was only for the night they were here for a race tomorrow. They had gone ashore to the theatre and did not get back until late so after the boys left we continued to watch the movie as we knew if we went to bed they would wake us when they got home just by walking across our deck to get to their boat.

Saturday – We have noticed that our VHF radio is not getting good reception of late when we have tried to communicate with other boats or bases we have to be closer to them than we used to. Glen and Nigel came over to assist us going up the mast. I got everything ready and by the time I got to the bosun’s chair Glen was in it ready to be hoisted up the mast so we sent him up. Did some tidying up ready for visitors this afternoon, some of the WA Shag Islet Cruising Club members were coming to have drinks and nibbles

Sunday – Today it was rain again not a great day with strong winds, we had drinks with the boys before dinner not much else achieved today. The days were cold and windy and we spent the days carrying out engine maintenance and cleaning.

Thursday – The day looked a little better so we walked into Fremantle to visit the Maritime Museums, there are two to visit one is shipwrecks and the other is about boats and yachts and ships including the RAN submarine’ Ovens’. They are well worth a visit and to look at all you will spend a full day at least.

(The Shipwreck Galleries Museum) 

(The part of the Batavia Hull, apparently there was a deal made that Geraldton could have the stone pillar gateway and Perth got this, the museum has made a replica out of timber of the gateway) 
(I will not rewrite the information about the wrecks it is all in the Geraldton article)

(The charts before Captain Cook filled the gaps)

(Leeuwin, launched in 1986, teaches people how to sail on sea adventures)

Then in the next Maritime Museum we have vessels related to Perth.

(Parry Endeavour, Jon Sanders triple circumnavigation single handed)

(What was it 2003, Australia II took the America’s Cup and Bob Hawke said anyone who sacked an Aussie for having a day off is a bum)

(Was it the Ben Lexon keel that made the difference or just the crew and having an edge?)

(Perth’s First Lady she was delivered in 1903 and was the first Pilot Boat and was taken out of service in 1957)

The evening was spent at Jim Putt’s house, Jim had invited us for dinner along with a few of his friends. Jim is one of the instigators of the Fremantle Sailing Club Cruising Guide and I have given some input for the new edition that is due next year. When we arrived Jim said to his friends “We have a new anchorage for the book, Seahorse Bay in the Kimberley”. This is what we gave him along with updates on other information which was given to us by Ron and Barbara in Darwin, in fact the bay is unnamed Ron and Barbara named it Seahorse Bay. We had a good night in good company.

Friday – My good mate Bill Dickerlee came to visit and have lunch with us today, Bill and I joined the navy at the same time and I have not seen him since around 1998, where we went to the Vung Tau Ferry (HMAS Sydney III), reunion dinner night in Hobart Tasmania. HMAS Sydney III was dubbed the Vung Tau Ferry as we took the Army to there in the Vietnam War, we served on that ship together. When you meet up with good friends like Bill it as though it was only yesterday when we meet the conversation just continues as good friends, that is what good friends are all about.

After lunch we went back on board Bill had a look around the boat and we sat down and had a few beers and chatted a little later Bill contacted his partner Gail and she came over to meet us and she also gave Nancy a haircut. It was good to catch up with them.

Saturday- 28/09/2013 – Today is a big day for Freo, (Fremantle), their football team the ‘Dockers’ is playing Hawthorn in the finals in Melbourne, they have cut off the main street in Freo and put a enormous screen up for people to go down and watch, the pubs are opening bars at 0700 hours and the match does not start until 1230 hours.

At around 0900 hours we walked down town to see what it was like, there were people everywhere dressed in the colours of their team, there were queues everywhere to get into the pubs and some of the pubs were already packed. After looking at the place we headed for Franks Gourmet Meats in Wray Street, this is a butchers shop to be seen, they have every type of meat you could think of and if you want steak they have a large round cutting board where they cut the amount of steaks that you want to the thickness you want. One other thing that impressed me is that when you have all you want they add the items up with pencil on the wrapping paper not on an adding machine, what an incredible shop, we then had lunch at a cafe then returned to the marina and watched the footy match at the Sailing Club. The Dockers lost the final but did not disgrace themselves, I think they were overwhelmed by playing in the MCG and 100,000 spectators with most of them backing their opposition.

(The crowds arrive)

(The hotel is packed at 0930 hours)

(And the colours for the Dockers are)

A good queue for a pub at 0900 hours)

Sunday – It’s not a nice day with rain and cold, we did go for a walk to the shops under brolly and helped tie up ‘Starship’ a mono that we had spoken with on the radio in Carnarvon. We stayed on board getting last minute things done before leaving tomorrow.

Monday -I went to the favourite butchers shop to get a few last items before sailing whilst Nancy did some laundry and got all our clothes and bedding washed.

My niece Lisa and her three rather grown up children came down to visit us and spent a short time together, we then headed to the supermarket to get some final shopping done and on our return we set off for Garden Island to anchor there for the night.

(L-R Me, Steven, Lisa,Rachel
and Brad )

Fremantle to Albany via Bunbury

Tuesday – 01/10/2013

We left Fremantle late afternoon and headed over to Garden Island, yes Garden Island WA, many people have heard of Garden Island Sydney as the Naval dockyard well so is the one in WA. Going back many years I can remember this Garden Island being on the drawing board, the big plan was to building the naval dockyard here get it up and running and employ ex-service personnel to do the ships maintenance because they were fed up with the strikes and hold ups from the dockyard workers in Sydney. The intention was to close the Sydney Garden Island down. In the end of the day I suppose politics played the game and therefore it stayed, not sure if it was related though as Cockatoo Island was closed down as the submarines are now over here.

The we anchored on the NE side of the island and had to have a couple of goes at getting the anchor to set in the sea grass, I have worked out that to set the anchor through the seagrass (our Rocna anchor), is to hold the boat still until the anchor touches the bottom and only let the boat move very slowly back on the anchor, if you pull the boat back too fast the anchor will slide across the top of the seagrass and will not set. Naturally it does help if you can see the ocean floor and pick an area where the grass is not so heavy but anchoring in late afternoon this is not always possible. It does not always set the first time a couple of tries maybe required.

I believe there is an article in one of the Cruising Helmsman magazines that have covered this in regard to using modern day anchors and the fisherman’s anchor in heavy grassed areas you can have trouble with both.

I had the usual first night out on anchor waking and checking all during the night, the wind had changed to the south which caused some small fetch causing a different noise and movement of the hull which always wakes me. As we had a couple of goes at setting the anchor in heavy grassed seabed I wanted to make sure we were secure which we were. We always set the anchor alarm to ensure if we do drag for some reason we are alerted straight away. Well I think I have mentioned before if we go over our set limit the GPS anchor drag alarm beeps Nancy wakes then she nudges me and tells me the anchor drag alarm has gone off. I then check, most times it is because I have set the alarm distance tight and the tide or wind has turned us 180 degrees and the alarm is triggered, but if we are dragging its all hands on deck and we re-anchor.

Wednesday – 02/10/2013

We set sail before light and headed out through North Channel north of Garden Island, when we cleared the island we headed out to sea to reasonable depths to 30 to 40 metre areas, in shallower depths you tend to get waves breaking or raised as they move through the shallower contours. We had good winds and sailed most of the day, we had to use the engine when mid afternoon when we got the wind on the nose, this happens most afternoons I think it is the usual sea breeze.

We contacted Glen on ‘Banyandah’ via VHF radio, they had left the marina at 0600 hours this morning which meant at that time we were around 10NMS ahead of them. They had changed their plan they decided they would sail straight to East Point which meant they would be doing two over night sails. We told them we would still be going to Bunbury for the night.

Just before going into Bunbury we contacted Glen to see how they were going, they said they were down to 3 to 4 knots heading straight into the wind, we said we would see them in Albany where we intended to hold up for the bad weather forecasted.

As we entered Bunbury we contacted ACRM (Australian Coastal Radio Monitoring), we had signed on with Sea Rescue in Fremantle and they had passed on our ETA and details to Bunbury. A lady by the name Rae answered and took our details.

(Anchored in Bunbury and a great sunset)

We anchored near the sailing club left of the moored yachts and started to investigate where we could get fuel in the morning, the service station was quite a distance and we wondered if it was possible to dinghy up the waterway which is not that far from the service station. I suggested to Nancy that she contact Rae and ask. Nancy called Rae and then contacted her by phone, Rae said she would check it out with the boys and get back to us. Within a few minutes she rang back and gave us a name and number for Gavin who is a Sea Rescue volunteer. Nancy rang Gavin and he said meet me with your fuel containers on the beach near the sailing club in an hour. This we did and Gavin drove us to the fuel station and then gave us a tour of Bunbury, after he returned us to the beach I asked if we could give him something for what he had done, his comment was, no nothing, just do the same for someone else sometime. We have met some great people on this trip.

Thursday – 03/10/2013

(Bunbury waterfront in morning light)

(Bunbury Yacht Club)

Our plan was not to rush this morning as we were only going to Quindalup some 37Nms in distance, so we had a relaxing breakfast before heading out. I had sent an email to friends in Busselton to let them know our plans and that we would not be able to catch up, just as we left this morning they contacted me on the phone and told me that East Point was not a comfortable anchorage for the predicted weather, they had contacted a friend in Sea Rescue down there and he said it was not a good anchorage. We contacted ‘Banyandah’ by phone and they were still north of Leeuwin doing the same speed, they asked if we had seen the weather update that the wind down there was going to come in a little earlier, we informed them about East Point they said if it is no good they would continue to Albany but would check it out on the way.

(Bunbury from the sea as we head south, the tall white office building is one that Alan Bond built in his hay day)

(Whales near Cape Natraliste)
(Whale taking a dive)

So we checked the weather then decided to go straight through to Albany, so we changed course and headed for Cape Naturaliste which is about 38 Nms. The wind was on the nose so I had to run iron sails as well as the rags. As we neared the Cape the wind picked up which happens here each afternoon this slowed us, to make matters worse the wind followed us as we rounded the Cape and strengthened this brought us back to 3-4 knots

(Sun has gone cold night at sea)

I checked the weather observations and found that half way to Leeuwin and at Leeuwin the winds had changed to west winds so I hoped that this would happen soon. After a few hours the wind changed to west then we were off sailing at 7 to 9 knots. We rounded Cape Leeuwin during Nancy’s watch at 0205 hours, this put the wind behind us Nancy had to furl the headsail as it was shadowed by the mainsail. She had a bit of an experience as she rounded Leeuwin there was a cargo ship drifting, hardly moving. This is what they tend to do these days if they are earl to get to a port, these days they are not allowed to anchor at a port until a given time and date so if they are a little early they drift to save fuel.

The seas were very sloppy during the night and day.

Friday – 04/10/2013

The seas and wind continued to build and we had wind speeds around 28 knots but we moved along quite well, when we neared East Point we called ‘Banyandah’ to see if they had anchored or moved on. They were at the anchorage and said it was very calm, we still had 20 Nms to go before reaching there. We arrived well before dark and dropped the anchor and had a good night sleep. Considering the seas outside the anchorage were around 3 – 4 metres plus and strong winds we had little to show for it at the anchorage. Looking at the weather forecast and wind charts we had decided to try and get to Albany prior to the storm and stronger winds hitting this meant that we had to leave at 0300 hours to get to Albany before 1400 hours. Glen and Nigel thought the BOM weather was not accurate as Buoy-Weather and said they would leave at 0500 hours so we said we would see them in Albany. Each skipper has to make the decisions for themselves.

(Squalls out at sea and the birds just glide over the waves)

(Lumpy seas as we head into the Southern Ocean)

Saturday – 05/10/2013

By the time we weighed anchor we got underway by 0315 hours we were making good speed to arrive in Albany prior to 1400 hours, however, some 15 Nms prior to the entrance to King George Sound we could see the stormy weather chasing us. Nancy got on the net and checked the radar, the front was moving fast and before long we had the initial storm with rain a heavier storm was behind this first storm. As I approached Peak Head the second storm hit and we had white out, we could not see Peak Head and Vancouver Rock which we needed to go between so I veered off and aborted the approach until I could see each land form.

We finally turned into the entrance and the winds had strengthened, as we turned we headed into the wind and we furled the headsail, the main had been reefed before we left, using both engines and the mainsail we made good headway of around 7 knots, as we neared the leads into the harbour the wind strengthened once again up to 37 knots. We were fortunate at one point where the wind backed of just for a few seconds during that time I was able to pull the mainsail down. Bare-poled we headed into the channel and it was slow going having 30 – 33 knots of wind on the nose, the hardest we had was when we got to the end of the channel into the Albany harbour the wind hit at 37 knots and I almost lost steerage, I had to put both engines full ahead to make headway.

I was told by friends that the anchorage near the town jetty was good, admittedly the wind was less there but it was not a good anchorage with W/SW winds, it is only for calm conditions so we headed over towards the yacht club, on the charts the waters there look shallow so we rang Geoff a fellow SICYC member and he told us just to watch the shallow patches but the anchorage would be fine, he said the better anchorage is in Oyster Harbour which is back where we came from north of King George Sound. We said we would anchor here for the night and may move there tomorrow and thanked him for his help.

The electronic charts were spot on as I steered between the shallow areas and anchored in 2.6 metres of water. The anchorage was very comfortable and there was less wind there. We contacted Banyandah and told them of the conditions, they were 2 hours behind us and copped the main storm coming passed Eclipse Island, the storm had come in 30 minutes early than I figured it would but at least we were in the port when it hit. Banyandah anchored just around from the old Whaling Station in Frenchman’s Cove, this is a good anchorage for these conditions but around 6 Nms from town and the main harbour.

(Sunset Albany)

We had a comfortable night the wind settled down and the waters were calm, we had a nice dinner after a couple of beers.

Sunday – 06/10/2013

It was a nice morning sun shining and calm conditions but is was not going to last as strong winds were predicted late morning.

Whilst having breakfast I checked the internet for information about the marinas here, there are three, one right in town which is a new marina, one in Oyster Harbour, both of these are run by the Department of Transport or Infrastructure, the third one is run by the sailing club.

When I did the Google search for Albany Marinas it came up with a map showing two marinas marked (A) and (B), (A) being the spot where the town marina is, it had a contact number showing it is open seven days a week from 0700 to 1700 hours. At 0715 hours I called the number and asked if this was the right place I was ringing regarding the marina, the fellow said no it is not, but I may be able to help. My first question was about available fuel, he said that there wasn’t any fuel dock fuel can be delivered by truck if arranged and asked how much I wanted. When I answered about 100 litres he said I can run you to the fuel station for that. I then asked if he knew how much it cost for the marina for our size boat, he said it’s expensive around $60 to $70 per day, I said that’s not too bad. He said look if you want to come in he could meet me there at 0900 hours as he needs to be there for a sailing class at 1000 hours. We thought it would be a good idea so we said we would go in and I told him there is another yacht with us would there be room for him, he said there would be. After all that we decided to introduce ourselves, the bloke was Mark McRae who runs the Southern Ocean Sailing School.

(Heading into the marina, Albany township ahead spread on the two hills, Geoff tells the story of us and them on the two hills, he and Ingrid live on the right hill)

(Albany, last night with all the lights on it reminded me of St Georges in Grenada when we arrived in the early hours of dark, it gave the same picture of the two hills covered in lights)

(The wind farm, there are many of these along the coastline)

I contacted Glen on Banyandah and he said he would meet us there. We went into the marina and Mark was there to take our lines, we had a bit of a chat and he loaned me his key to get in and out of the gate, he said the staff from the marina would probably call down and issue us keys and book us in if not contact them tomorrow.

After we were settled we contacted Geoff and Ingrid the only two SICYC members in this town, they said they would meet us for coffee at the market near the marina at 1000 hours. Which we did and what a lovely couple they are, we had met them once before at the Shag Islet weekend a couple of years ago but only to say hello. They both have a great sense of humour, we had a chat and went for a walk and Geoff said he would pick us up the next day and take us on a tour.

(Geoff, Ingrid, Nancy and I wearing our SICYC gear)

We returned on board to do a few chores, then it was sundowner’s which went for some considerable time. During our session the manager of the marina called in, Noel came aboard and sat down for a chat, he had come down to check the lights when he noticed two new boats had arrived. It was good to talk to him, he asked us about the different marinas we had been to and their charges. He has fought to bring the charges down here at this marina but he has to deal with the head office in Perth. His main problem is that there are a number of catamaran owners that would like to come in on a permanent basis but if you take a two sided berth which is designed for monohulls you have to pay double at a cost of $5.03 per metre boat length which has been reduced greatly since last year, on the east coast being a catamaran we pay between $60 and $70 per night which is usually 30% higher than a monohull with the exception of Abel Point Marina at Airlie Beach that charge $128 per night we don’t go there these days. It was fortunate that we were on the end of the dock therefore we only paid for one berth. The marina and its facilities are very good in fact excellent, they do like most marinas have a seagull problem that crap all over the pontoons but there is not much you can do about that. The fact is probably if the charges were cheaper the marina would be full and that in itself deters the gulls, they tend to hang around where there are no boats. Noel was a very nice bloke and took on board our comments, his wife must have been wondering where he was we kept him talking for some time. Noel said he would have someone call in before we head off at 0900 hours on our tour to issue keys and book us in. Noel was a nice bloke and pleasant to talk to.

Monday – 07/10/2013

We had a visit from a lovely young lady June from the Department of Transport a very pleasant young lady very kind on the eyes too, she was very helpful in organising keys and getting us booked in to the marina, we called in the office to fill out the paperwork, the staff were very friendly and helpful.

The bottom line is if you want to be in town and the conditions are not calm the only real choice is the marina you can just about walk to most places for shopping from there, fuel is a bit distant where you would need some transport to cart containers. The marina amenities are good and simple, through one door you enter two separate toilets, two separate showers and a laundry that has one washing machine and one drier. The sailing club is 9kms from town and it is a good distance from Oyster Harbour, I do believe that the marina is a little cheaper at these two places.

Geoff picked the four of us up and we went touring via the transport office to fill in the paperwork, then we headed out The Gap and the Natural Bridge, then to the Whaling Station where we spent a good ninety minutes half of that doing the tour. We then went to some of the tourist spots and saw the ship ‘Amity’ then had lunch at The Earl of Spencer Inn, from there we headed out to some of the lookouts and to Oyster Harbour, we then went to Geoff and Ingrid’s home for afternoon tea, Ingrid had been working. Ingrid drove us back to the marina and then we met up with Mark McRae again and he drove us to pick up our fuel and visit our favourite uncle, Dan Murphy to purchase a few essentials. After returning on board Mark sat with us for sundowner’s and we picked his brain for the better anchorages along the coast.

(The Natural Bridge)

(The Gap)

(This ship is a whale chaser, now an exhibit at the Whaling Station, the whaling station stopped operations in 1978, not that long ago really and the station is still in good condition and left complete)

(One of the last Sperm Whales to be caught in 1978, it is the only whale with large teeth and can dive great depths to catch giant squid)

(A Blue whale the largest of the whale species)

Mark is a very nice bloke and very helpful as is Geoff and Ingrid, some very nice people. As I mentioned before that Mark has the sailing school, he loves sailing and likes to promote sailing so if you ever sail or drive into Albany call in and say g’day. His website is below.

Albany History

A Changing Community

For centuries the Menang Aboriginal people occupied the area around Albany.

The Menang people lived in beehive type huts, and created fish traps and hunted outwards according to the seasons. In the early days of settlement, a history of mostly cooperative relations developed between the European explorers, whalers and traditional owners. Garrison troops and convicts weren’t competing for resources or territory, and this relatively peaceful coexistence continued until 1831 when the settlement was handed over to the Swan River Colony. Local leader Mokare acted as interpreter and guide. He showed Major Lockyer walking trails that had been used for generations. Many of these trails have become the roads we now drive on.

As the town grew sheep and cattle decimated traditional food supplies. When flour handouts stopped during the 1840’s, the Menang responded by taking livestock. Settlers retaliated , and from the late 1830’s bloodshed occurred on both sides.

Disease took a terrible toll on the indigenous community and the young settlement . In 1860 a P&O Steamer brought scarlet fever to Albany, devastating the Aboriginal population, especially those living close to town.

By the late 1950’s many of the Aboriginal people had been moved to missions where they continued to live, excluded from the wider community for much of the 20th century . People of Aboriginal origin were forbidden to enter any public buildings and Albany became a closed town to the original inhabitants.

Albany was the first non-Aboriginal settlement in Western Australia

By 1833, twenty percent of the town’s population was Indian, over the years , people from many other nations also made Albany their home. Before Fremantle Harbour opened in 1900, Albany was the state’s main port. For centuries Princess Royal Harbour has been the place for immigration and thoroughfare.

For Edward John Eyre’s Aboriginal friend Wylie, King George Sound was a pace to return to. After being taken by ship to Adelaide, Wylie helped Eyre survive the arduous overland trek to Western Australia: Wylie knew to take water from certain leaves and broke the roots of gum trees so they could suck them and quench their thirst .

……he brought in kangaroos, opossums, ducks and swans. He also found yams and roots, and could eat crabs twice as fast as Eyre.

Wylie’s service was rewarded with ‘a weekly ration of flour and meat by the government and with £2 and a medal from the Agricultural Society of Perth: Eyre was awarded the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographic Society and in 1846 , was mad Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand.

Albany and the ANZAC

It was from Albany that the fleet of ships left with all the troops that went over to Gallipoli, it had the harbour space and it was out of view from most.

Albany to Esperance

Tuesday – 08/10/2013

Our plan is to sail at 0800 hours so we got up early to get organised, went for showers and did some laundry, top the water tanks checked engines and we were off by just after 0800 hours. Banyandah left first but as we started to go out the marina they came back in at first I wondered if they had a problem, but as I saw them heading toward the gate end I realised they had forgotten to drop the key in the locked box. We are heading to Esperance via some anchorages.

We hoped that the NW winds would give us some sailing but this did not occur so it was motor sailing once more, it was only a short sail to Two Peoples Bay which was named after two Captains had a meeting there back in early days, an English and a French Captain, not sure what the meeting was about but I do know that Albany became to being because the French might have colonised parts of Australia and this would stop them.

When we got to the Bay we searched the seabed for a clear patch that was free from seagrass and dropped the anchor then had lunch before pulling down the headsail. I had noticed as we sailed this morning that the UV protection strip on the sail stitching had let go in parts. We could see storm cells approaching so we needed to get it down before they hit.

We then got out the generator and sewing machine and got to work. Just as we finished the sail the winds kicked in along with the rain from the storm cell and then our anchor let go of the bottom so we started the engines lifted the anchor and searched for a better spot, we dropped the anchor in a large bare patch and the anchor grabbed swinging the boat around so we knew it was a good spot.

(Nancy on the sewing machine that she loves and hates)

The sail had to sit in the cockpit till late afternoon when the wind abated and then the boys off ‘Banyandah’ came over for sundowners and helped hoist the sail back onto the furler.

We had sundowner’s then a quiet night.


(Albatross gliding around us )

We sailed out of Two Peoples Bay at 0700 hours for Wrays Bay, with the wind directly behind us I started off with the headsail and hoped that the SW wind would kick in, this did happen a little later and we hoisted the mainsail and we sailed well, ‘Banyandah’ went passed as we furled headsail and turned into the wind to hoist the mainsail and then unfurl the headsail again but we soon caught up and went passed them again this is due to our hull speed being greater than theirs. We anchored in Wrays Bay in front of the fishing huts, the book advises against this but under the light conditions it was comfortable.

(Wrays Bay anchorage, ‘Banyandah’ in front and the fishing mans house to the right)


Another 0700 hours start this morning heading for Doubtful Island Bay where we sit out the bad weather for a few days, we sailed wing on wing for some time and went along at a good steady rate, the seas were a little rough and the wind was directly behind us , however, after lunch the winds backed off and it was start an iron sail again.

(One of the many Australasian Gannets that keep us company at sea with many other birds)

When we neared Bremer Bay and Doubtful Island Bay we had to start an engine as the swell from the SW was rebounding on the rock faces of the shore and creating a very uncomfortable sea and shaking wind out of the sails.

It is quite pretty the entrance through the islands into the bay as the winds were changing to NW and the SW we anchored in the northern corner of the southern beach, this area has clean sand and no weed or seagrass in 3.5 metres of water, when the NW winds kicked in the wind waves bent around the corner of the protruding shore line but was not uncomfortable. When the SW winds kicked in we were very comfortable but for SE winds it is better to anchor in the southern corner of the beach.

(Heading between the islands to enter Doubtful Islands Bay)

This place is beautiful with great beaches but unfortunately the weather was so bad we did not leave the boat. Bremer Bay next door has a substantial community and this bay has some buildings including a commercial fishing base.

On Friday we had a visitor Southern Right Whale and it’s calf, it was huge it came around ‘Banyandah’ and they called to let us know the whale then came between the two boats before leaving. It was an incredible sight, they are different to the whales we had seen, these have large heads and a bonnet which is full of crustaceans such as barnacles. It was great to see.

(The Southern Right Whale and calf behind near ‘Banyandah’)

(The Southern Right Whale’s crown which is covered in barnacles and other crustaceans)

The winds continued through Saturday and we stayed on board, the boys came over for sundowners on the Saturday as things started to clear up and we had sunshine and sunset which made sundowner’s legal.

Glen suggested we head off early in the morning to get to Starvation Bay with some daylight left and we agreed, so the plan was set and we had an early night.


We left for Starvation Bay at 0500 hours, seas were still up slightly from the previous weather and this made the voyage a little uncomfortable. Come lunch time and the wind swung around a little and strengthened although it is supposed to drop away in the evening. We had to take a different rhumb line than ‘Banyandah’, this is due to us being a catamaran we do not point as well into the wind and care needs to be taken in these waters as some waters are listed as unsurveyed although they have marked the rocks on the charts accurately. ‘Banyandah’ arrived at Starvation Bay first and as we started the approach to enter the bay I looked over at ‘Banyandah’ and they were anchoring and rolling heavily. I got Nancy to call them on the radio and ask what it is like? Glen said it will be alright once the wind drops later. I said I was not happy about it and decided to continue going through the night onto Esperance.

I turned the boat and set a course to go further out to sea where the surveyed waters were, I did not want to chance the unsurveyed waters at night as we could not see rocks and any other surprises they may be and as we headed out I noticed waves breaking and as we got closer we saw rocks and the waves breaking over the top and these rocks were not on any of the charts. I reached the surveyed waters just before dark which I was very pleased.

(This is a wave breaking over concealed rocks in unsurveyed waters)

A couple of hours later Glen on ‘Banyandah’ phoned to see how things were, I told him we have the wind of 15-20 knots on the nose and having to run both engines. He said that the wind had not dropped and they were bouncing up and down and had broken the rope snubber on the anchor chain. (Snubber is a length of nylon rope hooked on the anchor chain and secured to the boat which takes the weight off the chain on board and creates a shock damper so that the jarring is not on chain or anchor winch). They said things will be alright once the wind dies.

Monday – 14/10/2013

(After a long and unplanned over night at sea the morning sun was welcome)

We continued to motor sail all night keeping four on four off watches and finally got into Esperance at 0900 hours, we tried to ring the Sailing Club to see if they had a berth or mooring we could use as we had been told anchoring can be a problem in heavy weather which we expecting but we had no joy. So then we entertained the public for quite some time trying to get the anchor to hold without much success, we tried where there was no seagrass or weed but still the sand would not hold. In the end we rigged the fenders and ropes and went alongside the inside of the jetty where there are a couple of commercial boats on the outside. Once secured I asked the commercial operator who should I see about staying on the dock? He said the port authority. Cut a long story short I got onto the Pilot and he had seen us trying to anchor, he said the only place to anchor is in the harbour proper but not in the way of the ship turning area, but he added if there is a big blow we probably would not hold in this ground anyway, he then asked me to contact a lovely young lady Katie who gave me the rates for staying on the dock, which I thought was very expensive but given the situation we needed somewhere secure. Katie came down to the dock with a security key for us and said that before we leave to return the key to her along with payment at the office just up the road.

(“Alana Rose” alongside at the Esperance Dock)

We continued to try and contact the Sailing Club but just got the answering machine, as it turns out the club is run by volunteers and the office is not open as per what is advertised on the website. I knew there was not a space for us in the marina but we were trying to get a spot for when ‘Banyandah’ arrived, I could see one spot that they could fit in.

(The Esperance Sailing Club, great people run by volunteers, the club is a brand new building)

Once settled we went into town to look where things were, find where to get fuel and where the shops are located. Esperance is a pretty town and very tidy and clean. On the way back to the boat we called in the pub and tested the beer as you do. Just after we returned on board we saw ‘Banyandah’ entering the harbour, I took the liberty of directing him into the vacant spot in the marina. Just as he was approaching the marina a couple of ladies came to the marina gate and I asked them if they were club members, they said they were and I asked if it was alright for ‘Banyandah’ to take that empty spot, I told them that I had directed them to it. Her name was Sue and she asked when would they be in and I said they are there coming around the corner and she took off to help them tie up. Yachties are such great people.

After the boys secured the boat they came over for our sundowners and we made them stay for dinner which was only a steak sandwich. They told us that they did not get much sleep the night at Starvation Bay as the wind continued all night and without the snubber the yacht was jerking on the chain. As I said to them I prefer to suffer lack of sleep making headway than sitting at a bad anchorage worrying if we were going to hold in bad conditions.


Glen called to let us know he was going into the marina to sort out about the marina berth and would find out the best way to get fuel and asked if I could research on the net for a fuel delivery service. The Shell service station is right up the other end of town away from the water. I contacted Caltex they said they do not do that end of town I would have to contact BP. I was about to do that when Glen phoned to say that berth he was in belonged to a bloke named Kevin and that the reason the berth was empty was that Kevin had lost his yacht to fire when it was on the hard and that he had also offered to loan Glen his car to do our fuel runs and any other things that we may need. We could have the car around 1200 hours.

(Going on the fuel run)

(Teamwork at the service station)

(Getting the fuel aboard)

This we did a couple of fuel runs and refreshment runs before returning Kevin’s car, as we were returning to the dock we met the Sue who helped dock ‘Banyandah’ she had just driven down to see if we needed her car to run around and do things. There are some great people in this world. Whilst Kevin was talking to us he mentioned to me that when the bad weather comes in my position on the dock can get a battering against the dock with the surge. He said there is that long rope by the entrance to the marina that is chained securely get that across to your boat and secure it to the port side and adjust it so it holds you off the dock, he said that’s what it is there for. If you sail into Esperance and you want some local information on anchorages along this coastline check with Kevin if you can’t find him at the Sailing Club you may contact him through Subway the food place, he owns it.

(Setting up securing lines to stop hit the dock when the bad weather hits)

Our night was spent at the Pier Hotel, Katie had told us that the good places to eat was the Best Western and the Pier Hotel, they are next door to each other. Well we can recommend the Pier Hotel the food was excellent as was the service and friendly staff. We had a very good night. I think it may have been the night caps on board that brought us undone the next morning. We had a little hangover.

(Nancy showing her artistic skills, when Glen went for a drink he saw these set up for children so he brought one across for Nancy, when Nancy finished it Glen gave it to a little girl)


I got organised to do the washing with our washing machine and hung the clothes in the cockpit to dry. We then went into town to do the shopping, getting one lot done and getting it on board then off to the butchers and get a bite of lunch, when all finished returned on board. The boys came over for sundowner’s and chat about our next anchorages, we had to fix up the accounts in the morning so we could not leave before 0900 hours. The boys went off to the pub again for dinner but we elected to stay aboard as we had got things out for dinner.

Thursday – 17/10/2013

Got up early to get things organised, topped up fresh water and checked everything was secure. We headed to Katie’s Office at the port authority building, she is a very pleasant person and was feeling a bit bad about having to charge us the price that had been set, which was $6.50 per metre in length. I said it was a shame we could not have got a space in the sailing club marina saying that it would have been half the price. This ended up in a quiet discussion of costs in other marinas and as we pointed out that these places have showers, toilets and laundry facilities. I said we were not complaining just letting you know the difference. We thanked them for what they had done and said our goodbyes. We headed off back to the boat and just before we got there Katie pulled up alongside us in her car. She said she had spoken with her boss and explained what we had said and she gave us refund to the same cost as what the marina here charges.

For anyone that wishes to sail this way and wants to use this facility contact the lovely Katie through Esperance Ports 08-9072 3333. The other option if you cannot get into the marina the Sailing Club has a very strong mooring, it is a large yellow buoy mooring furthest one out from the others almost by itself. Thanks Katie, also thanks to Kevin and Zero for their help and local knowledge.

Esperance to Middle Island and across The Great Australian Bight

Thursday – 17/10/2013

Leaving Esperance we set off for Lucky Bay anchorage but as we got there the swell was heading straight into the bay so we continued on to the Duke of Orleans, the amount of islands in this area is incredible and one has to keep a look out for rocks although they all appear to be accounted for on the electronic charts. I noticed on the charts for Lucky Bay my earlier version of Navionics and the American paper charts show an island in the middle of the entrance, the latest Navionics and the Garmin electronic charts and the Australian paper charts do not show an island simply because there is no island there. We arrived at Duke of Orleans Bay just before dark and dropped the anchor in what looked like a hell of a lot of sea grass but we held all night not that there was a lot of wind to test it out.

(Heading to Lucky Bay there are many islands and rugged coastline)

(Passing Lucky Bay after changing mind due to wind and sea direction)

Friday – 18/10/2013.

Duke of Orleans anchorage)

We spent the day at anchor and went ashore to climb the hill for a look around the bays, when we finally got to the top we were surprised to see a village in the next bay the other side of the hill I think it is Whaton. The views were great from the top.

(Duke of Orleans Bay)

(The village of Wharton, Duke of Orleans Bay)

We then returned on board and did a few chores, Glen and Nigel came over for sundowner’s and we all agreed to leave at first light for Middle Island.

(Glen and Nigel teamwork, rowing over for sundowners)

Saturday – 19/10/2013

Up at first light which at the moment is around 0430 hours (WST), prepared to set sail for Middle Island. Getting the anchor up was a long process as the sea grass had entwined itself in the anchor chain at the area that swivels, Nancy had a great time getting that clear. We motored out of the bay with mainsail with one reef. The reason for a reef and I always go out of an anchorage with one reef in is for the simple reason in a protected bay it is uncertain what winds are going to bend around a headland and the other reason is if the swell is side on and there is little wind the swell tends to shake the wind out of the sails on a catamaran, having less sail takes some weight from the top and reduces the sail slap from side to side.

Soon after clearing the bay we had wind and I unfurled the headsail as we proceeded the wind changed from NW to W this put the wind behind us so we did the wing on wing, one sail out to starboard the other sail out to port, this worked well for a short while then the headsail would not hold the wind due to the swell rocking us on the beam, so that was furled and went mainsail alone but still kept good speed.

Our aim was to get to Middle Island before lunch time as the winds predicted were S/SE 20 to 30 knots in the afternoon and evening and for the next couple of days.

When we arrived we anchored behind Goose Island for protection from the strong westerly wind and after anchoring there for some time we dragged anchor even though the anchor originally gripped. We re-anchored and all was well. Mid afternoon we changed anchorage to the beach at Middle Island ready for the southerly and south-easterly winds.

Most of the anchorages along this coastline has an abundance of seaweed/seagrasses, clear sand patches are hard to find, in some places the sand is a fine silica sand that packs down hard and sometimes hard to penetrate and sometimes when the anchor does dig in the sand breaks out in a clump.

It is interesting to see that we are using a modern age anchor a Rocna and ‘Banyandah’ is using a Sarca, also a modern age anchor, we have probably dragged a couple of times more than they have but we are a lot heavier and have greater windage. But we are finding that you just have to be patient and find the right spot to put the anchor down, it may take a couple of tries but so be it.

The wind stayed around 20-25knots whilst at Middle Island so we did not socialise and have the usual sundowner’s. We had internet coverage for a while but when the bad weather came with clouds and rain we lost the signal, fortunately I had copied the photos of the weather charts off the Metvuw site for the whole week. Having these and the weather reports on HF Radio we could follow what was happening. Glen on ‘Banyandah’ had a sat phone and his wife Anne in Tasmania would look up the weather and give him the information and he would pass that on to us.

Sunday – 20/10/2013

Still anchored at Middle Island and the weather is cold and windy and sometimes wet. We communicate between boats via the VHF radio, the big topic is weather and there is a short weather window if we leave Monday, winds will still be up on that day and so might the seas be, but it is often a good option to leave on the last day of the bad weather and ride on the back of a low pressure system when you’re not going to bash into it.

We stayed inside the boat all day because of the cold and lit the oven to warm the boat up. Our decision on if we leave here tomorrow will be made when we get the weather report via Anne on Glen’s sat phone.

The weather report came in late afternoon and we had discussions over the radio and decided we would head off at 0600 hours tomorrow.

We are aware that we may travel at different speeds and a different course as we do not point into the wind as well as a monohull and we are a faster boat, so we have set up a HF radio schedule for 0600 hours and 1800 hours if we cannot reach each other on the VHF Radio.

So early to bed we have a few days sail of 4 hours on watch and 4 hours off watch to try and sleep.

Monday – 21/10/2013

Commence crossing the Great Australian Bight.

We set off at 0555 hours (WST), we have decided to stay on WA time until we get to Port Lincoln. Once we were out of the protection of the island we got the rough and tumble seas and 20 to 25 knots wind. I left the anchorage with a second reef in the mainsail and now pleased I did, we unfurled the headsail leaving 5 turns on the furler and we were off. It was not long before we passed ‘Banyandah’ and I actually wound more headsail in to slow us down. We could have easily being 10 knots plus more but it made it uncomfortable or should I say more uncomfortable, plus putting additional strain on all the rigging. We sailed around the 8 knots with waves breaking over the bows and sometimes spraying over the top of us.

(The start of The Great Australian Bight, ‘Banyandah’ off the starboard bow)

(‘Banyandah’ high seas)

Glen had set a course to go further south than us as he felt that he would arrive late Friday and Friday has east winds predicted which would allow him to tack northward into Port Lincoln. We did not follow this route for two reasons, the main reason is that we cannot point into the wind as well as Glen in his ketch and secondly I felt we would be there before the east winds would upset us.

We lost sight of ‘Banyandah’ through the night and by the following morning we could not reach them on VHF radio we had to revert to the HF Radio schedules.

Being the first night out neither of us got any sleep with the bouncing of the boat and the noise of the waves crashing on the hull.

Tuesday – 22/10/2013

We have sailed 153NMS in the first 24 hours, we could have done better but we reefed right down for the night hours to slow the boat down as the moon came and went as the storm squalls went through, I think I had five squalls in the 2000 hours to midnight watch and another three in 0400 to 0800 hours watch and the wind is bitterly cold, I have been wearing a T shirt, long sleeve shirt a track suit top over that, track pants and my off shore wet weather gear on top of those, deck shoes with socks a beanie and a hood that is like a balaclava. We have put one of the side covers down so we hide behind it and stay out of the wind.

The following are scribbles and thoughts I put on the iPad when I was on watch, hence the early and late being the different watches things that were going through my mind.

Wednesday – 23.10.13 early
I now remember why it takes 3 days at sea to settle and get sleep on demand, one reason is you are so stuffed from lack of sleep by this time you would sleep through a cyclone.
The moon tonight has been cancelled triple amount of clouds and storm cells will take its place.
We are going well averaging over 7 knots per hour. We hope to beat the east winds on Friday, we may have them for the last 40 miles if we can keep up the good rate.
I usually like night sailing, but that is in warmer climates, note to self, next year stay in warmer climates. Thank you Robyn for making our nights warmer, come to think of it days also, the hoods she supplied..
Just had a storm cell, reefed down, (thank God), and screaming along at 10 knots then storm cell goes and we drop to 5 knots.
I have had so many storm cells the last couple of days I think my boats a storm chaser.
I see the moon trying to force the clouds away hope it wins.
Wind just dropped from 28 knots to 13 knots, this is what happens when the storm cell leaves. Winds slowly picking up again.
Come on midnight, let me kick Nancy out of bed to take the watch and I can jump into the warm spot she left.

(One of the many storm cells ahead)

Wednesday – 23.10.13 late
Great Australian Bight is a different sea. (I have crossed the Great Australian Bight a few times on Naval ships and I have seen it at its worst but I have also seen it when it has been calm which I think is a rare sight.)
Night sailing through squalls. (Sailing through squalls at night can be nerving, in daylight you can see where they are in pitch black during the night you often don’t know they are there until they hit)
Phantom lights thinking other ships and stars that play tricks on the eye.(On watch looking for any other shipping that may be in your way, sometimes you look so hard that you think there is a light on the horizon and it may be just a star or the fact that you have just looked at a light in the cockpit or a reflection of the navigation lights and that stays in the mind when you look out)
Fatigue due to lack of sleep on demand. (A lot people think that sailing is always a relaxing life and it can be if you sail with fine winds and day hop, but when you do long voyages it is quite taxing due the lack of sleep and concerns of what is happening to boat).
Things a skipper does and thinks that prevent sleep. (Concern for crew on watch in this case Nancy, the change in motion or noise of the boat will wake you up, such as the boat picks up or loses speed, sail movements and adjustments)
We have had an uncomfortable ride but have made good time, could have made better time but we cruise not race. (We try not to put too much strain on the equipment and increased speed is also more uncomfortable).
Weather reports that can misleading. (Weather reports on the HF radio and what you tend to get the standard forecast for any weather district does not always represent the area that you are in for the simple reason is a weather district is quite a large area so the weather report states the worst case scenario for that district to get a better picture you need to see a website and check the wind charts or down load Grib Files).
Weather from Glen via Anne. (We were fortunate during this trip as Glen would receive weather updates from his wife Anne in Tasmania via sat phone and then he would pass this on to us on our radio sched.) Thanks Anne and Glen.
Day 2    164 Nms (In the second 24 hours we completed 164 Nms, we have done better than that before but not in seas like this).

Thursday – 24/10/2013

Fourth day out – 24.10.13 morning watch
I was right third night out, went off watch midnight and had my first couple of hours solid sleep.
Taking watch at 0400 hours I was welcomed by a light rain storm and have three others around me.
We are going well light conditions today well this morning anyway.
One more overnight sail to go we should be anchored outside of Port Lincoln tomorrow afternoon,
well let’s hope so, if we do well in the next 24 hours we should anchor in Spalding Cove outside Port Lincoln late afternoon tomorrow.
We lost some of our plan through the night we are a little north of our rhumb line where we were aiming for a good few miles south for the tack north when east winds hit tomorrow. We did however get better than our 0600hr target by an extra 5 NMS.
Took the watch at 0400 hrs and things looked a little grim with hardly any wind but things have picked up.
Probably go into jet lag when we go into Port Lincoln, we have to change our clocks by 2 hrs 30 mins.
Poor bugger! I can still remember the bloke in Broome saying that to me when I told him we were sailing south and across the GAB. I have no regrets, but I think he was right.
Lets hope for a good day.
1200 hrs
Little concerned could not raise Banyandah on HF radio schedule this morning, Glen had changed the morning schedule to 0700 hrs I wonder if he had forgotten and came on air at 0610 hrs, have to wait until 1810 hrs for next schedule.
Today’s weather a little lighter, we are not going to cover the ground I had hoped for we will see what the afternoon brings may have to run two iron sails.
Well the winds dropped, two iron sails and two rags set.
Forecast not too bad E/SE 10-15 for tomorrow, let’s hope for a little to the SE.
Just passed a mob of shearwater birds having a gathering on the water about 30 of them as I passed they took flight and then a couple of petrels joined in, I could watch them glide for hours. I’ve always been a bit of a bird watcher, but not always the feathered variety.
Some people would concerned about 3 to 5 metre swell, they don’t bother me, it’s the crappy wind waves they put with them that are annoying.

24.10.13 evening.
Just taken the watch so the First Mate and my best mate can have a sleep, I might even sleep with her tomorrow night…aahah  sleeping with a shipmate it be.
Wind had just changed and Nancy was trying to sought it out, in the dark no moon at the moment, well all sorted now. Having to motor sail with the wind coming round towards the east, the direction we wish to go.
Had radio schedule with Banyandah, this morning we had a mix up in the times, Glen had other radio stations on standby to relay in case he could not reach us. One thing when we organised the schedule was set times but they did get change a couple of times and that caused the confusion. One thing we did not do was set up a backup plan in case we did fail contact.
Stormy skies ahead as the moon was rising, there was enough space between horizon and cloud to see the large orange coloured moon come up and the incredible part was the waves from the 2.5 to 3 metre swell wash in front of the moon some completely hiding the moon some just half the moon.
We are a little off track making use of the wind, what little wind there is tonight.

When we get into the anchorage tomorrow afternoon, the first noise will be the anchor going down the second will be the fridge door closing after I grab a beer. We run a dry ship at sea and I reckon I we deserve a beer after crossing the GAB.

Friday – 25.10.13 morning.
It’s now 0430 hrs (WST), yes we have to put our clocks forward tonight to SA summertime.
We are 35 Nms away from our waypoint south of Williams Island which is south of Port Lincoln mainland, from there we head NE for 25 Nms to the entrance of the Port. We will anchor in a bay for the night.
Little wind at the moment but have some waves and around 2 metre swell from the south.


(Approaching Williams Island 25 Nmso Port Lincoln the GAB now behind us)

As we neared William Island the wind was light but against us we had both engines going to get to the anchorage, Nancy took over and I went for a sleep for an hour. We entered Thorny Passage and passed the islands into Spalding Cove and anchored at the second bay south of Engine Point at 1350 hours which is a good anchorage for the east winds that are predicted. Later we received a phone call from ‘Banyandah’ they still had some miles to go and said they would anchor in Memory Cove and come in and see us the next morning.

(Nancy smiles we have completed the crossing of the Great Australian Bight)

I think we will all sleep soundly tonight.

Port Lincoln – Eyre Peninsula

Saturday – 26/10/2013

(Sunset looking towards Port Lincoln from Spalding Cove)

We had a very good sleep last night although I did wake up at 0400 hours to take the watch and realised all I needed to do was go to the head and get back to bed. The four day crossing was quite taxing and we have realised that we don’t mind doing an overnight now and again but would not want to do it all the time as we did crossing the Caribbean and Pacific, not just the two of us anyway.

We had contacted the marina yesterday to see if we could go there and they said we could, however, they are not open weekends and we would have to pull up at the outer finger and wait until Monday to get a berth inside. The outer finger is a little separated from the marina and has no amenities , it does have power and water. The manager was kind enough to give us codes for a gate where we could dinghy across to a marina finger and access amenities.

However, looking at the weather predictions for today and tomorrow we felt we was better placed to stay where we were. When ‘Banyandah’ arrived we sat and talked about what we would do and the outcome was that the marina is a taxi ride of around $12 so that gives you an idea of distance, we know because we caught a cab to go and have a look. After going on Google Earth and finding that everything is so close to the town beach we decided to go there on Monday.

The night we played up a little, well maybe a lot. After the five day crossing I suppose we let our hair down a little, needless to say after a few sunset beers we cracked a bottle of red, well to tell the truth I think it was three bottles and that was fine and then Glen produced a bottle of port and I think that was the undoing of us all. The port was given to Glen by his daughter and had a label that made one take notice, the label reads, “St George Fu–ing Good Port”. Well it did the job on us. I think the grapes for that was grown on the side of a hill because some of us had trouble standing upright.

We loaned the boys a torch to find their way home as there was no light on their boat. “And a good night was had by all”.

Sunday – 27/10/2013

Payday, yes pay for what we did last night, hangovers all around. To say the least we all had a quiet day, the anchorage proved well with the winds until a little later.

Glen and Nigel came over for sundowner’s again but a little quieter than the evening before for all of us. I mentioned the weather report the winds are going to kick in to 30 knots around 1900 hours and sure enough it started, the boys returned to their boat early.

Not long after the winds got stronger and then we dragged anchor, not fun under these conditions, it is very cold and windy and as black as. I turned instruments on started the engine whilst Nancy went to the anchor. I kept check that we were not going to hit ‘Banyandah’ as we dragged passed.

We went the north side of ‘Banyandah’ thinking if we did drag again we would not interfere with them. The anchor took good hold and we thought we would be OK, however, I looked and said to Nancy I think we are too close to ‘Banyandah’ then I realised ‘Banyandah’ was getting close to us, they were dragging anchor and heading for our amidships, I yelled to Nancy to pull the anchor up, but did not wait, I had to put both engines full ahead to get out of the way and they passed behind us. We then re-anchored in deeper water of around 6-7 metres and that took hold well. I think the not so stable anchorages are in the shallower water where the seagrass is abundant, unless you can find a clear blue patch.

Nancy was a little upset with the ordeal, dragging isn’t a pleasant experience and of course it happens in the worst conditions. I think we both half slept through the night, but we held well. At first light the SW winds started and it was time to move from this bay. The better anchorage for these conditions is where we went just off the town beach or to the south end of Spalding Cove.

Port Lincoln

Monday 28/10/13
We left Spalding’s Cove early as the wind had changed to SW leaving us on a lee shore. We motor sailed across and anchored off the main town beach right opposite the Shell service station making for the shortest distance to cart fuel, we also carted fresh water from there. This anchorage is more convenient than the marina as the marina is south of town about a $12 cab ride, naturally the marina has fuel close by and the docks have power and water. But for shopping and seeing the town the anchorage is better for us, again look for a bare patch between the sea grass to get a good hold on the bottom.
The Shell service station is basically on the waterfront, next door is a very good laundromat, the next corner is the Woolworths shopping centre and on the opposite side of the service station is the Pier Hotel and we can recommend the food there, main meals of very good standard around $25, included in this is a vegetable/salad/desert bar just help yourself and usually has soup all included in the price of your main meal.
Our first job was to cart fuel and do the laundry then have a look around to find out where things were, we had already researched the places on Google Earth, that what made the decision of anchoring and not going into the marina. The anchorage is good for SE to W winds. Fuel done it was time for lunch and we went to a cafe just up from the service station on the waterfront, can also recommend this place very nice.
The afternoon was cart water and visit the bottle mart at the hotel top up the beer supplies.
Glen and Nigel said they were going ashore for dinner we gave it a miss and said we would go the next night. We had a quiet and early night.

(I don’t think I have to explain this one, this is on the shore as you can see our ‘Alana Rose’ is anchored on the right hand side)

Tuesday 29/10/13
We started early getting a load of water then we grabbed the two empty gas bottles after finding out where the place was to top them up, which is Home Hardware, not far from the sailing club so we took the dinghy to there. As we landed there was a bloke in his vehicle reading the paper. He said hello and then asked if we wanted a lift to do the gas, we accepted his kind offer and he introduced himself, his name is Max, Max works for Port Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, this was his day off and as he said he is a peoples person and likes to show visitors his town that he is obviously proud of. When we got into the vehicle he asked if we had a little time to spare and he would show us around. This man was a gentleman, he took us all over the place giving us all the information about the place, the people and the buildings. After this he took us to get the gas bottles filled and then returned us to our dinghy, he offered to take us where we wanted to go shopping or anything, we thanked him, but we did not like to impose on him on his day off. Max is a very good ambassador for Port Lincoln, thanks Max.
We got the gas bottles on board then did the shopping, the shopping centre is that close that I carted the groceries in the Woollies trolley to the beach unloaded it and then returned the trolley.
Free after shopping we went with Glen and Nigel to the maritime museum, well worth a visit, the story of the boat yard is incredible and the boat yard is still there today and the attached living quarters of Axel Stenross his wife and offsider Frank are still there, not far to go to work, walk out the bedrooms or the kitchen and in your at work, it is a good walk along the waterfront to get there, I suppose you could dinghy across to it.

(The boat yard still operates today you can see the charges for coming out and back in on the slip ($150) and $20 per day whilst on the slip)

(The museum has a lot to see outside as well as inside plus a movie about the earlier times)

(Two bedrooms, the old stove in the kitchen and the workshop, through the door at the end of the workshop is the boat shed and the bedrooms and kitchen have their doors from the boat shed, not far to go to work)

(Above is the kitchen and dining area and lounge room, the old ice box bottom right)

We then caught a taxi to the marina area to have a look around we had been there with Max but the boys had not seen it, we had a look at the marina quite nice and tucked away from all winds, the marina for pleasure craft is the first one inside the entrance then there is the marina for the working fishing, prawn and lobster fishing boats that were all gearing up for the season, the lobster season starts on the 1 November each year and goes through until around May. The fishing boats were going out testing all their gear and returning to the docks. There is a third section to the marina where there are more fishing boats and commercial boats further along the waterway and in addition to this there are residential waterways where there are private boats on docks.

(The dock with the red yacht is the first dock that you come to when entering the marina, the guide states that you tie up there and then contact the Marina Manager and then they will allocate you a berth if there is one available, if not then you can stay there, there are no facilities at this dock you would have to dinghy across to a dock once they give you the gate code)

(Looking down to the entrance with a couple of fishing boats coming in, I was standing near the fuelling point it is card operated, the recreation boat marina is just passed the hotel on the right by the boats coming in)

Between the first two marinas is the Marina Bar as you would guess we went in to test the beer and check the place out so I could inform you readers, I can say it is a very nice place and quite relaxing on the front lounge watching the boats go by.

(Marina Bar)

We then caught a taxi back to the boats where we got cleaned up and went ashore to the Pier Hotel for dinner and as I have already mentioned a good place to eat.

Wednesday – 30/10/2013

(Beautiful morning)

There was no rush to get away this morning as we only had around 22 Nms to our next anchorage at Thistle Island, it was going to be a motor sail day as there was little wind and what there was, was on the nose.

(Leaving Port Lincoln a very nice place and very nice people, thanks again Max)

We anchored at Whalers Bay, very attractive bay, there are some homes on the shore one being probably the original homestead of the farm as it looked to be the old stone structure quite a classic, there are still farm lands there so I imagine it is still a going concern. The boys off ‘Banyandah’ rowed across for sundowner’s but we all had an early night for an early start in the morning.

Kangaroo Island

Thursday – 31/10/13

Up before first light so we could get away as dawn was breaking, we have 55 Nms to Snug Bay at Kangaroo Island, it was again some sailing some motor sailing, but we did sail most of the way.
As we approach I find it is an unusual island with high cliff faces and hills with visible farm lands, there are sheep stations here. Somewhere I have a friend on the Island that Kelly and her husband purchased a sheep farm here, they used to own the Mataranka Hotel. Kangaroo Island is Australia’s second largest island the first being Tasmania. Although some rugged rock faces beyond that are green rolling hills with houses scattered along the way some being farms others may be holiday houses.

We arrived at Snug Bay first, Nigel had suggested this anchorage as he saw an article in a magazine with a bit of a write up on how good it was. It is quite small and as we entered we noticed four moorings, we picked up the heaviest looking one and checked out the place. The mooring was not good enough for our size and weight of boat and I could not see that the two boats would have enough room to anchor between the four moorings so we dropped the mooring and left. We radioed ‘Banyandah’ and let them know.

(Entering Snug Cove)

(Leaving Snug Cove, hard to see but there are two moorings there and two more over the other side)

We had to research another anchorage that would give protection against the winds from NE and we all decided Hawke’s Nest would be the place. It was another 10 Nms , it was a good anchorage, clear blue water sandy bottom and good holding in 4 to 6 metres of water. There was a nice white sand beach there although the swell was breaking on the beach which prevented us landing a dinghy. There were three homes close by but only one appeared to be occupied.

We passed Snellings Beach on the way, would be a very nice anchorage for anything from the SE to SW, but not for the NE we expect to get)

(Hawkes Nest anchorage)

(Banyandah next to us facing NE as you can see good protection)

We watched a great sunset and then had dinner before another early night as we needed to leave early in the morning for American River.

(A great sunset with planes jet stream heading west and the bird that flew passed)

Friday – 31/10/2013

Set off at first light beautiful morning although a little cold, there was mist coming out of the rocky shores as we passed and the sun started to rise. The island is very beautiful I could not get over all the rolling grassy hills. It is 36 Nms to American River and it was a motor sail day with hardly any wind, the calm before the heavy winds predicted over the next few days.

A cool misty morning as we leave Hawkes Nest)

(The sun rises hopefully will warm up)

At 0715 hours Carol from American Radio came on air with the weather on channel VHF 21, after the weather she asked if any boats wished to log on, we called up and logged on, she told us that she had organised moorings for both boats and gave us the details. She said she was looking forward to meeting us.

We arrived at American River, ‘Banyandah’ was ahead of us and entered first, Carol had said when entering the channel to stay 15 metres off the port markers but no more than 20 metres and we followed those instructions with the shallowest point being around 3 metres at half tide.

Our mooring was the large one on the port side as we entered the harbour, we noticed that it did not have a rope attached to pull up on deck. Nancy tried to pick the mooring up with the boat hook but it was too heavy and she got the boat hook caught and had to let go and the boat hook floated away. As we arrived the wind had also kicked in and the inflow tide was strong making things a little more difficult. We then tried to get the mooring alongside the back step and feed a rope through it, the first stage was a success but we could not hold the boat in position with the wind and tide so had to abandon that. By this stage we were entertaining people ashore and then Glen called on the radio and said they would come over in the dinghy and feed a rope through for us.

Once secure we heard a bloke call Carol on the radio stating he had run out of fuel just outside the entrance, Carol did not know we had already entered and said there are two yachts coming in soon they may be able to help. We called Carol and said we were already in and just picked up the mooring. Carol put a call out for anyone else that could help without result, I spotted a small motorboat going passed so I yelled out and asked if he could help and he agreed to take a container of fuel that I supplied out to the stranded boat.

A little later the boat came in and Carol drove down to the boat ramp and collected my fuel container and money for the fuel from the bloke. She called us on the radio and explained that there is dinner at The Shed on Fridays and invited us along, meals are cheap and there is a bar. She said she would pick us up at 1800 hours. We relayed the invite to Glen and Nigel and I added that I heard Carol talking on the radio this morning before we spoke to her and it was her birthday.

Glen had a present for her and we wrapped a bottle of wine and since Carol said that formal dress at the shed was thongs, (the ones you wear on your feet, just to clear that point up), we also gave her the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club formal footwear thongs.
We gave them to her when we met her at the boat ramp. She drove us to The Shed which is only a very short walk from the boat ramp and introduced us to the members. We had a fantastic night with a great bunch of people, the meals were excellent. Carol also offered her car for us to use the next day to have a look at the island with the rule being you damage it you repair and fill up with fuel before you bring it back as it is full now and the only other item was be back before 1800 hours because The Shed has take-away food on Saturdays, mainly burgers, steak sandwiches etc.

After a good night we poured ourselves home but the boys came aboard our boat for a night cap which we probably did not really need at that point.

Saturday – 01/11/2013

(American River jetty Alana Rose on the right)

(Pelicans and the black swans with their young)

We had a slow start to the day and Carol met us at 1000 hours, we dropped her home and Glen drove us around going to Penneshaw where we had a look around and morning coffee. We noticed a small marina at Christmas Bay, like the camp grounds it is run on an honest basis you stay you pay $30 per night filling out your details and dropping those with the money into a locked box. Penneshaw is also where the ferry comes in from the mainland.

(Christmas Cove Marina)

(The ferry that comes over from the mainland)

(The view from the hill)

From there we headed to Kingscote where again we had a look around the tourist sites and then had lunch at the Caltex servo where we got our diesel and Glen got some fresh water. American River residents rely on rain water so you cannot take their water naturally. Lunch there Carol said their fish and chips are to die for. I must say it was very nice.

(Nancy coming down from the hill)

We then headed back unloading the fuel and water and Glen and Nancy returned the car to Carol, whilst waiting at the dinghy for them Nigel and I were entertained by a wedding group that had come down to have photos taken on the Brides Uncle’s small wooden yacht.

(First pioneers 1836)

(The Bay of Shoals)

After getting things on board and tidying up we went ashore for the take-away night, they say take-away but you can stay and eat it there if you wish which we did.

It was a little more on the quiet side tonight I think we were all getting over last night’s session and the fact that we had little sleep the night before with the strong winds of around 30 knots and wind against tide starting near midnight causing the boat to swing on the mooring making load noises when we changed from one direction to the other. It was pleasing to be on a good solid mooring rather than at anchor.

Sunday – 02/11/2013

Today I just had a very quiet and stayed on board, Nancy and Nigel went ashore to take photos and go for a walk, I cleaned bilges and repaired the step light in the cockpit. The wind was howling and it was cold, the boys came over for sundowners and that was about it.

Monday – 03/11/2013

We went ashore for a walk to the shop had a pie for lunch and took some photos, had another quiet day, sundowners and early to bed we sail for Cape Jaffa in the morning around first light, another overnight run of 120 Nms.

(Nancy seated on the Old Salts Yarning Seat at American River)

Kangaroo Island to Cape Jaffa

Tuesday – 05/11/2013

Slipping the mooring at first light and headed out of American River winds were a little on the nose so we had to motor sail once again, we knew it was going to be a mixture of sailing and motoring as what the weather had predicted but once again there was that narrow weather window if we did not go now we would have to stay in American River for quite some time not that I would have minded that much as it is a lovely place.

Changing course after passing Snapper Point we had a rhumb line for Cape Jaffa and we were able to sail at a reasonable speed the winds lightened late afternoon and it meant an iron sail had to be started. Nancy came on watch at midnight and we probably could have gone under sail alone but it would have been a lot of work as the wind shifted with the squalls so I left the engine going to make things a little easier. I came back on watch at 0400 hours and the wind strength had picked up so we went sail alone. One of the concerns we had was the lobster pots in the area as the season had started. I noticed on the chart that there was a pathway of sand seabed through to Cape Jaffa so I changed course to pass through that knowing that lobster pots are placed on rocky seabed and fortunately we did not see any pot markers or pick any up in the props along the way.

(We have had many dolphin moments across the southern coastline and they are always magical)

(Another sunset at sea)

(The clouds tell the story, change is coming)

Cape Jaffa

Wednesday – 06/11/2013

It was a pretty good crossing really we have been fortunate enough to pick the right weather windows. We arrived just after first light and was alongside and secure by 0730 hours, our dear friend Leigh off ‘Mi Querida’ was there to meet us. Leigh is our friend that lives in Kingston 25kms from this marina and we met in the Caribbean and sailed some of the way across the Pacific and parts of Australia with . He had organised the marina berths for us from a friend John Goode at no cost to us which was very generous of him. John is a cattle farmer and also runs a winery , ‘Wangolina Station’ which we had to visit and did.

Leigh sat and had coffee with us before he had to head home to do some work and he got Nancy to go with him to drive his Toyota flattop back so we had a vehicle to use. He said it is only a three seater so we may have to shuttle run about being there is four of us. He also invited us to his home for a BBQ that night. Leigh has a house that he built in Kingston and his farm is out of town which he share farms with a neighbour an arrangement he started when he commenced his 13 year circumnavigation of the world. If you ask Leigh he will say he was naive when he first started, he thought it would take him 3 years to build his yacht and 2 years to circumnavigate the world, it took him 12 years to build the yacht and beautiful craftsmanship it is, and 13 years to properly circumnavigate the world.

Soon after Leigh had left another fellow came down to say hello, his name was Bert, he also offered to run us anywhere we needed to go and if we needed anything just to let him know and if he could help he would. Bert and long time partner Janet have a trailer sail boat, a MacGregor, this type of yacht was the first type I ever saw planing across the water, they come standard with a 50hp outboard motor, they are almost flat bottom with a draft of around 80mm, the hull has a void space that is filled with sea water when ballast is required for sailing. Many use these as a caravan when travelling the road and sail or motor the waterways in their travels.

After this it was a reasonable time to go and look for the marina manager and we found Lindsey in one of the houses that is being used as an office. He was a very nice bloke and issued us keys for the gates and also said if we needed a lift to get items he would run us around. He told us about the marina although in its infancy the marina has the potential of being a very good marina. He said that before they stated building they looked at many marinas and wanted to build the best. At this stage the marina only has two fingers, one is used by the professional fishing boats and the other is being used mainly by recreational boating.

This marina is very nice and looks like it is similar to many other marinas that are being built today mainly catering for real estate sales of house blocks and not many have been sold and some of the homes that have been built are now up for sale. One can only assume the reason for this is that Cape Jaffa is quite a distance away from anywhere, it is 25kms from Kingston and about 35kms to Robe. Cape Jaffa village which is about a 15 – 20 minute stroll from the marina offers a Cape Jaffa Caravan Park with managers Chad and Kristy, a lovely couple with a young happy baby. They have fuel and a small store. They also offer the use of their laundry which has washing machine and dryer. Lindsey from the marina also told us we could use the caravan park for hot showers as the marina does not have showers, apparently they have only put in three toilets not all that long ago and unfortunately were not that clean as they are open to the public that may visit. The other downfall with the marina is that it has one small rubbish bin which was full when we arrived and was in the same state when we left.

It is probably due to the economic downturn we have experienced over the last few years that the marina complex including housing estate has not got off the ground that well, some locals say that it should have been built closer to Kingston where the waters and wind are calmer. Apparently some months ago the marina berths that had not been sold were sold at auction without a reserve price and sold between $5,000 and $15,000 where the original buyers of the other berths had to pay $80,000. Putting this aside the marina is a good protected area to visit and shelter when on passage and the people there are wonderfully friendly. It offers very nice beaches, wineries and walks.

Sometime later Glen of ‘Banyandah’ went to talk to the fishermen to find out about the lobster pots locations for when we leave for Port Fairy, he met Mark Rothall a fisherman and a farmer, after chatting and Glen saying we were here a while waiting the weather window Mark said that we would be stuck with Cape Jaffa a good distance from anywhere, Glen said we had Leigh’s vehicle but only a three seater and then Mark said he would bring his Toyota GXL Land cruiser down for us all to use tomorrow.

I have mentioned it before in previous posts that the wonderful people that we have met along the way that have done things for us it truly amazes me and at the same time makes me feel good about the Australian kindness is still alive and well.

Later in the afternoon Nancy drove Glen to Leigh’s then came back to pick up Nigel and myself and we had the BBQ at Leigh’s place. He is an amazing bloke, he is self-taught in what he has done over the years in building the house to building the yacht making his own marine plywood and machining stainless steel fittings and the craftsmanship he shows you would not get in many places today.

(BBQ at Leigh’s. L-R, Leigh, Nigel, Nancy and Glen)

We had a very good night with Nancy being the designated driver and returning us back on board at the end of the night.

Thursday – 07/11/2013

Mark dropped off his Toyota for us to go sightseeing, we headed south for Robe. We had not set any sailing plans at this stage, we had not decided whether to do short hops down the coast sailing during daylight hours so we could see any lobster pots along the way or go out to sea far enough to keep away from them and sail overnight. So this little trip was also to check stop over anchorages.

(Fishing boat races into the marina, seas were building)

(One of the many classic buildings in Robe, The Caledonian Hotel)

When we got to Robe the swell was so great that anchoring there was out of the question, the marina was quite small and busy with fishing boats, many racing in because of the conditions out at sea. After having a look around the marina and waterfront we had a walk around town and found a place for lunch. After lunch we went down to Beachport to have a look around and the anchorage which was a little wild on the sea and raining. We watched the fishing boats racing in to their moorings, pick up the mooring and hop in the dinghy and race to the shore. Not a good place to anchor in such conditions.

(Moored fishing boats that were bouncing in the water at Beachport)

We then headed down to Southend, this was reasonably calm for the SE winds and rolling seas, there was a gentle roll of swell coming into the bay but would be alright for anchoring. We then started to head back on the inland route back to Robe fuelled the car and back to the marina.

Friday – 08/11/2013

This morning we headed to the caravan park to do the laundry and had a chat with Chad and Kristy, with the damp drizzle rain it took extra time to dry the cloths with the dryer sucking in moist air to start with. The boys had headed into Kingston in Mark’s vehicle as we had Leigh’s. Our plan was to take Leigh for lunch as we did. After the washing was done we headed into Kingston and picked Leigh up and went to the Crown Inn for lunch. Lunch there was very nice and after a couple of beers we headed back to Leigh’s as he had work to do, had a coffee and we all left in Mark’s car back to the marina via a look around Kingston. I also collected Leigh’s computer, Leigh often has trouble with the computers due to the fact that crew members when he was sailing would suggest that some program would be good for him to have and load it, naturally these would build up and sometimes create conflict, Leigh is not computer minded and other than doing the things he needs to do does not want to learn, he simulates it to when he was at school and had to learn Latin, he could not see the sense in it and has never used it. So I will go through it and tidy it up for him.

Saturday – 09/11/2013

We all headed into Kingston to the laundromat Nigel had checked it out the day before and it had a good number of machines and driers. We also took our rubbish into town to dispose of it, next to the laundromat is a craft and nick-knack with coffee shop, great coffee there. When we had finished all the washing we went for a drive around and then had lunch at the Big Lobster, apparently this place has only just re-opened and I wish them all the luck because the food was excellent.

(The old Cape Jaffa Lighthouse built 1868-1872 relocated here in 1975)

(It is said that the ship that this came from sank half way around the world from here and the crew escaped on this lifeboat, they were then rescued and the lifeboat continued to stay at sea drifting for around two years before washing up ashore nearby, it is believed the engine still works and the only damage is sun damage)

(The Big Lobster)

(Nancy inside the Big Lobster Restaurant)

After lunch we headed for Wangolina Station winery, we had to visit a winery and as John Goode had been so kind it was important to visit his place and it was well worth while, it is in very nice farm type complex with a lovely building which to enter for the wine tasting and purchase of wines at very reasonable prices. The staff are very friendly and obliging. We did not meet John there but fortunately we were to later. After the tasting I was fond of the Shiraz Cabernet so a carton of that was a must along with a few of white wines that Nancy liked.

(Wangolina Station winery and cattle station)

Then it was back to the marina and try the wine at sundown.

Sunday – 10/11/2013

Quiet day to start with, we have Mark, Jackie and Leigh coming for dinner tonight along with the ‘Banyandah’ crew so Nancy was doing some cooking and I did some maintenance on the boat.

Mark and Jackie arrived for dinner and what a great couple they are, it was a pleasure meeting them, Leigh also arrived and we had a very good evening, Glen returned the keys to their Toyota with full tank and carton of beer, (good Australian currency), and of course many thanks from all of us.

L-R, Leigh, Nigel and Jackie)

(L-R, Me, Mark and Glen pre-dinner drinks in the cockpit)

Monday – 11/11/2013

For some unknown reason we were a little slow this morning, I think I found the reason for this as I removed the bottles to the rubbish bin and looked at the half empty carton of wine.

We went for a walk to the caravan park just after our moments silence for Remembrance Day at 1100 hours, there we bought an ice coffee and an ice cream and headed out for a walk to the old ruins of the lighthouse cottage. As we walked down the street we met up with Jackie and her son Tristan, Tristan is confined to a wheelchair after being spear tackled in a football match, it is sad to see such a fine young man injured in such a way. If you spear tackled someone outside the game of football it would be a criminal offence, there is no reason for this to be done inside the game.

On our walk along the beach we met up with a seal and some old bones of a whale that beached itself some four or more years back.

Cape Jaffa Lighthouse cottages)

(Old whale bones)

(I think this seal was distracting us away from a baby seal that Nigel had come across)

After returning on board I continued working on Leigh’s computer, running checking programs etc. and cleaning up the hard drive.

Bert came down to pick us up for dinner at around 1830 hours, he showed us around his farm before going into the house where Janet was busy cooking. A little while after John Goode arrived, so it was great to be able to personally meet the man who had been kind to us in letting us the marina berth. After dinner we sat there talking and time just got away, it was around midnight when we got home to the boat.

(L-R, Me telling stories, John Goode, Janet and Bert)

Tuesday – 12/11/2013

A quiet day working on Leigh’s computer where someone had tried to make movies with Windows Movie Maker and did not succeed but left all the projects there but lost the original movies, so I had to make the movies to save what had been lost before deleting the projects.

Leigh arrived mid afternoon and we said our farewells as we leave tomorrow on a weather window another overnight run for Port Fairy.

A quiet night was had and an early night, we set off at first light in the morning. It has been a great stay at Cape Jaffa Marina meeting some great and generous people, I thank you all it has been a pleasure meeting you.

Cape Jaffa to Port Fairy

Wednesday – 13/11/2013

Up before first light and prepare to get underway by 0500 hours, as we prepared to leave the fishing boats were also getting underway we waited for the last of these to leave so we did not hold them up. The seas had settled down which was good in the sense that ports on the side of the GAB have the SW swell roll in and going out of these port places the sea on the port side beam of the boat, this can push the boat sideways.

‘Banyandah was in front of us so we took a track a little further to the north to head out to sea which was close to the track that we came in on, our plan was to get out at least 8Nms off the coast and if there were problems with lobster pots we would go further off the coast.

We are fortunate with our boat that we have a good view from the shelter of our cockpit, we noticed that Glen and Nigel were taking turns on standing out on deck looking for lobster pots and it must have been freezing cold out there. We learned later that not long after leaving they actually picked up a lobster pot, the first they noticed the yacht slow considerably, as it would dragging a lobster pot behind them, they got it free but that gave them concern enough to keep a watch out on deck.

(Glen on Banyandah standing on watch for lobster pots)

Many of the fishing boats went well out to sea when they left the marina which pleased me but a few went south in the direction we were heading. There was a positive in this as when we went along you could see the boats working in the distance so that gave some pre-warning that there were lobster pots in the area. Initially we came across a large number of pots that we had to change course to get around, however, as we got south of Southend they seemed to be closer inland than the 10 Nms from the coast and we had a clear run although we still kept a close watch.

When we left the marina we knew that we would have to motor sail most of the way, we did sail out to sea but then had to motor sail until near the Victorian Border after passing Port McDonnell where we changed course and was able to sail until near Port Fairy. It was a long overnight sail with the bitter cold weather, everyone we meet complained about not having a spring it has been winter all the time with very strong winds.

Port Fairy

Thursday – 14/11/2013

As we arrived at Port Fairy Nancy contacted the Harbour Master who was actually the Dredge Operator standing in for the Harbour Master who was away. This proved handy as he was dredging the entrance of the port and was able to give us directions. The port is a narrow river with docks along each side as you get further in. It pays to book well ahead as there is little space left on the docks.

I was quite taken with Port Fairy, the port itself is very attractive with all types of boats lining the river on docks and a small marina at the end near the bridge. Many of the houses go back in time but have been well looked after.

(Port Fairy)

(Port Fairy water way and Alana Rose alongside)

‘Banyandah’ was about 20 Nms behind us so after we docked we went for a walk and a look around, we chatted with a local and the dredge operator and got information of where the best place was for a feed for tonight. We figured we deserved a night out. As we walked Glen called on the phone and said he was about an hour away. We told him the directions in and that he would have to raft up with us and we would be back on board to assist them.

(A shady street)

(No 16 Wishart Street)

We walked some of the streets, one street in particular had a lot of heritage with the old houses all in good order. I really liked the character of the place, Nancy said to me “you like this place don’t you?” I said yes I could retire to a place like this if it was in a warmer climate, if I had to give up sailing there would still be the waterfront and boats and boaties to chat with. Let’s hope that day is a long way off yet.

(Banyandah coming up the river)

We returned to the boat and waited for ‘Banyandah’ they came up the river and secured alongside us then when they were settled we all headed off to the Caledonian Inn locally called ‘The Stump’, it is the oldest hotel in Victoria established in 1844. It is very homely and the meals are very good and reasonably priced, plenty of food served up on the plate.

(‘The Stump’ or Caledonian Inn)

It was a quiet night as we were having another early start tomorrow morning, it was a very nice night.

Apollo Bay

Friday – 15/11/2013

Up very early and set off at 0400 hours, going out of Port Fairy in the dark we had to follow our track on the chart plotter because once we were away from the buildings you could not see anything in the river.

As we cleared the port entrance we hoisted the mainsail and unfurled the headsail, it was going to be a long day with 82 Nms to sail and again the wind direction was not that kind to us it was often necessary that we had to have an engine because the wind was just off the close reach to on the nose.

The coast line was incredible, some of this coast is where the Great Ocean Road nears the Twelve Apostles, the coast was beautiful. As we rounded Cape Otway and Franklin Point the wind backed off completely and we dropped the mainsail and a little while later furled the headsail and started both engines and motored the rest of the way.

(Rugged but beautiful coast)

(Cape Otway)

(Cape Otway Lighthouse)

(Approaching Apollo Bay)

Nancy had contacted the Harbour Master by phone and he had given us directions to get in the port, the entrance is silted up because of the constant easterlies they have had this year. So instead of following the leads we had to line up the centre of the entrance with the centre of the boat ramp and enter on that line. Taking this line got us in but there was one area that was very shallow.

After entering the marina area we had to go further and tie up at the dockside as there was no room in the small marina, a short time Banyandah came in and they said they entered and the depth gauge showed that there was no water under them at the entrance.

(Alana Rose alongside the dock)

After we got settled Phil came down to book us in and for us to pay our fees. This was followed by Angela and Alison arriving, (Angela is one of Nancy’s daughters), they now live at Colac some 60kms drive. After all the hugs and kisses hello, the girls went for the take-away pizzas and red wine for dinner. We had a good night and good feed, the girls stayed the night and we all went into town the next morning for breakfast.

Saturday – 16/11/2013

We all walked into town for breakfast at a small cafe, with more chatting over breakfast then we returned on board, Ange and Alison spent time with Nancy going through some of the photos of the trip whilst I borrowed Ange’s car and Glen and I did a fuel run with our containers to the garage and back.

After this they had to get back home as Ange had an assignment she had to finish for her studies in Marine Science Management, doing studies and working keeps her very busy.

Glen and Nigel moved their yacht to the marina after another monohull had sailed. The marina actually has a public dock that will fit two yachts and like most marinas they do not advertise these. I am not sure about here but in some states marinas have to provide a public dock, they do not advertise these they do not even put a sign up. The public dock here is between fingers.

The afternoon was spent getting the boat sorted ready for sailing re water and fuel, then the boys came over for sundowner’s which went till near midnight, but a good night was had.

Sunday – 17/11/2013

We had planned a walk to town at 1000 hours to go to the market and have a look around followed by lunch, Nigel came with us and Glen followed a little later. The farmers market was quite small but they did have some good produce there. We had a walk around town and had coffee then Glen joined us and we headed for lunch and discussed the plan on leaving.

(Apollo Bay from the harbour)

(Wooden carvings in the park)

(Apollo Bay Harbour)

(The slipway and Seafood Cafe on the hill)

(One of five resident geese in the port)

I suggested that we leave at 0100 hours being high tide, Glen preferred to leave an hour before high tide just in case they did ground at the silted area they have water coming in that would lift them off. So we agreed we leave at midnight having 205 Nms to go to the Tamar River and the Beauty Point Marina, Tasmania, this would be two nights at sea.

After lunch we returned on board to get organised so that when we got up after a possible sleep we could get going straight away. We had a couple of beers for sundowner’s early dinner and tried to sleep.

(We will have the moon with us tonight sailing)

Bass Strait – Apollo Bay to Tamar River, Tasmania

Monday – 18/11/2013

We hardly had any sleep just laid there waiting for the time where we had to sail, it gets you like that, you think about what has to be done before you get underway and the brain ticks over and you can’t sleep.

We had to get the lines sorted before leaving the dock we had prepared everything else earlier to get away quickly. As we left the dock we had to get all the fenders and fender boards stowed before going out to sea this took a short time but we got it all done then started to head out of the marina. I followed the track on the chart plotter that was our track in, things look different in the dark of night although we had the bright moon shining through the clouds.

As soon as we were out we hoisted sails, I had to tack behind ‘Banyandah’ who had left the port in front of us as I had to take a different course to them as we being a catamaran cannot point into the wind as well as they can in their monohull.

It was a pretty good night with the light of the moon even when it was behind clouds it lit the area up, we had a few ships moving some fishing boats and some cargo but not close enough to worry about. The air was not quite as cold as it has been, maybe due to the wind direction.

As we progressed through the night we were parting company with ‘Banyandah’ and they appeared to be getting ahead of us, we would pass King Island a lot closer than ‘Banyandah’, by daylight we could not see each other. We had a radio schedule organised for twice a day to ensure we were both safe.

(More dolphins come to play, in actual fact they are having sex)

We passed King Island and it seemed to take forever to pass it, it is a very long island, by the 1800 hour radio sched we were 10 Nms north east off Three Hummock Island, ‘Banyandah’ was 20 Nms off the same island abeam of us but naturally we could not see each other at that distance.

(Near sunset, sun reflecting on the gear)
(Say goodnight sun sets)

We sailed through the night and picked up some speed but I knew it was going to be short lived as checking the weather on the net we were heading for a wind change to light winds of 5 – 10 knots from the east meaning we would be heading into it. We made the best of the good wind and I thought we may leave ‘Banyandah’ behind, but come the morning sched they were only a few miles off our beam where we could see each other. We had both suffered the weather not giving us the winds that were originally predicted before we left, the predictions had changed as the updates came through. However, we had made good time and we were entering the Tamar River at 0930 hours which gave an average of around 6.3 knots which is not too bad considering wind directions, due to the wind and the different types of yacht we probably sailed 10 Nms further than ‘Banyandah’ we entered the Tamar River just in front of them.

(Nearing the Tamar River our first daylight land sighting)

(Entering the Tamar River)

(Near George Town)

Glen had organised a space for us at the marina at Beauty Point which is part of the Tamar Yacht Club and is run by volunteers, mainly Dave and Ron who were both there to meet us, they came out and met us in a dinghy, guided us to the berth and assisted in docking and tying up, two very nice blokes. They run the marina along with the maintenance and cleaning as volunteers in the club and they work a month about with each other but since we have been here they have often both been here with other volunteers constructing items to make the marina better. They both live close by on the hill looking over the marina. The marina is right next door to most importantly a hotel that has very good meals and the Australian Maritime College that is a very large college with quite a number of facilities, ships and boats.

(Beauty Point Marina, our home for a while)

Well we will be in Tasmania for some time and hopefully we will have some stories and pictures to show. Our plan at this stage is to stay in the Tamar until after Christmas as Glen, Nigel and their families have invited us to stay for Christmas and have it with them. We also have a fair bit of maintenance to do, we have broken a few items and we now have some leaking hatches to repair after the bashing of heavy seas and age of the seals. We also need some better weather to go around Tassie and it does not come until January, so we will update as we can.