Investigator Straight, Kangaroo Island and Adelaide.

Coming out from the Yorke Peninsular and into the Investigator Straight we now got into Carol’s Territory. All of the Eyre Peninsular, West Coast of SA and Spencer Gulf gets worked by Gerry the VHF Radio Operator from Tumby Bay – if you are on passage you can log on to him via repeater ch 21 and then he checks in with you in the morning and in the afternoon – gives you weather, maps your position and has a chat. A really great service and a faboulus commitment. Anyway, rounding the corner we then recived Carol from American River – who of course already heard about us.

A few miles south brought us to Althorpe Island where we anchored in a faboulus spot under the cliffs and went to the the old lighthouse at the top of the island.

Had little incident on the way back as Claire decided on skinny dipping and a frisky sealion came over to investigate. She escaped his advances by not much and hid behind the dinghy, which stopped the sealion as he was got confused i think by the human (me) rolling around the beach laughing.

Next stops where Kangaroo Beach, Maeres Tail, Emu Bay and finally Island Beach (first non rolly anchorage) where we spent New Year.

A few days later my friend Rowan from Perth came over and we rented a car for a couple days and discovered the island by road + had nice sailing trips down to American River and the Winery at The Bay of Shoals.

A great Day run from the Bay of Shoals brought us to Adelaide, into the Port River and to the Royal Yacht Squadron where we enjoyed great hospitality, all the victualling we could fit into the boat and lots of social times.

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Spencer Gulf and the Joseph Banks Group

After spending a few days in Port Lincoln it was decided to spend Christmas here too but as it was a few days till then, we decided to go a couple of days to the Banks Group, just 20 or so nmi out of Port Lincoln.

A light southerly wind brought us to Langton Island where friendly Seals came out for a swim

Another couple miles brought us to the lagoon at Reevesby Island where we anchored in good shelter for a couple days, watched the full moon rise, went for walks around the island and visited the old homestead.

Come Christmas Eve, we ambled back to Port Lincoln, anchored in front of the yacht club again and had a delightful Christmas with Claires Friends

After a couple days we went on again, first to Thistle Island, then past Wedge and anchored in Pandalowie to wait easterly winds (which never materialized). Had a delightful time in the spencer gulf with mainly light winds and no seas – a pretty good change after the south coast of WA & SA !

Storm Petrel out.

Coffin Bay to Port Lincoln

A homecoming for Claire, who is excited to show Joe the West (best) coast of SA.

10 very relaxing days spent on a mooring in Coffin Bay included : coast walks, razorfishing, some boat repair works (and prepping a friend’s house demolition), baking, mucking out (and about) in dinghies, sewing, catching Tommy Ruffs (Herring for Westralians) and catching family and friends. Glimpses of warm sun boosted the overcast mood for some during this time. Generosity of our special people, and new local acquaintances, allowed for hot showers, use of a car to provision and visit Lincoln, and learn how to fillet gummy shark.

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A break in the weather came so we cast off from the perfect shelter of Coffins. Thus ensued a long day with mixed-bag of weather/seas to round the peninsula to Avoid Bay. It seemed as if each change in heading around Pt Sir Isaac brought with it a sail and outfit change: from drizzle on the foulies, to becalmed suntanning and cool drinks, then beating into short seas and watching the thunder clouds. My stomach dropped as Joe dropped metres with the bow off the waves. Made it to Avoid on dusk, Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior spotted around the islands in the distance. Ever grateful to theeee crayfishing community for another loan of a mooring during a short night of blinding electrical storms.

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Sunshine became a more consistent feature after a queasy start in this gorgeous part of the Coffin Bay National Park, and set sail towards the Lincoln National Park. Headland weaving, island spotting, trailing seas and wind abaft the beam – we were all beaming with the excitement of visiting new places, being underway, and shaking off shoddy weather. Two nights in dreamy Memory Cove – resident seal and pup, beachcombing, rocky headland walk, sweet-smelling bush, SUP-ing, and a chance to dry out the contents of prematurely-deemed “dry lockers”. The unAvoidable spanking spared noone – passport, all clothes bar one ugg boot, rehydrated dehydrated veg, and some electronics.

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Nature-soaked heart topped up, off we toddled for a textbook, mostly-downwind passage into Port Lincoln – close to many peoples’ hearts. Entering fabled fishing waters I was hopeful, but we have arrived all the way in to the town foreshore and I still haven’t caught anything of note since leaving Perth!

Storm Petrel hardened up around Cape Donington and enjoyed a fresh beat dodging fish farms and into Boston Bay.

Anchored before the yacht club, drink in hand, I look ashore at fond memories from a new seaward perspective.

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Streaky Bay to Coffin Bay

After just a day in Streaky Bay we unfortunately had to move on as southerly winds where forecasted for the next week and we where keen to meet some friends in coffin bay and port lincoln.

The forecasted north-easterly winds didn’t eventuate sadly so after a good night of sail to we did diesel a lot of the way. Lots of Dolphins played around the boat however.

It wasn’t until midnight until we arrived in Coffin Bay proper and we where a little bit nervous about the 1.5m shallow entrance, but arriving at high tide everything was good and all charts on the entrance where pretty much spot on. So if there is 0.3m tide the entrance with a 1.8m draft boat is fine.

The late hour say us anchoring somewhere behind the bar and we moved into Coffin Bay proper the next morning. We gave Smithy from Coffin Bay Slipway a call to enquire about the town anchorage and he couldnt have been nicer. He guided us into the Anchorage (Navionics charts are wrong for this area) and even organized a mooring for us ! Give him a call if you thinking about coming to coffin bay, he is the man !

I attached a picture of our track into Coffin Bay – one can continue on past the town jetty and anchor further west in the bay, however the passage behind goat island is shallow (as opposed to the charts). Coffin Bay is a superbly spot, protected from all winds and and a great spot to hang out for a couple days or to leave their boat for a longer time.

//WL2K Day 4 GAB – update from Storm Petrel

Hello !

Position 34.29S, 131.37E

Its Monday morning and we are currently approx 180nmi south of the Head of the Bight, 490nmi east of Esperance and 165nmi south-west of Streaky Bay. Only the last bit counts, really.

We notice we are going east ! The first light on the horizon appears at 2.15am already.

We had several days of good westerly winds but last night they went from ‘good’ to ‘yeah nah bit light but still better than the diesel’ to plenty of slatting sails (a.k.a. a few choice words, personal comm. C Stanley 3/12/18) this morning. So we diesel. Swells have been quite big but at 10-12sec. (will not guess the height but might do so in a few months at the pub)
The forecast predicts light southerlies tonight, then easterlies thereafter. We are quite south at the moment so hopeful this give us a better angle once they arrive. It’s either tacking up towards Coffin Bay or Cape Catastrophe or one long tack towards Streaky. Depends on the crew. The majority thinks the shortest way to an uninterrupted nights sleep and a shower the better.

Other than this all is well on board. Bloody cold (where is the summer ?) We nearly run out of Salami but still good on the cheese. Had mostly omelettes with ham in the morning since nobody could be bothered to bake fresh bread (its too rolly !) and cabbage salads and special fried rice for supper. Found a cookbook mum gave me and i think what i may be able to make but then i get up and get slung around the cabin by a wave and i abandon my thoughts.

We’re in South Australian waters. I’m (Claire now, hi!) excited to see friends and family on the west coast in the days (and weeks?) ahead. We haven’t seen a single vessel by AIS or line of sight since leaving Esperance. And now – a search and rescue aircraft appears on the AIS and may fly over us shortly. Perhaps they heard our frustrated swearing while slopping around?! Maybe they are not too busy searching and rescuing in order to have a short chat on the radio. We passed near to some “Gnarlyknot well heads” marked on the chart – I’m curious if they are the exploratory drilling sites opposed by the GAB Alliance with their #fightforthebight campaign. Other than seabirds – beautiful prancing little storm petrels, and $%&@ massive soaring albatross – the only wildlife has been something belonging to a single fin I spotted early this morning.

Time now to air out the cabin, hang up the foulies, and do some dishes. Love to all and sundry!

//WL2K Day 2 Great Australian Bight

Hello all !

Day 2 of our sail see us at Position 34.16S, 126.56E – roughly 155nmi from Israelite Bay – 124nmi or 270km south of Eyre. We left Esperance Thursday with Southerly Winds – sailed SE through the Recherche Archipelago, exited somewhere around Salisbury Island and then pretty much stopped in very light E winds. Yesterday evening then we fetched light Southerly Winds again and those have now swung to the SSW to W and gone up to 20-25kts.
We currently sailing wing to wing, reefed and furled, its rough but we are making good passage.

All is well aboard, the skipper had his bout of seasickness the first day, the Admiral unexpectedly on the second. There is terrific birdlife here – yesterday evening we saw hundreds of shearwaters everywhere and “yay” we also saw our first pair of Storm Petrels ! Other then this there have been Terns, giant Albatrosses and lots of other birds.

On the matter of food – its been Pastas, Bacon Sandwiches (now out of Bacon), Omelettes with Salami, Camembert Cheeses and lots of Cabbage. We are surviving – no survy yet.

Happy first day of summer! We are getting enough solar for daytime fridge running and keeping batteries topped up. Other than that, it’s certainly not summery – going on watch I’m wondering if we’re dressing to go to sea or to ski. Expecting hygiene to deteriorate despite the stunning ultramarine and clear water; I don’t fancy a dip in these rolling liquid hills. (*Hold that thought: note to self – close the companionway hatch when sitting at computer. Actually, water is not too cold!)
All systems are functioning as required, haven’t run out of books to read (yet) and adapting slowly – with some complaint – to the wakeful restful cycle on board, keeping 3 hour watches overnight. Will need to keep pacing ourselves as there’s still a few days of this ahead.