Our Current Position

Saturday, 30 January 2016

The trip in numbers

53 days onboard
1615 nautical miles
330 litres diesel
10 litres unleaded
4kg LPG
5 bottles gin
1 bottle whisky
24 bottles red wine

not sure how many beers!

Day 52 - 53 Home

We awoke to rain on Thursday morning and so it was full wet weather gear for the last leg north. However it soon cleared as we left Sydney harbour bound for our home port of Broken Bay and Pittwater. There was a head wind all the way and so we kept things simple and had a relaxed motor up the coast passing all the familiar beaches as Manly, Narrabeen, Mona Vale and Newport.

We rounded Barrenjoey Head at around 12:30 and then headed up Cowan Creek for our last night onboard in Yeoman Bay. This is a beautifully quiet and sheltered Bay with a few moorings provided by the National Park authorities. Despite all of the wonderful places we have been on this trip, this place is a reminder that we have some pretty fantastic cruising locations right on our doorstep.

Friday was spent with a relaxed start of a swim and coffee. The water is definitely a lot warmer here than in Tasmania. We then spent the rest of the morning packing things up ready for the journey back to base at the Quays Marina. Then it was back to the mayhem of life ashore and a lot of laundry!

Journey over until next time ....

Rounding Barrenjoey Head and into our home Port

Final anchorage in Yeoman's Bay

Unloading back at the fuel dock at Quays Marina

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Day 50 - 51 Chillin in the Harbour

We managed to get through Australia Day celebrations all the way to the fireworks, aided by a little siesta part way through the day. There was a great atmosphere on the water, with lots of boats flying flags and decorated in Aussie themes. We had jets and helicopters flying over, parades of boats of all shapes and sizes and barge with a massive speaker system playing party music for most of the afternoon. A great day all finished off with a fireworks display in the evening.

Yesterday we had a very chilled out day and didn't move. In fact Debi didn't even get out of her pyjamas! I spent the day on deck polishing the steel work and removing superfluous pieces of kit that have been attached to the boat for years, mainly from her racing days, that I decided we will very likely never use. Things are looking a lot tidier on deck now.

We also started planning work for the next stage of the X-Pat upgrade. Works are already being organised and we have ordered a new compressor and plate for the fridge to convert it to a fridge freezer. The next time we go on a trip we will have ice in the G&T's!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Day 48 - 50 Return to Sydney!

After a much needed recovery day, sitting doing very little and waiting for the wind to die down, we left our anchorage in Eden to head across Two Fold Bay to the town of Eden to collect some provisions and some more diesel. We had a few capers tying up and leaving the wooden wharf, but we survived. Then it was out to sea and turn left for Sydney. We had originally planned to stop at Jervis Bay, but the weather looked favourable and so we carried on all the way to Sydney. Although we managed a few hours of good sailing a lot of the journey was very light winds and so we motor sailed most of the way. 

We arrived just off Bondi beach at about 7am to a traditional Sydney welcome, an absolute downpour and gusty winds. That put a bit of a damper on the grand arrival after a 230 nm journey and 43 hours at sea. We motored into the harbour behind a big cruise ship and then dropped Julian off so that he could head back home to Brisbane. 

We are now anchored in Atholl Bay (near the zoo) awaiting the various celebrations for Australia Day. Apparently there are fireworks at 9.30pm. I'm not sure that we will last that long.

Today is our 50th day aboard X-Pat and Debi still hasn't thrown me overboard. Time is running out!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Days 46- 47 The Unpredictable Bass Strait

Well so much for putting up the No 1 headsail up and forecasted light winds. We'd been going for about four hours when the wind started to pick up, and so in went the first reef and then the second and the headsail became more and more furled. We then endured about six hours of very gusty winds and messy seas before things started to moderate and then went to no wind at all. 

We then had fun and games when we tried to furl the headsail and it jammed. So we had to drop the sail on the foredeck which is never fun. So it was a slow road to Eden again, motor sailing for the last 12 hours, the last six of which were in the pouring rain. On the positive side we had some really nice light wind sailing and saw lots of Common Dolphins along the way, who loved to come and play in our bow wave.

We arrived in Eden at 0130 in the dark and rain and are now anchored next to the wood chip plant again. The East Australian Current (EAC) which we benefited from on the way south, was of course against us this time. Although we tried to route around it we weren't too successful and our return trip was between Wineglass Bay and Eden was 16 hours longer than the trip down.

Once anchored we had a wee celebration and finally got to be around 4am. There seem to be three empty bottles in the galley this morning. Quote of the day from Debi just now was " what are we going to do about my head?"

We will be staying here today to avoid a string southerly wind.  Welcome back to NSW!

Great to be sailing with Common Dolphins

Crew relaxing during a quiet period in the Bass Strait

Days 41- 45 Start of the Long Trip Back

It’s been a while since the last update largely due to a lack of cellphone signal.

On Monday we set off fairly early from Chinaman’s Bay at Maria Island. We had a mixed trip starting off motor sailing due to a lack of wind and then having to reef the main due to too much wind. That is a typical days sailing here! We did a total of 62 nm that day and anchored in Wineglass Bay, which was our first port of call in Tasmania exactly a month ago.

On Tuesday (19th) we spent the morning tidying the boat and making preparations for crossing the Bass Strait. This included cooking a big pot of chilli and filling the water tanks. We then took the opportunity to escape from the boat whilst we could. We took the dinghy ashore and had a nice walk up Mount Graham (we think) on the Freycinet peninsular. There were good views from the top but it was a bit hazy to see too far. By the time we got back down after a four-hour walk our bodies were in shock having not walked that far for a long time! Our trip ashore culminated in hilarity when Debi was once again swept overboard from the dinghy by a massive six inch wave! Given that she was drenched she then did the honourable thing and swam back to the boat.

We set off from Wineglass at 0730 on Wednesday with a destination of Eden on the NSW coast. We had a good sail for most of the day but the wind died in the evening and we spent last night motor sailing all night. So progress has been slow.  We had light winds most of Thursday and so decided to change to our No. 1 headsail, which is much larger than the standard cruising headsail that we have been using. This has allowed us to finally turn off the engine and enjoy the sound of the water rushing past. Well to be honest not really rushing as we are only doing 5.5 knots but it still sounds nice. As I write this we are 85 nm east of Flinders Island with 170nm to go to Eden. It’s going to be a while until I get a signal to send this!

First Walk for a while up Mount Graham

The Beautiful Wineglass Bay, X-Pat is in the photo

Debi Overboard!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Day 40 - Big Day

Today has been quite a big day. We left Nubeena at 0630 and headed around the dreaded Cape Raoul and then back through the 'Hole in the Wall' between Tasman Island and the peninsula. We are now firmly back on the east coast of Tasmania and are now anchored back in Chinaman's Bay on Maria Island. It's also our 40th day onboard and today we passed the magical 1000 nm miles travelled so far.

We had some great downwind sailing up the east side of the Tasman peninsular with speeds up to 8.5 knots and sunshine all the way. 

Cape Doom (oops I mean Raoul)

The team rounding Cape Raoul

Friday, 15 January 2016

Day 39 - Nubeena

Finally we have left the comfort of the marina in Kettering and had a good sail across Storm Bay to Nubeena on the east side of the Tasman Peninsular. This was a good opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and get back into sailing mode. We are now firmly on our way home, but looking at the weather forecast we will end up spending a number of days creeping around the coast or waiting for a weather window to make the crossing back north.

Nubeena, Parsons Bay, Tasman Peninsula

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Day 35 - 38 Oyster Bay Marina, Kettering

It's been a few days since the last update. We basically left Little Taylor Bay and headed for Oyster Bay marina a few days ago. We had a good clean up of the boat and a meal ashore. On Tuesday we met up with Lewis's sister Renee and Waz and went for a day sail down the channel and then across to Quarantine Bay on North Bruny Island  for lunch at anchor.

Yesterday was crew change day with Gillian and Lewis leaving us to go and stay in a little village called Snug, just outside of Hobart. Julian joined us yesterday and will be with us back to Sydney, so we are now fully crewed up and ready to go. Unfortunately the weather is not playing ball at all. We had intended leaving yesterday but 30 knot winds put us off and so we delayed with the intent of getting off this morning. We got the ferry back to Bruny island yesterday afternoon and walked to a whisky tasting centre where we spent a happy hour!

This morning, we awoke to more high winds and a horrible forecast with wind and rain so we are still in the Oyster Bay Marina. It's getting a little embarrassing going to the marina office and asking for another night!

We filled the day today by getting the bus to Hobart to visit the maritime museum. What you see what some of these guys did in the late 1800's it makes our efforts seem pretty simple. They didn't even have a decent weather forecast. We followed that with a visit to the Lark distillery where some more fine whisky was sampled and we met up with Gillian and Lewis, who we thought we had left!

We're now back onboard and pouring over various weather forecast to produce a forward plan. We now have a plan, which doesn't involve whisky, but it'll probably change again tomorrow! Oh well that's cruising!

Safely tied up at Oyster Bay - it's always difficult to leave a marina!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Day 33 and 34 - The Quarries, Little Taylor Bay

Yesterday we went ashore to get provisions with the trusty trolley and also soaked up the atmosphere of the various stalls surrounding the folk festival in Cygnet. A great opportunity to people watch. Quite an amazing cross section of humanity mostly wearing washed out cotton clothes and sleeping in their vans and tents. There were even Morris Dancers! We considered staying for a sea shanty session at the local yacht club but I was persuaded it was a good idea to set off on a late afternoon sail back to Bruny Island. About two hours into the trip in 25 knot winds in the middle of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel I was beginning to wish we'd stayed in Cygnet. However after getting a reef in the main, a bit of tacking and some reliable helming from Debi we made it into a nice sheltered anchorage called The Quarries, in Little Taylor Bay. Apparently the sandstone that was used to build the Melbourne Post Office was quarried here.

Today we have chilled out. I went for a snorkel but the bay is very sandy and very shallow so not a lot to see. Debi then swam ashore whilst the rest of us went across in the dinghy to spend a few hours on the beach. We are all back on board now. Moroccan lamb for supper!

The Quarries Beach

At anchor with the Oysters

Little Taylor Bay

Friday, 8 January 2016

Day 32 - Cygnet

We had a lazy 10 nm motor around the corner to Cygnet and anchored just near the Cygnet Sailing Club. We initially managed to anchor in a beautifully clear area with no other boats and then I saw the sign: "Race start line - please keep clear". Given that it's Saturday tomorrow we thought it was a good idea to move!

We went ashore and met Gillian and Lewis who are now onboard with us for a few days. This place is beautiful. I could live here. It has an estuary with over 70 species of birds, a yacht club with available moorings, beautiful views and houses that are about a third of the price of Sydney! It also has a wooden boat building industry. 

There is a folk festival on here this weekend but it has largely sold out and they were asking Sydney prices for the warm up evening tonight so we decided to retire to the boat for the evening. 

Cygnet Estuary


Thursday, 7 January 2016

Day 31 - Randall's Beach

We went ashore this morning with a far drier dinghy ride than yesterday and picked up some more fuel for the outboard and refilled our gas bottle. We also took the opportunity to get breakfast ashore, though I am not sure that carrot cake constitutes breakfast (Debi?).

Then it was off on the journey north again to Randall's Bay. A nice picturesque anchorage at the mouth of the Huon River.  Went ashore for a walk on the beach and collected half a dozen oysters from the rocks for a pre-dinner snack. Fantastic!

Randall's Beach

At Anchor, Randall's Beach

Everyone enjoys gazing at the sea!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Day 30 - Dover but no White Cliffs

It's been a bit of a grey stormy day today. No rain but quite windy. We reluctantly said goodbye to Southport and headed north for the 10 nm trip to Dover. The wind was a cold south easterly so we had it behind us, but not too pleasant.

We safely anchored near to an old derelict jetty and took the dinghy ashore. There is a caravan park in the town so we managed to get some hot showers there which was nice. We then had a short walk around the town and stocked up on a few provisions. We then got very wet coming back on the dinghy as the wind and waves were blowing straight at us. Things are easing a bit now and we are settling down to steak for supper!

Our anchorage in Dover

Our anchorage in Dover

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Day 29 - Southport

We left Tinpot Bay this morning and headed for the appropriately named Southport. This is probably going to be our most southerly point at 43 degrees 27 minutes south. We had a very casual motor sail here and it has to be said that this is probably our favourite anchorage so far. 

We anchored in an area called Deep Hole. We went ashore and had a trip on the Ida Bay Railway. If Postman Pat had had a train it would look like this! The line was constructed in 1922 to carry limestone from quarries south east of the Lune river. The engine was petrol driven and frankly I have had more comfortable rides on an underground rail system in a coal mine in west Wales but the view was better.

After appropriate refreshments at the Ida Bay Cafe we had a bit of a walk and then a shaky noisy ride back to our anchorage. It really is a stunning place here and after a nice walk long the beach we are now back on board X-Pat with a few glasses of wine and a stir fry!

Postman Pat's Train

Our Anchorage, Southport

Stunning views

X-Pat at anchor - Southport

Monday, 4 January 2016

Day 28- Chillin at Tinpot Bay

We were pestered by the dreaded mozzies last night so not much sleep. It was therefore a slow morning but we eventually got the dinghy inflated and went ashore to explore. 

It took us a while to find a path through the bush that actually went anywhere, but we eventually made it across the peninsular to a beautiful beach on the north side. I had a bit of a walk along the tideline surveying the debris whilst Debi sat on a rustic swing and listened to the sea.

We then headed back to the dinghy and rowed home. We collected a few mussels for bait on the way back and managed to catch the first edible fish (flathead) of the trip in the evening. Fish and chips for supper!

I also did further investigations on the wiring of our wind speed indicator which doesn't seem to be working.  Nothing obviously wrong and so we are resigned to having to guess the wind speed for the rest of the trip!

The contemplating swing

Plastic straws get everywhere. Please don't use them.

Tinpot beach

At anchor, Tinpot Bay, South Bruny Island

Friendly Fiji

After a burst of activity early on, it has been a pretty chilled out week. We left Buca Bay on Sunday, motoring out through the reef into...