Thursday 23rd Feb we decided to leave Deal Island after checking and rechecking the weather and felt pretty good about what was ahead of us. We headed out of Murray Pass with 110 nautical miles to sail. A steady breeze gradually increased to between 20-30 knots SW. Under full sail and broad reach we were doing a very comfortable 7 kn average. By late afternoon with the seas building we decided to sail with just the genoa, and in the process of dropping the main in a rolling sea, John let go of the main halyard, sending it swinging in to space and wrapping itself beautifully around the furled genoa. Within minutes, after us contemplating motoring all the way to the Lakes, the halyard untwisted itself and flicked up into the rigging where it stayed safely until I tried to free it once we were safely in port. It took two of us to eventually untangle it with no damage done.
The crossing was uneventful (or to quote J Slocum...'nothing occured to move a pulse and set blood in motion'), no sickness between us, eating snacks and keeping hydrated and 2 hour watches kept us well rested . Crossing the shipping lane required a careful watch and with the aid of the AIS(Automatic Identification System) we were able to keep well clear of several large ships crossing Bass Strait. By 1930 we were heading into the oil and gas fields passing the Perch, Dolphin and Bream platforms about 25nm south of the Victorian coast. Its quite comforting in a funny sort of way to have these bright lights all around. One does not feel quite so alone.
As we got closer to Lakes Entrance we needed to be aware of the fishing boats about, especially the squid boats with their bright lights. Its very hard to see which direction they are heading. I was studying one for quite some time pondering this when I suddenly noticed his bow wave and had to divert rather quickly! No harm done, but my pulse did move after that!
|The bar at Lakes Entrance on a calm day|
To ensure we arrived at the entrance to Lakes Entrance in daylight and with the rising tide, we had needed to slow our progress to about 4kn average. So with the entrance visible at dawn from 2 miles out we radioed Paynesville Coastguard for advice on entering. With their help and that of another yacht just coming out before us we made an uneventful entry following clear blue leads and plenty of water under the keel. A further 1/2 hours motoring brought us to the Cunninghame Arm public jetty where we tied up with Glenshiel, slipped into something comfortable for a quick breakfast of coffee and toast at the cafe across the road followed by a welcome 2 hrs catchup sleep. That afternoon we met two fellow boaties, Mark, Michelle and Charlie (the Border Collie) on Kiandra, on a 6 month cruise from Sydney to Tasmania return. The seven of us got together on the grass at the marina to have drinks and nibbles and to exchange information on our respective local areas.
We have been in Lakes Entrance now for 5 days, I have done more repairs on the sail, we have celebrated Johns birthday(in Metung), been for bike rides and walks and have been waiting for favourable conditions to head to Eden.
So today, the 1st March we motored in the pouring rain and 20kn ESE up to Paynesville from Metung and arrived around 2 00pm. Everywhere in NSW is wet at the moment. I attempted to make a loaf of bread in the pressure cooker and it was a bit disastrous (not quite cooked, very doughy) but should come good with lashings of cream and maybe some leatherwood honey followed by a good strong cup of tea so it doesnt stuck on the way down! I am determined to make a decent loaf of bread one day. We did have one success the night before. John and I combined skills and made a perfect roast dinner in the pressure cooker.
|Kiandra, GlenshielVII and Sorcerer tied up at Metung|
|A good day for koala spotting on Raymond Island(tied up here in Paynesville)|
|First, you have to get inside the mind of a koala...|
|...then BINGO, you find one out in the wild!!|