TRIABUNNA to PORT ARTHUR – Meteye was predicting 15kt southerlies in the afternoon of Wednesday 09-09-2020 turning to variable overnight & into Thursday then 15-20kt northerlies after midday. This was a perfect time to leave Triabunna heading to the next stop Port Arthur via a night at Maria Is. There was another stop on the way, Canoe Bay inside Fortescue Bay, which would have been good for a night but weather window did not allow it. I wanted to sail/motor close to the cliffs to get some photos of this wonderful coast line of the Tasman Peninsula.
I certainly felt the southerly heading to Maria Is. & had to tack all the way with jib & motor & head winds. I found ‘the hole’ in close south side of the large Shoal Bay in 4m water arriving at 1700hr. Distance was 15nm for 3.5hr. By time I arrived, the wind stopped as usual. In the one month at Triabunna while working, I did not make the time to visit Maria Is. The weekends were so windy & cold in Triabunna, it would have been worse on the island. There is a passenger ferry going to the island 5 days a week for $45 return + $10/bike. One also requires a park pass so I purchased a 1yr pass with my seniors card at a discount.
After a good nights sleep the alarm went off at 0215hr Thursday & I left at 0230hr with motor only as there was no wind. In fact I motored the whole 46nm to Port Arthur, with partial jib out to Tasman Island then full jib for balance of journey. The scenery along the Tasman Peninsula is fantastic with vertically inclined rock soaring into the sky. It would seem the rock is the same under the water going to sea bed 50-70m deep. There did not seem to be a ledge under the water as the slight swell was breaking against the vertical rock face.
As soon as I got to Tasman Is., about 10am, the forecast 15-20kt northerly wind came in which meant a head wind once I passed west of Tasman Is. however with a SW swell this was no problem. I arrived in Stewarts Bay dropping the anchor on sand in 4m at noon on 10-09 sheltered from all winds except S to SE & any southerly swell. However after 2 days a swell came in & the wind was turning to southerly directions 20-30kts so moved south side of the bay into Ladies Bay. I chained an admiralty anchor 0.6m in front of the plough anchor as there is a lot of weed so with 40m of 8mm chain out I did not move except in small circles. Upon lifting the anchors 7 days later I found out why – the chain below the bow picked up the weed acting as a kellet. So for the nine days, I worked while walking the surrounding area including Port Arthur with winds changing to the dreaded NW. However with tall gum tress to my north I was fully sheltered. One has to pay to enter the Port Arthur grounds but I was too early on my walks. At one stage I dinghy’ed out into the bay fishing in 20m and caught a couple of dinners of flathead. Late on Friday 18-09 I lifted the anchors cleaning the weed off and motored around to the public mooring south side of Port Arthur ready to leave about 0630hr next morning for Taranna. I also ordered a small cheap Chinese drone to be delivered to my Melbourne address.
PORT ARTHUR to NUBEENA – 0630hr on Saturday 19-09 I left Port Arthur for the 26nm journey to Nubeena past Cape Raoul, mostly motor sailing as there was very little wind, arriving 1245hr onto a Derwent Sailing Squadron mooring. There was a good SW swell with waves crashing into the vertical cliffs so I was able to motor close to the cliff & get some good photos of the crashing waves..
I rang DSS to get permission & stayed for two weeks working. Nubeena seemed to be ‘the town that was’. I required petrol for the generator but the petrol station closed some time ago – should have filled up in Port Arthur. There were many houses with ‘memorabilia’ from past years – cars, machinery, cray pots, runabouts etc. This was a good place for exercising as the steep hills were close by testing my heart. I pushed my bicycle up a steep hill – Nubeena Back Road – to Taranna & back – a round trip of 34km. I never took any food thinking I could get fish&chips in Taranna – it was closed. I did however have a beer & meal at Rosedale Homestead, Taranna. The drone had arrived in Melbourne so my wife posted it to Nubeena so had to wait for it to arrive. I had no time to try it out before leaving at 0730hr Saturday 03-10 for Taranna. There is a wharf with fresh water & small floating pontoon (for dinghy’s only). There is also a well stocked IGA with wonderful local eggs with a rich coloured yoke & marscarpone cheese for my favorite desert – tiramisu.
NUBEENA to TARANNA – The only petrol in the area was just before the next stop Taranna at a place called Premaydena facing the north. I anchored in 2.5m water a long way out from shore near low tide & walked across the sand/mud flats with 2x10l & 2x5l plastic jerry cans. Once full the 5l cans sat in my back pack with a 10l in each hand walking about 600m around the road this time, back to the dinghy which was high & dry. Impression Bay is very shallow. A northerly was predicted so I had limited time & lifted anchor just as it arrived. I found another DSS mooring in Taranna so tied to it for another 9 days. Anchoring in both Nubeena & Taranna is apparently OK with good holding in sand/mud and there is no swell. Both are open to the strong NW gales which seem to frequent Tasmania this time of the year. There are no shops in Taranna but it does have a very friendly boat club so presented myself on the Friday arvo for a beer & snacks. The clubhouse was built by the members on the waters edge with a rather steep railway line ramp for yachts. I caught a number of good size flathead while drift fishing. It was also a great place for walking up hills with many wild flowers. One can motor along a narrow causeway east to Eaglehawk Neck, but I never made the time due to the wind & my work. While in Port Arthur a friend, Stan, drove from Port Huon to pick me up & show me some of the area ending up in Eaglehawk Neck viewing the tessellated pavement & a light lunch at Lufra Hotel. From Wikipedia – in geology and geomorphology, a tessellated pavement is a relatively flat rock surface that is subdivided into more or less regular rectangles. On the ocean side of Eaglehawk Neck is Pirates Bay. See the photos below in the slide show.
TARANNA TO MURDUNNA – I left Taranna 0830hr on Saturday 13-10 for the 17nm sail to next stop Murdunna tying up to a floating pontoon with 1m under the keel at 1000hr. I checked the tide & decided the water was deep enough, but later in the day checked again to find I must have made a mistake as I was about to sit on the bottom so instantly decided to tie up to a large mooring buoy. No one told me to get off so stayed for 1wk. I met a French guy & his friend on their 25′ Django yacht named L’Envol, which means’ into the wind’ – web address intothewind.fr. Christophe sailed from France, down the east coast of South America, thru’ the fiords of Patagonia (where he met Carina who gave up her job & jumped at the chance of a sailing life), up thru’ the numerous fiords of Chili & across the pacific to NZ, New Caledonia & around Australia mainland & Tasmania anticlockwise before stopping at Franklin on the Huon River in April at the start of the COVID pandemic. They could not leave Tasmania due to border closures. Once we could move around Tasmania they have sailed up the Tassie east coast including St. Helens & as of December they are in River Tamar at Beauty Point with a view to obtaining work picking fruit etc. There is an IGA at Mudunna – that serves ice cream. There were perhaps 15 vessels on moorings, one rather dilapidated vessel called El Desperado. I was invited to a local house, who befriended Christophe & Carina for a very nice dinner one night. Tim & Carol own a yacht moored in the harbour & have plans to untie the land strings in December to sail somewhere – around Tassie or east coast mainland Aussie depending on COVID. A few years ago the area was badly burnt so many locals built a number of seats around the harbour track to sit & enjoy the view.
Time was running out for me to visit other areas south of Hobart in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel so on Saturday 17-10 I left Murdunna at 0300hr for the 36nm motor/sail to Derwent Sailing Squadron marina arriving at 1200hr. The weather was overcast with light winds. After stopping east side of Betsey Is. fishing in 15m (caught nothing) I rounded the Iron Pot at 0900hr & then it seemed to take ages motoring up the Derwent to DSS. Not far from DSS I saw a yacht I had seen in Darwin & met the owner & crew Stan (whom I have kept in contact with) in Geraldton 2017. I rather liked Hobart, which has house properties lapping the waters edge like Sydney. I found a fantastic baker with great cakes & bread – Jackman & McRoss at Battery Point. Salamanca Market was rather depleted due to COVID. One of the great views around Hobart is of Mt Wellington, looking down like ‘big brother’. I stayed 8 days, filling up with diesel, water & food. I tried to leave after 7 days but the southerly head wind coming up the Derwent River was too hard to negotiate so returned & left the following day. The autopilot motor was not working so was able to fix it somehow when I returned.
Next episode will be from Hobart to Dover & back to Hobart to complete the 2020 cruising year.