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Day 55 - Landfall - almost! I round the SE Cape of Tasmania towards Hobart

Sunday 1st April 2012

0000Z/10am LT
A fast overnight sail towards the SE Cape, in rough seas and winds to 36knots - we were often right 'on the edge' but just managed to keep going - and what a great welcome soon after dawn! Sailing nicely, in less strong conditions, with Mewstone and Maatsuyker islands in sight ahead, patches of blue sky above, rain well away in the distance (!) - and a big school of large dolphins speeding towards the boat, to leap in twos and threes out of the water close by, to greet me to Tasmania and Australia...!! This is what landfall is all about - exhilarating ....couldn't ask for better! To cap it all, several Shy albatross (the Tasmanian albatross) were circling around the boat, close to their breeding ground on Mewstone, and soon after, some small 'muttonbirds' (diving petrels) were seen skittering along the water surface before diving out of sight.

I had trouble getting below decks to pour out my freshly-made coffee - all I wanted to do was to stay on deck and drink in the scene!

8.30pm Safely tied up to a buoy overnight (in a flat calm!!) in Dover, Port Esperance, off the D'Entrecasteaux Channel leading N to Hobart.

Unexpectedly, I had a thoroughly enjoyable sail in veering wind for quite a time this morning - to well past the SE Cape when suddenly the wind died completely under a blue sky. I wandered in to Recherche Bay under motor to check it out. It's a lovely Bay, with two good anchorages, with a dramatic backdrop of Mt Laperouse and Pindars Pk and other mountains. Then on up the SE coast towards S.Bruny Island .... & Partridge Island, at the start of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. On the way, we passed the George the Third Rock - where a ship full of convicts had hit and sunk, taking with it all the convicts - they weren't unlocked from the hold so they could escape when the ship hit the rock....

Coming into Port Esperance was interesting - shallows and lots of fish farms! I picked up the buoy three times but only managed to get the line on a cleat at my third attempt - it wasn't organised quite as I was expecting and I nearly lost my boat hook! I arrived near sunset, which was lovely - enhanced by a perfectly shaped, old volcanic cone as a backdrop to the bay. I opened a celebratory bottle of champagne that I was given for my birthday last August and watched the sunset, before switching on for a pre-arranged radio 'sched' to speak to Petr on 'Singa' (who's fine) and to chat to other ham friends who wanted to know how my day had gone. (I also made voice contact this morning via a radio Net with friends on 'Chautauqua', now in Australia, who I've not seen since Hilton Head in N. Carolina in 2000!).

My daily chat with Greg on 'Alcidae' found him lying to the drogue (JSD) in 35-40 knot winds, 8-9m seas and pressure right down at 980 hPa - again... He's discovered that he's lost the last portion of his drogue - he said he'd used a section of old line when he spliced the little cones onto it - and clearly it had broken under the strain of the big seas and 50 knot winds he had the other day. He'd commented to me yesterday that he wasn't lying to the drogue as he should have been - now he knows why ... He thinks he might have two more days lying to the drogue - until the seas lie down. The system he's suffering from now is the one I was trying so hard to get in here to avoid...

I plan to leave Dover in the early morning (not too early) and only need 6 hrs motoring to arrive Hobart soon after lunchtime tomorrow.

DMG today: 102 n.ml. Distance to Hobart: 36 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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