Planning the big trip

We have just returned from our latest voyage aboard Ariadne’s Clew – an epic seventeen day getaway to Tasmania’s South-West Wilderness World Heritage Area. As the area is really in the wilderness, with no access to mobile phone or internet, not to mention shops or internet cafes, I wasn’t able to post anything during the trip. I did write our experiences as I went, and took lots of photos, so now I will bring you a blow, by blow account of our adventures, posting a bit each day for the next little while, until we’re all caught up. Do hope you enjoy.

Wednesday 25 Feb

My last day of work – it’s hard to believe I’m about to switch into holiday mode.

This trip we will be taking Fiona, our exchange student from the US. She’s never been sailing before, but she’s up for adventure, so I’m sure we’ll have a good time.

This afternoon Fiona met me at work and together we went to do the big shop. Exhausted, we pushed two heavily laden supermarket trolleys to the car. As we struggled on the slope to pack it all into the car boot, we laughed at how we could possibly eat all this food. Hopefully we won’t end up enormously fat in a few weeks’ time!

Today Derek spent the day preparing the boat with extra fuel cans of various types and fixing other odds and ends. Andrew came over after work to help service the engine so all is now ship-shape.

I spent the evening ticking off lists, vacuum packing meat and making last-minute arrangements for the children we are leaving behind.

Thurs 26th Feb

Course: Bellerive Yacht Club to Stringers Cove, Dover
Winds: Variable – 5 knots northerly, to 30 knots south to south-westerly

Derek was still catching up on sleep from a demanding couple of weeks away for work in Samoa, so we didn’t make a very early start. Packing and bits and pieces around the house meant we didn’t leave home until after 9. We dropped Ben off at school and then spent the next hour or two stowing food and belongings into all the storage spaces available on the boat. Surprisingly the fridge isn’t over-full for once. I just hope we have enough cheese to last the journey!

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We filled an extra water container, then over to the fuel wharf to fill up with diesel. Now we were all set. We headed out into a five knot northerly breeze to sail down the Derwent River. It was a beautiful send-off and we watched the busyness of the city recede as we drifted into holiday mode.

By lunchtime we were off Taroona, with sails set, making a leisurely two to three knots. We waved to my sister and I went below to make sandwiches. Half-way through eating them we met the southerly wind-shift and wind waves of almost a metre. Sandwiches went flying as we adjusted to the change. We furled the headsail, but something jammed and Derek had to go forward to fix it. On his way back he was caught in the face with a flying sheet (ie rope) and almost lost his glasses overboard from the impact. Luckily they dropped to the deck and he was able to grab them before they went over. He received a nasty bump on the eyebrow and a sore head though!

We reefed and dropped the main sail, then endured a bumpy hour or so before turning into the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The wind funneled up it from the south, varying between twenty and thirty knots on the nose, but the bumping wasn’t too bad until we passed Huon Island for the dash across the more exposed southern Channel to Port Esperance. Here we found our favourite niche, Stringers Cove, set between two fish farms behind Hope Island. To our relief it was unoccupied and blessedly calm, and we anchored here for a peaceful night.

After our cheese platter I whipped up a stir-fry. Too much for one meal, so we can have left-overs for lunch tomorrow. The three of us played a quick game of Carcassonne then turned in for an early night. So calm we all slept soundly.

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