Friday 6 March
Course: Cassilda Cove, Bathurst Channel to Claytons Corner, Bathurst Harbour (via Port Davey)
Winds: calm to 15 knots
Friday dawned bright and calm – the sort of weather we had been waiting for. We pulled up both anchors and retrieved the two lines from the shore, then motored out past the Breaksea Islands into Port Davey to empty our holding tank outside the marine reserve.
Fiona was booked to fly out from Melaleuca airstrip on Saturday, so we decided to spend Friday night at Claytons Corner so that we could head down Melaleuca Inlet early on Saturday. This well protected cove is the site of Clyde and Win Clayton’s house, one of the few families who lived permanently in the area before it was declared a national park. Since they left the house has been maintained by ‘Friends of Claytons’ and is available for public use as a day shelter. Clayton also built a sturdy jetty here, which is also available for boats to use.
A few boats were anchored in the area, two in the first bay, two in the Corner, and one tied up at the jetty. We took the vacant side, and stepped ashore for the first time in a few days. We filled our water tanks with fresh south-west rainwater, collected from the roof of Claytons house, and chatted to the crew of Taurus, who were doing their own circumnavigation of Tasmania just ahead of the 40-strong Van Diemens Land Circumnavigation fleet who were expected in a few days. An interesting bunch of characters, they included the only other woman we had seen in the area – the other boats being all male domains so far. We exchanged stories, expertise and goods. They introduced us to a very simple and useful device – the jiggler – which we used to siphon diesel from our jerry-cans into our tanks; we gave them a nearly full bottle of gas for cooking. Their gas supplies had just run out and they had fired up the old wood-stove in the Claytons’ house to cook dinner. They were very grateful, but it was our opportunity to pay it forward; the last time we were here we had been the grateful recipients of a spare can of diesel.
We also chatted to a young man all decked out in bushwalking gear who ended every sentence with ‘ay’. He was the ‘shore party’ from one of the yachts anchored around the corner, and told us of their adventures in the area over the past four weeks. During this time he had walked out to attend a mate’s wedding – assuming he took the quickest route to Scotts Peak this would be a four-day walk each way! He did look extremely fit. We hoped his mate appreciated his dedication.
Fiona and I walked up to the house for pre-dinner nibbles and a chat with the crew of Taurus, then took advantage of the evening light for a walk up TV Hill to look at the view.
We watched the sun set and ate on deck enjoying the complete calm.