Position: Wineglass Bay (still wobbly)
After two days confined to the boat we were happy for the chance to stretch our legs ashore. Today’s forecast was for quite strong westerly winds so although we are keen to get up to Flinders as soon as possible we took a day off from travelling, and what better spot to do it than Wineglass Bay? After breakfast we inflated the kayak and paddled towards the rocks at the west end of the beach, not far from the boat. The beach is steep and with the swell running in the break is sharp and we didn’t fancy getting ourselves soaked. We’ve just had the kayak repaired as it sprung a leak during our last trip, so we were not happy to find that the pontoons were rather soft and deflating halfway to the shore! Nevertheless we found a weedy gulch and a helpful wave lifted us lightly onto a nice flat landing rock. We lifted the kayak high onto another rock ledge and let some more air out to avoid further strain on the seams when the sun’s heat expanded the air inside and then off we went for adventure.
The first thing was to try out Derek’s new drone. From a flat rock ledge (far from any other people) we flew it up and above the boat. This was its first proper flight apart from over the house.
That fun over, we backed our pack and climbed over the rocks to the beach, startling a few tourists on the way. The beach was sparkling white under a brilliant blue sky, and the Hazards, Mt Graham and Mt Freycinet shown in all their beauty. Lots of walkers had reached the beach by this time and we heard many squeals of surprise or delight as some raced into the sea for a quick swim.
We took the track over the isthmus to Hazards Beach and were surprised to find the wind here was really quite strong – a testament to how sheltered is our anchorage in Wineglass. Hazards Beach too was really turning the views on, and we were again reminded how lucky we are to live on this beautiful island.
We chatted briefly to an elderly American couple enjoying their holiday, and then watched with astonishment as the Freycinet Water Taxi beached itself sideways and proceeded to offload its passengers into the shallows. They all struggled ashore thoroughly wet both from the paddle and the spray of breaking waves. The crew clearly had a problem with the anchor, and spent the next half hour pushing and trying to swim and lay the anchor off shore again so they could winch the boat off the beach. We hope they managed it in the end – they were still working at it when we left the beach to return to Wineglass Bay. On the way we passed a party who were on their way to meet the water taxi at Hazards Beach. We kept mum.
We recovered the kayak, pumped it up and paddled back to the boat. Again it deflated on the way. We have a repair job ahead tonight – otherwise that will be the end of our kayaking adventures for this trip. Our view of the kelp gardens from the kayak did inspire us to try some snorkelling, however, and when we got back to the boat we dug out our wetsuits and proceeded to squeeze ourselves into them. I’m pretty sure I’ve gained a few kilos since we bought a matching pair, and Derek has gained a little too. It took us about a quarter of an hour with much pulling and grunting, and a few breaks to catch our breath and wipe the sweat from our foreheads, but we did it!! After all that effort we had to swim a good distance to the shore.
We swam and floated over the amazing fields of kelp and weed in all sizes and varieties. Some of the kelp fronds were over 30cm wide. It was so beautiful to watch them stream out and back on the surges between the rocks. At one point we let a surge take us with the kelp over a shallow rock into the gulch where we landed the kayak. Beautiful little fishes, and a few big ones, swam below us in their underwater gardens. It was all too soon that we had to muster our last remaining energy to swim back to the boat.
Sadly it looks like the kayak is beyond our ability to repair, so we packed it up and stowed it below where it may remain the rest of the trip.
Worn out from our day’s activities we packed up all our gear and after a simple meal turned in for the night ready to head off at first light tomorrow.