Position: Binalong Bay MAST public mooring
After another wobbly night I’ve become an adept stomach sleeper – in a sideways swell it takes too much attention to balance on your side. On your stomach you could at least get some sleep – if it wasn’t for that thing on the other side of the cabin wall that tap-tapped with every rocking motion! In the morning I sought it out (the clip on the shower door) and took to it with a screwdriver.
Up at dawn we nosed out of Wineglass Bay at the front end of the fleet – yes, we’ve found ourselves in the middle of another cruising group, this one of about 20 participating in the Van Diemen’s Land Circumnavigation Cruise. It was them we had seen at Bryan’s Corner on our way through Schouten Passage on Sunday, and whilst we were anchored in Wineglass they came and joined us in dribs and drabs. With half a dozen other boats there as well, it made for a rather crowded spot.
It was perfect weather for sailing as we headed out past the red granite mountains glowing in the dawn light. We put up the main sail, shortened with one reef just to be on the safe side, and the stiff 15 knot westerly breeze had us skimming along. Once we rounded Cape Tourville we had an 80 km leg in a straight line to St Helen’s Point. It’s a stretch of coast with many good memories for me, from family holidays since I was very little. I feel that the granite rocks are part of my being. That might sound strange, but I feel that I grew up rock-hopping first around Bicheno, then Coles Bay, Mt Amos, the Saddle, Cape Tourville and surrounds as we visited at least once a year on our family holidays.
The wind dropped out around the middle of the day and we had to furl the headsail, drop the main and revert to motoring for a few hours until it picked up enough for us to unfurl the headsail for some wind assistance. All along the way we saw seabirds – gannets, cormorants, short-tailed shearwaters, terns and albatross. I love watching the distinctive flight of the albatross as it uses the lift of the wind and loops with elegant carelessness, dipping a wing almost to the water, its white underbelly catching the light as it turns. Twice we saw the most interesting creature – a tiny dark bird or a fish perhaps? – skimming along the surface of the water and tapping it with its ‘feet’. We also passed three or four dolphins, but they weren’t interested in playing with us today.
Three of the boats that left Wineglass ahead of us stayed in our view all the way and we expect the fleet will all be heading for Binalong Bay tonight, but we are not sure if they’ll also follow our plans for a midnight getaway. We will do this to catch the low tide at Eddystone Point, 2.5 hours north, to give us a flood tide that will provide a boost of up to 4 knots as we cross Banks Strait.
At Binalong we grabbed a MAST public mooring and settled down for dinner and a few hours rest. Another bumpy spot but probably not the last one for this trip! Can’t really complain when the sky is blue and the sun is shining, and we will have a full moon tonight to light our way north.