March 1 to March 9, 2018
Photo: South West Cape
Recently two boats on the BYC register – Brambletye (Huon 36 - John Mills, Ian Douglas and Ed Glover and Teos (Beneteau Oceanis 36i – Steve “Davo” Davidson and his wife Trina) cruised in company to Port Davey on Tasmania’s rugged south west coast. For John and Ed off Brambletye it was a return visit with John last there some 22 years ago and for Ed it was 40 + years. Davo had been there three times before but this was the first time in his own boat. Ian and Trina were first timers!
After some unexpected issues for the crew of Brambletye, both vessels were underway bound for Dover at 1100 hrs. At 1505 and abeam of Huon Island the decision was made to continue on to Southport where Brambletye dropped anchor in the Deep Hole at 1730 with Teos not far behind. There is a saying which should be adhered to when cruising in Tasmanian waters to “go while the going is good!” and after listening to a favourable forecast on the radio sched a decision was made to leave at 0445 the next morning for Port Davey. It is a distance of some 70 odd nautical miles so we expected to be there in about 12 hours.
We managed to pick the weather well and even though a decent swell of 3 to 4 metres was experienced at times the wind never blew much harder than 10 knots, primarily from the south west. We had some wonderful wildlife for company – albatross whose grace never ceases to amaze; seals, dolphins etc. There is a funny thing as you travel along the south coast. It seems to take forever to reach that cape or Island in the distance but once passed they seem to disappear fairly quickly!!
Around SW Cape and with the East Pyramids marking the entrance to Port Davey in view, our journey was nearly over! A word of warning for those travelling this stretch of coast, keep a good lookout for craypots!
It was a beautiful south west afternoon when we dropped anchor in Schooner Cove at 1645, exactly 12 hours after leaving Southport. Switched off the engine and the quiet is amazing. A cold beer is the order of the day. Davo and Trina arrived about an hour later.
Photo: Ed Glover, "Davo", Ian Douglas, John Mills - Happy Hour!
We spent the next 6 days cruising the Bathurst Channel and Bathurst Harbour area. Clayton’s Corner where Clyde and Win Clayton lived for many years. Up the Melaleuca Inlet by dinghy to visit the site of Deny King’s tin mine and the recently opened museum. The airstrip, originally hand built by Deny, had a number of planes arriving and leaving during the course of our stay. Day trippers, bushwalkers and those wishing to enjoy a few days in the SW wilderness without walking for 6 or 7 days or getting seasick! Casilda Cove, a beautiful anchorage and a great base from which to climb Balmoral Hill – which we did! Had a look around Bathurst Harbour and even found Ed’s Cove!
Photo: Teos and Brambletye in Casilda Cove
Photo: Bathurst Channel taken from Bamoral Hill
We kept a fairly close eye on the weather during our stay via the radio scheds. There are a couple of black spots in the area where it is not possible to receive or send VHF transmissions, Schooner Cove being one of them.
The weather looked great for the return voyage on March 8 so the decision was made. Spent the night prior to departure in Spain Bay. We were disappointed we weren’t able to visit Bond Bay and the Davey River area but unfortunately both time and weather were against us. Maybe next time!
Up anchor at 0600 with Recherche being the destination. We were advised by the crew of Teos they had some battery issues. Thankfully they were able to start their engine but use of other electrics was very limited. They followed us out and we stayed close by just in case. A strength of cruising in company.
The south coast proved to be no shorter on the return journey! SW Cape, De Witt Island and about another 22 nautical miles to SE Cape. We passed at least 9 boats heading west for Port Davey. It was a magic day. Light SW breeze, rolled out headsail, 2 – 3 m swell. Once again we had managed to pick it!
Dropped anchor at Cockle Creek, Recherche Bay at 1555. Teos arrived at 1610 and advised they had managed to sort out their battery issues on the way! All on board “Teos” for a “happy hour” and a debrief of our respective coastal passages. A wonderful hour – or two – spent in great company.
The next morning the respective crews bid their farewells. Brambletye was bound for Hobart and Teos was heading off to Cygnet for a few more days away.
It was a beautiful day and the crew of Brambletye enjoyed a nice sail home. There were a few issues caused by picking up some kelp near Acteon Island but for the most part we enjoyed a NE breeze and rolled the headsail out at Gordon, arriving back at the BYC at 1635.
It was a fantastic trip and there are a number of other boats on the BYC register who have ventured to Port Davey this summer. The trip can be a little daunting, but with planning, preparation and keeping an eye on the weather it is possible! BYC member Mick Sheehan once took Skua around. A vessel some older members of the club may remember!