Sunday, 6 July 2014

Sailing Around Australia - Getting back on the Bike.



Marina Adelaide, Adelaide South Australia.

6/7/2014 Getting back on the bike.

According to the weather predictions, Saturday the 5th of July would see the next leg of Sailing around Australia Adventures start. Easy Tiger was ready to take us from Port Lincoln to Adelaide.

The forecasts were for South West winds turning westerly with low swell and moderate seas. This seemed to be right when we woke to find one of those beautiful crisp mornings. We immediately layered on the clothing. Leanne put on two pairs of base layers, then windcheater and trackies, then Musto sailing gear.

As we threw the ropes off , the remainders of our sailing family, Brian and Maree on Urchin were there with hugs and best wishes all round.

A couple of locals that we had got to know well Gary who had very nicely helped us out a lot, and David (Sonja sensibly stayed in bed) from the cat Vaya Con Dios, were also on hand to wish us farewell.

Off into the calm grey morning we motored. Not far off Port Lincoln we had to jostle for our route to the waypoints I had set with the Tuna boats. Perhaps twenty or so boats ranging from ships to crayfishing sized boats were gathered on the outer side of Boston Island. The Tuna fish harvest is obviously in full swing.

Once out of the protection of Boston and Taylor Islands the southwest swell started rocking the boat. As we were travelling southeast, the side on swell caused an unpleasant ride and a couple of queasy tummies. Seems we had lost our sea legs in the four months we spent shackled to the Port Lincoln Marina.

At 8.00am we waited for the VMR Tumby bay Scheds and were a bit dismayed that only 2 boats responded. That meant that we were the only boat in our area, on a weekend. Did we miss something? Was there something they are not telling us?

Our trip plan went well. We would try to make it around Cape Spencer before dark as there are a number of shoals, reefs and islands in that area. Easy Tiger had managed to keep over 6 knots all day so made it around the “haystack” islands before well before dark. The only hazard being a small ship that decided to cross our route. Thanks to our AIS system we spotted it early and were able to follow it’s course clearly.

We had just finished congratulating ourselves on getting clear of the cape when Leanne shouted “Cray POTS!” As we were both inside the cabin trying to keep warm, Easy Tiger was on Auto Pilot. I looked up and saw the floats about thirty metres directly in front of our port bow. In one movement, I opened the cabin door, hit the stand by button on the Auto Pilot, swung the helm hard to starboard and stopped the port motor. Luckily, the cray pot floats went by, missing the port side by about ten meres. Then there were others up ahead, so again immediate evasive action was taken. Then there was more. I managed to dodge and weave Easy Tiger this way and that for about ten minutes until we were finally clear.  We did not want cray pot ropes wrapped around our propellers. Especially our new propeller!

Soon after the cray pots, darkness fell. I mean very, very, dark due to heavy cloud cover. Again we huddled in the cabin to keep warm and dry. Easy Tiger plodded along with the auto pilot holding our course. We peered into the blackness through the windows, but except for the odd hazard marking light, we literally saw nothing. Just ploughed on trusting that there was nothing but ocean in front of us.

We tried 2 hour shifts of sitting up and staring into the black, but this became 1 hour stints as the concentration and fatigue quickly took their toll.

We passed Edithburgh and turned towards Adelaide. This turned the side on swell to the other side of the boat. That is I think we passed Edithburgh. We couldn’t see the town lights. We had considered stopping over here, but would not have possibly found the mooring buoy in the darkness.

Finally at 5.00am half a dozen ships on anchor or slowly moving around signaled our arrival to the approaches to Port Adelaide. By 8.30 we were on our last waypoint for the journey, at the entrance to the marina.

Leanne called the guy who was going to show us where to go and help tie on. She couldn’t get him. We slowed to a crawl and moved into a well laid out marina, passed a dozen or so empty pens. Passed people standing chatting on the jetty’s. No-one seemed to notice us, no-one seemed to be waiting for us. No-one even acknowledged us. The layout seemed very different to what we had been told. Leanne rang him again.

Contact. “We are here” I heard Leanne saying “but we can’t see you”.

Wrong marina!

We had to turn around, go back out to sea. Then around a long rock wall through the main shipping harbour and seven miles up the river.

We thought we had booked into the North Haven Marina. No. We had written down North Haven Marina but had rung the number for Marina Adelaide. Bit of a blessing in disguise as Marina Adelaide is brand new. There was Richard waiting for us. He helped us tie on (using mooring ropes supplied). We saw the Fuel jetty with the easiest access ever, plus camp kitchen, bbq’s, clean toilets, showers. It seems to have everything; except people. There is literally no-one around.

That is quite a relief though. After 28 hours of sailing adventure we weren’t feeling that social.


OK, someone is going to have to yield... probably me!

Excuse me... your on my waypoint.

errr... no we are not the Sea Shepard

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