Friday, 15 February 2013

The Start

After a very hectic time we left Hobart on 21 January, Robb's birthday. We were pretty exhausted having packed up the house, moved onto the boat, done a myriad of boat jobs, put the car up for sale and all the while kept the kids entertained and out of mischief.

We left Hobart at 6:00am and sailed the 8hrs around Cape Raoul to Port Arthur for the night. Em put in a huge effort and despite very bouncy seas cooked a double layer choc cake on the way!! The girls were great and saw lots of dolphins, seals and birds.

Leaving Hobart 
Sailing Towards  Port Arthur

Birthday Dinner. Check out that cake!! 

Next day we sailed around in between Tasman Island and Tassie and then turned North up the East Coast of Tas. A small milestone as it should be all Northwards from here for a while. A bit of a slog of a day in the end as we got into Reidl Bay on the East coast of Maria Island just before a Southerly change. Girls still travelling really well despite a bit of queasiness for Ava.

Past Tasman Island. It's all North from here!! 
It was obvious by now that the window we thought may open for Bass Strait in the next few days was unlikely so we went around the North of Maria Island and into the fishing port of Triabunna. Here we tied up with the trawlers and a few other yachts and spent a few days resting, doing laundry and hanging out. With no window for a crossing for at least a week due to a cyclone moving down the Qld/NSW coast making the North end of Bass Strait nasty we decided to go up to Schouten Passage for a while. We sailed up in a day sail and found a beautiful area on the South end of the Freycinet Peninsula.  Here we did lots of swimming, snorkeling and walking including a great effort by Ava and D’Arcy to get up Bear Hill on Schouten Island. Spectacular views at the top and we descended to the boat below to sit out a forecast SW blow at anchor. Dolphins in the Bay and Wedge Tail Eagles overhead.  The enforced slow down in the pace and time in Schouten Passage was actually just what we needed to settle into life afloat and also to rest up after a hectic few months pre departure.

Bear Hill Summit

On the way back down

Bear Hill

Swimming ashore

Tough Life

Aratika 2 anchored below Bear Hill

Constant weather forecast watching showed a possible window opening for Bass Strait on about 1 Feb so after 4 days in Schouten Passage we headed back to Triabunna to refuel, rest and pick up our extra crew member, Frank, for the passage. Frank is a great friend, previous owner of Aratika 2 and Master Mariner and yachtie.

In Triabunna we went to the park, found a geocache on the nearby “Isle of the Dead” and enjoyed amazing iced chocolates and coffees at a local café that included super fast NBN wifi. We all sat there with kindles out downloading books!

Frank and his wife Adrienne came down on the 31st and had dinner with us and then with the weather still looking good for a Southerly flow across Bass Strait all was in place to leave the next morning. Adrienne continued on to Hobart that night and Frank stayed on Aratika2 with us for an early start.

1 Feb started early with a 6:00am departure for the 360nm trip to Eden. The passage was great and with Frank along we did 3 hours on and 6 hours off for the whole way. We sailed and motor sailed with the wind behind us. The girls were just fantastic and read books, listened to talking books, watched movies and enjoyed the view from the cockpit. We saw lots of dolphins, seals, albatross, some flying fish and even a large shark. Through Bass Strait the weather blew up (as forecast, though a little stronger)and we had a fast and lumpy finish on the last day in 25-30kts past Gabo Island, Cape Howe, Green Cape and into Eden after 60hrs at sea.  It was great to anchor in east Boyd Bay before dark and enjoy a beer and dinner at anchor.  Having Frank along made it very manageable for us and all the more enjoyable and the kids took it all in their stride without a drama.

Our escorts across Bass Strait

Ava on watch

The girls in their sea berth. 

Our friend and mentor Frank in his favourite spot! 

Bass Strait Sunset

Green Cape, nearly there! 

A day of rest in Boyd Bay near the Naval Jetty with swimming, reading and relaxing and then the next day we moved over to Eden jetty so Frank could fly home and we could do some washing, shopping and exploring.

The next few days the kids started E school through the Tasmanian system. It was very easy, very interactive and the gilrs are loving the online lessons thus far.  Amazing what the technology lets them do online with their teachers and classmates.

We anchored out in Eden waiting for the strong Northerlies to blow out so we could head North again towards Sydney.  We had a bbq on the beach, visited the fantastic marine discovery centre where the lovely staff spent lots of time with the girls at the touch tank and various displays and also visited the whale museum to learn about the whaling history of Eden. 

Ava at school

Visitor alongside in Eden.

Eden whale museum

At last the wind turned to the South and we were off on a 124 mile overnight trip to Jervis Bay. We sailed fast in strong winds with the sails reefed down and soon the sea heaped up behind us and became very lumpy. It was a pretty uncomfortable night in the end with steep seas, rain and varying wind so we were glad to enter Jervis Bay in the dark at about 5:00am. We went in on radar and waited in the bay for some light to emerge from the rising sun before going down to the South of the bay to "The Hole in the Wall". No moorings available so we dropped the anchor well off the beach and sea grass and went to bed very tired. The girls had slept through the night passage no problems so as Em and Robb slept the day away they did E school lessons online. Jervis Bay is beautiful and largely Marine Park and National Park. We had a great time watching eagles, fish, dolphins and exploring the beach and rock pools. Ava and D'Arcy had a great time swimming,snorkelling and exploring the marine life in various pools. 

Checking out the rock pools in Jervis Bay
Bath time! 
2 Hp replaced by 2 girl power

Local dolphins catching dinner beside us. 
After a few great days in Jervis Bay with Northerly winds approaching we used the last day of Southerly flow to sail the 75 miles to Port Hacking. We are now happily ensconced in the Cronulla Marina just minutes from surf beaches, shops, the train station and most importantly the girl's cousins.

Point Perpendicular at dawn as we leave Jervis Bay. 


  1. Great blog. Thanks so much for keeping us up to date. It so good to see you having so much fun and visiting such wonderful places. We are missing you but so pleased to know you are enjoying the journey. Can't wait for the next instalment.
    Love and best wishes from all the Brennans

  2. Hey guys,
    looks like you are having a great time.
    I really miss you Ava but at the same time i'm happy for you.
    i hope you have a safe journey.
    i look forward to the next post.
    love Cara XX (Aimee and Sue)