This time two years ago we were returning from Tasmania over Bass Strait, unaware of the devastating bushfires destroying properties and families in Victoria. As I sat in the middle of the night in north eastern area of Bass Strait yesterday, my thoughts were carried back to that time, particularly to when I was told that my cousin’s son, Greg Lloyd, his girlfriend and her brother perished in the bushfires. There’s plenty of time to think out here and my thoughts are with my extended family at this time xxx.
We decided to leave the bustling township of Port Welshpool on Sunday night. We knew there was a weak cold front to pass over on Tuesday morning so we were expecting sou’westers up to 25 knots. A strong wind warning was issued on Monday so we were expecting a rougher than usual night on Monday night. I was on the midnight to 3am shift and it certainly was invigorating! It’s an unusual feeling sitting all alone in a cockpit unable to see anything around (no moon or stars) and 2-4 metre waves sending Blue Heeler hurtling up to 10 knots along in the dark. As we entered the area between Point Hicks and Gabo Island, it was still dark as we approached the shipping channel with a ship coming from the north and one from the south. The southerly ship kindly altered course and at that point we gybed and reefed the sails. Once beyond Eden the waves subsided and we enjoyed the final hours to Eden in a stiff 20 knot breeze. We sailed virtually all the way in a reasonably direct route, and made it to Eden in 47 hours.
We’re rafted up against a boat at Eden, ironically named “Alwayne”!! (see pic).