With a mix of excitement, anticipation and nervousness, we crossed the notorious Lakes Entrance bar on Monday 9 December at 7.00am, and the Take It Easy 2014-15 Cruise is now officially underway.
Within half an hour of being out in the ocean, the shy albatrosses made their appearance. They are always mesmerising to watch as they soar and bank one way, then the other.
We had a good 12 hour sail under spinnaker alone, which is a cruisy way to go for us. “Big Red” takes us for a long, steady sled ride. The first leg of the trip normally involves an overnighter; you keep sailing day and night to get around the bottom of the continent then head north along the East coast of Australia. It is a hard start when you haven’t got your sea legs! But this time we decided to stop and anchor overnight at a little known spot called the Skerries: a bunch of rocks in the shape of a breakwater just off the shore beyond Point Hicks. We had heard about them, but had never actually been there.
We don’t really enjoy overnighters, particularly when it is just the two of us. So after an all day sail, we checked out the spot. When we snuck into the little corridor between the Skerries and the shore, what little swell was coming in did not deter us and we dropped the pick. We slept soundly at anchor for the night, serenaded by a colony of Australian Fur Seals. Serenade is probably a kind description for the bleating, barking and bellowing sounds these creatures produce!
The next day was again SW, but the wind never really picked up. So the next 13 hours were slow, sailing at first, then motor-sailing in grey, drizzly conditions and lumpy seas.
But we are now snug, in Snug Cove at Eden. We will be here all day Wednesday as a northerly wind is forecast, ahead of another SW change. It is a nice little anchorage, close to the Port of Eden, and this time the serenade comes from the many bell birds in the trees… Much more melodious and nowhere near as smelly as the seals!
The plan is to follow the SW change and head off again at first light on Thursday, for an 80nm hop to Broulee Bay… that is if it is not bucketing down, as 30kn winds in rain isn’t something we want to do. So we will see how things pan out.
Here are a few photos. Click on the first image to display in full screen slide show.