Winter is approaching, the days are shorter, the temperature is dropping. These are the signals it is time to embark on our winter migration and sail the boat back from Port Albert to the Gippsland Lakes.
It has been a rather short sejourn at Port Albert this year. Where normally we go straight there from our summer cruise and spend four months enjoying nearby islands and Wilson’s Prom, this year we had to return to the Lakes first for repairs and to upgrade our batteries and electrical system. So this time we only had two months there. We did not even get tired of the ‘milk run’ as we affectionately call the weekend trips to Wilson’s Prom with friends. And the weather was not cooperating either, so we had very few weekends on board. Sorry to our friends who missed out on weekend escapes this year. You know who you are 🙂 Hopefully we will do better next summer!
Dash back to the Lakes
So last weekend, Wade and Easy catamaran builder Mike K. took the boat back to the Lakes. It was an uneventful 82 miles passage, just like we like them! They did the trip in 12 hours, doing 6.8 knots average… not record breaking speed, but respectable. Although they motored for the last 5 hours when the breeze died down, they had a reasonable run with a light tail wind to start with, perfect for a spinnaker run for part of the way.
I joined the sailors at the other end. I was hoping they’d arrive in daylight, but it was pitch dark when they made it in. It was awesome seeing them appear out of the darkness through the notorious Lakes Entrance bar – all you could see was their navigation lights and mast headlight, and just a shadow of a catamaran coming in. So no photos of the actual crossing, but I got some as they were going through the channel inside the bar the next morning! The guys tied up at the floating jetties on Cunningham Pier, right in the heart of the Lakes Entrance township, where I hopped on board for the night. The next day, they made their way back to our home port of Paynesville, whilst I followed in the car, stopping to catch pics at strategic spots along the way.
They are not many places we haven’t been in the Gippsland Lakes after so many years of mooring there, but it was fun to be the “land-lubber tourist” experiencing the quietness and beauty of the Lakes from the shores. You think you know a place, but it is such a delight to still be surprised by its changing moods and lovely scenery.
It did not take long for people to realise we were back. It was nice catching up with a few locals and the weather was so lovely that rather than rush for the car shuffle back to Melbourne on Saturday, we decided to motor to Rotamah Island for the rest of the weekend. No wind to sail, but plenty of sunshine to relax and enjoy our surroundings, and a dreamy sunset over a peaceful lake to welcome us back.
Thank you Jan for letting us borrow Mike. And thank you Mike for the helping hand and company. It is kind of odd to think that Mike and Jan first saw Take It Easy when Peter Snell, boat builder and designer, was constructing her, and that they later had a sail on her soon after she was launched! They knew TIE before we acquired her! Small world!
Here are a few photos of her return into the Lakes and our time at Rotamah, a wonderful anchorage and a heaven for Rainbow Lorikeets. As always, click on the first image to display the gallery in full screen slide show.