Summer 2016-17 Cruise Review

For our 24th and last post on our Summer 2016-17 Cruise, we thought we would do a recap of this very satisfying voyage right around Bass Strait. We were away for 11 weeks, the longest we have ever been on board Take It Easy. We covered about 1000 nautical miles during this circumnavigation of a fascinating yet misunderstood body of water and discovered many superb anchorages all along its coast and islands.

Although it may have a mean reputation, Bass Strait can be enjoyed safely if you pick your weather and throw away your calendar. Few people realise there are some 80 islands around Bass Strait, with the two largest being King Island at the western end and Flinders Island at the eastern end, but many smaller ones in between, reserving some stunning scenery to those who take the time to explore.

So what was it like?

From the onset, we wanted to take our time and not fill rushed nor stressed. So the decision to abandon the circumnavigation of Tasmania and instead opt for a tour of Bass Strait was the right one for us and we were rewarded with breathtaking anchorages and a relaxing pace.

Take It Easy anchored in the Rubicon River

Anchored in the Rubicon River for Christmas

We had unusually fast moving weather patterns. At times it made it difficult to find coves that were protected in several wind directions, because the forecasts were changing so fast. We sometimes needed to make two moves during the day or sail to a spot or in a direction we did not really want to, or had to put up with uncomfortable conditions at anchor. It certainly kept us on our toes. We had to check the forecasts carefully and multiple times a day. You always do, but it often got tricky and we really needed internet coverage to better understand how the systems were developing, and to make sound decisions in swiftly changing conditions.

The highlights

9g5a0556

  • Our systems – power generation, new electronics – all worked really well and made life easier. We were not worried about electricity usage, navigation was simple, interfacing between instruments was easy… money well spent.
  • We had time and enjoyed being able to linger in places we wanted to explore without feeling rushed. This gave us a taste of things to come when work schedules no longer restrict us.
  • Our anchorages were spectacular and we felt lucky to have them mostly to ourselves. In an increasingly crowded boating scene, this is rather special and precious.
  • There were moments we shared with other yachties, like fellow catamaran owners Ian and Wendie from Purrfection, and with long time friends Greg and Ann. This was fun. We exchanged experiences, we watched with glee as our friends relished their adventure with us.
  • We had some really good sails, whether under main and jib or spinnaker and had some very swift ones! It is really exciting to speed along without stressing the boat nor ourselves.
  • We taught our pussycat to walk on the lead. Bengie now copes with dinghy rides and can get some exercise ashore regularly instead of being cooped up on board all the time.
  • We enjoyed just doing all this together, relying on each other and on our own selves, confirming in our mind that life afloat is what we want for the next phase of our life.

The low lights

9g5a9983

  • We still don’t like overnighters. They are hard, so where possible, we avoid them.
  • The damage to our wind generator was a bit scary, but we learnt a few lessons from that which will lead us to make improvements to our set up and high wind safety procedures.
  • We had to come back to work this second week of February. We will bring remedy to that situation soon!

What’s next?

  • Repairs and maintenance will fill the next month or two to ready the boat for full time cruising.  This includes repainting the decks and top sides,  new sheets (ropes), new blades for the windmill, new or improved frame supporting the wind generator, solar panels and dinghy davits. There are other bits and pieces and the to do list keeps growing, but that’s boating for you!
  • Our next big spend is the purchase of a water maker (H2O On The Go). This will make life aboard more comfortable, allowing us to be less drastic with freshwater usage.
  • I will collate the journal of the voyage, put a Bass Strait photo book together and publish a few articles in various magazines.
  • And then there is the transition from life on land to life afloat at some stage during the year, a massive project which will be the subject of a whole new category of posts!

 

And now we leave you with a selection of our favourite images of the voyage. If you enjoyed our posts and photos, do let us know by leaving a comment on the site. Your feedback is always appreciated.

40 thoughts on “Summer 2016-17 Cruise Review

  1. What a fantastic Blog, Chris!
    I have enjoyed reading every post about your adventures and almost felt like I was there with you.
    Thanks!

  2. Beautiful photos & as always so interesting to hear about your sailing adventures, good luck with getting ready for life on the sea, Lindy & Phil

  3. Well done Wade and Chris! What an adventure! Glad that you all got back safe and sound. I’m actually really interested in learning more about on board desalination technology – so I look forward to hearing more about that later.

    Craig.

    • Hi Craig. This will be a game changer for us, but we need to figure out how and where we will instal this. So there is a fair bit of research for us to do, which we will share on the website.

  4. How To pick the images to publish – so many beautiful and spectacular places you’ve visited, some of which you so generously introduced us to. A very memorable and exciting adventure. A very big thank you to you both.

    • You are very welcome. We enjoyed your company, your gourmet cooking and seeing you having fun, and being enthralled with the Furneaux. It was really special to share your excitement. 💕🐬⛵

    • Hi Janis! We were kind of glad the last stretch was flat as a tack, as Bass Strait can turn on some interesting conditions. It was a shock to the system returning to town, people and work after so long in the wilderness! But as you say, we are full of memories and reliving it all as we sort through photographs and journals.

    • Thanks for your kind feedback Viki. Yes the returns to work after two months away are always painful, and this year in particular it’s hard! Just think, a couple of days ago we were still in the wilderness…

  5. Chris,
    I knew you many years ago at National Mutual, and stumbled on this site after a week of fishing at Metung recently. Despite your leg hiccup when para gliding a million years ago you have obviously maintained your sense of adventure. Looks like you both had a great time. We were lucky enough to retire a few years ago in our mid fifties, trust me it is great.

    Regards

    Jon N

    • Jon, what a nice surprise! I have often wondered what happened to you after all these years! Isn’t it amazing how we can bump into one another in such a way! Well glad you found us, glad you have retired and enjoying it, we won’t be far behind… Will email you separately. Chris

  6. Hi guys, have loved living vicariously through your adventures over the summer. Is Benji planning on doing a piece on his experiences? 🙂

    • You bet – Bengie has a thing or two to say about her dinghy trips and wanders ashore! And we have a story to tell too! Back to the grind now… what a pain!

  7. Farewell Bass Strait, thanks for the photos of your adventures, you captured your time beautifully I am pleased you had such a great time. Now for the new do list, first off retire Eh!

    • Soon, Sue! But after we have spent a bucket load of money repairing and preparing the boat! We need to keep the money coming in for a while longer ☹️

      • Thanks for the feedback Moira. I created the site using WordPress – the Theme is Expound. I have a premium package allowing me to choose my own colour scheme, in line with our ‘branding’.

  8. Simply stunning photos Chris. You must spend a lot of time seeing them up. Have you decided where you will install the water maker yet?

    • Thanks for the feedback on the photos. Lots taken – some work, some don’t. You have to be opportunistic and keep an eye out for good light and interesting shots. The islands are very photogenic.
      Re the water maker, nothing further done yet. It won’t be a permanent feature . The one we are thinking of is H2O On The Go. It’s mobile.

      • You can always add it later if you find it is needed. We have only a 200l tank plus 90l in jerrycans so for live aboard it is not enough if you want to be away from shore for a while and more relaxed about your usage.

  9. Wonderful pictures and great adventures as always. Bass strait has so many uncrowded hidden treasures.

    Phil

  10. I am wondering if Purrfection is the same catamaran that we met in March 2007 in Panama City. We didn’t keep up with them, so I don’t know if it’s a different boat altogether, the same boat with different owners, or the same boat with the same owners – It’ll be a small world either way, I think. Do you know if they have a blog?

    • It is not the same boat. This one was in Charter in the Whitsundays for about 8 years and the guys have brought it back a year ago to now use for themselves. It is a Seawind 1160 – same size as our boat. I think the name is quite common amongst cats…

    • Hi guys, thanks for the nice comment and for following our adventures! Glad you like our site. We find people like the mix of stories and lots of photos to sail with us ‘vicariously’. Had a read of your posts – fun writing style. Keep up the good work!

We welcome and appreciate your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s