We are getting awfully close to D Day now! In the midst of the mayhem that goes with packing away our land life has come a welcome interlude. We brought the boat from the Gippsland Lakes to Docklands in Melbourne.
The content of our Jan Juc house is in the garage, and the place is now rented. We are close to removal day for our Brunswick house which also has tenants lined up. So we needed somewhere to stay while we finish off the to do list. Might as well get used to living aboard Take It Easy!
We drove from the city to Paynesville one last time and on 1 July we officially sailed out of The Gippsland Lakes for good, bound for the big smoke. Here is the chart of our passage.
A few days at sea brought a welcome change. We were exhausted, a wee bit stressed and in need of a pause before the last push. This sail to Docklands was really special as it marked the start of our new life. But this would have to be the chilliest passage we have ever experienced. Sailing in southern waters in winter is bitterly cold even with thermals, multiple layers of clothing and the full offshore gear, especially at night!
It also took much longer than we had hoped! The first bit went well. We motored out of Paynesville bright and early, feeling very excited and got to the Entrance a few hours later to find the bar was not safe to cross. So we waited a couple of hours. Fortunately it settled down with the change of tide and we had a calm bar crossing at noon on Saturday. We then did a 27 hour dash from Lakes Entrance to Cleeland Bight at Phillip Island. It was a hard start but the conditions were calm and at night the clear sky lit up by an amazing Milky Way was our reward, as was the brilliant sunrise the next morning.
However the next phase took forever. We had expected to be at Cleeland Bight for a few days to wait out a westerly front but then a second one came with some punch, making it impossible to move on. Given that we were on a Parks mooring and well sheltered, we can’t complain too much. Let’s just say we had a forced rest and we used the time to slow down, get into a routine and of course tinker.But after 9 days, we started to wonder whether we’d ever leave the place. Finally we escaped on Tuesday 11/7 for a nine hour impersonation of a motorboat to reach Port Phillip Bay at last. We anchored overnight near St Leonards in totally calm conditions. Along the way we managed to spot a humpback whale and had lots of dolphins for company. The next day another five hour motor into light winds saw us reaching Melbourne and taking in the spectacular skyline. It was quite amazing to go under the Westgate and Bolte Bridges, to finally come to moor right next to the Web Bridge, at the Yarra’s Edge marina in Docklands. What should have taken about four days took twelve because of inclement weather. But I guess you have to expect this when you try to sail west at this time of year! Sailing in Victoria in the depth of winter is not exactly fun. We don’t hate it, but we don’t relish it either. We have WordPress friends who sail the Arctic – don’t know how they manage! It goes without saying that we will be heading for the tropics as soon as we are ready and go like the clappers to thaw out as quickly as possible!
Still, it feels really good to be on board, although a little surreal. We guess that once we finally leave Melbourne in a couple of weeks, the realisation that this is now our life will start to sink in. Here are a few images of this momentous passage.