Yeah! outta here and heading to Coles Bay this morning. It is still overcast and visibility is not the greatest so we have set up navigation way points to get us to Isle Des Phoques which is situated between Maria Island and Schouten Island. This is a white rock which is home to seals which sounded like a must see. As we got closer to the island the wind and waves made it quite uncomfortable. Evan wanted to get closer to have a look while I did my best impersonation of a stressed but calm crew mate. I don’t like rough water and land in close proximity. Evan eventually had to wrest the helm from me to get close enough to get some good photos. It was difficult to see if the dots we saw on the island were seals or not so we took lots of photos knowing we could zoom in later to double check. Sure enough, have a look!
Pretty neat seeing there are indeed seals on the rock. Now onward north up Mercury Passage toward Great Oyster Bay and Coles Bay. We need some more supplies for the trip home and Coles Bay has a grocery store close to the water. In this area the colour of the rocks are strikingly red/orange and have a decidedly desert feel to them. Reminds me of Camelback mountain in Phoenix Arizona where my sister and her family live.
Even though it is a grey day it is dry so far. We anchored in Coles bay and Evan took me ashore to do the shopping while he did some work on Nashira. Luckily a grocery store was right there only 100 meters from the wharf. I thought for sure this would be an expensive convenience store but funnily enough it wasn’t it was a normal IGA type store with a good selection. I was told if I wanted to walk to the other store on the other side of town that I would be going to the ‘dark side’ where the food was often out of date and more expensive. hmmm….. I wonder what the story behind that is.
Anyway I’m happy, I got the shopping done, stopped for a cup of coffee at the local pizza shop and had a couple of lovely conversations with locals finding out that there are only 150 permanent residents there, that a large number is young families and that the personal support among locals is very highly thought of and the tourist industry is booming. Nice.
[Top: Coles Bay & Coles Bay jetty; bottom Nashira in front of Mtns]
With the shopping done we had a look at the weather patterns again and still trying to decide weather to head up the coast to Flinders Island and take the western passage up the island before heading across Bass Strait or to sail around to Wineglass Bay and leave for Eden tomorrow. It is early enough in the day that we decided to sail to Wineglass where we will make our final decision.
On the way to Wineglass Bay we get to sail through Schouten Passage. We missed this on the way down south as it was 2am when we sailed past and was just too dark to appreciate anything. Today though the sun is starting to come out a bit and the colours are quite beautiful. On the way down to Schouten we passed some rocks that cracked us up. Maybe its our senses of humour but doesn’t this look like 4 people all doing brown eyes?
[Brown eye point!]
Approaching Schouten Passage, Schouten Island is on the right and Freycinet National Park is on the left.
[Freycinet Natl Park – check out the orange colouring]
Once through the passage the clouds start to dominate again and rain is chasing behind us. We dart up to Wineglass Bay and manage to get into the bay and anchor before the rain starts. Its not too bad, there are 4 other boats anchored and a bit of a swell but overall a good place to hide from a building SE wind.
We had a lovely steak BBQ dinner and settled in with the weather charts. It looks like we will have SE to E weather for the next two days before it changes to a NE. By Monday the weather looks awful so if we went up the west coast of Flinders would have to hide somewhere until a good weather window shows up. With that in mind we finally made the decision that we will leave first thing tomorrow morning for Eden. It will be a long 58 hour or so trip but if we pick the right path the winds should help us get there without much difficulty.
So here we come Tasman Sea and Bass Strait. This will be our first two night passage. Should be interesting.
Time for sleep
xoxoxo Kelly & Evan