B-log ~ March 2012

Bound for Port Davey ~ 15 March

Tomorrow we will have been in Macquarie Harbour eight weeks. A wonderful summer filled with fun socials, wild Nature, adventure and beauty. We’ve accomplished so much, learnt a few new tricks, and made an indelible mark. Decidedly, summer is waning and yet we still have some fun investigations to make down in Port Davey, so reluctantly we’ll be taking the next suitable wind system ninety miles south to an even more remote location. It may be called a port, but it has no town, no shops, and no roads. And tragically for us, no phones nor internet. Therefore, this will be our last report until we re-emerge from silence on Tasmania’s East Coast. Please be kind to earth in our absence. It’d be grand to find her in good health when we come out from the far side. Til then, fair winds and blue skies,

Jack and Jude

Please Note: We’re off sailing in the never-never,
so please continue purchasing our books and DVDs, and
they will be posted first week in April.

First Review of Where Wild Winds Blow

Margaret Muir, Author of Floating Gold, Sea Dust, Black Thread, & Condor’s Feather
“Where Wild Winds Blow reveals more than the intoxication of a sea voyage in the company of dolphins, whales and sea eagles, it also relates to the pain of a perfect storm, an encounter with modern-day pirates, broken equipment, near shipwreck, and of course, the constant challenge and changing moods of the sea.
Written in Jack’s inimitable style – sometimes brash, often touching but always heart-warmingly honest. The author has a masterly way of seeing and appreciating Nature in all its awesome beauty.”

Buy online

Back in Strahan

After 10 days exploring Macquarie Harbour and our attempt to paddle up the King River to the gorge squashed by strong winds, the Banyandah has returned to port. We hid from a mini-storm in Swan Basin and when it had passed, feeling a tad boat bound, Jude and I headed off for a walk to Ocean Beach that became a 15 kilometre marathon.

A grand day of magic blue skies and hot bright sun sparkling on a very calm sea gave the whale skeletons an even greater impact. So many huge creatures, their lives snuffed out in horrible pain had us shaking our heads and wondering why? In November last year a pod of 24 Sperm whales beached just outside Hells Gate in windy conditions generating dangerous seas, 20 perished.

sperm whales

Sperm Whale Skeleton

Video clip of Gordon River aboard Stormbreaker

We have just finished a promo video clip for our good friends Trevor and Megs Norton who run South West Expeditions in Strahan Tasmania, Australia. Sailing the 65 foot Stormbreaker they are the only operators licensed to go all the way up the World Heritage Gordon River and their overnight trip to Sir John Falls is a special treat. View some of the spectacular scenery in this short clip.

South West Expeditions

Eberspacher Success!

I will only whisper the word even though I want to shout it so all can hear. Yes, the darn thing is in, and its little blue light did glow when I first touched its tiny ON button. But, oh what a price! Not only the huge capital outlay. Much more than that. The five days of wiggling into cramped corners, pushing, reaching, screwing components in place, and all the while scratching my noodle worrying over which wire goes where. Yes, our new diesel boat heater has extracted a heavy price in money, sweat, and tears thinking everything might be in vain. As it’s yet to be fully tested, I’ll blow my horn with a muted toot.

Small fuel line and combustion air hose connected. Seacock is for insulated hose for combustion exhaust

For three summers Jack and Jude have been coming to Tasmania in Banyandah. We love the island’s beauty, its easygoing atmosphere and friendly helpful folk. We like it so much that each time our visit extends will past the best weather found in January through March, right into the freezing cold of winter. The first time we weathered the biting wind tied into Constitution Dock, downtown Hobart, with a plug-in portable heater struggling to keep the wet cold out a Banyandah that was closed up like a house being fumigated. The next winter we thought we’d tough it out and struggled to stay warm in double sweaters, double track pants, using our gas oven to warm the main cabin. We still had to escape to our doona covered bed by 8PM. In winter, it gets very dark by 5PM, and that’s when the Tasmanian cold seems to invade our bones. We cruised til June anchoring in several lonely spots, before throwing in the towel, racing to a marina to plug in our electric heater. Then we thought, “This is crazy. Why don’t we invest the big bucks in a proper boat heater and live in luxury!”


Life Afloat ~ Saturday

Ran aground this morning when leaving a very tight hole. Nothing serious, just a poor start to our day. The sounder said 10 feet when the “B” slid to a halt, and although she ran up at only a knot, no amount of astern power would get her off the soft mud.

First we ran side to side hoping to rock her off, but nope! Then a nearby tree seemed ideal to tug her free, so Jude rowed in a line and I tugged. Still stuck, I sounded with a lead line discovering very little water along one side, while the other showed heaps. So Jude volunteered to row out the bow anchor, which she did, but only a few feet before the weight of chain rattled out the dinghy with such force, she almost went with it. A captain’s quandary grew even bigger when retrieving the anchor hardly turned the old girl’s bow. But right then Providence smiled upon us in the form of a light wind. Whereupon I quickly unfurled our headsail, and rather niftily sailed off the bank.

A blow is coming and all crews are preparing for the worst. Shall we run for port? Or find another cyclone hole? To be sure, storm winds will attack from all points, so complete shelter is wise. Inspecting the chart, my eye’s attracted to a hole behind Neck Island on the west side of Macquarie Harbour. Never been in there before. Shallow entry, mud both sides means another nervous time searching blind in the tannin, tea coloured water. But we are in tune with that and feel the need for a bit more adventure. And why not? We are sailors, freedom runs swiftly through our veins and challenges are our main diet.

Took a bit of doing, zig-zagging to find enough depth, but we’re now in the hole, 15′ deep. It’s raining, we’re waiting for the front to come. Made heaps of hot water running the engine, so it’s time for a treat, hot showers.

Almost forgot to mention, ran the diesel heater two mornings ago. What a treat!
Didn’t run it this morning, don’t want to get too soft…..

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