Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kangaroo Island

Happy Australia Day. We are anchored in Eastern Cove on Kangaroo Island enjoying balmy weather and the beautiful coastline with its many anchorages and long sandy beaches. As you can see we did not make it to Robe or Portland. When we emerged from Backstairs Passage last Friday the wind and sea conditions were quite challenging and were greater than forecast. A front from the south west was building and the winds were 28 - 32 knots in a very short sharp chop, with waves breaking over the boat and slamming us around and making life a little uncomfortable. After 5 hours underway and 3 hours of getting knocked around we decided that we did not need to experience this for the next 24 hours so we turned around and headed back to Kangaroo Island to find a calm anchorage in Antechamber bay on the north eastern side of the Island, with two yachts anchored not far away.

Saturday morning we awoke to find a few more boats had anchored in the bay overnight including a large fishing boat. The bay is surrounded by farming properties which run sheep and cattle and grow olives. The locals use their tractors to drive their fishing boats down to the beach and launch them. We met the sailors from the other yachts when we went ashore for a walk. They had been catching squid and King George Whiting in the bay however we did not have much luck that afternoon.

We have spent the last few days enjoying the company of our fellow sailors, in particular a couple from the Yacht Calista, Colin and Deirdre(Cookie). They are planning a trip to the Louisiades this year leaving SA in April. They were in the Louisiades two years ago when we were there with the Rally. They were on a motor vessel that was travelling independently, however our paths did not cross. It was great to share sailing experiences, receive some sound advice on sailing these unpredictable South Australian waters and the locations of some of the best anchorages on Kangaroo Island. In return we were able to show them some of our favourite Queensland anchorages and sailing guides. We look forward to catching up with them again later in the year on the east coast.

Yesterday we enjoyed lunch with Colin, Cookie and a friend of theirs, Peter Thompson, at a local winery. It was just behind the American Beach in Eastern Cove a short walk up the hill. The winery does a great tasting platter of local produce to have with the wine tasting. A good way to spend a few hours on a beautiful day - good company, good food & wine and a fantastic outlook over the bay with our yachts at anchor.

We plan to spend the next few days in this area venturing into American River tomorrow. We have a few maintenance jobs to complete. Cran is currently replacing a snapped bolt on the traveler on the boom. It broke last Friday during our wild time in the Southern Ocean but we didn’t discover it until a few days later. It was fortunate that we turned back as the stresses on the damaged traveler could have resulted in more serious outcomes. The long range weather forecast for this Saturday night is looking promising for a departure for Portland – will keep you posted.

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