February 27, 2014
34°05S 123°13E Middle Island
We moved on to Cape Arid and then to Middle Island for the jump off. The hike on shore is fascinating, where lie the remains of Black Jack Anderson's pirate camp from one hundred and fifty years ago. Black Jack was an escaped American Slave who set up a sealing operation. We were told that he and several unsavory companions, after doing in the husbands, captured their aborigine wives and a woman of European decent to work as slaves. We followed stakes which marked a trail to a shocking pink lake with a salt rim.
Black Jack kept his boat in the ‘Keyhole’, a bay in the south. We had to check it out. Jeannie and I sailed down the east side of Middle Island past the shoals and found the almost hidden opening to a deep bay with steep limestone caves pocking the sides. It gave good shelter from the easterly winds of the day but the south west swell found its way in. After stripping a winch and having our lunch we ruled out sleeping there and returned to the bay we had left a few hours earlier.
I am running each day’s weather forecast files on the computer through my ‘Maxsea’ routing program. The mix says that if we wait three days we can sail the whole way. Jeannie is ready to go but now it would be all headwinds. We will wait and hope the forecast holds; a comfortable sail is worth waiting for, but do I really trust the program? I’ll be frustrated if we wait and find the program was wrong.
Meanwhile we have a lovely sandy beach, more ruins to explore, and the ever present maintenance of this machine we call Onora.
March 1, 2014
33° 59S 123°10E Cape Arid
A lovely morning turned into an awful afternoon when I got in my black wetsuit and flippers and swam under the boat. I was scrubbing growth off of the bottom and hoping that a great white would not mistake me for a seal when the wind shifted and we started drifting toward a rocky islet.
Up came the anchor and we backtracked to Cape Arid. Now it is blowing a gale that is bucking us back and forth on our well dug-in anchor, just where it was four days ago. After the sun sets and land cools the winds will drop. There are no great anchorages here and we are thankful for this shelter. Tomorrow’s forecast is holding for fifteen knots from the north, a good window to set out for the 650 miles across the Bight.
March 3, 2014
Crossing the Great Australian Bight
We left Cape Arid in the dawn on the 3rd. The weather files that I downloaded showed we just have favorable winds the whole trip if we drop down below 35° south and come back north on a south-easter that should be in place on our approach to Cape Catastrophe. So that is the plan and we are making good progress in steady winds.
Captain Flinders named most of these places during his rough trip of discovery. We have already been in Doubtful Bay and have passed Starvation Bay. Before Port Lincoln we will pass Coffin Bay, round Cape Catastrophe and pass Memory Bay, named for drowned sailors. I hope we have better luck than he had.
The winds have dropped down and so has our speed but still making good progress. The seas are down giving us a comfortable ride. Port Lincoln is known as the Tuna Capital of the World. We are trailing a line and will judge this bold statement when we arrive.
March 4, 2014
Crossing the Great Australian Bight (cont'd)
Winds are up and reefed down but, so far, one of our better crossings. It is shorts and tee shirt warm with kind seas. “Tuna Capital” has passed the test. It took just three hours to catch a nice albacore which is more tuna than we can eat.
March 6, 2014
The anchor dropped into the water at first light in a welcomed lovely bay. The anchor held and we crashed for five hours of sound sleep, waking to discover the local time was 1 1/2 hours ahead or 11:30AM. We felt like teenagers who were allowed to sleep in after passing the last test of the school year.
Now to Port Lincoln to wash salt off of the boat, laundry, and tuna.