2019 Cruising East Coast Tasmania

MARIA ISLAND

Click here for Google Map Link to Maria Island anchorage

Wombats everywhere

Triabunna offered ferry services to Maria Island so it only made sense for us to make that our first stop. Not by ferry but on Landfall. The only way to travel around Maria Island is by walking or by bike (there were some spectacular bike trails). And the only accommodation was tent campsites. Maria Island was a historical convict stations site and operated in the mid 1800’s to punish secondary offenders and runaways. We were learning that much of Australia’s history included tales of crime, punishment, hardship and survival in harsh but beautiful places. There was no getting off this island alive. We anchored in Chinaman’s Bay, quite a distance from the main convict station so we didn’t get to see that but we did walkaround and we were welcomed by many, many Wombats that came out to feed late in the evening. These furry little creatures were more interested in feeding than in running away from us. It appeared to us that there were more Wombats than what food was available. They were everywhere and the grasslands were pretty bare.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR WOMBAT VIDEO

 

Beautiful salt water vegetation. Site of one of the convict stations

 

FORTESCUE BAY

Click here for Google Map Link to Fortescue Bay anchorage

Fortescue Bay anchorage

A few of the 2500 steps on the trail

The Cape Hauy track started from the bay campground and while we were there, we had a cool, sunny and calm day so we decided to do the 4-hour return track. The well-maintained track wound itself through a variety of terrain  and onwards to magnificent views of steep cliffs and rock formations. A few young boys with rock climbing gear passed us and we later learned that the “Candlestick” and “Totem Pole” sea stacks were popular areas for climbing and absailing.

Long way to go

We found it a strenuous track and I counted well over 2500 steps but it was worth the spectacular scenery. We were looking forward to a shower at the campsite but by the time we were back the office was closed and we couldn’t buy the necessary tokens. Hot showers would have to wait for maybe the next anchorage.

And a long way down too!

If you look closely you can see the rock climbers line

 

PORT ARTHUR

Click here for Google Map link to Port Arthur MAST mooring anchorage

We motored sailed to Port Arthur and grabbed a MAST mooring. These are moorings placed in various locations by Marine and Safety Tasmania and are well maintained. Their website indicates the locations for the moorings and the last time the moorings were inspected. Technically boats are only supposed to be on the moorings for 4 hours but when you are the only boat in the bay it really doesn’t matter how long you use the mooring. The main reason for anchoring here was to visit historic Port Arthur, a penal settlement. Port Arthur started as a small timber station but it grew to be an important penal location for the colonies. This included convicts from Britain who could no longer be sent to the Americas after the American War of Independence. As part of the tour package we got to enjoy a guided walking tour and a one hour boat cruise to Dead Man’s Island (where many of the dead were buried) and to Port Puer (where juvenile convicrts were housed). Port Arthur also had a devastating historical event which took place on April 1996. A young Hobart man armed with a high-powered rifle drove to Port Arthur and went on a shooting rampage killing 35 people and injuring 37 other people. The historic site was a story of many people, places and moments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Click here for Google Map Link to Stewarts Bay

After a couple of nights here we tried to head further South but the wind picked up and it was on the nose so we returned to the bay but anchored in Stewart Bay. A beautiful protected little bay and while we were here we experienced record breaking heat wave of 37C. We didn’t bother to get off the boat just enjoyed a leisurely day while waiting for the winds to come from the North again.

NUBEENA, PARSONS BAY

Click here for Google Map Link to Nubeena anchorage

There wasn’t much to see or do in Nubbena, Parsons Bay but our motor sail by Cape Raoul was spectacular. We had some fog and drizzle but not much wind so we could stay close to shore. There is a very popular Three Capes track which takes several days and it’s 48km of breathtakingly beautiful coastline. We experienced Tasmania’s magnificent coast sitting in our cockpit. It was calm enough that we were even able to motor between Tasman Island and Cape Pillar. I found it to be a little nerving and daunting as I watched the depths go from +100 feet to less than 25 feet and towering rock cliffs on both sides of the boat. Leave it to Denny to even attempt such a feat, nerves of steel!

2019 Tasmania Road Trip with Bill and Ella

We had trouble getting a berth in Triabunna but this little beauty had a permanent home at the marina

Our road trip with Bill and Ella had a 3-day time constraint because that is as long as we could get a berth in the Triabunna marina. So, taking that into consideration we took a northerly scenic route. First stop was Swansea and we arrived just in time for lunch so we convinced Bill and Ella that had to be pie and we’re not talking sugar pie but hearty meat pies. It seems to be a thing in NZ and in OZ. Love it!!  Than it was onwards to Frecynet Park. We opted to do the hike to Wineglass Bay lookout. It was a strenuous uphill climb but it was a treat to sit at the lookout and see the famous Wineglass Bay with 20 or more boats anchored there. We could just pretend it was our boat there.

An Echidna hiding from us. You can’t see me if I can’t see you

From the lookout we managed to do a short hike to a nearby lighthouse. The highlite was the visiting Wallaby who was intent on looking cute and wrangling treats from tourists. Locals were quick to shrug away the obvious pest. We spent the night in a large cabin nearby and opted for some takeout food. And it was Taters with Sour Cream and Sweet Chili sauce. A local specialty and a new unhealthy treat we may have again.

Magnificent trail to Wineglass Bay Lookout

Finally arrived at Wineglass Bay Lookout

Famous Wineglass Bay

The little fellow knows Bill is hiding a cookie

The next day it was on to Bicheno and St. Helens. The highlights were Bicheno blowhole and the Bay of Fire. The blowhole could spray meters of salt water whenever there is a decent swell. We knew if we timed it right you we could get a dousing of salt water spray for the perfect photo op. There were no volunteers in our group of four, water was dreadfully cold for us old folks.

Well maybe I did volunteer for the blowhole spray. Calm day

Just another bird picture

 

 

 

Bay of Fire was a stunning bay with orange lichen rocks in contrast with pristine white beaches. Another place to wander and be in Nikon heaven. We spent a night at the Squeechy Motel. With a name too close squelchy or squishy expectations were not high but we had a cozy night.

What’s Bill taking a picture of? Not Ella this time

in contrast to the white beaches, it was a bay on fire. Can you see Barbie?

Saw this little bird in a flowering tree. Flew like a hummingbird, just a little bigger

 

 

 

On our way back to Landfall we made another stop for pie in Swansea and after a long drive we were back at home. Bill and Ella spent a night on our boat and then we said our goodbyes. They would make their way back to Sydney and we would continue our cruise circumnavigating Tasmania.

It was a great trip. Until next time…..,.

 

2019 Beautiful Lakes Entrance onwards to Tasmania

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After Bill left we continued waiting for a weather window to sail across the infamous Bass Strait. It has a reputation of being a trechorous body of water largely due to the shallow depths, strong currents, and the roaring seas and weather that come blasting out of the southern ocean. Fortunately we could wait indefinately in Port Eden as it offered great protection from the wind. But to get protection from the swell we had to sail across from one side of the bay to the other. It was here that we learned how quickly the wind could change. On one particular day I was sitting in the cockpit talking to my daughter on the Iphone when I noticed the boat starting to point differently, wind picking up and swell increasing. I quickly said goodbye and called out to Denny who was napping. Within minutes we pulled the anchor up and motored against 40 knots wind to get protection from the other side of the bay. We motored at full throttle and we were barely making one knot. With the wind howling and the rain drenching us, we eventually arrived at our anchorage point and Denny warned me that we would only get one shot to drop and set the anchor. If the boat got a chance to turn down wind we would quickly be blown straight into a  mussel farm.  The pressure was on but we did what was needed and got the anchor down without a hitch. We learned that sailing along Southern coast of Australia would require constant vigilance unless we were in an all-weather anchorage and these were hard to find.

We couldn’t  seem to get a weather window for crossing the bass strait and tired of waiting in Port Eden we decided to make a move to Lakes Entrance, a little further south along the coast. Halfway there we hit the notorious wind on the nose sail and we spent a night making very little progress again as we tacked back and forth.  But we persevered and by morning the wind all but died and we were able to motor sail to Lakes Entrance. The sand bar we had to cross had a reputation of being a little daunting. There is a sky cam linked to a website that boats can use to look at the opening swell conditions as they make their way to the entrance. But it was a calm morning when we arrived and we motored into the lake without any problem.

 

Click here for Google Map Link Lakes Entrance

Lakes Entrance

The lovely Sally Forth

Lakes Entrance is a beautiful sheltered lake with many offshoots to explore but it can be a little nerving as the channels can be quite shallow. It took us several hours to get to our final destination, Paynesville. This little town offered great protection from the wind, a public jetty where several boats could tie up and explore the town for a maximum of 4 hours and it was where our friends Mark and Sally on Sally Forth were. We arrived just as the sun was setting and Mark and Sally where at the dock catching lines and giving us a wonderful welcome.

The “people” is what makes a town a great place and we loved Paynesville. We were tied to a 4 hour maximum dock for 4 nights and the people didn’t seem to mind as they came for a visit and offered us compliments on our  well maintained boat. It felt good to have people recognize the hours of effort we put into the upkeep of our little home. We were invited for a glass of wine and snacks at a Joe Loci’s house, a local that tried to convince us to sell our boat to him. We spent and afternoon at his home and he served us a bottle of his own brewed Shiraz wine made from scratch. I can tell you it was one of the finest Shiraz wine I have ever had and Denny commented that if wine tasted like that all the time he would drink it more often. We will come back to visit Joe again as much for his company as for the divine wine!

Not too happy about having them hang out there

Besides hanging out with our friends on Sally Forth we took a quick ferry trip to nearby Raymond Island well known for the 300+ Koalas that live there. We celebrated Valentines Day there surrounded by the noisy Cockatoos that seemed to travel in pairs. We could have hung out here for weeks but in 4 days we had our weather window we needed to cross the Bass Strait.

Patiently posing for a picture

Black swans

A little curious

A little grumpy we woke him up. But then they seem to be always sleeping!

And one more Koala picture. We have many more

Crossing the BASS STRAIT

It was a tranquil motor sail across the straits, traversing past the oil rigs in the middle of the night and enjoying the dolphins visiting us by day. And still not a fish on the line. We couldn’t  anchor in the famous Wineglass Bay as the wind and swell were rolling right in.

Rounding the Passage Point to get to  Passage Beach

 

Click here for Google Map Link of Passage Beach

Navigating around the rough coast line

Our first Tasmanian anchorage was in Passage Beach. It offered a good night sleep, beautiful white beach to explore and mussels on the rocks ready for us to pick. As soon as we had our dinghy in the water and we were making our way to shore we were stopped by the water police. We learned that we were required to wear life jackets and have flares, a bailer, anchor, 150 feet of line and a fire extinguisher in the dinghy at all times. Denny had a good chuckle about the fire extinguisher and the police agreed it didn’t make much since in a rubber dinghy. But that was the law! He just explained the rules, gave us a fish ruler so we would know what the fish quotas and minimum catch sizes were.

Harvesting our first feed of mussels in Tassie

Not sure what these interesting creatures are. Macro photography is always fun

From Passage Beach we made our way to Spring Bay where we were scheduled to meet Ella and Bill. Anchoring in Spring Bay wasn’t easy as it was a shallow bay with lots of moorings. Landfall kissed the muddy bottom while we did our anchoring circle, it took a couple of times to finally set the anchor as the bottom had a lot of shells and weeds and the wind was gusting 30+.

Click here for Google Map Link Triabunna

We dinghied to the nearby town, Triabunna. It’s mainly a little town that services tourists wanting to get to book ferry passages to nearby Maria Island. The Island is designed for various levels of cycling tours and an opportunity for people to explore the historic ruins of the convict settlements. The information center offered public showers and for $8 had a glorious hot water wash. There were a few small grocery stores, very full campgrounds, a small tired looking hotel and a small fish and chips takeout (which we did try). We managed to secure a little berth for Landfall so we could do our road trip with Bill and Ella. Getting the berth wasn’t easy as the marina was full. The first call to the Harbor Master was a bust but as we walked around the place we met other cruisers that were leaving the next day. The second call to the Harbor Master resulted in him meeting us as he had some difficulty understanding us via the cell phone. Once we were face to face, able to have a social chat and with the promise of a beer and the understanding that we would take the berth of the boat that was leaving we were set to safely leave Landfall for a couple of days. I will say that coming into the marina and maneuvering into the little berth was a little intimidating  and we were glad that Bill and Ella were there to catch the lines. Next adventure, road tripping with our friends.

2019 Cruising Australia with Bill

Before we post anything further we have to clarify that although I do most of the writing, Denny does all of the photo editing and we both are contributors to the pictures as we both love toting our Nikon cameras around. So the blogging work is shared.

And our friend Bob also asked me to insert this picture he took while visiting us and add the comment:

Dennis working hard

Three generations!

getting ready to watch the Junior World Series Hockey Game at my Dad’s

After arriving in Australia we left the boat on the hard at “The Boat Works” and flew to North America to be with family for the Christmas holidays. This means that I am in Ontario, Canada and Denny is somewhere between South Dakota and Minnesota USA, although I did make a detour stop in South Dakota to get a little quality time with our grandson, Rhett. Besides the beautiful family time, which we can’t get enough of after being half a world away, I was fortunate to be able to drive across Canada with my daughter Allison. She was moving from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Port Hardy, Vancouver Island to start a new job. She needed help to move herself, her little car and her little bit of stuff to her new home base. It was quality time with my baby girl in a little car for roughly 3000 km or 1800 miles with stops along the way to reconnect with family and friends. Some of the mountain passes where a little icy and treacherous (Ally drove on those occasions) but otherwise it was pretty good driving conditions considering it was middle of the winter. Allison and I can now both say we have been in Canada from coast to coast.

 

 

CHRISTMAS FAMILY PICTURES ( Sad we didn’t get to see my son Dylan)

 

Bottom painting complete. Should have waited for Bill

2019

Denny arrived in Australia a few days before me. He left from  Minneapolis and I left from Vancouver, British Columbia. Once we were both back on the boat in Southport, Brisbane it was work, work, work. Five days of bottom painting, cleaning and getting Landfall back in the water ready for our friend Bill’s arrival.

What were we thinking!! We should have postponed preparations until Bill was on board, at least for the sanding and bottom painting.

We started provisioning the day Bill arrived so that he could have somewhat of a say on what we had in the pantry. But the only thing he really asked for was hot dogs and coffee.

 

First anchorage and the pelican was patiently waiting for an easy meal

Click here for Google Map Link

We spent one calm day at the Muriel Henchman Park which is also where we spent our first anchorage in Australia with Bob. That was our starting point for our sail with our goal to get to Tasmania.

Seas getting a little rough

Our first few days of heading South had it’s challenges. We caught a fish and after considerable amount of effort trying to get it on board we lost the fish; a wave crashed through our open galley ports dousing everything with sea water and Denny had to spend time fixing our water maker luckily with success! About 60 miles south of Coffs Harbor the winds turned and it was on the nose. We were making very little progress and unable to get a good weather forecast so we decided to turn back and duck in for shelter in Coffs Harbour

Safety in Coffs Harbour

Click here for Google Map Link

Once we were safely berthed in the marina Denny realized that one of the cars on the sail track was broken. He managed to find a marine store and order the part with only 10 minutes left before closing. It was Friday afternoon and the part would be shipped the next day. We enjoyed the marina hot showers, had a little walk through town and found a quaint little Mexican restaurant where we had dinner. The next day Denny and Bill worked  on replacing the sail track “car” and managed to fix that with some challenges. Before setting sail on our Southerly course, we grabbed a tasty burger and a fine pint of beer and we were off again.

“The Boys” working together doing repairs

Click here for Google Map Link

We had some strong northerly winds, found a current that helped us get to Pittwater before the prevailing southerlies hit us again. Pittwater was busy, hot and lots of activities as it was the Australia Day holiday. We spent a couple of days here, grilling hot dogs, relaxing and waiting for a weather window to keep heading South.

Note the fancy bandage on the finger. Not even coffee is making me feel better

From Pittwater we sailed to Port Eden before the Southerlies made us take shelter again. This wasn’t an uneventful passage either. First we caught the monster fish!! Can’t say what it was as we never did see it but when it caught the lure on the first fishing rod it pulled on the line at great speed and I managed to clip off the top of my left hand pointer finger trying to slow or stop the drag. The HUGE tuna or marlin managed to break free but then snagged the lure on the second fishing rod and went straight down taking the lure and all the line with him. Not a fish we wanted on board anyway but it would have been nice to at least get a glimpse of the fish. We put a new lure on the remaining fishing line but forgot to tighten the drag so somewhere along the way we caught a fish that took our remaining line and lure without us even knowing about it.

On a calm day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before arriving in Port Eden we were hit by a thunder and lightening storm like we have never encountered before. Not the usual wind but a lightening show that lasted for hours. With each lightening bolt we were thankful that it didn’t strike the boat. And somewhere between the thundershowers we also had a squall that caught us unaware as we were sailing with the large 160 jib. We managed to sail through it but Denny had to go forward to untangle lines on the roller unit and going forward during a squall is never a good thing.

This little fellow hitched a ride during the storm and hung around for a while

 

 

Click here for Google Map Link

Came across these little beauties

And then found these. Mussels for supper YUM

We waited in Port Eden for 10 days trying to get a weather window to cross the infamous Bass strait and finally get to Tasmania.  But we didn’t just sit on the boat and do nothing. We went on daily walks, had beers at the local pubs, had some Australian pizza and socialized with some of the locals and other cruisers.

Didn’t make it to the Wooden Boat show in Tasmania on time but saw these in Port Eden

 

 

 

 

An afternoon with Doug and brave Cloe

 

We had a nice afternoon with a man who volunteered to take us into town to buy sparkplugs for our dinghy motor that was acting up. His dog, Cloe was a sheep herder but was deathly afraid of cows.

Beautiful ‘ Sally Forth’

We had ‘happies and appies’ with Mark and Sally on their beautiful Nordhaven 52ft power boat “Sally Forth”. They were also trying to go to Tasmania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We visited the museum where we learned all about Old Tom, the killer whale. He was thought to be the leader of a pod which helped the whalers by herding the baleen whales into the bay. The killer whales were then rewarded with the tongue and lips as their share of the kill. We rented a car and did some day trips in search of the elusive Platypus and Koala. Never did see either one but we did manage to come across a Wombat road kill and stopped to have a look as we were desperate to see some Aussie wildlife.

Alas, NO Platypus

 

In the end Bill had to get a flight to Tasmania as his time was running out and Ella (his wifey) was due to arrive soon. He booked flights from a nearby airport with a final destination to Burnie, Tasmania. On his last evening we had a couple of drinks on another cruising boat. It was priceless to see Bill’s face as the local sailor exclaimed he had never heard of an airport in Burnie and further more would never fly there. Bill grudgingly left the next day but we had agreed that if we ever got a weather window we would try and meet again in Tasmania. As it would have it, Bill inadvertently forgot his wallet on Landfall so a meeting up with them in Tassie was a definite. 

More shopping. Where’s Bill?

Is there a resemblance?

The coast is not that friendly

Goodbye Bill, see you in Tasmania!!

 

2018 Cruising with Bob in New Caledonia and Australia

Bob arrived in Noumea after over  two days of flights originally leaving from Minneapolis. He was sitting at the marina restaurant with his bags patiently waiting for us while we walked the waterfront looking for him. Not sure how long we kept missing each other but we finally made the connection. It took several trips with the dingy to fairy Bob and all his bags out to the boat, maneuvering through some choppy seas trying hard not to get Bob and all his debris wet.  But that wasn’t to be and he got his first experience of wet salty clothes and life on Landfall.  It was like Christmas onboard as we unpacked all the goodies Santa brought for us including peanuts, candies, salsa and lots of other treats. We spent that night in the rolly Noumea anchorage and then we sailed directly to the island of Mato.

Click here for Google Map Link

Can you spot the reef shark. We know Bob can!

Mato is a beautiful anchorage among reefs, clear water and plenty of reef sharks. It was impossible to convince Bob to go snorkeling after the shark sighting even if it was only a little reef shark. We did a quick hike to the top of Mato Island and enjoyed a beautiful view of our anchorage.

Click here for Google Map Link

We spent the night at Mato but had to make a move as the wind was starting to get stronger and this anchorage was only protected by the barrier reef so we were getting the full force of the wind.  Our next anchorage at Ile Ouen was totally different. The water was murky and we were surrounded by red, mountainous terrain.  We explored the shores and after much coaxing managed to get Bob to go for a little snorkel. But it was quick and short. We all saw large grey shark and although they weren’t aggressively hunting they were lurking in close proximity.

Click here for Google Map Link

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENNY!!

Denny’s birthday was a day away and we were planning to celebrate it with our friends on Atlantis who were waiting in Ile Casy. So we had a great sail and grabbed a mooring close to Atlantis. We had bought humungous steaks and our friends joined us on Landfall. We had such a good time partying and eating Bob’s perfectly barbequed steaks that we didn’t even  think to capture the moment in pictures.

We spent a day exploring the island. There were some great trails which took us all around the island to some nearby wilderness campsites,  the ruins of the resort that used to be there, top of the island where we could see more of the Bay of Prony and found a plaque dedicated to Moose the dog that lived all alone on the Island.  Story has it that the owners of the resort and the dog left the island but the dog not wanting to live anywhere else jumped off the boat and lived on the Island all by himself. He was fed and loved by all visiting cruisers.

Hello to our friends on Atlantis

Click here for Google Map Link

I would rather a hot shower

We wanted to give Bob a good tour of New Caledonia before making our way to Australia so we never stayed more than a couple of days at any anchorage. Next stop Bai Du Caranage for some water play at the cascades and hot pools. Surrounded by all the freshwater it was time for washing clothes and showers.

Never imagined ever having to hand wash clothes

Yes its Denny pulling the dinghy. Maybe Bob had to wash clothes by hand but he traveled in style

Click here for Google Map Link

Its not just sharks to be afraid of

We slowly made our way back to Noumea with a stop in Baie Ue. We were anxious to get ready for our passage to Australia but we decided to slow down our return until after the independence referendum as we weren’t sure if there would be some unrest and violence after the vote. As per Wikipedia “The Noumea accord signed in May 1998 set in motion a 20-year transition that transferred certain powers to local government and laid the groundwork for an independence referendum in 2018.” The result was 56.4% for maintaining the status quo. New Caledonians will have 2 more opportunities in 2020 and 2022 to vote for independence. Luckily there was little fallout from the resulting referendum and we could continue on to Noumea and prepare to do the immigration checkout.

Not seeing any sharks here

Click here for Google Map Link

In Noumea we did the walkabout to customs, immigration and a final visit to Port Captain, last stop for coffee and chocolate croissants and then off to a mooring by Ile Maitre and wait for a weather window. It was a beautiful resort island and a great place to hang out. Denny and Bob jumped in and washed the bottom of the boat so we wouldn’t take any unwanted critters to the land of OZ. Bob was a little hesitant about being in the water but so long as he had Denny for company he seemed to be ok.

Click here for Google Map Link

Time to go to Australia

Our passage to Australia took about 6 days, 36 minutes and we sailed 782 miles. We had some swell and wind but also lots of calm motoring. We caught a Dorado on the way and Bob and Denny took turns for an hour reeling it in only to have to release when we noticed its mate swimming by its side. We just weren’t hungry enough for fish to break the pair as they do mate for life.

TO SEE VIDEO OF BOB’S SAIL TO AUSTRALIA CLICK HERE

Welcome to Australia

Once we were close to the Australian coast we were welcomed by a large pod of dolphins.

We arrived in Southport, checked in the next day and then made our way to the Boat Works where we had planned to haul out the boat.

 

Southport Australia

Click here for Google Map Link

The Boat Works is a great place to work and store the boat while we travelled to North America for the Christmas holidays.

One last hike

 

 

They offer free courtesy cars for use so long as you book them in advance. We took advantage of this and did a few road trips nearby to explore some of Australia before Bob’s return trip back to Minneapolis. We enjoyed Bob’s company, had a lot of laughs, took advantage of his cooking skills and we were grateful for his help during the passage to Australia. Until next time….

 

 

Australian turkey? Christmas around the corner!!

Couldnt leave Australia without a picture of a Kangaroo