Through Bass Strait on to the Tasman Sea

Dec 19
The sun is setting now on a very full day that started at 03:00 am with faint light showing on the horizon ahead of WW II just under the sails, and has ended with a spectacular blazing sunset as we leave Bass Strait in our wake.


Bass Strait

The water in between was full of dark shadows that turned into beautiful rugged rock outcroppings scattered along the path out of the east entrance of Bass Strait. There was The Glennie Group, The Anser Group, Rondondo Island, East and West Moncoeur Islands, Forty Foot Rocks, Crocodile Rock, Cutter Rock, and the Hogan Group of Islands. The main Hogan Island looked like Ayers Rock or Uluru only with a grassy wig stuck on top. I was mesmerized as they came into focus – huge cliffs, scoured by millions of waves. Each island had a collar of scrubbed bare rock a hundred feet up from the incessant barrage of the Southern Ocean breakers.  

We had been running hard all night and were 30 miles from Wilson’s Promontory on the mainland of Oz. I had been up til after midnight not so much worried about being in the shipping lane but just couldn’t sleep.

As the morning revealed itself, it became obvious there would be no problem seeing or being seem by the commercial traffic. I was excited at the proposition of maybe getting out of Bass Strait and into the Tasman by the end of the day. We made a steady 6-7 knots all day running before the 15-20 knot westerly. The bird life was more than prolific, the sky was black with birds, swooping about the surface of the water like clouds of swarming bees.

By late afternoon I was feeling the sleep deprivation and the constant attention necessary to keep WW II before the wind with a big following sea. I had taken the first reef in the main as the wind filled in late in the afternoon and just as we passed the last island a big wave knocked us about and gybed the main. The force pulled the reef line out of its dog in the boom and with that all the force on the reef ties, it tore the reef point out of the main leaving a 16 inch hole in the main. I struggled to bring her back on course and then as quick as I could through the second reef to stop any more damage. Not a great way to end the day but I can still sail well with two reefs in the main, and if I get a chance I will mend it along the way.

I have sailed 2,053 nautical miles up until noon today and we have 1252 miles to Cape Reinga, so all is good.

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Cape Reinga, New Zealand

I’m looking forward to the adventure of crossing the Tasman for the third time. First time west to east!

Editor’s note: Today’s blog post is coming to you from Auckland, New Zealand!

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