Cruise: Wedge Island, Althorpe Island and Western River Cove, Kangaroo Island

Western River Cove
After two enjoyable days cruising around the Sir Joseph Banks Group, we sailed SE for Wedge Island on a beam reach. We covered the 35 nautical miles in 5 hours 45 minutes, averaging just over 6 knots.
Wedge Island, seen from the east
Wedge is so-named because of it’s distinctive shape. The eastern side of Wedge Island features a long sandy beach, protected from the SW quarter. There is an old jetty located on the NW end of the beach which is surrounded by a very shallow reef for several hundred metres; too shallow even for my RIB tender to clear at low tide. Providing you give the jetty a wide berth, you can anchor anywhere along the NE side of the island, with excellent holding over sand in ~5m depth.

Note. If the winds shift to the S or E, move around to the NW side of the island.

Wedge Island jetty
Wedge is a natural stopover for sailors en route from Port Lincoln to/from Adelaide, and we noticed several other Adelaide to Port Lincoln race yachts at anchor. Our enjoyment of the island was somewhat marred by a fishing boat that was berleying (chumming) for shark at anchor less than 500m away from Arriba. Suffice to say, we were disinclined to embrace our usual swim to shore. Sure enough, an hour later they hauled out a shark which we estimate was 1.8m to 2m in length. Sadly, berleying for sharks is perfectly legal in South Australia, although in my opinion it is a terrible practice. Anything that encourages sharks to come close to shore is reckless, and completely incompatible with tourism.
Wedge Island beach - just watch out for the shark fishermen!
The next morning we set sail for Kangaroo Island but soon realized we were unable to point upwind high enough to maintain our desired course. (Taking into account leeway, 60° to the wind is about the best Arriba can do under main and gennaker, or 50° under main and jib). A quick review of the chart indicated that we could hold course for Althorpe Island, so we altered our plans accordingly, covering the 25 miles in 4 ½ hours.
Althorpe Island jetty

The main anchorage at Althorpe Island (35°22.1'S 136°51.75'E) is a lovely little cove on the NE side of the island, offering good protection from south-easterlies, and to a lesser extent southerlies. We had an adventure while anchoring as yours truly forgot to reel in a tuna lure that was on a hand line. The nylon cord fouled Arriba’s port prop as I reversed to set the anchor. Fortunately we still had a fully functional starboard prop and conditions in the cove were calm. Twenty minutes later, after breaking out the snorkeling gear and the "Hookah" (a.k.a. "Surface Supplied Air Dive System"), our port prop was untangled.

Side note: One day earlier the keelboat "Clare Allen" fouled its (one and only) prop on a crayfish pot line at Thistle Island and was smashed onto the rocks. Fortunately the 3 crew were rescued but the yacht was completely destroyed.

We spent almost two hours at Althorpe enjoying the fantastic snorkeling, then at 14:30 set out for Western River Cove (35°40.48'S 136°58.23'E). The wind was from the SSE and completely on the nose so we reluctantly motored the 19 nautical miles across bumpy Investigator Strait - for the next 3 ½ hours. Even fighting wind, swell and tide, we managed 6 knots using just our starboard engine.

Note: Monohull owners may not realize that catamaran owners typically only use one engine at a time when cruising. Running both engines naturally means twice the fuel consumption, yet might only add another knot or two of boat speed, which is a rather poor tradeoff.

We slipped into spectacular Western River Cove (top photo) at 18:00, which we shared with only one other yacht. The Cove is part of a conservation park and, unlike our last few ports of call, even had campground facilities. We eschewed the facilities however and instead enjoyed a beach bonfire accompanied by beer, wine and various dips, followed by steaks on the barbecue back on board, and even more excellent wines.
Beach bonfire, Western River Cove
Steaks on the barbie
Note: Vacuum-sealed meat is the way to go when cruising. It lasts for weeks with minimal refrigeration and tastes better than frozen meat. Only freshly caught fish is better!

It felt good to be back on Kangaroo Island again, safe and sound in our protected little cove. Western River Cove would be very tight with more than three vessels, but with just two there was ample room.

Next stop, American River!


PS Continued here.