Continued from Coffin Bay.
February 24th, our departure day from Coffin Bay, was going to be a long day of sailing. Once the front that was bringing rain passed, the wind was forecast to swing to the SW, the perfect direction for heading east. However once past Avoid Bay there would be no safe anchorages until east of Cape Carnot. We departed in rain and darkness at 06:15 and resolved to sail east as far as possible.
We raised the spinnaker at 11:25 and 2 hours later we finally rounded Point Whidbey and headed east. Unusually for South Australian waters, the sea fog persisted well into the afternoon.
|Price Island rises from the fog.
By 17:00 we were south of Price Island, and shortly afterwards we crossed our outbound track, thereby circumnavigating the Island. About this time a curious seal chased us for about 5 minutes, likely attracted by the lures we were trolling behind us. An hour later the wind finally shifted to the SW and we unfurled the gennaker. We were making a respectable 5.8 knots from the 10 knot breeze.
At 22:25 we were due south of Cape Carnot, 1 mile north of Liguanea Island. We could either pass the Cape and turn north for Fishery Bay (34°54.9'S 135°41.1'E), 7 miles away, with shelter from the SW thru the NE, or continue on to Williams Island, 18 miles away. We chose to push on, arriving at Williams Island at 02:00. We'd sailed 90 nautical miles since leaving Coffin Bay.
The waters around Cape Catastrophe can be challenging. The Cape is so named because Captain Matthew Flinders lost 8 of his crew when their long boat capsized nearby. Strong tidal currents flow through Thorny Passage, so the key thing is to avoid sailing in the Passage or around the Cape when an ebb flow opposes the swell and seas. Also, keep in mind that the nearest tidal station is Taylors Landing (34°51.30'S 135°57.62'E) which is 8 nautical miles north of the Cape, so the tide will still be ebbing at the Cape when it is low tide at Taylors.
|Williams Island, with the Jussieu Peninsula in the background.
The next morning, while my crew enjoyed a sleep-in, I kayaked ashore and climbed to the lighthouse, which offered some lovely views.
|Williams Island Lighthouse.
|Looking north from Williams Island.
|Kangaroo enjoying Memory Cove.
Despite frenetic shouting from my crew, I'd managed to drop the anchor on the only patch of seagrass within 75 m of the beach! Sure enough, within minutes we were drifting backwards at a rate of knots. We re-anchored closer to shore, but I'd broken my own rule of never anchoring with the dinghy under tow and the dinghy painter was now fouled on Arriba's port rudder. Andrew volunteered to jump in and untangle the painter, which was straightforward. In the process, he discovered this massive bundle of nylon rope wrapped around the port prop, which needed to be cut off.
After brunch, confident that our anchor was now holding firm, we trundled off in the direction of West Point. The coastal views were quite spectacular.
|Cape Catastrophe seen from the west.
|Enjoying the view from Ivys Leap.
|Liam on the bow.
The next morning we departed at 07:45. Rumor had it that there was a sea cave on the eastern side of the Island so large that an island resident once moored his yacht there. We spotted the opening to the cave as we passed by, sans yacht though.
|Sea cave entrance, Wedge Island.
|Cape Spencer Lighthouse, Yorke Peninsula.
|Troubridge Hill Lighthouse, Yorke Peninsula.
|Sunset over Troubridge Point.
We briefly considered going ashore, but the discovery of a 2001 Penfold's St Henri on board sealed the deal and we decided to stay on board to enjoy wine and cheese.
The next morning, February 27th, we departed at 07:25. The forecast SE wind arrived too late in the day to help us much. I consider 5 knots to be the minimum speed when cruising so, for the first time since leaving a week earlier, we motor sailed most of the day to maintain our speed. At 15:43 we were back at North Haven, having traveled 506 nautical miles (937 km). We'd sailed from Adelaide to Coffin Bay and back in a week, enjoying great company, fabulous sailing conditions and some spectacular anchorages (our route).