KI Circumnavigation: Snug Cove to Scotts Cove

[1 May 2020]

A sleepless night. I awoke at 01:50 to a large thump! I’m reasonably certain it was just a big tug on the anchor combined with a loud splash, nothing more serious. When you’re suddenly awoken by a sound you’re really only conscious for the last part of the auditory experience, so it is not always possible to discern its precise nature. When one bottoms out or hits rocks though, the thumping tends to continue until you take evasive action. That was not the case.

I checked the chart plotter and the tide had fallen 0.8m. As a result we were now closer to the shore, due to the anchor chain being stretched out along the seafloor. We still had 2.1m of depth, ample for Arriba, but we were noticeably closer to some scary-looking rocks. Actually, all rocks are scary looking, especially in the dark. Of greater concern was the fact that we were now subject to more wave action, making our situation less comfortable than earlier. Even so, rather than re-anchor, instead I simply reeled in some anchor chain to pull ourselves further away from the shore. I reset the anchor drift alarm and went back to sleep.

At 03:30 the anchor alarm started shrieking. It was raining and the wind direction was all over the place. Reluctantly I decided to re-anchor in deeper water. Snug Cove is really NOT the kind of place where you want to be moving around in pitch black, so I sent Cathie up to the bow with a big torch to spot rocks. Rocks seemed to be everywhere! After a great deal of trepidation I dropped anchor in 4m of water, closer to the entrance to the cove. As a bonus the new spot was calmer. Go figure!

After dropping one’s “pick” it is always a good idea to make sure it has well and truly set in place. The consequences of a drifting anchor in this tiny cove is that we’d be set upon rocks in mere minutes. I therefore decided to stay awake to monitor our position, and I left one engine idling in case I needed to quickly move the boat. Our batteries were getting low anyway, so they benefited from the charging. Fortunately all was good. We stayed put.

I was delighted to discover that I had a tiny amount of 4G mobile phone coverage, so I was able to get online and fritter the hours away, mostly on Twitter. I wrote this too, but have not posted it until now.

It was drizzling and overcast, and even with a half moon, it did not get light until 06:30. By then I was well and truly ready to escape from Snug Cove. For future reference, don’t use Snug Cove if there is a strong westerly swell, as it wraps into the cove. There are 2 moorings available, but I’m loath to put my trust in someone else’s mooring, which may or may not be properly maintained.

We weighed anchor at 07:13 and set sail for Scotts Cove, which as the crow flies, is only 12 nm away. Alas, we were punching into a strong SW wind, frequently gusting to gale force. It took us 4 ½ hours and 26.2 nm to reach our destination, as we tacked nine times and zig-zagged our way upwind. Right before we tacked towards shore the last time Investigator Strait was producing 4m to 5m seas, and gusts were exceeding gale force (36 knots). Sailing at 45° to these seas was manageable, but timing the tack was important so as not to be broadsided. The forecast storm was upon us and it was definitely time to seek shelter.

"Calm" before the Storm.

At 11:43 we reached Scott Cove (top photo). Bliss! No more wind, and only a little swell rolling in. We enjoyed a couple of hours of mostly sunshine before the storm hit in earnest. I took advantage of the anchor time to have a little nap, something I seldom do, but desperately needed after last night’s vigil.

Comfort food (baked potatoes and lamb chops) for dinner. Baking was as much an excuse to use the oven to produce some heat, as to make a meal. After that we relaxed while watching our first movie of the trip, namely Sahara.

Distance traveled: 26.2 nautical miles.


Note: This is the 2nd leg of a Kangaroo Island circumnavigation. Next Scotts Cove to Antechamber Bay.


  1. So Snug Cove's not so snug after all? My book says that the name is meant to be descriptive!

    1. Personally I find it to be _too_ snug. Fine in the right conditions though.


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