2016 March – King Island to Bruny Island

Posted by on April 2, 2016

2016-03 - MONTHLY LOG STATISTICS

Total Sailing time : 100h22m (6022 minutes)
Travelled distance : 1013.891 km (547.457 nm)
Average Speed : 10.10 km/h (5.45 knots)
Peak Speed : 23.37 km/h (12.62 knots) on 2016/03/25

2016-03-02 - FROM Grassy Harbour TO Shepherds Bay VIA Three Hummock Island

Trip start : 2016/03/02 09:02:20 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-01T23:02:20Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/02 20:08:46
Travelling Time : 7h02m (422 minutes)
Trip Duration : 11h06m (666 minutes)
Start Point : 144.063369,-40.064628
End Point : 144.789123,-40.472431
Travelled distance : 88.826 km (47.962 nm)
Average Speed : 12.62 km/h (6.81 knots)
Peak Speed : 19.68 km/h (10.62 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 76.470 km (41.290 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 10.87 km/h (5.87 knots)


We waited until the wind picked up and headed out from Grassy. Flat sea conditions resulted in a delightful 8-9knot trip towards Three Hummock Island. Approaching our intended anchorage, we spotted a fishing boat powering towards us. A boatload of friendly fishos were looking to give away four crays, and we thought hard for about two microseconds before happily accepting their offer!

Four freebie crays given to us by some fisho's near Three Hummock Island, TAS

Four freebie crays given to us by some fisho’s near Three Hummock Island, TAS

With crays in hand, we decided to head around the corner where we knew the caretakers Bev and John would be able to help us cook, and then eat some of the bounty. After a wonderful meal we headed back to XTsea at dusk, but as the wind had picked up we moved across the bay for the night.

2016-03-03 - FROM Shepherds Bay TO Walker Island

Trip start : 2016/03/03 08:56:03 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-02T22:56:03Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/03 12:53:37
Trip Duration : 3h57m (237 minutes)
Start Point : 144.788818,-40.472530
End Point : 145.010253,-40.671840
Travelled distance : 42.644 km (23.026 nm)
Average Speed : 10.79 km/h (5.82 knots)
Peak Speed : 15.81 km/h (8.54 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 28.999 km (15.658 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 7.34 km/h (3.96 knots)


2016-03-04 - FROM Walker Island TO Stanley

Trip start : 2016/03/04 07:23:02 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-03T21:23:02Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/04 12:25:13
Trip Duration : 5h02m (302 minutes)
Start Point : 145.010498,-40.671951
End Point : 145.295745,-40.767631
Travelled distance : 54.020 km (29.168 nm)
Average Speed : 10.73 km/h (5.79 knots)
Peak Speed : 15.25 km/h (8.23 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 26.288 km (14.194 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 5.22 km/h (2.82 knots)


Wind on the nose today, so we battled a bit to get around to Stanley, but we soon rounded ‘The Nut’ and dropped anchor. Went for a wander around town and picked up some much-needed ice-cream.

Next day we did the mandatory trip up ‘The Nut’. Keen to get a bit of exercise, we both walked up the steep path to the top, and then traipsed the 2km loop around the summit. Lots of wallabies up the top who seem quite used to humans wandering by.

Looking down on some of Stanley from the top of The Nut.

Looking down on some of Stanley from the top of The Nut.

Colleen was a bit sore, so she took the chairlift back down. It’s a slow trip.. David met her as she arrived at the bottom.

Some more of Stanley, this time shot from the chairlift on the way down. We walked up.

Some more of Stanley, this time shot from the chairlift on the way down. We walked up.

2016-03-05 - FROM Stanley TO Robbins Island

Trip start : 2016/03/05 12:13:55 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-05T02:13:55Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/05 15:00:58
Trip Duration : 2h47m (167 minutes)
Start Point : 145.296234,-40.767421
End Point : 145.205703,-40.795860
Travelled distance : 28.523 km (15.401 nm)
Average Speed : 10.24 km/h (5.53 knots)
Peak Speed : 15.41 km/h (8.32 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 8.252 km (4.455 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 2.96 km/h (1.60 knots)


2016-03-06 - FROM Robbins Island TO Walker Island

Trip start : 2016/03/06 09:35:14 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-05T23:35:14Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/06 15:00:55
Trip Duration : 5h25m (325 minutes)
Start Point : 145.205459,-40.795921
End Point : 144.951950,-40.614540
Travelled distance : 31.238 km (16.867 nm)
Average Speed : 5.76 km/h (3.11 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.43 km/h (6.17 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 29.384 km (15.866 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 5.42 km/h (2.92 knots)


We encountered a vast flock of seabirds today. Approaching them as they fed, they were wheeling around the boat and taking off in their thousands making a huge noise. Never seen anything like it.

XTsea travelling through a massive swarm of birds near NW tip of Tassie. You don't really see the ones in the air. Amazing experience.

XTsea travelling through a massive swarm of birds near NW tip of Tassie. You don’t really see the ones in the air. Amazing experience.

2016-03-07 - FROM Walker Island TO Woolnorth

Trip start : 2016/03/07 08:14:55 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-06T22:14:55Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/07 11:32:21
Trip Duration : 3h17m (197 minutes)
Start Point : 144.951980,-40.614250
End Point : 144.707382,-40.653198
Travelled distance : 36.529 km (19.724 nm)
Average Speed : 11.12 km/h (6.00 knots)
Peak Speed : 19.04 km/h (10.28 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 21.089 km (11.387 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 6.42 km/h (3.46 knots)


Overcast and windy, we wanted to get through the rocks and currents at the point in daylight to be ready for the run down the coast. There was a surprising amount of current through the area, and the swell from the Southern Ocean really kicked in once we turned the corner. We managed to find a calm spot for the night.

2016-03-08 - FROM Woolnorth TO Pilot Bay

Trip start : 2016/03/08 01:57:57 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-07T15:57:57Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/08 22:00:19
Trip Duration : 20h02m (1202 minutes)
Start Point : 144.707290,-40.653400
End Point : 145.205505,-42.203411
Travelled distance : 189.592 km (102.371 nm)
Average Speed : 9.46 km/h (5.11 knots)
Peak Speed : 17.40 km/h (9.40 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 177.286 km (95.727 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 8.84 km/h (4.77 knots)


Leaving at 2am with strong winds predicted, we flew southward until lunchtime when the wind just died. Motors on to get to Pilot Bay just outside Port Macquarie at 10pm. The rock wall does not have any lights on it, so we had to rely on the accuracy of the chartplotter.

2016-03-09 - FROM Pilot Bay TO Strahan

Trip start : 2016/03/09 05:51:46 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-08T19:51:46Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/09 08:03:12
Trip Duration : 2h11m (131 minutes)
Start Point : 145.205932,-42.203819
End Point : 145.329574,-42.153259
Travelled distance : 21.695 km (11.714 nm)
Average Speed : 9.93 km/h (5.36 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.97 km/h (7.00 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 11.636 km (6.283 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 5.32 km/h (2.87 knots)


A 6am departure allowed us to travel through Hells Gate at slackwater. Port Macquarie is the second-largest harbour in Australia after Port Phillip, and although the tide is small, there is a massive amount of water flowing through a quite small gap. Lots of shallows to navigate, and it is best to go thorough in daylight.

Looking back through Hell's Gate, the entrance to Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania. Attempt in daylight at slackwater only!

Looking back through Hell’s Gate, the entrance to Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania. Attempt in daylight at slackwater only!

Arriving in Strahan, Phil on board Patriot X called us on the VHF and advised us that we could tie up at the dock if it was free, so we jumped at that. Pies from the bakery for lunch! We wanted to do the steam train ride up to Queenstown, but quickly discovered that it is quite popular and could not get on it until the next week. So to fill in time we planned for a jaunt up the Gordon River.

2016-03-10 - FROM Strahan TO Gordon River

Trip start : 2016/03/10 08:41:39 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-09T22:41:39Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/10 13:55:44
Trip Duration : 5h14m (314 minutes)
Start Point : 145.329895,-42.153129
End Point : 145.612426,-42.441528
Travelled distance : 47.473 km (25.633 nm)
Average Speed : 9.07 km/h (4.89 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.12 km/h (6.00 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 39.602 km (21.383 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 7.56 km/h (4.08 knots)


After sailing down through all the fish-farm infrastructure and Sarah Island, we arrived at the mouth of the Gordon around lunchtime and dropped sails.  Surrounded by trees and steep hillsides, the river was dead calm.

Travelling up the Gordon River. The reflection was quite disconcerting as you lost track of where the edge was.

Travelling up the Gordon River. The reflection was quite disconcerting as you lost track of where the edge was.

Our charts ended pretty quickly, but with the depthfinder saying we had a lot of water under us, we kept to the middle of the river and pushed on.

Our chartplotter was not too helpful when we got deeper into the Gordon River. XTsea was in 4WD mode!

Our chartplotter was not too helpful when we got deeper into the Gordon River. XTsea was in 4WD mode!

We arrived at Heritage Landing and tied up. The Gordon is visited by tens of thousands of tourists each year, but by arriving after the big boats had finished for the day we had the river to ourselves. We went on the walk through the rainforest on the walkway, and then settled in for a quiet night on board. We put up the flyscreens and kept the doors shut as the bees were a little too friendly.

My little forest pixie. Happy to be alive!

My little forest pixie. Happy to be alive!

2016-03-11 - FROM Gordon River TO Strahan VIA Sarah Island

Trip start : 2016/03/11 08:42:26 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-10T22:42:26Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/11 14:18:28
Travelling Time : 4h40m (280 minutes)
Trip Duration : 5h36m (336 minutes)
Start Point : 145.612228,-42.441291
End Point : 145.330352,-42.153011
Travelled distance : 49.202 km (26.567 nm)
Average Speed : 10.54 km/h (5.69 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.78 km/h (7.44 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 39.560 km (21.360 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 8.47 km/h (4.57 knots)


Next morning we enjoyed bacon and eggs for breakfast, then headed back out before being overrun with tourists. We stopped in at Sarah Island for an hour on the way back to visit the ruins of the convict colony there.

Early on the Monday, it was off to the train! We cycled around to the station, parked our bikes, and listened for the cry of ‘All Aboard!!’

That little thing is going to pull us up to Queenstown!??! ABT Loco #5.

That little thing is going to pull us up to Queenstown!??! ABT Loco #5.

The track to Queenstown is very steep in places, and to overcome this the engineers of the time used a system with a cogged centre track. Trainlovers should google ‘ABT Railway System’ for details.

At one of the regular stops to top up the steam train's water tanks.

At one of the regular stops to top up the steam train’s water tanks.

Once in Queenstown, we gulped down a quick lunch, then trekked up to the lookout above the town. We had to rush a bit as the return trip departed in 90 minutes.

View of Queenstown football field. There is too much rain for grass, so they play on gravel. Tough people in Tassie!

View of Queenstown football field. There is too much rain for grass, so they play on gravel. Tough people in Tassie!

Lookout at Queenstown.

Lookout at Queenstown.

There were frequent stops to fill the water tanks for the engine, and one of those was at an old gold mine. To keep the tourists amused, they had set up a gold-panning area. Colleen managed to find a microscopic speck, but enjoyed the experience.

Colleen trying her luck at panning for gold. She managed to find a speck.

Colleen trying her luck at panning for gold. She managed to find a speck.

As the train travels through the King River gorge, the view of the river is spectacular. Photos don’t tell the story, but here you can see everyone rushing to take the shot anyway.

Everyone rushing for a photo of the King River Gorge. Spectacular!

Everyone rushing for a photo of the King River Gorge. Spectacular!

A photo just does not capture the grandeur of the view. You must see it for yourself.

A photo just does not capture the grandeur of the view. You must see it for yourself.

Next day we talk a walk to Hogarth Falls from the trail in Peoples Park. Lovely stroll through the forest.

David always has to get to the top! Hogarth Falls, Strahan

David always has to get to the top! Hogarth Falls, Strahan

We also went to see the play “The Ship That Never Was” near the West Coast Information Centre at the dock. Taking a seat each in the front row, we had a fantastic time and Colleen was called upon for the role of Parrot, which she performed with gusto. The cast-members even burst out laughing as they saw her flapping her wings around the car-park when she was off-stage. Great fun!

After topping up the diesel and water tanks and grabbing a few provisions, we were ready to head south.

2016-03-16 - FROM Strahan TO Pilot Bay

Trip start : 2016/03/16 14:12:51 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-16T04:12:51Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/16 16:35:29
Trip Duration : 2h22m (142 minutes)
Start Point : 145.329742,-42.153148
End Point : 145.204940,-42.203941
Travelled distance : 21.572 km (11.648 nm)
Average Speed : 9.11 km/h (4.92 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.65 km/h (6.29 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 11.732 km (6.335 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 4.95 km/h (2.67 knots)


2016-03-17 - FROM Pilot Bay TO Schooner Cove

Trip start : 2016/03/17 01:23:49 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-16T15:23:49Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/17 17:18:00
Trip Duration : 15h54m (954 minutes)
Start Point : 145.204925,-42.204280
End Point : 146.004058,-43.341079
Travelled distance : 164.699 km (88.930 nm)
Average Speed : 10.35 km/h (5.59 knots)
Peak Speed : 17.80 km/h (9.61 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 142.241 km (76.804 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 8.94 km/h (4.83 knots)


Port Davey is wilderness. There are no roads in so if you want to visit, you need a boat or a plane. In saying that, it seems that the boaties of Tasmania are frequent visitors as there were quite a few boats around as we came in.

We anchored in Schooner Bay and spent a day or so resting up. A stroll up a neighboring hill gave us a bit of exercise and a hint of the hill climb to come.

Above Schooner Cove just off the Bathurst Channel in Port Davey, Tasmania.

Above Schooner Cove just off the Bathurst Channel in Port Davey, Tasmania.

2016-03-21 - FROM Schooner Cove TO Frog's Hollow

Trip start : 2016/03/21 08:10:58 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-20T22:10:58Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/21 09:11:09
Trip Duration : 1h00m (60 minutes)
Start Point : 146.003677,-43.341171
End Point : 146.101882,-43.347419
Travelled distance : 9.096 km (4.911 nm)
Average Speed : 9.09 km/h (4.91 knots)
Peak Speed : 10.43 km/h (5.63 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 7.971 km (4.304 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 7.97 km/h (4.30 knots)


We motored further down the channel and popped into Frog’s Hollow at the foot of Mount Rugby.

Cloud covering the top of Mount Rugby from our anchorage in Frogs Hollow

Cloud covering the top of Mount Rugby from our anchorage in Frogs Hollow

There is a track up Mount Rugby so we bravely decided to give it a go. It was very challenging! The ‘track’ was little more than a steep overgrown muddy trail through waist-high scrub and forest. Progress was slow, and when a group heading back down passed us at the height of 500m, we worked out that Colleen would not be able to get back before nightfall so she turned back leaving David the sprint to the summit.

The decision turned out to be the correct one as the climb became quite technical near the summit which would have slowed progress even more. David made the summit and took some photos, and then turned to go back down.

Selfie at the 711m peak of Mount Rugby.

Selfie at the 711m peak of Mount Rugby.

The trip down was harder than the trip up. Slipping every few steps, it was very frustrating. Thoughts of a hot shower kept us going and we made it back to the boat just before dusk. We showered, managed to find something to eat, and went to bed for the next 24 hours.

2016-03-24 - FROM Frog's Hollow TO Bramble Cove

Trip start : 2016/03/24 07:43:48 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-23T21:43:48Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/24 08:52:40
Trip Duration : 1h08m (68 minutes)
Start Point : 146.101882,-43.347530
End Point : 145.998703,-43.321208
Travelled distance : 11.681 km (6.307 nm)
Average Speed : 10.30 km/h (5.56 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.86 km/h (6.40 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 8.843 km (4.775 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 7.80 km/h (4.21 knots)


2016-03-25 - FROM Bramble Cove TO Rocky Bay

Trip start : 2016/03/25 06:27:00 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-24T20:27:00Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/25 18:00:46
Trip Duration : 11h33m (693 minutes)
Start Point : 145.998748,-43.321121
End Point : 146.892959,-43.571010
Travelled distance : 123.324 km (66.590 nm)
Average Speed : 10.67 km/h (5.76 knots)
Peak Speed : 23.37 km/h (12.62 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 77.352 km (41.766 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 6.69 km/h (3.61 knots)


We headed out to tackle the trip across the southern edge of Tasmania. Stunning geography! The short four metre swell was a bit uncomfortable, and the wind turned mid-afternoon meaning we had to turn on a motor. We spent a day in Recherche Bay recovering.

2016-03-27 - FROM Rocky Bay TO Southport

Trip start : 2016/03/27 06:54:48 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-26T20:54:48Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/27 09:18:48
Trip Duration : 2h24m (144 minutes)
Start Point : 146.892715,-43.571109
End Point : 146.973587,-43.433311
Travelled distance : 21.223 km (11.459 nm)
Average Speed : 8.84 km/h (4.77 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.05 km/h (7.05 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 16.653 km (8.991 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 6.93 km/h (3.74 knots)


Motoring up to Southport, we anchored just off the jetty and David took the rubbish ashore and walked up to the general store to buy more ice-cream. Next day we decided to cycle out to the Hastings Caves, a trip of about 20km one-way.

Hastings Caves. *NOT* a limestone cave and quite different to many we have seen.

Hastings Caves. *NOT* a limestone cave and quite different to many we have seen.

After the cave tour, it was back to the Visitor’s Centre to go for a swim in the thermal springs. A little chilly in the water, David didn’t last long as he was turning blue. A warm shower and he was back on the bike for the trip back to Southport, but Colleen decided that she had had enough and hitched a ride back.

2016-03-29 - FROM Southport TO Cygnet

Trip start : 2016/03/29 06:49:36 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-28T20:49:36Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/29 10:06:10
Trip Duration : 3h16m (196 minutes)
Start Point : 146.973831,-43.433559
End Point : 147.082687,-43.172939
Travelled distance : 36.547 km (19.733 nm)
Average Speed : 11.18 km/h (6.04 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.99 km/h (7.55 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 30.288 km (16.354 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 9.27 km/h (5.00 knots)


Light winds so more motoring. Off to the sleepy township of Cygnet. We snuck through the fleet anchored off the yacht club, and anchored as close to town as the shoals would allow. A walk to town for some groceries and a look around, and after emptying a gas tank overnight we stayed another day to get a refill and do some laundry.

2016-03-31 - FROM Cygnet TO Great Bay, North Bruny Island

Trip start : 2016/03/31 07:31:50 (Adjusted Local) (2016-03-30T21:31:50Z UTC)
Trip end : 2016/03/31 10:40:49
Trip Duration : 3h08m (188 minutes)
Start Point : 147.082397,-43.172561
End Point : 147.366714,-43.201110
Travelled distance : 35.996 km (19.436 nm)
Average Speed : 11.48 km/h (6.20 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.43 km/h (6.71 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 23.268 km (12.564 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 7.42 km/h (4.00 knots)


Last day of the month saw us sail across to North Bruny Island and pick up some oysters at ‘Get Shucked’.


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