Fika is resting happily at Beauty Point. Deservedly so! In 2 weeks, she has crossed Bass Strait and almost circumnavigated Tasmania. She has provided the opportunity for our gorgeous guests to share in the magnificent East Coast. Eight days of pure delight from Hobart to Launceston.
Day 1 Hobart to Bruny Island
With Fika loaded with delicious provisions, fuel and water, we departed Derwent Sailing Squadron bound for Barnes Bay, Bruny Island. We motored to the top of Bruny Island in a light breeze. Realising that we did not need to rush, we unfurled the head sail and gently glided along through the D'entrecasteaux Channel anchoring in Barnes Bay early afternoon. Between snoozes, kayaking (in our new origami kayaks) and a shore walk, the afternoon passed with all aboard beginning to unwind and settle into the cruising rhythm.
Day 2 Barnes Bay to Port Arthur
With a brisk 25 knot Westerly, 2 reefs in the main and the staysail, we zoomed along to Port Arthur passing Cape Raoul along the way. It really does not matter which way one looks in Tasmania, the scenery is magnificent. We were greeted with our first dolphins for the trip. They were large Common dolphins and took delight in 'scratching' their backs along Fika's bow. I have not experienced this before.
After our fast and 'furious' sail, we ambled ashore and meandered through the historic buildings of Port Arthur. With the site closed for the day, we had Port Arthur to ourselves. Eerily quiet!
Day 3 Port Arthur to Maria Island
Now who would expect two ocean dips in one day? Thanks to a craypot buoy, fearless crew Gerry donned goggles and flippers and freed the buoy from our propeller. We hove to whilst Gerry braved the 'crisp' waters of Storm Bay. Within hours, that horrible vibrating feeling happened again. This time Kelp! I am very grateful to Gerry as I am a chicken when it comes to doing anything underwater!
Apart from these hiccups, we had a delightful sail in light winds, passing between Cape Pillar and Tasman Island and on towards Maria Island anchoring in Shoalwater Bay mid afternoon.
I promised Emma that she would see a wombat ashore. Well, there were 'flocks' of wombats on the grassy headland.
Day 4 Maria Island to Bryan's Corner
After a delightful morning beach walk, we sailed onto Bryan's Corner at the entrance to Schouten Passage and forms part of the Freycinet Peninsula. We had this anchorage all to ourselves. This is the beauty of sailing: being able to access out of the way places. For the brave aboard, there was no time wasted before diving into the crystal clear water. With a walk along the beach before dinner, we all marvelled at the beauty of the surrounding hills, white pristine beach and turquoise water.
Day 5 Bryan's Corner to Wineglass Bay
We motored the 10nm out through Schouten Passage and north to Wineglass Bay. Again, it did not matter which way one looked, the view was just beautiful. As we motored along, we marvelled at the mustard and orange coloured lichens covering the boulders along the coast. We anchored in Wineglass Bay and enjoyed an afternoon ashore strolling along the beach.
Day 6 Wineglass Bay
Rest day. I think I can speak for everyone aboard that we all had a magical, relaxing day immersed in the beauty of Wineglass Bay. We ate, swam, walked, kayaked, ate some more, enjoyed good humour and company aboard.
Day 7 Wineglass Bay to Binalong Bay
We took advantage of the weather change and again zoomed up the coast in 25 knots Southwesterlies. All 19 tonnes of Fika glides along the sea. The coast changed from rocky hills and headlands to rolling hills. The wildlife blew us away with constant dolphin visitors, seals, albatross, shearwaters and the occasional honk from a penguin. Fortuitously, we anchored in Binalong Bay in time to share a drink at the local restaurant and enjoyed a wood fired pizza ashore.
Day 8 Binalong Bay to Waterhouse Island
Susie managed to continue with her daily morning lap around Fika before we weighed anchor at sunrise. We needed to time our passage through the Banks Strait to ensure we had the flood tide pushing us through. We passed Eddystone Point and the northern most part of Tasmania before turning towards Waterhouse Island.
Anchoring mid afternoon, we lowered the dinghy and had a walk along the small beach before our last dinner together.
Day 9 Waterhouse Island to Launceston
With an approaching change, we left before dawn and motored the last 40nm to the mouth of the Tamar River with the goal of beating the approaching strong Westerly winds. With freshly baked focaccia, we celebrated our last main meal together as we motored past Ninth Island (wondering if there was a Cellar Door), Tenth Island and onto Low Head.
With an incoming tide, we made the quick decision to meander down the Tamar River to Launceston giving a critique of the riverfront properties which even Grand Designs would be impressed by.
Unfortunately, Launceston port is virtually non existent. We managed to find a pontoon to go alongside to farewell Susie, Emma and Ant however with no safe mooring for Fika, we commenced the long trip downstream anchoring off Freshwater Point for the night before our last leg back to Beauty Point.
I really do need to pinch myself that this is now my job (sure does beat nursing!): sharing the cruising life with likeminded souls. It has been a delightful sail both aboard and marvelling at the spectacular scenery and wildlife. There has been warmth, laughter, hearty chatting and excitement as we been wrapped in the beauty of our surroundings and comfort of sailing aboard Fika.