2017 July – Metung to Bitangabee Creek

Posted by on August 3, 2017


Total Sailing time : 29h01m (1741 minutes)
Travelled distance : 271.74 km (146.73 nm)
Average Speed : 9.36 km/h (5.05 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.90 km/h (9.12 knots) on 2017/07/24

We spent most of the month pottering around Lakes Entrance before beginning the trip North. We hung around to spend time with some of Colleen’s family who were visiting Lakes Entrance for the school holidays, and then killed some time finishing the installation of the watermaker, securely mounting the spinnaker pole on the roof, and exploring more of Lakes Entrance.

2017-07-02 - FROM Metung TO Lakes Entrance

Trip start : 2017/07/02 10:33:52 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-02T00:33:52Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/02 11:42:29
Trip Duration : 1h08m (68 minutes)
Start Point : 147.855499,-37.892929
End Point : 147.983932,-37.882270
Travelled distance : 12.21 km (6.59 nm)
Average Speed : 10.78 km/h (5.82 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.95 km/h (6.99 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 11.333 km (6.119 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 9.99 km/h (5.39 knots)

Our final trip down Reeves Channel to Lakes Entrance. Wind was with us for once!

Colleen’s family arrived a couple of days later. Her sister was the only one who knew we would still be around, so it came as a nice surprise for her parents.

Some of Colleen’s family visiting us at Lakes Entrance.

The whole family took a drive up to visit the Buchan Caves. First discovered in 1907, they are a major attraction of the area. We visited the Fairy Cave which was a bit of a challenge getting around, with low and tight passages and many many steps.

We took a trip to the Buchan Caves with Colleen’s family.

2017-07-04 - FROM Cunninghame Quay TO Myers Street Jetty

Trip start : 2017/07/04 16:32:02 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-04T06:32:02Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/04 16:40:07
Trip Duration : 0h08m (8 minutes)
Start Point : 147.983932,-37.882270
End Point : 147.993331,-37.880378
Travelled distance : 0.95 km (0.51 nm)
Average Speed : 7.12 km/h (3.84 knots)
Peak Speed : 8.84 km/h (4.77 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.851 km (0.459 nm)

Much of the month we spent shuttling the boat between Cunninghame Quay with it’s 48-hour limit, and other spots. Our other favourite spot is the Myers Street Jetty. It’s only a four-hour spot, but in Winter the rules aren’t enforced and it is nice and secure and doesn’t have as much foot-traffic as the main quay. Another unexpected bonus is that someone is broadcasting Fox-Sports over the free-to-air television channels, so we can watch a bit of sport when nothing else is on.

At the Myer Street Jetty in Lakes Entrance you can somehow pick up Fox Sports on FTA television! Here is Colleen enjoying some hockey.

2017-07-06 - FROM Myers Street Jetty TO Myers Street Jetty VIA Barrier Landing AND Drew's Jetty

Trip start : 2017/07/06 14:20:00 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-06T04:20:00Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/06 17:01:32
Travelling Time : 0h59m (59 minutes)
Trip Duration : 2h41m (161 minutes)
Start Point : 147.980484,-37.883918
End Point : 147.993316,-37.880390
Travelled distance : 8.56 km (4.62 nm)
Average Speed : 8.70 km/h (4.70 knots)
Peak Speed : 9.90 km/h (5.34 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 1.192 km (0.643 nm)

Today we took the opportunity to show some of Colleen’s family the sights. We loaded up Jackie, Shannon and the four kids and motored up to Barrier Landing for a beach walk. David had the idea of letting everyone walk down the beach towards The Entrance while he and Colleen took XTsea down to Drew’s Jetty and picked them up from there.

David met them at The Entrance, and showed them the seals which hang out on the rocks there. They all then walked back to Drew’s Landing, along the ruins of the tracks and other infrastructure there. The kids all had a great time and were hopefully a bit easier to get to bed that night. Everyone headed back home the next day

2017-07-10 - FROM Myers Street Jetty TO Cunninghame Quay VIA Fuel Dock

Trip start : 2017/07/10 11:25:41 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-10T01:25:41Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/10 12:59:12
Travelling Time : 0h32m (32 minutes)
Trip Duration : 1h33m (93 minutes)
Start Point : 147.993072,-37.880390
End Point : 147.984054,-37.882270
Travelled distance : 4.85 km (2.62 nm)
Average Speed : 9.11 km/h (4.91 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.21 km/h (6.59 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.818 km (0.442 nm)

A quick jaunt around to the fuel dock to top up the tanks. The hose is just a tad too small to reach to the far-side of our catamaran, but as the cost is about 30 cents per litre cheaper than the one in Paynesville, it’s worth the extra effort. Colleen took a walk to Aldi which is very close to the dock for some provisions.

2017-07-12 - FROM Cunninghame Quay TO Myers STreet Jetty VIA Flagstaff Jetty

Trip start : 2017/07/12 09:03:37 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-11T23:03:37Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/12 14:54:13
Travelling Time : 0h33m (33 minutes)
Trip Duration : 5h50m (350 minutes)
Start Point : 147.984222,-37.882179
End Point : 147.993286,-37.880310
Travelled distance : 4.49 km (2.42 nm)
Average Speed : 8.17 km/h (4.41 knots)
Peak Speed : 10.73 km/h (5.79 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.822 km (0.443 nm)

We decided to do a bit of exploring near The Entrance. We motored down to Drew’s Jetty and walked up to the end of the entrance walls to check out the seals which hang out there. Colleen had missed out on visiting this area when her family was around, so was looking forward to some seal-action.

Colleen up close and personal with a seal basking on the western side of the Entrance. David actually stepped over it without noticing her!!

The seals were having a great time looking for food in The Entrance, except for one cow who found it all too mach effort. She was sunning herself way up on the old tracks, and David stepped right over her without seeing her. She gave a snort but wasn’t too fussed, and hung around while we took some shots.

Back to the boat, we made the short trip across to Flagstaff Jetty and tied up. After a spot of lunch we went for a wander around the other side of The Entrance. The remains of an early barge as well as some infrastructure are there, and the flagstaff for which the jetty is named.

The Entrance. Bass Straight awaits!

2017-07-14 - FROM Myers Street Jetty TO Cunninghame Quay

Trip start : 2017/07/14 09:55:32 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-13T23:55:32Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/14 10:01:28
Trip Duration : 0h05m (5 minutes)
Start Point : 147.992889,-37.880420
End Point : 147.984436,-37.882339
Travelled distance : 0.78 km (0.42 nm)
Average Speed : 9.40 km/h (5.07 knots)
Peak Speed : 8.87 km/h (4.79 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.771 km (0.416 nm)

2017-07-16 - FROM Cunninghame Quay TO Myers Street Jetty

Trip start : 2017/07/16 10:33:39 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-16T00:33:39Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/16 10:39:42
Trip Duration : 0h06m (6 minutes)
Start Point : 147.984512,-37.882408
End Point : 147.993377,-37.880401
Travelled distance : 0.83 km (0.45 nm)
Average Speed : 8.37 km/h (4.52 knots)
Peak Speed : 9.55 km/h (5.15 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.809 km (0.437 nm)

2017-07-18 - FROM Myers Street Jetty TO Cunninhame Quay

Trip start : 2017/07/18 09:51:50 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-17T23:51:50Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/18 09:57:45
Trip Duration : 0h05m (5 minutes)
Start Point : 147.992996,-37.880340
End Point : 147.984405,-37.882339
Travelled distance : 0.79 km (0.42 nm)
Average Speed : 9.50 km/h (5.12 knots)
Peak Speed : 8.82 km/h (4.76 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.786 km (0.424 nm)

David finally received the last few parts to completed the installation of the watermaker, so he spent of couple of days finalising the job and getting everything perfect.

The final parts arrived for our watermaker installation. Here is the 1HP 12V motor and pump assembly.

Watermaker in operation. Running at 850psi and making 18 gallons of freshwater an hour.

The watermaker installed in the two aft-most cupboards on the port side. Prefilters are in the bathroom cupboard. The RO membrane is in the black pressure vessel above the motor/pump.

The result of our first watermaker trial. The meter shows 69 parts per million of total dissolved solids. Water from the tap was over 700, so this is very pure.

The system was supplied by ElectroMaax, the same company that made the serpentine belt kit that allows our port engine to drive a 180Amp Balmar alteternator. The system has a standard 40-inch x 2.5inch DOW reverse-osmosis membrane, fed by a General Pumps triplex pump direct-driven by a 1HP 12Volt DC Leeson motor. David built a small module to autoflush the system with carbon-filtered freshwater every three days so the system is basically maintenance-free.

The output of the watermaker’s first run was tested to have 69 parts-per-million of dissolved solids. This is an excellent result, as normal tapwater here showed 700 ppm.

2017-07-22 - FROM Cunninghame Quay TO Myers Street Jetty

Trip start : 2017/07/22 09:30:40 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-21T23:30:40Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/22 09:37:08
Trip Duration : 0h06m (6 minutes)
Start Point : 147.984817,-37.882511
End Point : 147.993209,-37.880290
Travelled distance : 0.84 km (0.45 nm)
Average Speed : 8.41 km/h (4.54 knots)
Peak Speed : 9.73 km/h (5.25 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.776 km (0.419 nm)

Cunninghame Arm Footbridge in Lakes Entrance.

2017-07-24 - FROM Lakes Entrance TO Santa Barbara Bay Gabo Island

Trip start : 2017/07/24 06:55:27 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-23T20:55:27Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/25 01:53:25
Trip Duration : 18h57m (1137 minutes)
Start Point : 147.992416,-37.880531
End Point : 149.907180,-37.554939
Travelled distance : 187.60 km (101.29 nm)
Average Speed : 9.89 km/h (5.34 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.90 km/h (9.12 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 172.264 km (93.015 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 9.09 km/h (4.90 knots)

It was finally time to say goodbye to Gippsland Lakes. A weather-window promised some good winds for the 100nm trip to Gabo Island, so we woke at first light and started off. We had planned to leave mid-afternoon and sail through the night to arrive during daylight, but the forecasts suggested that the wind direction would not be as favorable if we did that.

Passage through The Entrance was uneventful.

Heading out of The Entrance. We spent over three months in Gippsland Lakes.

Goodbye Lakes Entrance! Nice sedate crossing of the bar.

We spent a couple of hours motor-sailing until the wind built, and then had to drop sail around dark as it again let us down. We arrived at Gabo at 2am, and nervously watched the fishfinder display as we approached the shore of Santa Barbara Bay. It started rising quite quickly so we reversed back to about 5m of depth and dropped the anchor. Time for bed at last!

2017-07-25 - FROM Gabo Island TO Gabo Island

Trip start : 2017/07/25 09:12:54 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-24T23:12:54Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/25 09:20:00
Trip Duration : 0h07m (7 minutes)
Start Point : 149.907104,-37.554878
End Point : 149.907287,-37.556598
Travelled distance : 0.23 km (0.12 nm)
Average Speed : 1.99 km/h (1.07 knots)
Peak Speed : 8.38 km/h (4.52 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.191 km (0.103 nm)

Next morning we repositioned a little closer to the jetty and a little further from the rocks! The remains of an old wreck is scattered close to the beach, so care must be taken to ensure your anchor is not snagged. After lunch we took the tender ashore to go for a bit of a walk and met Karen and Tony who were the relief caretakers of the lighthouse.

In front of the seals basking on Little Gabo Island off the tip of Gabo.

Gently bobbing in Santa Barbara Bay, Gabo Island.

David went for a walk up to the point near the mainland next morning, returning by lunch. A blow developed and winds reaching 40 knots so it got a bit bumpy where we were, and we would probably have been more comfortable on the lee of the island. We had planned to walk back to the lighthouse and have a full tour that afternoon, but stayed on board with the weather.

Not so gentle the next day. Up to 40 knot winds from the south-east gave the Excel Sarca anchor a work-out!

Next day was a lot nicer. We walked up to the lighthouse, again amazed at the size of the cows wandering the island acting as lawn-mowers. The grass is so lush, and without calves or bulls to bother them, they have the run of the island.

There was a project going on to replace the aging asbestos-sheet roofing of the buildings. No expense was spared, and they were using corrugated STAINLESS STEEL. A quick google suggests that colorbond is about $40 a square meter, and stainless is about $250m2! And that’s just the cladding. Guttering was also stainless, and there were the expenses of getting everything to the island, wrapping and crating up the old asbestos sheeting, and labour. Top dollar.

On the track to the lighthouse. Work is just finishing up replacing asbestos sheet roofing with 100% stainless!! One of the island’s herd of lawn-mowers is lazing in the foreground.

Colleen is standing on the high-water mark, about 30m above current sea-level. Read below for the amazing detail!

We were amazed by the story of a flood in 1895. Opposing low-pressure systems south and north combined to raise the local sea level by around 30m for a couple of days. The two lower buildings were awash, needing a rowboat to get out to the lighthouse base. A large stone wall was knocked down and everyone had to retreat to the upper building.

The High Water Mark carved into stone in 1895. 30m above current sea-level!

Could you imagine the effects of a 30m rise in the level of the ocean now?!? Although the effect was localised, it’s amazing to think what would happen if it recurred.

We enjoyed a tour of the lighthouse proper. Karen was good enough to take us up to the top, and the engineering of the tower was remarkable. Beautiful pink granite was lovingly and exactingly crafted. Up top the modern 30,000 candela lamp now uses solar power to operate, but we were told the halogen in operation from 1935 used to put out 900,000 candela and residents in Mallacoota 16km away needed thick blinds to go to sleep at night.

Looking up the lighthouse interior. The interior walls in this lighthouse are a cylinder, and the thickness of the wall varies from over six feet at the base to about half that at the top.

Looking out to sea from the top. That’s Karen who was close to finishing her stint as one of the caretakers.

Looking down onto the Gabo Island buildings.

Looking down the lighthouse. That’s quality craftsmanship!

At the top of Gabo Island Lighthouse. Second tallest lighthouse in Australia.

At the entry to Gabo Island lighthouse. Impressive stonework in beautiful pink granite.

There is a museum room in one of the buildings, so we spent a while reading a bit of the history of the island before walking back to the jetty with Karen and heading off.

2017-07-27 - FROM Gabo Island TO Bittangabee Creek

Trip start : 2017/07/27 11:31:16 (Adjusted Local) (2017-07-27T01:31:16Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/07/27 17:46:48
Trip Duration : 6h15m (375 minutes)
Start Point : 149.907119,-37.556259
End Point : 150.016555,-37.215019
Travelled distance : 49.57 km (26.76 nm)
Average Speed : 7.93 km/h (4.28 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.47 km/h (7.27 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 39.156 km (21.142 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 6.26 km/h (3.38 knots)

It took a bit of work to dislodge the anchor after it had been hammered into the sand by the spell of 40 knot winds, but we soon had it up. Dodging a few whales as we left Santa Barbara Bay, we rounded the lighthouse and headed north into NSW.

Rounding Gabo Island to head North. We crossed into NSW shortly after this.

We arrived at Bittangabee Creek on dusk with just enough light to see the breaking waves around the tight entry. With a slight following sea David kept a close eye on the fishfinder and managed to get inside without difficulty.

We had arrived in NSW, the last state on our trip around this great country.

Sunset in Bittangabee Creek anchorage. Delightful and secure from all winds if you draw under 2m.

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