To the end of the world

The dream at the far end of the earth is Port Davey in the south west corner of Tasmania. It can be reached by a long foot march, light aircraft or boat. It is otherwise cut off from the world and uninhabited.

Get yourself to Australia with a boat then travel south for thousands of miles until, having braved the Bass Strait, you reach Tasmania. Continue south stopping off in Hobart then continue to Kettering and then the hard part starts.

We left Kettering to travel south along the d’Entrecasteaux Channel to Recherche Bay. The first day there was little wind but more than forecast and, with full sails set, we made it to The Quarries Bay on Bruny Island just before the sun set.

The second day there was more than enough wind and it was straight against us. We reefed the sails and tacked backwards and forwards up the channel. Heidi was calling the tacks to avoid fish farms, islands and reefs before finally navigaing us into Recherche Bay. We took a lot of water over the bow and were happy with the Bay’s shelter. It is billed as the most southerly all weather anchorage and has provided sailors with shelter for over three hundred years. Here, four boats were anchored waiting for the following day.

At dawn on the third day we headed back out to sea hoping to find the forecast east wind to blow us across the Southern Ocean under Tasmania. Most days this route is impassable but on this day there was one of the occasional lulls in the legendary gales of the Roaring Forties. We rounded Tasmania’s south east corner and were met by the long three meter high swells that work their way up from Antarctica before committing suicide next to us on the cliffs and Islands that litter this area.

The wind did not appear for twelve hours. Normally we would wait but here that is not an option as violent southerly winds were forecast for the following day. We motored past massive islands, imposing capes and strange rock formations. Dolphins and seals joined us at various times and once we even had a pack of dolphins which included two seals showing off that they could jump just as well. One dolphin twice jumped through the rainbow of spray to our side and briefly became a multicolored fantasy creature.

As the sun set we rounded the South West Cape and a breath of wind arrived so that we could finally turn the engine off and sail. I enjoyed the peace and slept while Heidi headed north. The wind lasted almost three hours after which she changed back to motor. When I awoke we were passing hulking rock islands in the light of the full moon. Indescribable!

We anchored by the light of the moon just after midnight and slept until rain and overcast light woke us.

The rain stopped and we sailed across Port Davey and in to the Bathurst Channel. Imagine virgin, untouched hills and soaring craggy mountains with a waterway that threads through them devoid of evidence of mankind. Add areas of natural forest, wooded Islands and stunning reflections. Add wreaths of cloud across the mountains and silence. Here it is all of that but so much more. We passed into the core of this area in wonder and dropped anchor surrounded by unbelievable beauty.

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