Port Davey and Bathurst

 Superted V - Blog & Photos - February 2015

1 – 2 Feb – After making a couple of repairs to the genoa, we left Kettering and headed out into the D'Entrecastreaux channel – we were planning to head down towards the Huon river but gave up beating against the wind and tide (well we are in cruising mode) and anchored in Isthmus bay. Took the bikes ashore for a ‘short, flat' ride to a fairy (aka blue) penguin rookery at the north end of the isthmus between north and south Bruny islands. The short, flat ride turned out to be an up and downhill ride on dusty tracks/roads before we got to the flat part of the isthmus. Not a penguin in sight but we did learn that the migrating shearwaters we had seen a couple of years ago whilst in New Caledonia, mainly end up there – all 23 million of them! 12 dusty miles later we were back on board with a very welcome cold beer!

3 Feb – Cold and windy but had a good sail down to Great Taylors bay and went for a bit of a welly-booted hike along the coast.  

4 Feb - Up the Huon river to Port Huon – nice little marina there at Kermandie but it was too near low water to get up the channel to stay there so we anchored in Hospital cove. Before the river dried out we dinghied a further 5 miles to Franklin and had a tour of the wooden boat school – a well-known school which is helping to keep the skill of wooden boat building alive. Dinner at the Kermandie Hotel.  

5 - 9 Feb – Back in Kettering marina. Brett and Jacinta very kindly lent us a car for a few days so we spent a couple of days at the 'MyState Wooden Boat Festival' in Hobart . This festival is reputedly the biggest in the southern hemisphere – run completely by volunteers once every 2 years. This year there were over 500 boats of all shapes and sizes on and off the water and various interesting demonstrations of traditional skills. Fortunately the weather had vastly improved from the previous week so we had a very pleasant couple of days wandering around and meeting up with friends.  

9 – 15 Feb – Before heading back out into ‘the channel' we did a couple more sail and dinghy repairs. Cruised some of the anchorages down the channel before sailing up the Huon river again this time to Port Cygnet in search of some scallop pies. Hiked the couple of kms into the town only to find that it isn't the scallop season so no pies available! The weather turned a bit wet and windy again so we sat at anchor and did various boat jobs (there's always something to do!)  

16 – 17 Feb – Back in Kettering do a bit of laundry etc and met up with friends Barbara and Simon on Tuarangi and Michele and Richard on Theleme.  

18 – 19 Feb – Sailed up to Hobart to do some provisioning and to collect Don in the afternoon. Looked as if we could get a decent weather window to go down to Port Davey so as soon as Don was on board, we headed down the channel to get a few miles under our belt – no point in letting the grass grow under his feet!  

20 Feb – Had a pleasant beat down the Channel to Recherche Bay on the south-eastern corner of Tasmania . As we dropped the anchor we recognised the boat nearby – Fran and Jamie on Content who we had met soon after our arrival in Sydney . Not to let the grass grow under our feet, an hour or so later we were sharing drinks on board Superted .  

21 Feb – Not much wind to head down to Port Davey so we ended up with the iron jib a bit more than we would have liked. Calm conditions going around our second great cape (there are actually 3 capes around the south of Tassie - south east (most southerly); south and south west). Port Davey is on far south west coast of Tasmania – a World heritage area of wilderness and a marine reserve. There are no roads but a small airstrip where walkers can be flown in to hike the South coast track or take an excursion around the waterways on a charter boat. Extensive waterways made up of outer Port Davey; the inner Bathurst Channel and Bathurst Harbour, surrounded by low mountain ranges, make it one of the best cruising areas in Tasmania. Once inside the marine reserve the water soon becomes brown with the tannin and, as in the fjords of New Zealand, there are many rare species of coral and deep sea southern ocean marine life living in the dark waters (so the book says and we chose to believe it as it was a wee bit cold for us to dive to verify the fact!)  

22 Feb – Woke to a very warm sunny day. Matt and I had an easy climb up Mt Milner (186m) following the wombat paths. Great views over the entrance with the Breaksea islands and down towards Davey River. Back at the boat, I went for a swim (a very cold but refreshing (!!) 17 degrees) and Matt and Don had a paddle around the bay. Once again Content was in the same anchorage so it was sun-downers on board with them and their friends Terrance and Larry from Amica.  

23 Feb – Completely different weather – wet, cold and windy! As the cold front went through, we moved anchorages and Matt and I went for another bit of a welly-booted hike near Mt Nares (304m) – picking up the wombat highways (but avoiding the square shaped wombat poo) where we could!  

24 Feb – Weather a bit clearer so we had a sail back out into Port Davey, anchored the boat in a fairly sheltered spot and took the 5 mile dinghy ride up the Davey River. It was a bit touch and go getting over the sand bar at the entrance to the river but it was all ‘feet in the water' and heave ho so no problem. Unfortunately most of the vegetation along the river banks have been destroyed by root rot so not very interesting scenery. After many twists and turns of the river, we reached the first gorge with it's quite impressive quartzite rocks which have been lifted and folded over millions of years. At the end of the first gorge there are shallow rapids and we were unable to get our very heavy dinghy over them to get any further, so it was tie to a fallen tree and out with the packed lunch….  

25 Feb – Another complete change in the weather so we took advantage of the sunny day and dragged Don along on a hike up Balmoral Hill about halfway along the Bathurst channel. Great views over the channel and Bathurst harbour.  

26 Feb – Anniversary!!! By the end of today we will have been living on board for a full 6 years.

Another cold front coming through so a morning on board. As the weather cleared we took another dinghy ride - this time up the river to Melaleuca. We were surprised to see quite a hive of activity - some tourists and hikers waiting for the plane back to Hobart. There is an airstrip; an old tin mine; rangers and walkers huts - all mostly built by legendary resident Deny King. Deny King was also a keen naturalist and kept meticulous records of the endangered Orange Bellied Parrot - since his death, volunteers now record the bird movements putting out seed at 2 bird tables during the breeding season.

27 Feb - Calm and clear(ish) - just what we needed for the hike up Mt Rugby -" not for the fainthearted" so the book says - "a challenging 772m of vertical-up". Well-togged up, Matt and I set off for the challenge - there's a wombat trail to follow (so narrow one foot has to go directly in front of the other) which winds its way up the mountain through button grasslands then short and tall scrubland of teatree, melaleuca and banksia where once again we played at being the hellrwe tribe... Coming through onto the saddle it then winds around grand quartzite boulders until finally (3 hours later) we scale the last 100m of rocks and brush-filled crevices ending up balancing on a rocky pinnacle for a photo shoot. Unfortuantely the sky had clouded over so colours not so great but fabulous views over the whole of Port Davey and Bathurst. Back down was the real challenge though, what with Jean getting wedged in-between two boulders and Matt slipping and sliding down the steep slopes but we finally made it back to the boat for a soothing cuppa!

28 Feb - Woke up to a blue sky but Tas Maritime had foretold of strong winds and 95% chance of getting wet. Thought we might be able to get in a quick walk before the weather turned but as soon as we lifted the anchor to move to a more protected bay, the heavens opened and so here we are - getting the boat well-washed once again FOC!

Position on 28 February S43.20.508 E146.00.316














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