Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Day 8 Spike cove to Little Musselroe Bay

SE15-20 kts 1-1.5m sea's. The wind was howling during the night but the forecast was for it to ease the next day. There was a change approaching  the following day so I was keen on getting the last leg of the trip completed. I could only see the higher ground of mainland Tasmania with the coast being hidden until the final 3 nautical miles from Little Musselroe Bay. It was another rough paddle with wind against current for the second half of the crossing.It was a fitting end to this adventure.Thanks to my family and friends Mark Clarke, Steve Holley and Rob Howe from Howe Shipwrights in Sydney for helping me with the kayak modifications. Also thanks to Karel Vissel  for the weather forecasts. I also used BOM and Willy weather for my weather forecasts and tidal information. Average speed 3.9 kts www.oceanwilderness.com.au

Monday, 1 April 2013

Day 7 thunder and Lightening Bay to Clarke Island

SE15- 20 kts sea's 1-1.5m. I had a bit of a sleep in and waited until just before high tide to depart. It was a very still morning as I headed out on the western side of Preservation Island to get a nice straight run to Clarke with the help of the current and was making great time for the first 45 minutes until the SE wind kicked in and built in strength. I had the current with me but as the head wind approached the 25- 30 kt mark it became very hard going with constant waves breaking in my face. It was the shortest paddle of the trip but also the hardest. I battled my way into Spike Cove with a rough tidal race around the head land. A couple of fishing boats were seeking shelter there as well. They offered me a beer as soon as I told them my launch location of Victoria. Average speed 3.7 kts


Day 6 Whitemark to Thunder and Lightening Bay

NE 15 kts seas 1m. I  set off at 0700 to take advantage of the tide. I looked at my ipad during the night and the wind was blowing NE to 26 kts but had eased a little in the morning. The forecast of 15 kts was already been exceeded one hour into my paddle. The wind was gusting in the vicinity of 30 kts with a steady 20-25 kts. I stayed as close to shore as possible to get some protection until I could use it to my advantage and shoot across to Trouser Pt with it behind me. I had a max speed reading of 10 kts over this short crossing of the bay. I landed at Trouser Pt where there is a great camp ground with water and toilets. I observed modified wind gusts of over 30 kts. I waited for an hour or so to see if the winds would abate. I changed paddles to my flat blade with the anticipation of a rough crossing of Franklin Sound to Cape Barren Island. It was going to be wind against current but as the wind had eased a  little I decided to make the crossing. I had quartering sea's for the crossing and the skeg I fitted to the Taran was showing it's worth. I went on the inside of Long Island and around Cape Sir John  where I was sheltered from the NE winds. Due to me stopping at Trouser Pt I had lost my window with the current to get a run down to Clarke Island.  I confirmed this when I stopped and was going backwards at 1.5 kts. I wasn't that worried as the forecast for the next day was not looking good for a Banks Strait crossing. I explored Thunder and Lightening Bay and set up camp on an elevated flat rock, it was my best nights sleep of the trip. Average speed 3.8 kts

Day 5 Explored Whitemark

I had a relaxing day swimming, eating , sorting gear and eating! Very friendly  people in Whitemark, I look forward to returning some day.

Day 4 Deal Island to Whitemark

NW 10 -15kts seas nil. I made my way out of  Winter Cove just on first light. As I cleared Deal Island it was a magic day. Unfortunately the NW wind forecast which would have helped me was non existent. I saw a large shark a couple of hours into my trip but it showed no interest in me. I was making good time as I approached Flinders and decided to take advantage of the changing flooding tide and head for Roydon Island. I arrived at Roydon and went for a quick swim and look at the hut which is know fitted with a water tank. I really wanted to stay the night at Roydon but I still had a few hours of flooding tide and daylight left. If I stayed the night I would have been looking at another early start or wait for the afternoon tide. I decided to push on to Whitemark ,  rocketing down the coast with the current assisting me until the last hour when it changed and I had to grit my teeth after a long day. I arrived at Whitemark in the dark and just pulled my bivi bag out and crashed . I woke up and headed for the Bakery for a big breakfast. The forecast for the next day was not great with head winds and currents not in my favour. I decided to have a day off and eat  a  large amount of food and sort  through my gear.Average speed 4.2 kts

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Day 3 Hogan Island to Deal Island

NE 5-10 kts, nil sea's. I left Hogan at around 0720 to get to Murray's Pass at slack water. I could see the Kent Group for the first hour before they disappeared in the sea mist shortly after. I would only see the Islands on two other occasions during my crossing. The sea mist lifted as I approached Murray's Pass. I went into Erith and resupplied my water and had a quick meal. I wanted to get back out of the northern end of the Pass before the current got to strong. I slowly made my way out of the Pass and once clear had an easy paddle around to Winter Cove where a pod of dolphins played. I had a small surf with about 4 ft faces to negotiate my way to the beach. I used my sat phone to gain the forecast for the next day. I believe you can get a phone signal from the saddle above the Cove. Average speed 3.8 kts.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Day 2 Refuge Cove to Hogan Island

NE 15 kts sea's 1.5m . I woke up at 0430 and had a big Breakfast. I was on the water at 0620 it was still dark for a little while. There was a bit of rebound of the rocks exiting Refuge Cove which cleared as I pushed further out to sea. The conditions became calm about two hours into the journey. I was paddling on a bearing for the first 3 hours before Hogan showed itself through the haze. It took me just under 7 hours to get to Hogan. There was a small tidal race between the twin islets going around the North end of Hogan, a bit of fun to play in. The spring on Hogan would be a last option for water and would need treatment.There is no water tank off the hut.Phone signal towards the obvious saddle.Average speed 4kts.

Approaching Hogan


Bass Strait Solo Day 1,Port Welshpool to Refuge Cove

NE 15-20kts, sea's 1.5m. I Headed down the coast and stopped at Rabbit Island for a quick bite to eat. I then continued down to Refuge Cove with the following sea's. The rangers hut at Refuge Cove was closed. If using water from the stream I would recommend purifying it.  I had phone signal above the boaters camp.Average speed 4.3kts               
Refuge Cove
Port Welshpool

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Bass Strait Equipment List

Kayak, modified Rockpool Taran
Paddles - Primary Epic Mid Wing, secondary Werner Corryvreckon.
Repair kit with spare rudder blade, cables etc.
Spare spray deck and emergency hatch covers.
Power Monkey extreme solar charger.
Charts, one spare, Nav data sheet, emergency run sheet gps, compass deck, hand held, ipad.
Sat phone, phone,VHF radio,PLB, spot tracker, short wave radio.
Spare batteries
Spare paddle clothes,cag etc.
Water purifier
10 days food.
22 litres water
Camping equipment.

Total weight 52kg

Rockpool Taran modifications

I purchased my Rockpool Taran from Expedition Kayaks around June 2012 for the purpose of a solo crossing of Bass Strait in March 2013. The guys at Expedition Kayaks happily organised a test paddle. From the moment I got into the boat I liked it. It had a great turn of speed and I found it stable. I got it home and paddled it for a month in various conditions and decided on some modifications.
 Carbon Skeg  and rudder blade                               Day hatch

I have found the skeg a real advantage in large quartering seas. The day hatch has added more strength to the rear deck as well. I also installed a deck compass and and water witch sensor for the electric bilge.