Port Phillip Bay

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 22 Aug 2011 07:14

Position: 38 11.46 S 144 45.49 E
At anchor Port Phillip Bay
Wind: South, F1 Light air
Weather: Sunny, mild
Day's run: 88 nm

We enjoyed another very pleasant overnight sail parallelling the Victorian coastline, with an light offshore breeze the seas were flat and despite the light winds Sylph just pushed gently and quietly along at three to four knots. I set the watch commander to intervals of 25 minutes and combined with the AIS I felt quite secure with minimal risk of running into anything despite being so close to the coast and a major shipping route. Interestingly I find when I am surviving for lengthy periods on short naps I have numerous vivid dreams; some are dramatic, others sad and moving and others very funny. I am quite impressed with the creativity of my unconscious. All very entertaining really.

As we got closer to Port Phillip Bay we were welcomed by three dolphins. I went to the bow to watch their antics and in return tried to entertain them with some operatic airs. I am pleased to say they are not very critical listeners as they rolled on to their sides to give me a very close look as I leaned over the bow rail trying to hit a few of the higher notes. Then we passed close by a seal basking in the sunshine. He lay on his back, nose in the air, flippers crossed on his chest just as I would imagine an old Southern gentleman stretched out in his favourite chair on a porch on a sunny afternoon.

Our arrival off Port Phillip Bay heads was almost perfect, passing Point Lonsdale just after 1 pm, right on slack water, thereafter the flooding tide helping to push us along. But only almost perfect, with the wind dying to a very light air shortly after we had entered the Bay and amongst the shoals which form a barrier immediately to the north and east of the Bay's entrance. Big ships take the deep water Eastern Channel but I chose to take the Western Channel as it is a lot shorter and with plenty of water for Sylph navigationally it is fairly simple. About a third of the way along we ran out of wind altogether so not wishing to drift around the sand banks I started the engine and motored the remainder of the channel, at 4.20 pm coming to anchor at its northern entrance, here to await a little wind to take us to a less exposed anchorage.

Now as I write another seal has come to investigate Sylph. The water is very clear, I can easily see the bottom, it is only five meters deep, and the anchor chain stretching away forward to the stream, and I can see the seal swimming around twisting and turning beneath Sylph's keel and occasionally breaking surface with a splash, undoubtedly very curious as to what this strange object is that has come to visit its domain.

All ia well.