At Sea

1800 Position: 43 30.6 S   147 03.8 E
Course:  Southeast  Speed:  4 knots
Wind:  South sou-west F4 moderate breeze
Sea: slight     Swell: south 2 meters
Weather: partly cloudy, mild
Day’s run:  36 nm
 
I looked at the forecast this morning and decided that we might as well make the most of the moderate weather while it lasts and, rather then spend the night at anchor tonight, to start making tracks for Macquarie Harbour.  I need to get there before the wind shifts into the north and starts to freshen. 
So, after breakfast, I started to weigh the anchor and was looking around thinking how calm it was and that we might have to do a little motoring to start off with, when the thought occurred to me that Sylph had been behaving rather sluggishly of late under power and that it was very likely, in fact almost certain, that the prop was fouled with crustaceans.  Clearly it needed cleaning and the conditions were just about perfect for the job, or at least as perfect as they were going to get this far south.
I must confess I think I have become a bit of a sook in my more mature years as the thought of jumping in the cold water was not at all appealing.  Nonetheless, I bit the bullet, put my swimmers on, donned the face mask and crawled slowly down the swim ladder over the side.  As is usual in these things, once in the water was not too bad at all and the prop really did need a good clean.  Looking at it I reckon I was lucky I was getting any thrust from it at all.  It took close to an hour to clean the propeller and then towel myself off and get dressed, feeling very refreshed.  When we did get the anchor inboard and slipped the BRM into gear I could tell the difference straight away, we immediately surged forward and when I opened up the throttle Sylph easily reached her maximum hull speed. 
We motored down the channel for an hour before rounding Roberts Point, a headland of South Bruny Island, behind which we found some wind which allowed us to set sail and shut down the engine. We have been tacking our way south out of d'Entrecasteaux Channel since then and only now are clearing its Southern Entrance and into the open sea.  We are punching into a headwind once again, but hopefully later tonight when we get around South East Cape we might be able to ease sheets a bit.
All is well.