Open Ocean

Noon Position: 42 37.4 S  148 00.7 E
Course:  NE  Speed: 4 knots
Wind: NW,  F3 - gentle breeze
Sea: slight     Swell: SE 1m
Weather: mostly cloudy, mild
Day’s Run: 26 nm

I got the dinghy on board yesterdaay evening when the wind had abated so that was one less job to do this morning. Thus, I allowed myself an extra fifteen minutes in my bunk this morning, getting up at 6.15 to put the kettle on and check the weather before weighing anchor. By seven we were motoring towards Denison Canal where we arrived as planned at eight, the earliest the bridge across the canal opens.  I called the bridge operator as we were approaching which was just as well as, despite booking for an eight o’clock opening yesterday afternoon, the morning shift operator had no record of it.  I had to do a tight circle just before the bridge.  Fortunately we were close to slack water so Sylph was not set down on to the bridge which could have been a little untidy.  By the time I had completed a circle, the bridge had been opened and we proceeded through.

The canal is only a few hundred meters long and gives access to Blackman Bay. Once through the canal it is a further six miles of negotiating channels surrounded by shallow sand banks with Marion Narrows at the northern end of the Bay requiring particularly careful navigation. The Narrows are for the most part well marked except for the last leg out which has a set of leads that, if followed, leads over a sand bar.  A dog leg off the leads close to the southern shore line is required and, despite having another yacht ahead of me leading the way out, I managed to kiss the protruding sand bar with the bottom of Sylph’s keel. We are due for another slipping soon, so hopefully the graze will have cleaned the bottom of any growth.

At 09.05 we were out into the open ocean again. I set sail, shut down the engine and settled down to a broad reach in a light westerly breeze.  We have since transited Mercury Passage inside of Maria Island and are now all but drifting before a zephyr from the south-west. 

The plan is to continue as far as we can towards Adelaide while we have favourable winds.  I am hoping that we might make it around the north-east corner of Tasmania before the winds turn northerly late tomorrow but with the light aris this looks unlikely. If we do not get around the NE cape in time then we will look for somewhere to hole up until conditions turn favourable.

All is well.