High and Dry in Christmas Cove

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 26 Feb 2019 03:30

Noon Position: 35 43.04 S  137 56-07 E
Aground Christmas Cove
Wind: SE, fF4 – moderate breeze
Sea: calm  Swell: nil
Weather: sunny, warm
Day’s run:  113 nm

Conditions were a little flukey yesterday afternoon which had me worried for a while that we would be caught out with a forecast freshening south-easterly and have to bash to windward to gain Backstairs Passage.  I am happy to report that my concerns proved to be unfounded. By late afternoon the wind had filled in from the south sou’ east, a gentle steady breeze, and  we enjoyed a pleasant beam reach overnight back to Kangaroo Island’s eastern strait. This morning we ran into Backstairs Passage, Sylph thereby completing a circumnavigation of Kangaroo Island for the first time. We decided to make for Christmas Cove at Penneshaw where it would be easier to top up supplies.  Christmas Cove is small and shallow but Sylph and I had been here twice before back in 2013, so I was not anticipating any problems getting alongside.  As we approached Penneshaw we made use of the lee of a large passenger ship, the Silver Muse, that was anchored off the town to furl the headsail then tucked in behind the headland where we started the motor and handed sail.  I proceeded slowly, following the leads in through the narrow rocky entrance and, once inside, swung to starboard to go alongside a marina berth but no sooner were we off the leads then Sylph came to a gentle stop.  We were aground. Oh bother! I tried to back off but the tide was falling and I had no success. As Kate and I were contemplating options, a local tourist boat came in to see if we needed help. The young skipper advised that the entrance had silted up and we would have to wait for the next high tide this evening to get off.  It seemed that there was nought for it but to wait.

So, I have just dropped Kate ashore to get some supplies and then had a row around Sylph and the Cove to work out where the deeper water lay. From my calculations we must have found the shallowest spot in the Cove even though it is only about three meters of the line of the leads.  I have laid out a kedge anchor so that when the tide comes in we will not be blown further aground.  The plan is once we are afloat, which should be around 1700, we will recover the kedge and head over to Eastern Cove where we will anchor for the night.

Looking at the longer range forecast, we have headwinds until Friday. Come Friday morning the forecast is for a short 24 hour period of favourable winds.  So, at this stage, we will remain at KI until then and then make an overnight sail to Robe.

All is well.