Snug Cove

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 7 Feb 2023 03:43
Position: 35 41.64 S 136 50.80 E
Moored Snug Cove
Wind: SE, F2
Sea: calm Swell: nil
Weather: sunny, warm
Day's run: 10 nm

The wind behaved rather strangely yesterday. The forecast was for SE winds at 15 to 20 knots but for most of the day, once I had gotten a bit west of Emu Bay, the wind was from the east and nor' east. I thought this was due to the wind funnelling through Investigator Strait and following Kangaroo Island's coastline but by mid-afternoon the wind had actually shifted into the NW, putting Sylph on a lee shore, albeit the wind was only light.

Given the uncertain wind conditions, and the small surf pounding on the beach, I decided to forgo a shore excursion and rowed over to pay Samphire's crew a visit instead. Naturally, among other things, we discussed sailing and the wind conditions. I think the general consensus was that the local winds were most likely the result of a sea breeze effect. This was borne out later in the evening when the wind quite suddenly shifted into the SE and picked up to a good 20 knots. I was a little surprised at the dramatic shift in wind direction and strength and suspect that a gully effect had also amplified the wind shift. But I was also pleased because now the wind was blowing directly off the land which meant if Sylph did drag during the night that we would be blown out to sea and not onto the beach.

With the gusty conditions I had a rather fitful sleep, listening to the wind howling in the rigging. I got up a few times to check the anchor and was pleased to see that we had not budged an inch. The same could not be said for the Samphire, however, as at about 0300 I noticed that she was quite a bit further off the shore then where she had first come to anchor. I can only assume that she must have dragged her anchor and the crew let out more cable and allowed her to remain where she was for the rest of the night.

Come sunrise, the wind was still blowing fresh from the SE. I had breakfast and listened to the weather forecast on the HF radio, as we were now out of reliable phone range and were not picking up any weather forecasts on VHF. The forecast is predicting winds to remain fresh from the SE for the next few days so I decided to continue with my exploration of KI's north coast.

To this end our next destination was Snug Cove which lay a short ten miles to the west of Snellings Beach. With such a short distance, we were in no particular hurry to get under way. So it wasn't until 1000 that I hoisted the main with two reefs, then started to weigh anchor, the BRM ticking over just in case. I am pleased to say that the engine was not needed, as Sylph's bow paid off to starboard, away from the nearby rocks, as the anchor broke free of the bottom. As Sylph slowly reached along parallel to the shore line, I completed stowing the anchor then adjusted her course to pass by Samphire and wave her crew farewell. They will be continuing east to Emu Bay then back to Adelaide so our paths are not going to cross again, at least on this particular little voyage.

Once past Samphire and salutations completed, I set the jib. As we cleared Snellings Beach the wind eased significantly, down to force three, tending to support the notion that the fresh SE'ly breeze was being funnelled through the gullies that lead to the beach. I set more sail and enjoyed a relaxing sojourn along KI's rugged coastline.

Our destination for the day, Snug Cove, is aptly named, for it is little more than a deep crevice within the cliff face and as such, apparently, is quite hard to pick up. However, I had two excellent sources of information, one being Graham Scarce's crusing guide, including a small mud map and an excellent description of the entrance, and the other a detailed survey completed by ex-Navy hydrographer, Mark Sinclair, aboard his pre- Coconut vessel, the capacious sloop Starwave. Thus I had no difficulty finding the entrance which is only about 80 meters wide at its narrowest. Inside, as per Mark's chartlet, we found three moorings and have now secured fore and aft to two of them. Indeed, there is little choice but to use the moorings as there is insufficient room to swing at anchor even if the moorings were not present. Fortunately, the mooring lines are about 10 cm in diameter, so they definitely inspire confidence that they have been laid with storm conditions in mind.

However, I am pleased to say that conditions are far from stormy. The cove's waters are smooth and clear, and only a light breeze is making its way down the hillside at the cove's head and out through the precipitous red cliffs that guard its sides.

Now that all is secure and the blog is written, I think it time to go a leg stretch ashore, then perhaps a swim.

All is well.