North End of North Arm

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 15 Apr 2023 08:40

Position: 38 16.35 S 145 14.40 E
At anchor off The Bluff, North Arm, Westernport
Wind: NW F3
Sea: ripples Swell: nil
Weather: overcast, occasional drizzle, cool
Day's run: 21 nm

We had a quiet and relaxing evening at anchor last night but with SW winds forecast for this evening, I was not comfortable remaining at Tortoise Head Inlet for another night. While sand banks protected its southern flank, they would be covered at high tide and likely Sylph would be exposed to a significant chop. This combined with a lee shore would potentially make for an uncomfortable and anxious night. Also, I wanted to explore a little more of Westernport.

After studying the chart extensively, looking for a suitable inlet to spend the night, I came to the conclusion that there were none that would provide both protection and sufficient swinging room to anchor in. After much procrastination I settled on anchoring off a mud bank at the northern end of the North Arm.

Decision made, we got underway at 1000 and made our way out of Tortoise Head Inlet. Getting out was of course a lot easier then getting in as I now knew on which side to pass the various stick beacons as well as it being a simple matter of backtracking along our inbound GPS track. Thus we made it out into the southern end of the North Arm without any mishaps where we found a fresh breeze from the NNW. I set the main with one reef and a partially furled jib and we commenced working our way up the North Arm, against wind and the ebbing tide.

Despite the cool conditions and the odd spot of drizzle, the seas were relatively flat which, with the fresh breeze, made for an exhilarating sail. It took some thirteen tacks over four hours to work our way up the North Arm: past Hanns Inlet leading to HMAS Cerberus, past Crib Point and its defunct refinery and wharves, past Hastings Inlet leading to the township of the same name, past Long Island Point and its still operating fractionation plant and associated wharves, past a bulk loading wharf, and, at last. to our evening's destination, an anchorage off a muddy mangrove shoreline. It isn't exactly pristine wilderness but we have a shore protecting us from the forecast winds, a firm mud bottom that should make for good holding, and we have plenty of swinging room. So, while the view might leave a little to be desired, with wharves and a large ship to the south of us and high tension wires dominating the skyline to the west, at least I should be able to sleep soundly.

All is well.