2020 Tas Three Capes in one day
Three Capes in one day
South East Cape, South Cape and South West Cape
South East Cape you see in the first photos is the first of the three capes we will bag on our way home and is the most southern at 43:38.37S and 146:49.39E. There are two other capes that are further south, South Cape New Zealand at 47 degrees south and Cape Horn at 55 degrees south but we will not be rounding those. The other two of the Five Great Capes that we will round, hopefully, are Cape Leeuwin on the south west corner of Aussie and Cape Agulhas off South Africa which is further south than the Cape of Good Hope.
But we were satisfied with three local capes in one day, South East and her sisters with a light headwind and minimal swell. Perfection would have been a wind from the side back so we could sail but never mind, short and frequent are the weather windows at the moment. We were back amongst the shy albatross, gannets and shearwater as we listened to a Mayday being dealt with somewhere on the west coast of Tassie which delayed the weather forecast but resulted in a happy ending.
Tas Maritime Radio broadcasts weather bulletins three times a day giving details of the general synopsis, wind force and direction, wave heights and swell in specific areas around the entire coast including Flinders Island in the north. It is modelled on our own Shipping Forecast but is run by volunteers who do a very professional job, but not without the occasional humorous interjection. The island you see in 735 pic with the water breaking over the middle is Maatsuyker Island (Pron. Matsiker) and it gets some pretty hellish winds as you can imagine, 56 knots on one report, fortunately we were safely tucked up at the time . The volunteer coastguards who man the lighthouse and weather station have to be prepared to stay there for six months at a time because of the cost of flying them in and out. One weather report went thus,
“Maatsuyker Island, they won’t know what’s hit them, its calm!” and on another occasion, “Maatsuyker Island, this must be a misprint, CALM!”
The main fishing around Tassie seems to be crayfish, at the moment anyway; although sometimes fishermen would tell us there weren’t many out there as the men approached the end of their quotas for the season and we had to be on constant look out for their buoys with the thick ropes tying them above the pots on the rocky sea-bed below. I wouldn’t like to do this trip under engine at night.
Well offshore seals would poke their heads up to see us go past and the southern swell would build and heave towards the coast in long pale green/white mounds that crash to destruction on the rock cliffs in magnificent style. And that on a calm day. Many of the inshore areas of this coast are still unsurveyed despite the work of such illustrious sailors as Matthew Flinders and, judging by the names, Dutch and French explorers too.
Now you might think that with a headwind against us along the south coast as soon as we turned around South West Cape we might be able to sail with the wind on our beam, but it drew us around veering north as it went, the direction we were headed for the last few miles before the entrance to Bathurst Harbour. Nichola was more ambitious than us keeping her sails out to catch whatever wind they could for some forward momentum.
In photo ending 790 the entrance is to the right of the low white rock band and it was a delight, after a long day at sea making our way around southern Tassie, to glide along on the calm water with moleskin hills showing granite face in places and slip into Wombat Cove where Nichola rafted up with us for the night.