On Thursday 10 November at 06:50 we cast off our lines and motored out of the Royal SA Yacht Squadron. After two years of planning, 6 months of living and working on the boat, and just under 6 weeks of full time prep work, we finally did it.
Ah, the stories I could tell you about our first day. . . I couldn't have made it up.
First - the amazing sailing we had till early afternoon - at 6 - 7 knots on a close reach in 15 knot winds, we were flying. It was a bit rough, but we were making the best times we've ever done and the seasickness tablets were working a treat! Then there was the unforcast increase in wind around 1pm, and the accompanying 2 metre swell. . .
"Hang on, I thought the forecast said winds decreasing in the arvo???!"
Then there was the freak 3 metre wave from against the direction of the swell which crashed through the cabin and drenched me and all our gear . . . Not to mention the seasickness: Caitlin x3, Kitty x2, Michael x0 (bastard!) Oh, and the damaged fuel line that meant we got diesel through all our gear in the port cockpit locker. Oh, did I mention the newly discovered deck leak that "dampened" our bedroom? Um, what else? Oh yeah - and one of the windscreen wipers broke.
Well, we wanted to do a "shakedown" trip, and we sure got all shook up!
There was a moment in the middle of the worst of it when I looked over at the instruments and realised that we had three hours to go before we would be back on land. And at that point there was nothing to do but harden up and just deal with it. After all, there was nothing to be done about it, no magic teleporter to transport me miraculously back to shore, or a speed boat to shorten the trip. The boat can only go as fast as she can go, and the crew cant do much other than grin, bear and make the most of it!
Do you want to hear the craziest thing though? We are having a great time. Once we pulled in to Wirrina Cove - cold, wet, ill and exhausted - it hit me. We are actually out here and we did it - we left the dock!! Many people never do.
And Bass Voyager did beautifully. We had no idea she could sail so fast, especially fully loaded in tough conditions. We felt very safe, as she seemed to "hug" the water with all the extra weight, and kept a very straight course despite the swell and being close to the wind. The autopilot did a great job too.
Not for a moment did we consider letting our challenging first day put us off the "grand plan" - well maybe for a moment ;o). Actually, its made us feel more confident that we can tackle tough conditions, and we have a boat that will keep us safe. Plus its beautiful here - the cliffs along the fleurieu peninsula are so rugged and dramatic - it makes the pain worthwhile. Ive heard women say the same about childbirth - that you want to die during the ordeal, but once its done you start thinking about the next one... perhaps there is an analogy there.
So we decided to hang here at the Wirrina Marina and get ourselves and BV back in order. Its $50 a night (ouch!), but only $110 for the week, so we decided to make the most of it and have been in no hurry to leave.
Friday we spent the day cleaning our gear (yuck, what a mess. I have never used so much degreaser in my life) and chasing the deck leaks. The leaks were thankfully minor, and easily fixed with some scraping, silicon and repainting. One day we'll need to weld them, but for now they are fine. The water that got in to the lockers was the result of a below-the-waterline hull fitting which, although its stop-cock was switched to the off position, was seized open and siphoning water into the starboard lockers. Not something we had found in any of our previous trips. Michael tracked down the cause of the runaway diesel which turned out to be a dodgy fuel line which had been bent over and sealed, rather than properly terminated.
We had a BBQ for dinner and shared a good bottle of red that Miranda gave us as a farewell gift. Michael caught three tommy ruffs and had a big grin on his face!
Tomorrow the weather is looking good for a crossing to Kangaroo Island, so we are going to get up at the crack of dawn and get going. Next post will be from American River. Although, as John Cleese said..... ;o)
Here's a few snaps of the last week. No photos of the rough conditions though - the camera was tucked down in the cabin and there was NO WAY I was going below to get it!
Provisioning the boat, or as I recently learned "victualising" the boat...
Saturday before we left was open day at the RSAYS and the One and All tall ship came to visit. We had a great time exploring her.
After the damage was done - diesel mixed with sea water in our lockers...
Yesterday Michael's parents, Opa and our nephew Reiker came and spent the day with us at Wirrina.
Marina surroundings... Its quite a shame that they have plonked this enourmous breakwater in the middle of the previously pristine bay. Its as if a giant tipped a massive toy truck of gravel over the top of all the natural rock formations. Still, we were grateful for the safe harbour.