Tuesday, 20 December 2011

American River... still

Today is two weeks since we left the mainland, and we are still in American River, waiting for fair winds. A month ago, if I'd been told we would still be in SA for Christmas, I wouldn't have believed it. Its very frustrating, but I'm trying focus on the positives (like the beautiful surroundings, good company, fresh food - gee, its not too bad, eh?) and trying to fight the feeling like we're on some kind of schedule - which is crazy. This is what sailing is all about - being at the mercy of the weather - with all the joys and frustrations that brings.

Here's what we are facing - and have been for the last two weeks... the arrows show the wind direction (i.e pointing up = southerly, pointing left = easterly). As you can see, they are consistently coming from the very direction we need to go - south-east!

A yacht called Bluefin left here on Saturday bound for Port Albert in Victoria - they were determined to get home by Christmas and were happy to motor into headwinds the whole way to get there. Not something we are interested in doing - a bit of motoring is OK, but we are sailors, not powerboaters. An alternative would be to leave on an easterly wind and head south deep into the (gulp) Southern Ocean until the wind (hopefully) swings south and we can head east. The other alternative is to just sit here and wait and hope that Santa sends us winds with north or west in them.

View of Strawbridge Point from our mooring in American River

Strawbridge Point

Its a pretty great spot to be stuck really. Yesterday we took BV out into the bay and anchored for a few hours and caught a beautiful whiting and some big garfish which Michael filleted and I made into a pretty amazing (if I do say so myself!) panko-crumbed dinner. Oh - and Isabella - I said Id catch you a flathead - well, whatever my little sis wants, my little sis gets! Unfortunately he was just a little too small to keep - see photo below. ;o)

Oh, and we've realised something about Kitty - she hates the engine - she has taken to climbing on deck when the conditions are calm to get away from the engine noise! She's obviously a sailor, not a powerboater too!

Just chillin'

So we are trying to fill our spare time with little excursions - tomorrow we are going to go diving nearby and hopefully catch a crayfish for Christmas. We also spent three days last week exploring the island by car, which was great. Here are a few photos from the trip.

We had booked in to the cheapest accommodation we could find down at the Flinders Chase National Park which was a tiny cottage for $65 per night. When we got there they had double-booked us so upgraded us to the comparatively palatial May's Cottage. This place was just gorgeous - simple and rustic, but had everything you could possibly want - including a crab pot - perfect for the marron we bought en route. I definitely recommend it as inexpensive accomodation in that part of the island. Wish we could have stayed a few more days. As you can see from the photos, the locals were very cute.

May's Cottage - Flinders Chase NP

Michael is cute too...

Oh, and please excuse the "food-porn" but here is our amazing candlelit dinner of marron and salad with fried Kangaroo Island sheep-milk haloumi. And a good bottle of SA Riesling. Life's pretty good.

The aptly named Remarkable Rocks

Beautiful Cape de Couedic

The lighthouse at Cape Willoughby on the Eastern coast. I was a bit nervous about going here because it is where we will be sailing past when we (finally!) get away, and I was worried the ocean swell would scare the bejeezus out of me, but it was actually pretty benign. Just shows you have to pick your weather.

Also, we went to an amazing winery which had only just opened its new cellar door 3 weeks earlier - Dudley Wines, 15 mins out of Penneshaw. I am not exaggerating when I say that their new digs have one of the best views on the island - an amazing, grand vista taking in the mainland across Backstairs Passage. The photo doesn't do it justice, of course. Oh, and they had "bucket o' prawns" on the menu and the wine was good too! Make sure you go if you have a chance. Imogen - potential wedding venue!!!! ;o)

Well, Merry Christmas everyone! We send you lots of love and hope you have a very happy and relaxing day.

Stay in touch!
Caitlin and Michael

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