Port Davey to Recherche Bay – Around Another Corner
Friday 7th February 2014
Up early in the dark and get ready to leave the beautiful Port Davey (Wilderness land forever). MrJ steers AR out past Breaksea Islands with only the outline of landform being viable, out to sea past all the rock island outcrops, past the East Pyramids. Leaving MrJ at the helm I went back to bed, I crawled back into my warm comfy bed till daylight broke through the hatch. I know, I felt sorry for MrJ too – for about 2 seconds – but he has always told me that it was not good for both of us to be on deck during the night hours unless some happens and who was I to argue when he volunteered to stay up. I woke to the day beginning and the vision through the cabin hatch of a big clear sky above the South West Cape. AR was now heading on a SE coarse to round the southern end of Tasmania. MrJ got some good sunrise photos!
People in Tasmania are never more than 115km from the coast. The nearest road to South West Cape is an unsealed road 61km away and it is also reported that South West Cape has the cleanest air in the world. Air over the Southern Ocean is typically thought of as the cleanest in the world in that the open Southern Ocean region is well removed from large sources of air pollution such as industrial areas, large cities etc.
|Maatsuyker Island Group|
|seals at sea|
I was totally surprised with the non-event seas; a less than 1mt swell and no wind waves because there was no wind and we were motoring with both motors to get anywhere. Out there in all that nothingness were a couple of seals lolling about on the surface, making the most of the dead flat conditions.
The day had by now settled in with a cover of light mist and a glassed out sea which reflected the daylight as far as the eye could see. Along the southern shore out of the mist, rose magnificent mountains and cliffs backed by the towering South Cape Range that extended for miles So “specky”, as my mate Glen would say.
AR was now approaching the Maatsuyker Island Group, one of the southernmost localities in Australia. There is a weather station on the southern end of Maatsuyker Island. We came upon a heap of craypot buoys that were spread across the channel on the northern side of Flat Witch Island. After navigating AR through all those buoys MrJ went for a rest while I took over the watch.
There is one more
island that is further south, Macquarie Island. It is grouped
together with the other 333 islands that make up Tasmania. Macquarie Island being further south, lies in the southwest Pacific Ocean about half-way between New Zealand and Antarctica, at 54°30S, 158°57E. Politically, it is part of Tasmania since 1900 and became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1997. The island is home to the entire Royal Penguin population on earth, during their annual nesting season. Macquarie Island has a weather monitoring station that records the cleanest air in the southern hemisphere.
The southernmost south island that I did get to see through the
mist was Mewstone (043’44.391S – 146’22.089E). Mewstone is an oval 13ha
granite rock with steep cliffs and a small flat summit. It is an important
breeding site for Shy Albatrosses. What little plant life there is grows
in crevices in the rocks where soil has accumulated.
|buoys with Flat Top & Round Tops Islands in the background|
|maybe this boats owned the buoys|
|Mewstone to the left - FlatTop and Round Top Island to the right|
|Maatsuyker Island with the Maatsukker Light House on the southern end|
At Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse is Australia's most southerly lighthouse: conditions are usually extreme with the constant buffeting of the Roaring Forties coming off the Southern Ocean and it rains for 250 days per year. Today we were lucky; the sea was dead flat calm.
|we get to see many large Albatross also cruising the oceans|
AR was nearing South Cape when I thought we were being attacked by hundreds of dolphins.
Ha Ha ....not really! But we did have loads and loads of dolphins, come racing over to play between out hulls. As one pod would leave another pod was arriving; this went on for ages.
|mother and baby|
|South Cape, Soldier Bluff with the South Cape Range, Pindars Peak (1153m) , Precipitous Bluff (1029m) and Mount La Perouse, to the left and Bare Hill , South East Cape and Whale Head to the right.|
Inland from South Cape and South East Cape there are several mining exploits being undertaken.
The Rocky Boat Harbour Mineralized Area is an iridium and osmium mine on the banks of the Surprise Rivulet. The Rocky Plains Bay Field Mineralized Area is a coal mine just off the New River.
Other coal mines are the Recherche Bay Field Mineralized Area, The Catamaran Mineralized Area also known as the Old Mineralized Area, The Ida Bay Field Mineralized Area, The Benders Mine and the Anthracite Mine which has now been abandoned. The D'Entrecasteaux River Mineralized Area is a gold mine located on the banks of the D'Entrecasteaux River.
|playing in the rain|
By now the sky had thickened with dark clouds, the sound of thunder heralded the lightening and then as we rounded SE Cape the rain began. Of course this did not worry the dolphins. The rain went through flattening the sea; now the seals came out to play or rest on the surface.
|even the seals were wanting in on the action|
Our most southern point that we reached in AR was just off South East Cape (43’ 39.645S – 146’ 18.069E). South East Cape is the most southern point of Tasmania’s main island.
We were headed for Recherche Bay, an anchorage called Coalbins in the southern bay called Rocky Bay. It had taken us 11.5hr to motor sail to Coalbins from Bramble Cove in Port Davey; a long day and it felt good to be at anchor again.
|my calm evening|