A Bass Strait Crossing 2001

Next morning we departed for Allports Beach in Marshall Bay. We had an incoming tide to take us around the sometimes notorious Cape Frankland. Today we had glorious summer weather. A fellow sea kayaker Karen Zeigler had arranged to paddle with us down to Whitemark. Both Phil and Ian new Karen previously.

We stopped off at Royden Island to bask momentarily in the warm sun and clear water. Ian, Phil and Karen decided to explore in more detail while Jamie and I kept going to meet up with Matt who had set off earlier in the morning.

A light breeze was picking up mid morning so it was up with both sails and head for Castle Rock in Marshall Bay. The Bay was named after the wreck of a sailing vessel last century. It was quite soporific drifting along with the breeze with all the tensions of unknown waters taken off our shoulders.

As we approached Marshall Bay I couldn't understand why there were so many people on the beach. As we landed they burst out clapping. They were a group of Victorians who organise a holiday in different remote locations each year. They had flown in by plane. Matt had explained how we had paddled across the Strait.

While at Allports Beach we visited the local museum at Emitta. There is an interesting collection of photos and memorabilia about the Furneaux Islands. Shipwrecks, pioneering days and the muttonbirders all feature in the museum.

Our next stop was to be Whitemark where we would reprovision, especially a top up on Coke. The wind was now favourable for some serious sailing. All sails were up and Karen put up her kite in an effort to keep up. After leaving Marshall Bay we charged straight down to Chalky Island to do some snorkelling.

On Chalky Island we went diving for abalone. There were many good size shellfish within easy reach. While diving, Karen left her kite floating above her kayak. We wanted the abalone for Ken and Sue Stonehouse who we had arranged to visit while in Whitemark. Ken and Sue are superb chefs and they had often generously fed us with delicious extravaganzas.

We first met Sue and Ken on one of our trips across Banks Strait. They had sought an escape from a very successful restaurant business on the Mornington Peninsular by managing a tourist venture on Swan Island. We stopped there on our way to Flinders and were made very welcome. In fact it became a feature of our Flinders trips to drop in for a "Swan island pizza". John and Rex, sea kayakers from Victoria on one of our trip, thought we were joking about this. Sue had made a special meringue for our visit. Matt remarked that it looked very muck like Rhodondo Island that we had passed in Bass Strait. It had a covering of vegetation on top(kiwi fruit) while the white meringue was the breaking waves dashing up the sides of the island.

As we drank and ate our sumptous fare, we rejoiced in the companionship and hospitality of our hosts. It was the first " civilised meal we had had in a while" and what a meal. Thank you again Sue and Ken.

Return to map Continue journey

Return to title page