A Bass Strait Crossing 2001

Well this was the last day of our expedition. We were quite confident of our abilities to cross the notorious Banks Strait with its very strong tidal rips but you should never be complacent with the sea. We had been hoping for some decent northerlies for our crossing but this morning it was easterly. This would initially make it difficult to sail as we had to head east down the coast of Clarke Island before turning to cross the Strait. Once again we were going to use the tide to our advantage

The weather wa rather overcast and gloomy as we prepared to depart. It would take us about 6 hours to cover the 36km to Little Musselroe Bay on the Tasmanian coast. If we got it right we should zip down the side of Clarke Island with the outgoing tide and then be brought back to little Musselroe with the beginning of the flooding tide.

After initially losing Ian somewher near Spike Bay( he'd landed to change his mast), we grouped up again to cross the Strait. At one stage we were hooted at by a large passenger ship as it cruised by. We often see this type of ship here at this time of the year. Once we heard a request to search for a missing crewman who had fallen overboard as the ship passed throught the Strait.

The currnet was taking us quickly eastward toward Swan Island and with the freshing easterly wind and our sails up we were making good time. Behind us lay Lookout Head on Clarke Island, once a favourite spot for whalers and sealers who operated in these waters.

As the tide changed we got close to Little Swan Island with its breeding ground for Pelicans. A few minutes were spent having a drink and nibble before heading out to Little Musselroe just a few kilometers away.

The tide was still quite low as we got to Little Musselroe River. Some managed to charge across the sand bar at the mouth of the river but others couldn't see for their sails and ran aground.

Well here we are, back in Tassie after a successful Bass Strait crossing. We had been exceptionally lucky with the weather and conditions. Don't assume that these photos and trip report give any idea of what Bass Strait can be like. Always plan for the worst scenario. The obligatory"fizz" as the congratulatory bottle of coke was opened was a familiar sound.

After returning to Bridport for a welcome shower and feed Matt went back out to Little Musselroe to pick up the NSW paddlers. They all returned to my place in Bridport and we had a counter meal followed by many discussions about various aspects of the trip. Hudson, Rob, Graham and Ian expressed an interest in our west coast trip to be held in a couple of years.

Matt, Ian, Jamie, Phil and I of the Matasuyker Canoe Club were pleased with our trip. We had learn't a great deal about group management and were very thankful for the terrific weather conditions encountered. If you want to see more action on this trip I did make a 50 minute video of the high lights. Details of purchase are available on my web site.

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