Flinders Island Trips 1990 - 1995

Jeff, early morning swim, Christmas Beach, Cape Barren Is.

A nice hot morning and the clear blue water was too much to resist. I climbed a nearby rock and jumped in, it was refreshing and relaxing. We were heading for an interesting part of the Furneaux group today, Kent Bay on Cape Barren Island. This was one of the first places to be inhabited by Europeans because of the rich marine life in the area, notably seals and whales.,Unfortunately neither survived the onslaught.

Fishing boats, Petticoat Bay, Cape Barren Is.

Around the point we met a group of fishing boats in Petticoat Bay. Mick was offered the use of their radio phone to contact his wife, to let them know everything was OK. Mick clambered aboard and within minutes had made contact.

Laurie in Sea Lion Narrows, Cape Barren Is.

Grant, Mick and I stopped for lunch at Passage Point, just before Sea Lion Narrows. I climbed up some nearby rocks and saw Laurie already playing around in the fast current that roars through the narrow gap between Cape Barren and Passage Island.

Laurie in the swift current, Sea Lion Narrows

We rounded the point, crossed the channel and joined Laurie having fun in the 5-6knt current coming in from the Tasman Sea. By getting in behind protruding rocks, using the sails and ferry gliding we could just make headway against the current. Once in position it was easy to maintain position by eddy gliding. We stayed here for quite sometime, playing around in the current.

The tidal rip, Sea Lion Narrows

This is not a good place to be when tide and wind are opposed. Today was very mild . I have seen fishing boats struggling to make any headway against the current when spring tides and winds combine. Looking over to Cape Barren Island the sea look like a river, complete with eddies and small stoppers.

Campsite, Kent Bay, Cape Barren Is.

That afternoon we arrived at Nautilus Bay, inside Kent Bay. It was very shallow in here and I wondered how the first whaling station had managed to get there whales to the try pots on the shore. Even anchoring a small sized boat in the bay would be difficult. We set up our tents right on the beach even though there was a sheltered area under nearby trees.

Relics from early whaling days, Kent Bay

While clearing away some ferns for a possible tent site, I uncovered quite a collection of artifacts, possibly from the early whaling station. Broken pieces of european pottery, dark brown shards of glass from gin bottles and clear pieces of quartz were found. A small creek nearby suggested that this was a good place for a settlement.

Sunrise, Kent Bay

Again the night was calm and peaceful, probably quite unlike the days when the whaling settlement existed, judging by the quantity of broken glass nearby. Dawn was equally quiet as we packed up ready to leave. Laurie was going to return via Preservation Island as he was certain we had forgotten to turn off the gas in the hut that we had used. He thought he might rejoin us at Moriarty Point on Clark Island.

Mick under sail,Clark Is.

We set off to cross a reasonably fast current that runs between Cape Barren Island and Clark Island. We crept along the shore making as much headway as we could before angling across the current and wind to Clark Island. Approaching Clark Island the going became easier as we now had following wind and tide. Mick was romping along under sail.

Campsite, Moriarty Point, Cark Is.

We were somewhat apprehensive as we neared Moriarty Point, an area notorious for its cross currents, rough seas and treacherous shoals. I had stayed extra night at this place before, waiting for better conditions. We found a good campsite behind the beach and calculated that we would have to leave at 4.30 the next morning to catch the tides in Banks Strait. That was provided the dreaded Moriarty Bank wasn't working.

Early morning, Banks Strait

With some trepidation we set off in the dark next morning. We had a few kilometres to go before reaching the worst spot for turbulence. As the syk lightened we were relieved to see a lumpy but generally calm sea. It never gets completely flat in Banks Strait because of the currents and overfalls 20 km out to sea.

The double, Banks Strait

We were heading towards Swan Island but realised that the incoming tide would sweep us well past this point. It was here, some years before, that two supposedly experienced kayakers had very nearly drowned. They misjudged the tide and sea conditions. Having finally set off an Ipirb they were found by rescue boats hallucinating, up to their chests in water .

Mick approaching Little Musselroe Bay

We had a relatively easy time on our crossing. As I sit and write this report, four years after our trip, I hope we have similar conditions crossing Banks Strait in two weeks time. Yes its time to visit the Furneaux Group once again and explore this magnificent marine paradise.PS. Laurie turned up at Little Musselroe Bay about an hour after we arrived.

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