Flinders Island Trips 1990 - 1995

Packing gear

Once again it was the christmas holidays and time for another sea kayaking adventure. This time we were to visit the Furneaux Island in the eastern approaches to Bass Strait. A two week trip requires carefull packing because this area is rather remote.

Setting of, Little Musselroe Bay

As is usual for this trip we departed from Little Musselroe Bay in Tasmania's far north east. The day was rather overcast as the usual crowd of onlookers asked the usual questions "where are you going", your not serious are you? The first leg of the journey was to cross the notorious Banks Strait with its vicious tidal overfalls and treacherous reefs. Two river paddlers nearly drowned trying to cross this strait some years before.

Sails up, Banks Strait

We had crossed this strait many times including at night. Conditions today were good, a slight wind, enough for us to sail with and a not too lumpy sea. The crossing has to be timed with the tides so that you don't get swept out into the Tasman Sea. We usually leave at about half tide as the 6 hour crossing will mean half of an outgoing and incoming tide.

Mick and Laurie, Banks Strait

We chatted and caught up on some of the latest news. The club members often don,t see each other much except on trips. Club members are scattered pretty well throughout Tasmania. Laurie could usually cruise along quite easily with his two sails up on the Sea Leopard. Mick in the North Sea Tourer had to paddle harder to keep up.

Mick in waves, Banks Strait

As the day progressed we felt the full force of the tide current. The sea funnels through a relatively narrow and shallow part of Bass Strait, this produces some quite interesting sea conditions, especially when sea and wind are opposed. Today the swell seemed to picking up as the tide raced out in the first part of the trip.

Cruise liner, Banks Strait

In the middle of the strait we were suddenly aware that we weren't alone out here. A luxury cruise liner heading for Hobart and the end of the Sydney - Hobart yacht race, loomed up out rising seas. we wondered whether anyone onboard had any idea we were out here with them. On our last trip here, we had kept our eyes open for a missing seaman who had fallen overboard during the night.

Arriving at Preservation Is.

We approached Preservation Island about six hours later. We intended camping in one of the shacks on the island. The owners didn't lock the doors and allowed visitors to share the comforts of home. The survivors of the Sydney Cove shipwreck in 1797 weren't so lucky but they certainly grateful for dry land and relative safety after their ship foundered on nearby Rum Island. They were the first european residents of these islands.

The double landing

Grant and I in the double cruised up to the beach. Grant had plenty of memories of this place. He had stayed here for a number of days while other members of the Club crossed Bass Strait in 1991. He also shared a huge crayfish with us after he had been diving nearby.

Electric bilge pump at work

The electric bilge pump was put to good use emptying out the water that had got under our spray decks during the crossing. We didn't want to carry anymore weight up the beach. We had enough weight as it was with video batteries and 40 plus bottles of coke onboard.

Inside the shack, Preservation Is.

We were pleasently suprised at the revamped shack. the owners had obviously spent a great deal of time in upgrading the accommodation since our last visit. We noted in the log book that other sea kayakers had been in this area recently. we even found the record of our last visit in the book.

Moonlight, Preservation Is.

After tea I strolled to the top of the island to look over at Rum Island where in 1797 the survivors of the Sydney Cove had stored the ships cargo of rum to safe guard it from desperate seamen.
The skies had cleared and the bright stars and moon twinkled overhead. What new experiences would the trip provide this time?

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