Flinders Island Trips 1990 - 1995

Sunrise, Trousers Point, Flinders Is.

If it had been fine and clear on Tuesday morning we would have climbed Mt Strzelecki but low cloud and dull conditions meant we would be just as well off on the water. With all repairs complete and the promise of fresh westerly winds we could expect some good sailing.

Mick starting off, Trousers Point

It was hard to judge the sea conditions in the shelter of Trousers Point but we could see some interesting whitecaps out in Franklin Sound. Today we were heading for Vansittart Island with a possible lunch stop at Lady Barron, maybe even the luxury of a counter meal and beer.

Laurie in close, Flinders Is.

Out near Holts Point we started to feel the effects of the winds. choppy following seas and gusty conditions didn't stop Laurie hugging the shore line for a while. Mick and I stayed out further in the sound hoping to pick up the bigger gusts and waves for a longer ride.

Micks' first capsize, Franklin Sound

Passing Pigs Head Point saw Mick in a little bit of difficulty. It wasn't that he couldn't handle the conditions, we had been in much bigger seas than this. He just seemed to lose all sense of balance temporarily. We circled back as he had baled out of his kayak and was trying to clamber back in with his sail still up. The North Sea Tourer is an unstable boat at the best of times but in these conditions it was virtually impossible to recover with the sail up.

Mick getting back in, Franklin Sound

Actually Mick had two capsizes in quick succession. We stopped again and with minimal assistance Mick got back in. The advantages of electric bilge pumps were quickly realised in this type of situation. A few minutes of pumping and the cockpit is emptied. The batteries for these pumps will pump for about three hours continuously. We charge them up before a trip and have never had flat batteries, even when on a double crossing of Bass Strait.

Laurie under full sail, Franklin Sound

Laurie was unaware of the little drama being some distance in front. He had gone over towards Tin Kettle Island while we stuck to the center of the sound. About 20 minutes later we met up again and all three kayaks engaged in a sailing/surfing competition for about half an hour. Kayaks weaved from on reach to another as the choppy conditions took their toll. Laurie eventually set off for Vansittart Island while we veered north for Lady Barron.

Approaching Lady Barron

We sailed right into the harbour, passing a number of larger vessels tied up at the wharf. The batteries on the video camera ran out just before turning into the harbour so after going into sheltered conditions to change the batteries Grant and I in the double did a repeat performance to the amusement of onlookers.

Mick and Grant in the pub

The counter meal and beer at the Furneaux Tavern certainly made up for the short detour we had to make to get there. A little bit of civilisation made a welcome relief form the usual cheese, salami and coke for lunch.

TV in the Lady Barron pub

We had the luxury of watching the idiot box while eating our meal. Kay Beswick will be pleased to know that we weren't asked to leave because of our dress this time. On a previous trip she was politely asked to leave the lounge bar because the old painting jumper she had worn kayaking was considered appropriate!

Leaving Lady Barron

After a short snooze on the grass, down near the wharf we reluctantly climbed back in our kayaks to do battle with the elements again. The westerly had intensified and we knew we were in for an interesting ride across to Vansittart Island.

Mick under sail, Great Dog Is.

We kept in close to the lee shores of Little Green and Big Dog islands for as long as we could. Then we struck out for Vansittart Island about three kilometres across wave and wind swept sea. Mick was in front and took of like a rocket as soon as he left the shelter of the island.

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