Bathurst Harbour and Maatsuyker Island

Farewell to Chris

The next day on Maatsuyker Island was overcast and raining. we couldn't even see the Tasmanian coast through he rain squalls. Eventually we set off to the top of the haulage way in Chris' 4wd. We made out farewells and slipped (literally) down the track. At sea level the sun reappeared and the sea was calm.

Laurie leaving Maatsuyker Is.

We were relieved to find both our kayaks intact. We had dragged them out of the way of the seals, which also use this spot for coming ashore. Laurie helped us get the double down to the water. We then carried his kayak down. After helping us into the double Laurie pushed off the rocks, lying on the back deck of the longboat before getting into the cockpit.

Grant and the Maatsuyker Is. landing

Behind us the remaind of the haulage way, crane and jetty receded into the background as we paddled out of the sheltered cove on our way to Ketchem Bay, a distance of only 19km. This would be the last time anyone would be farewelled by the lighthouse keeper on Maatsuyker Island, a sad moment. We were in for another farewell as we skirted the rocky shores of Maatsuyker Island.

Seals following the kayaks

From behind us three or four groups of seals effortlessly porpoised on either flank. They maintained this escort for about 15 minutes, a scene which none of us will forget. Their dark, glistening bodies rhythmically arching over and under the smooth seas' surface. Behind them lay the rocky mass of De Witt Island.

The still waters off SW Cape

Rounding the point and heading across to the Tasmanian coast the seals turned and headed back to Maatsuyker Island leaving us to contemplate the splendid isolation of this spot close to the SW tip of Tasmania. Nothing interupted the smooth splash of our paddles as our kayaks glided over the oily smooth sea. In the distance to the west lay the challenge of SW Cape. But hat would be tomorrow's task.

Laurie landing at Ketchem Bay

Still in calm conditions we landed at Ketchem Bay just as another round of rain squalls swept in. Laurie muttered something about it always raining at this place as we carried out kayaks up near the campsite. I must admit it was disappointing not to have the glorious weather that we had on our last trip here in 1991.

Maatsuyker Is from Ketchem Bay

After unpacking, setting up the tent and changing the rain eased for awhile. I took the 35mm camera and video camera and slowly walked along to the creek at the other end of the beach. The sky slowly turned deep purple as the sun sank out of sight. Off to the south a few white, wispy clouds on Maatsuyker Island slowly turned mauve. I wondered what Chris would be having for his tea in the comfort of his sturdy, brick house.

Camp fire at Ketchem Bay

The rain came in hard shortly afterwards and we scurried into our tents for shelter. After about half an hour Laurie started a nice fire and we were encouraged to venture forth again, it wasn't cold and the surrounding trees gave us plenty of protection.

Jeff cooking tea

I got out the trusty Trangia and cooked up a nice warm pasta with tomato sauce and cheese. My kayaking cag kept me warm and dry despite the frequent drips from the trees. We talked about tomorrow's plans to round the cape and paddle up to Port Davey. This is potentially one of the longest and most exposed leg of the journey. The forecast was for heavy rain but moderate seas.

Sunset, Ketchem Bay

With a further onset of frequent squalls, we retired to our tents and listened to the heavy rain droplets twanging off the taught nylon fly sheet. We learned later that a party of bushwalkers, not far away, had given up on their attempt to get to SW Cape because of the weather that night.

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