Bathurst Harbour and Maatsuyker Island


Setting off for SW Cape

The rain persisted all night and into the next day. The seas had risen and a brisk wind failed to clear the heavy clouds from the rocky coast towards the cape. I wondered what it would be like out on the exposed tip of the cape. plenty of rebound and gut tightening waves coming from all directions? We skirted inside some rocks at Telopea Point, nearly being caught out by a larger than usual swell.

The double off SW Cape

Laurie had set off a little earlier and we paddled hard into the waves to catch him. A fresh southerly allowed us to claw our way to windward, towards South West Cape. We couldn't see it for quite a while on account of the low clouds and persistent rain squalls. Glancing behind us I noticed huge torrents of water cascading down the cliffs above us, a result of the overnight rain.

Laurie rounding SW Cape

We caught Laurie at the cape and fortunately the rain then cleared enough for us to get photographs and video of this imposing finger of rock jutting out into the Southern Ocean. There was a reasonable swell running but nothing to be alarmed about.

Laurie in close SW Cape

As we rounded the Cape the swells increased and the wind was behind us. Adjusting our sails and paddling brisky allowed us to catch a few waves and make rapid progress up the coast towards the entrance to Port Davey. After pushing hard into the waves it took a little while to become accustomed to the new movements of kayaks in the following sea. We had a quick nibble of chocolate and a swig of Coke as we surged down wave after wave.

Waterfalls, SW Cape

Along the rocky shore we passed more torrents of water tumbling into the sea from high above. I was getting some good video of the kayaks when a minor disaster struck. Every time I pressed the record button, the camera zoomed into the subject. Grant and I stopped briefly in Island Bay to try and fix the problem but somehow water was shorting out the zoom control. The pity was that from then on I missed some exhilerating sailing as the wind strengthened and we fought hard to keep the kayak on track.

Laurie passing Big Caroline Rock, Port Davey

It didn't seem much later that we surged past Hilliard Head, the southern headland of Port Davey. We sailed past a lonely fishing boat before turning and running into Port Davey passing Big Caroline Rock. Inside Port Davey the sea was calm but we could still sail up to Spain Bay after threading our way between rocky outcrops.

View out to Breaksea Is.

A brief stretch of the legs on the beach and then we were off up towards Bathurst Harbour. It was only 2.00pm and we had plenty of time to get to Schooner Cove. there wasn't much point in sitting around as it was quite cloudy and cool. We skirted inside Breaksea Island and followed closely up the rocky flanks of the Bathurst Channel.

Landing at Schooner Cove

We had paddled 52 km when we landed at Schooner Cove. It hadn't seemed that far, largely because of our sails. In fact we could have paddled quite a bit further if we had wanted to. Sea canoeists shouldn't dismiss the advantage that even small sails give on trips like these. It often allows you to arrive relatively fresh at the end of a days' paddling.

Laurie into the Soa biscuits

We carried our kayaks right into the campsite which was snug on a flat piece of ground sheltered by trees and shrubs. Wet gear was hung up to dry and tents and fly sheets erected. A somewhat belated lunch was eaten before we started to look around for firewood, there wasn't much! Laurie even thought he would have to go to bed early.

Gathering firewood, Schooner Cove

Out of the clearing gloom a dark blue yacht appeared. It was the Mirrabooka that we had watched a few days before, rounding Maatsuyker Island. A lone crew member came ashore and began unloading firewood! We couldn't believe our luck. They had intended coming ashore but because of the rain they were going crayfishing and needed to empty the dinghy of wood, which they now offered to us.

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