Sailing wing on wing for home


Finally after five days we were able to emerge from our cocoon!
We left Refuge Cove at 08.00 hrs with a sunny sky, a good puff of breeze and a little residual slop from the blow. The South Eastern lighthouse village always reminds me of some kind of a mountain monastery, perched so high on its rocky cliffs.
By the time we had rounded the bottom of Wilson’s Promontary the breeze had died out and the seastate had returned to dead flat. We motorsailed past the Anser and Glennie Island groups and debated whether or not to go into San Remo to refuel. Eventually a gentle breeze filled in and made the decision for us. With a consistent 8-10 knots behind us we decided to sail on for Melbourne.
It’s a big statement to make but we found our next day of sailing to be the most consistent, comfortable and enjoyable of the whole passage from Melbourne to Cairns and back!
Never once did the wind move forward of the cockpit and never once did the swells rise above one metre. One could be forgiven for forgetting that this was the notorious Bass Strait, slayer of many unsuspecting yachts and ships!
The day progressed with several sightings of sunbathing seals, fairy penguins and large pods of dolphin. Highland Fling hummed along, almost as if she had finally figured out she was close to home. Sunshine abounded and as night fell the stars were spectacular. Around midnight the wind dropped off and we needed to motor again. Whilst we were anxious about our fuel levels we also needed to make it to the heads in time for slack water. It was our preference to not rush the passage and pass through The Rip during the low tide slack water at 02.30 hrs so we didn’t mind slowing down for a while but we certainly wanted to be there by 0830!
Once again we tracked the shipping using the Marine Traffic app on the I Pad and this time it was much more reliable, given our better internet access as we approached Phillip Island and Melbourne.
Just predawn a huge pod of dolphin joined us. They were really active, leaping out of the water and spread around for twenty meters on both sides of the boat, their backs all burnished by the predawn glow. Spectacular and so uplifting to see!
We approached the Rip at 08.20 hrs, right on slack water and were through by 0830. Not a ripple or eddy to be seen anywhere. Pure magic as far as a welcome home from our bay comes!
With six hours of sailing ahead of us to reach our Yacht Club and still concerned about our fuel we headed into Queenscliff harbour to refuel and stroll into town for some lunch provisions.
By now the tide was against us and accordingly we motorsailed up the bay via the West Channel taking it in turns to catnap along the way. The bay was so flat it seemed surreal when I awoke just after passing the main shipping channel.
By 1600 hrs we had closed the circle, crossing the finish line by tying up again at RBYC after two years and seven weeks. For the next year we will concentrate on exploring Port Phillip and Westernport Bays as, despite sailing on our beloved bay for the last 18 years we have never had the luxury of enough free time to do much more than race from one end to the other on odd weekends. There are plenty of more cruising food recipes to be uploaded also, so stay along for the sailing if you wish, otherwise, thanks for enjoying our journey!

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