Frollicking in Freshwater.

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May 1st 2014
Published: May 1st 2014
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1st May - I am writing this from Port Clinton which to our surprise has internet signal sporadically.

Since I last wrote we set off one morning to walk across the island to the resort to top up on bread and milk supplies. For once we actually set off early enough so that we didn’t end up baking in the midday sun, though we did soon realise we were not on the path we meant to take. We walked by the mud flats near the barn that you can dinghy to up the creek when the tide is high enough, and veered right up a steep climb. We reached a rest stop after 40 minutes and when we realised we were not even half way decided to abort the mission. Got some great views down into the bay where Luna Ray was swaying about. We returned by the original path we intended to take which dwindled as it returned close to the beach to the point where from the shore was invisible.

We packed the boat to be ready to leave the next morning and had an uncomfortable evening as more swell reached into the bay and sent the boat rolling. Alex had had not much of an appetite for dinner and then later suddenly threw up over the saloon floor that splatted down like a half bucket of wet porridge. Naomi wasn’t feeling great and almost followed suit. He recovered well and later had some dinner but this reappeared after he went to bed - covering his shirt, pillow, sheet, down the side of the mattress and onto the bed itself. He spent the rest of the night on the saloon floor using seat cushions as a bed.

So we didn’t leave the next day as planned, both tired from the disturbed night, had a lot of washing to do and it was still pretty windy which would make our next anchorage uncomfortable. What we did do was lay out a stern anchor to resist us turning sideways onto the swell and reduce the rolling. This was our first time using one and it worked quite well. Fortunately in the morning we were hanging stern into the swell anyway so could just let out the bow anchor chain and drop the anchor off the side of the boat. Getting it out the next day proved really difficult - its a danforth with only 2m of chain - even pulling directly from above. Luckily we had attached a marker buoy to it, and even pulling this line took a lot of heaving to release it.

Wednesday morning we motored away, passing North Keppel and never quite got the wind we wanted so motorsailed 30 miles north, rolling annoyingly in the swell, to Freshwater Bay. This is quite an exposed bay which gets a fair bit of swell so we dropped another stern anchor off, this time using the dinghy. A catamaran came into the bay soon after us but obviously decided it was too rolly and left.

Went ashore which is fringed with grey dead trees & a couple of ramps into the out of bounds army camp. Fresh water actually exudes across the flat sandy beach here but there was also a couple of small creeks. Naomi hatched plans to do some clothes washing with all this free fresh water.

Thursday, back on the beach, Naomi got to wash all the dirty laundry - surprised at how hard a job it was, Alex played with his toy boat, I burned some cardboard, and we collected as much water as possible for deck showers. The water was quite brown with tannin stain, and had a lot of particles in it but still useful for preserving the good stuff in our tanks.

We sailed off the anchor at noon, and slowly made our way north at about 2-3 knots. With some variable but strong winds expected we turned into Port Clinton for refuge. We crossed the bar on a dropping tide about an hour or two before low, but the headland diminished the swell, so we really only noticed the wavelets standing up more as we came over the 4.4 m depth.

We did intend to head right down the South Arm but when we saw a few boats in the most popular spot (just south of Fish Rocks) we decided to join them and find a more sheltered spot tomorrow with more time up our sleeves, as the strong winds don’t come till the evening apparently. And maybe the mornings weather report will be different and we won’t need to move at all. If we do have to head down there, we’ll be no further north than we were at Freshwater Bay!

Sat back in the fumes of the mossie coils as sandflies were about, sipping on a sundowner and loving the flatness of the water.


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3rd May 2014

welcome back
good to hear from you again Luke and NAMOI, sorry Alex and NAMOI have been seasick, your stories are great and photos , you have won awards, keep safe and warm love Virginia

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