We arrived at Parsons Bay and the township of Nubeena yesterday, after a nice sail down the river.
Leaving the Derwent River was a mixed emotion affair. Having cleared the lighthouse at the Iron Pot a few times before, it felt different to be doing it this time with no return ticket in mind. There was a westerly weather system with plenty of rain on a constant bearing, so I kept myself from dwelling on the more melancholy aspects of our departure by steering to avoid the reef south of Betsy (and little Betsy) Island while at the same time not going too far south and getting wet.
We had about 20 knots from the north on the way down. Assuming it would be stronger in Storm Bay, as it usually is, I decided against putting more sail up for the run downriver knowing we’d have to reach across it in the bay. So we sailed at around 4 to 6 knots under jib, staysail and mizzen, and left the main furled. Gotta love the versatile ketch rig.
As we got into the lee of the cliffs on the approach to Parsons Bay, the wind died off and our speed dropped into the 2’s. Eldest son insisted on firing the engine up, so we dowsed the jib and came up past the fish farms under staysail and mizzen. The wind then chose to seriously pipe up, funneling through the gaps in the headlands. With the engine chugging away, I was glad we didn’t have to short tack and beat into harbor against the 25 to 30 knots of gusty wind, between thinning water and fish farms.
We anchored about 60 meters north of the public jetty, in 5 meters of water at high tide (about 1.3 meters tidal range) over weed mat over sand. Our fisherman anchor with special big flukes is good on this sort of bottom but a bunch of guys standing the foredeck of the fishing boats tied up at the public jetty weren’t happy. They were concerned we would drag anchor down on them and thought we were in the way of any fishing boats coming into the jetty area. The wind was forecast to pipe up that night, and they helpfully pointed up toward a newly installed CYCT public mooring bouy on the other side of the bay. We upped anchor and took a few passes to pick up the mooring, and it took a bit of effort to get it’s loop onto our bitt’s, but all was well.
The Bristol Channel cutter (a Lyle Hess design made famous by the voyages of Lin and Larry Pardey) AZIZA dropped anchor further up the bay not long after we did. Apparently they caught the front I was trying to avoid and had a fast trip down, doing the distance in four hours to our six! We invited them over that night for a social visit, and my beloved even made up some stewed rhubarb and apple for dessert.
What a delicious way to end the day!
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