Our newly-recruited crew member, "Bandicoot" Pete Malone, was a wonderful confidence-booster and his knowledge and experience was much better than anticipated. While he's not actually a peg-legged pirate, he is disabled from a motorcycle accident in his youth, and moves around on land aboard a three-wheel tricycle. As a sailor he's not much chop, but as a pro fisherman and holder of a Cat 5 master's ticket, he knows how to handle a boat and point it in the right direction. He knows his stuff.
We arrived in absolute pitch-darkness, and Pete's presence was a godsend. While I was navigating on my ipad, which is mounted at the helm, Pete took care of the radar plotter, and we monitored them both to ensure they matched up. There's a lighthouse on the island, and there's a single light on a little jetty. They're the only reference points, and the instruments brought us in.
While I was busy on the front of the boat organising the anchor in the dark, we drifted in a little, and Mary, wielding the spotlight, lit up a wall of rock in front of us. But we simply backed her out a bit and dropped the pick, checked that we had stuck, set the anchor watch alarm, and went to bed for a great night's sleep.
In the dawn light, we were pleased to see that we were positioned perfectly in the centre of the little bay, exactly where the instruments had told us we were supposed to be.
Around the bottom of Gabo Island and turn North. Still under motor with a gentle Northerly gradually picking up strength as the day progressed, but nothing too dramatic. Around Green Cape, the final corner of the Australian continent, and along the coast up to Eden, where I finally had a chance to raise some sail as we headed back into the coast.
Once into Snug Cove, we tied up to the battered old wharf, (remembering that we had a disabled crew member to unload), and taxied up the hill and into town and the Pub. Where Pete conveniently ran into a couple of old mates who could take him back to Lakes Entrance the next day.
In the morning, and still with Pete's assistance, it was a bit of a messy maintenance job on the engine, replacing a dodgy-looking alternator belt, and then we waved goodbye to him, untied from the wharf and headed over to the Southern side of the Bay to relax under anchor.
A bit of a rolly night at anchor with the North swell creeping around the corner, but a great chance to swim and paddle around on my surfboard, even if there were no waves to catch. (And I'm waking up to the grim reality that surfing and yachts aren't really a good match....I don't want to have the boat anywhere near surfable waves!)
The next morning, we motored back to Snug Cove, just off the town wharves, which were more protected in the by now, brisk Northerlies. The dinghy's pumped up and back in action again, and it's a quick run to shore and all of the luxuries of town.
We're waiting now for a bit of an uncomfortable blow overnight, and a Southerly change to come in Thursday, then follow it up the coast to Bermagui on Friday. Well, that's the plan, anyway....