We had packed the boat with so much stuff that she's listing a bit to port, but no matter, we're away!
We rumbled out of Corio Bay on a grey, thundery day, with a reef in the mainsail and a lusty 20-30 knot following wind chasing us, and gingerly made our way up to Docklands in Melbourne to take stock of our situation. We'd lost our planned early-learners extra crew for one reason or another, and decided that a little time aboard the boat by ourselves inside Port Phillip Bay was prudent in the circumstances.
So, we circumnavigated the bay for a week, dropping into Sandringham, Mornington, Blairgowrie and Sorrento. At Docklands we met Paul Cook and Zandra Hitchons, who had a beautiful Hans Christian 33, a "little sister" to our boat. They had just sailed in from Hobart and were embarking on a similar journey to ourselves, so no doubt we will be crossing paths again somewhere around the coast.
At Sandringham, we relaxed in luxury at an absolutely fabulous yacht club, where our Geelong membership gave us a free stay. In Mornington, we had our first night at anchor, at Blairgowrie we tied up to the pier and had an uncomfortable night being overlooked by fishermen.
We did have a visit from Ted Bainbridge, who has recently sailed his boat "Glamorous Galah" home from the Caribbean, so it was nice to have him give our set-up an approving nod.
And for our final night in the Bay, it was on the anchor again near the ferry terminal at Sorrento, a noisy, rolly night made even more tense because we were planning an early departure through the notorious "Rip".
Mary's first-ever trip outside The Heads!
The trip through The Rip was mentally exhausting, with a 4.30 am wake-up alarm to get from our anchorage at Sorrento along to Queenscliff and out through the heads at Slack Water. I'd done all the homework....weather check, tide check, and finally a surf report check. Everything was in our favour, and we knew that there was an 8ft. swell forecast for the following day. So this was our chance.
Everything went smoothly and we motored out of a very benign Port Phillip, turned left and headed down the coast towards Phillip Island. Had a nice phone call from Ted Bainbridge, who was about to have a surf at Rye Back Beach, and was watching us sail along the coast.
A couple hours later, after our first dolphin encounter, we had arrived at the entrance to Western Port Bay, our first adventure accomplished easily. First run through the Heads for Mary, and her first taste of the ocean outside of the Bay.
So it was a relaxed cruise up into Western Port to the funky little bayou hole of Yaringa. A bit intimidating on the way into the tiny channel, with a 20 knot seabreeze across our bow, 2.2 metres showing on the depth transducer (we have a 6ft. draft), and only a few feet either side of us to wriggle through.
But we arrived safely, friendly staff helped us dock, and we were tied up in luxury once again. We slept well that night!
A few days relaxation, and we're beginning to get into the rythm of living on the boat.
Next on the list is back out to sea, around the south side of Phillip Island and anchor in Cleland Bight in preparation for the run to Wilson's Promontory. Gradually, we're stretching our wings!