14th-15th February A wild ride

I left you as we departed Hobart.  Our route was planned to take us north, paralleling Tasmania’s east coast and then a turn to the west; through the Bass strait and thence to Australia and Kangaroo Island.  There was a deep depression to the west of Tasmania and gale-force winds were forecast; we ‘battened down the hatches’ and prepared for a ride.

The Bank and Bass Straits. To the right of Tasmania, our route.  The turn to port, (left) is where we hove to and moved ballast water around before proceeding north again.  Once through the Straits, the 2nd ‘kink’ is trying to adjust for the swell and trying different courses.  The turn to port, (left) is us making 4 kts for 13 hours, into the seas and wind.

 Even before we had made the turn for the Bass Strait, we had to slow down, head to wind and move ballast water; the westerly wind was up to Storm-force, winds of 80 mph and gusts of 100.  It is at times like this that I would like weather forecasters to come on board and actually experience how wrong their forecasts can be.  The forecast was a maximum of 60 knots and a maximum 5 metre swell. 

In the Bass Strait we could make no more than 12 knots, any more and we would have battered ourselves in the 5 metre swell.  matters got worse in the afternoon of the 14th, winds still howling, however the swell had increased and we encountered 8-9 metres in the early afternoon.  I had no option other than to ‘hove to’, which means putting the ship’s bow into the weather and go slow enough to keep steerage. We made 4 kts in this weather, from 3 in the afternoon until 5 in the morning of the 15th.  I was unable to use the GoPro, the rain on the windows did not make for good conditions.  I did however use the video on my camera.  Here it is, hove to and making 4 knots.  Fortunately I filmed during one of the few sunny spells, most of the time we had driving rain and squalls.

So, at 5 this morning, the swell had reduced sufficiently for us to turn and head north-west.  The elements have deteriorated again and now, off the south coast of Australia, we ‘re bouncing around.  The further west we get, the more likely that the seas will ease, there is a proviso of course….that’s what the forecast says  😉 

Our route from Hobart towards Australia, kinks an’ all…..

We are due to reach kangaroo Island around 12 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.  That’s Australian time, GMT + 10½ hours, I’ll let you know how we got on!


A medley of command, travel and family

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