Sunday morning we decided it was time to leave Port Clinton and make a move northward.
The Wind was around 20 knots from the south west and the seas were 3 meters but forecast to be easing to 2 meters during the afternoon.
Around 7am we cleared the headland of Port Clinton and began to sail north.
9.30am saw us several miles north of the Clara group of islands and heading northwest towards Cape Townsend on Townsend Island.
It took another two hours to reach Cape Townsend and the northern boundary of the marine park.
We had entered the marine park as we passed Cape Clinton just minutes after starting out that morning.
As we had not been able to do any trolling so far this morning we were keen to get our lines out.
Lures were then set out and optimism was high although there was a lot of weed floating in the water which meant frequent stops to bring in the lures and remove the weed.
Fish don’t seem to be interested in a lure that has even the tiniest bit of weed clinging to it.
By 11.30am the wind had stiffened to 25 to 28 knots and it was time to get a reef into the mainsail.
Rounding the cape the seas got very rough as two currents were intersecting and creating many standing waves which made for a bumpy few hours.
Our boat speed had dropped from around 10 knots to only 3 as the current was running at around 7 knots in the opposite direction.
Ploughing on we passed Ripple Island, Harrison Island and then Holt Island barely making 3 knots across ground and yet 10 knots thru the water.
We soldiered on until we reached Mumford Island were the decision was made to turn due north and head towards Hexham Island to get out of this disagreeable current.
As we sailed northward we lost sight of land and plotted our course thru many islands and rocky/sandy shoals.
By 2.30pm we were in the middle of Broad Sound Channel and back to 10 knots across ground so we decided to head towards Stanage Bay as it was only 20 miles to the west and we had around 3 hours of daylight left.
The sky was clear blue, the temperature a balmy 30 degrees and life doesn’t get much better.
All around us were islands shrouded in dark clouds that looked quite out of place in such a blue sky.
The afternoon passed with little to distract us from the beauty of the day and the pleasure of making good time.
We had been averaging a little over 8 knots before the wind picked up and closer to 10 once the reef was in.
Around 11 hours sailing by the time the sun went down saw us just minutes out of Stanage Bay.
How it is that we sail all day and yet it comes down to the last few minutes of daylight to get to anchor I still haven’t figured out.
Stanage Bay was listed in the cruising handbook as a small town with a pub and a couple of shops and a VMR.
The VMR is the Volunteer Marine Rescue and is our contact with the mainland when we are cruising.
We log in and out as we travel to the various anchorages we find so that if anything goes wrong someone would know our rough position and would know to start a search.
The Stanage Bay we approached was on the south side of Thirsty Sound by a good few miles and showed no evidence of houses or shops.
The bay itself offered little to no protection from the ocean and was shallow and totally undesirable as an anchorage.
The forecast easing of the seas had not occurred and the ocean was choppy with what appeared to be two distinct swells, one from the south and one from the east.
When we logged in with the Thirsty Sound VMR we asked for clarification regarding Stanage Bay and was informed that the settlement of Stanage Bay was called Plumtree Hill and was around the corner in Thirsty Sound.
We dropped the sail and motored north 5 miles, around Arthur point and into Thirsty Sound.
The anchorage was just around the corner and was easily accessible.
As we anchored 200 meters off the boat ramp the last glimmers of sunlight faded from the evening and once again we had beaten the clock with seconds to spare.
As it was too early for dinner we jumped into the tender and went for a look around the settlement.
On the hill by the top of the boat ramp was the now obligatory sign about crocodiles and to the other side was the VMR.
Following the gravel track around to the east we passed the fishing/marine storage/chandlery store which still appeared to be open judging by the sound of chatter coming from that direction.
A little further down the road was the pub/general store building which also appeared to be open with the same two people serving at the pub counter and the general store at the same time.
Over the road from the pub was a caravan park which was at least half full with a lot of fishing boats that indicated it was a popular fishing destination.
There were no patrons at the pub and the staff were just about to close the doors when we arrived.
We asked them if they would stay open for another hour so we could relax with a couple of ales to finish a very enjoyable days sailing and they agreed.
I love small towns.
It had been a very good day and we finished it off with a dinner of mulloway with garlic butter.
And it was good.
Relaxing at anchor that night the water was calm and the winds although strong were blocked by the hills around the anchorage.
The following morning however was rough, wet and generally miserable for sailing so we decided to stay at anchor for the day.
Monday evening after a day wandering around and enjoying the town was made more cheery by a dinner of mulloway with mashed potato and gravy.
More than 20kg of mulloway fillets ensured we will be eating alot more of it, good thing it tastes so good.
Text and photos by Fingers 2015