Heading to Hogan

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Weather forecast

Leaving Refuge Cove, I’m feeling excited, which is a surprise after yesterday morning’s apprehension.  Here we are, about to strike out on our first crossing!


Setting out from Refuge Cove

The rain has stopped, the sun is almost shining through the clouds, the winds have dropped  and the forecast is looking pretty good – hah!  However due to an American who strode loudly through the campsite demanding to know what time the sun would be rising in the morning, Harry was distracted and missed the crucial part of today’s forecast.


Under sail; alert but not alarmed

Within two hours I spot low-lying Hogan Island.  There’s never a sense of being “out there” with the bulk of Wilsons Prom behind us, coastal Victoria to our north and various islands dotted to our south.  The clouds have cleared, the sun is shining, the wind has picked up, and continues to do so.  We’re sailing, I’m focussed, in that “alert but not alarmed” focus that decent seas and a quartering tailwind demand.

Every 15-20 minutes I’m scanning the horizon, Mike’s words of advice sounding in my ears.  This is a busy shipping lane.  I’ve got the app related to the Marine Traffic website on my phone but that ain’t much good stowed in my day hatch.  All focus is on paddling and sailing.  As we close in on Hogan I’m getting that feeling that we’re moving but going nowhere.  The wind waves stand up steeper as they hit the tidal flows.  Still, the Twin Islets seem to be evading me.  Eventually we close in – and hit flat waters.


Calmer waters

Blue sky, incredible scenery, I cry.  Due to relief from the sea state?  Or thrill at making Hogan?  Or the sheer, stunning presence of this place?


Approaching Hogan

We land and joyfully commence the unpacking routine, interrupting it for whoops of joy, skinny dips, food breaks and photo ops.


The remains of the Hogan Hut


Looking back to the Prom and the Australian mainland

Taking in Hogan

Taking in Hogan


Tomorrow’s destination – the Kent Group









Later, I know I should sleep, there’s yet another big day tomorrow but I don’t want to let the day end.  Harry works and plots inside the tent while I sit outside, breathing, chasing away the persistent rat, adding to the calculations, breathing, smiling.


Refuge Cove to Hogan Island

Refuge Cove to Hogan Island

First crossing: to Hogan

First crossing: to Hogan







Crossing Bass Strait

Trip Day 2

Paddling Day 2

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Distance covered: 52km

Launched: 8.00am

Landed: 3.45pm

“Fortune favours the brave”

Monday 23 December 2013

forecastI am well-armed: I have a special talisman, given to me by the friend with whom I had always planned to cross Bass Strait, I have a sackful of well-wishes gifted from those few friends in whom I had quietly confided, and I have Dutch courage, found in my whiskey bottle.  I gather all these resources and launch.


Ready, set, go

We head down the channel, working from marker to marker, into the headwind under leaden skies.  We turn and even sail out of Corner Inlet.  We stop for a food and pee break.  With the next three day’s kayaking having no possible landings, we choose to use them today.


First leg stretch

It is cold, it is exhilarating, we are underway.  An emu keeps pace along the shore, us in the shallows.  The sun occasionally breaks through.  I’m doing it!


Second off-water break

Rabbit Island, the water starts to get bouncy with tidal flows.  Now the wind is getting serious.  The bulk of the Prom no longer provides protection.  I’m paddling my little heart out.  Passed Three Mile Beach.  Next up, Five Mile Beach,  that’s Eight Kilometre Beach.  Even moving at 4 kmph, that’s two hours.  But I’m not moving four kph, it’s less.  Two hours plus.  Okay, is it wise to continue?  To use up all my energy today?  Isn’t this just a romp down the coast of the Prom, with tomorrow being the BIG day?  Should I suggest we land and set up camp?  We edge closer in, gaining a tad more shelter from the headwind.  It’s a slog, Five Mile Beach.   The GPS later tells us we’re travelling between 2 and 3 kmph.  Somehow we arrive at the end, back to cliffline and some shelter.  Okay, just keep on paddling.


Heading towards Rabbit Island, and the tough stuff

Sealers Cove and bullets of wind blast off the landscape and straight out to sea.  Harry’s experience tells him we’re in at least 30 knots of wind.  After that hairy experience we edge slowly into Refuge Cove.  It lives up to its name, no nasty surprises here, just calm and shelter.


Refuge sought and found

And so begins the routine: land, unpack, set up camp, gather weather data for tomorrow, consider and plan, eat, sleep.

Port Welshpool to Refuge Cove

Hugging the coast

Hugging the coast










Crossing Bass Strait

Trip Day 1

Paddling Day 1

Monday 23 December 2013

Launched: 6.40am

Landed: 4.30pm

Distance: 44km

Refuge Cove boaters campsite

Boat crews leave their mark at Refuge Cove boaters’ campsite