Crossing Bass Strait

June 21, 2018 Peter No comments exist

Bass Strait was named after George Bass after he passed through it in the Norfolk in the late 1700’s. According to CruisersWiki, “Bass Strait has a well deserved reputation as being one of the most treacherous bodies of water in the world.”, and, “The crossing of the Bass Strait is considered a significant but worthwhile challenge for any yachtsman.” Wikipedia describe the Strait as, “Strong currents between the Antarctic-driven southeast portions of the Indian Ocean and the Tasman Sea’s Pacific Ocean waters provide a strait of powerful, wild storm waves. To illustrate its wild strength, Bass Strait is both twice as wide and twice as rough as the English Channel.”


This was not comforting news for two newbies with very limited sailing experience but Geoffrey seemed to be quite relaxed about the crossing and we took comfort from that. To add to the treacherous seas there are over 50 islands in Bass Strait, numerous oil rigs and quite a lot of sea traffic including the ferries that cross from mainland Australia to Tasmania daily. Entering Bass Strait heading for Apollo Bay had been an eye opener and hopefully we wouldn’t have more of those wild seas.


The plan was to sail from Apollo Bay to Refuge Cove at Wilson’s Promontory. We would be at sea for at least two nights and for a large period of time would be out of sight of land. Refuge Cove is a little cove on the eastern side of Wilson’s Promontory that is well sheltered and we could rest up there for a day or so before sailing to Lakes Entrance.


Fortunately Bass Strait did not live up to its reputation on this part of the crossing and for large portions of the crossing we had to motor as the wind simply disappeared. The upside to this was however that Margaret was feeling much better and able to enjoy the scenery.

There are 23 oil rigs in Bass Strait and they are certainly hard to miss.

Picture courtesy of ExxonMobil

We were very glad to get to Refuge Cove and spent the night taking in the beauty. Shortly after we arrived, Hu and Hannah joined us and we invited them over for dinner.

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