Tweet Manookatoo Adventures: A double delivery: Western Port, Lakes Entrance, Eden, Western Port.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A double delivery: Western Port, Lakes Entrance, Eden, Western Port.

As written by Gary Plumley.......
Many Western Port Mariners Club members are certainly busy with Christmas approaching.
As many members are organising to ferry their boats to holiday destinations and others are delivering boats for other sailors, many of us are having a hectic time, scheduling, on and off the water. Our first for December was to be a double delivery Power Sail.

Once again, our inclusive policy at Western Port Mariners Club, ensures that our modes of water transport are always as varied, as our cruising destinations.
This weekend was a classic example, Martin O’Connell, had just returned to Western Port on Manookatoo after 3 months in Docklands. He needed help to get her up to The Gippsland Lakes for the Christmas and the summer season.
Geoff Adshead and Col Barling offered to crew, with the Gary Plumley withdrawing the day before, so that he did not infect the others with a summer flu.
The boys got away at 4.00 am last Thursday at the top of the tide, for a smooth run out through the eastern entrance to Bass Strait, at San Remo. I know that because I could hear the dulcet tones of dual bow and stern thrusters, waking me from my sound sleep, in the aft cabin on Amazing Grace. Those damn bow thrusters will do it every time.
Twelve hours later, with the helping push from good Westerlies, Martin and boys were enjoying sundowners on the fly bridge safely anchored in the very beautiful Refuge Cove. Dinner was a delicious chicken curry… one of the Manookatoo standard “bills of fare” for delivery crews. I personally would have opted for “Marios” famous medium rare rib eyes, that I knew would be lurking in the back of the fridge.

Manookatoo, safely across the bar inside Lakes Entrance, after another great run up from Western Port Bay
Next morning at 4.00am the final run down to the Entrance and crossing the bar into the Lakes was carried out uneventfully. Martin is now becoming an old hand at these bar crossings. The crew were tied up on Cunningham Quay at 4.30pm, ready for a quick unload for the crew, whilst Martin motored on down to Paynesville, via the mandatory “cool drinks” stop over at Metung Pub.
I was on the dock waiting to transport Geoff and Col up to Eden to meet The Yacht Doctor, Joe Tarantino, who was already there.
This commodore role, leaves you with some misguided sense of responsibility for your fellow club members, as under the influence of Demazin and Shiraz, at Wednesday night’s committee meeting, I had apparently offered to drive down to Lakes from Western Port Marina, Hastings and ferry them over the border into New South Wales and on to Eden AND RETURN 1200 kilometres..
My rationale was that, there was no way that, the weather window would stay open long enough for both deliveries, and that the time taken to bus up to Eden from Lakes Entrance would lose them 2 days in reality. That would have placed them into a beat all the way from Gabo Island, on the border back to Melbourne. Requiring a stop over at Wilson’s Promontory and a likely arrival back in Western Port Bay of possibly Thursday, as opposed to their arrival this morning (Monday) at 5.00am. Their departure from Eden at 9.00pm Friday, after only 5 hours after getting off the boat in Lakes was the key.

The delivery skipper and the taxi driver, comparing notes with Tiger the navigator, on the wharf at Eden
Any way that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…
The scheduled departure, after a great meal at the Eden Fishermen Club, an Eden institution for visiting yachtsmen, set me up for the return drive to Lakes Entrance.
The other great news from Eden and even better news for cruising yachtsmen and women, is the recent announcement that the Eden Marina is now going ahead, visit,
As I was leaving Eden, around 9.30pm, I could rest easy, assured that I would be tucked safely into my bed at our home in Lakes Entrance, whilst those boys were just passing the Green Cape on their way out to Gabo and then into Bass Strait, with a developing weather pattern from the East, should make for a fast trip home.

The delivery crew from Eden, Joe Tarantino, Col Barling and Geoff Adshead, still trying to get advice from the navigator.
I called Geoff as I arrived home at Lakes Entrance, just before midnight. They were certainly happy for the hot meal at Eden as it was to be the last hot food or drink for the next 3 days.
Joe swears that he filled the gas bottle on the Catalina, but somehow it had leaked, loosing the whole contents out through the locker vents, before even 1 cup of coffee, was consumed. Another item on the check list…. Joe?
As I had a nice hot pot of Irish breakfast tea around midnight, on the balcony, before bed it occurred to me that… Yacht deliveries with The Yacht Doctor are always character building affairs and this was just one more instance of Murphy’s Law that seems to always apply on deliveries…if something can go wrong it will.

What a great compact, cruising yacht the little Catalina 310, proved to be.
The crew on the little 31ft Catalina were making great time threading their way through the oil rigs towards Wilson’s Prom. As they approached they were enveloped in the typical Bass Strait fog that is generated after hot weather and a few days of prevailing Easterly wind.
They were less than a mile from the cliffs before they could confirm sighting of the cliffs. Once through the Prom and inside the Glennie Group of islands and on the way to Cape Liptrap they entered brilliant sunshine and smooth seas for the run home.
Whilst all this was happening, I left Lakes Entrance on Saturday morning and drove via Paynesville to pick up Martin, who had safely secured Manookatoo on her swing mooring, belonging to Rick and Corinne Dent at Newland’s Arm.
Martin and I departed the Gippsland Lakes, just after 11.00AM. We had a leisurely drive, back to Melbourne, joking all the way, about how nice it was to have easy access to hot food and drinks, all along the Princes Highway, unlike our friends, shadowing us down the coast.
Mean while… just behind the Catalina, Uncle Huey was turning on a show. The North Easterly had freshened gusting to more than 50knots out wide in the Bass Strait, forcing many large fishing boats to shelter behind Hogan and other Islands.
Another front, slid inside that one from the South West bucketing rain and strong winds from the South West all the way from the Prom to the NSW border.

Bass Strait gets covered in fog, generated over on Flinders Island, after a couple of Easterly days. You sail up on the Prom with nearly zero visibility.
Our intrepid sailors knew something was on behind them, but they were only looking forward. The freshening North Easterly caught them off Woolamai and gave them a longer final leg up Western Port Bay, as they sailed in with a terrific light show and the wind going more North to cancel out any benefit the incoming tide was calculated to provide.
Arriving in the Western Port Marina at 5.00am, the crew had a short sleep as we met for their second hot meal in 3 days and coffee at 10.00am, with a hearty breakfast over at “Societe Pelikan” or Pelican Point cafe, at Hastings Pier to the uninitiated.
Well done boys, now to get Roger and Nirvana from Lakes Entrance to Mandurah, Western Australia.
I won’t be offering a taxi delivery service for that one.

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