Arriving in Tasmania

We spent well over 24 hours sailing south through the Bass Strait in light rain and solid grey cloud. We’d been heading straight south to avoid a low pressure system and the winds were reasonable. By the middle of the second night at sea the low pressure system was behind us and we turned onto a south-westerly course to actually get to Tasmania. We saw a couple more northbound Sydney Hobart race participants heading back home. As morning came, the clouds cleared and we could see land off in the distance. There was no smoke here from forest fires and we saw blue sky for the first time in weeks.

Tasmania and blue skies!!

The clear weather also meant no more wind, so we motored the final few hours into Wineglass Bay and anchored. We were actually in Tasmania now. The forecast had underestimated the winds and after a few hours rest, the wind picked up, created quite a swell and it became uncomfortable. We raised the anchor and moved south, around the peninsula, to a quieter anchorage. This took us past the dramatic Schouten Island. We were already impressed by the Tasmanian scenery!

The next day, very strong winds were predicted so we moved again. This time we went to the little town of Triabunna and grabbed a spot on the fishing dock. To reach the marina we had to go up a very shallow and narrow channel and make a u-turn in limited space. By now we’d been “in Tasmania” for 24 hours and we were finally going to be getting off the boat after almost two weeks. We grabbed some fish and chips at the local take-out and walked around to stretch our legs.

South towards Triabunna

We wanted to get to Hobart soon because we had friends coming to visit. There are two routes from Triabunna to Hobart: either sail all the way around the southeast corner of Tasmania, or go through a shallow bay to the Denison Canal (including a drawbridge). We talked to several boaters and they all recommended going through the canal. It would allow us to arrive in Hobart in one day, as opposed to 3 days going the other way. We were also directed to websites with more detailed information, including the latest reports on the shifting sand at the entrance to the bay before the canal entrance.

After two days in Triabunna, the wind died down and we set off for Hobart via the canal. This involved a few hours of motoring in calm conditions before entering a narrow gap with breaking waves along the sides and a curvy route around sandbars into the shallow bay. It was well marked and the sun was shining so we could see the colour changes for the deeper versus shallow water. We then followed a dredged route, passing lots of oyster farms. At one very shallow point our instruments indicated that we had only 30 cm (10 inches) under the keel! As we had been instructed, we phoned the operator of the drawbridge to confirm he would open the bridge for us.

Denison Canal

As we approached the Denison Canal the tide was going with us creating a current that would flush us out through the canal to the bay on the other side. With some trepidation, we entered the narrow canal. We knew we couldn’t turn around and we’d struggle to hold ourselves against the current to stop if the drawbridge was not open by the time we reached it. The current had strengthened and we had to motor along with it to be able to steer properly. As we motored around a slight bend in the canal, we were relieved to see the drawbridge opening. 

We waved to the drawbridge operator and were quickly on the other side in another shallow bay with more oyster farms. After another hour, we were again staring at beautiful, rugged scenery and sailing along towards the mouth of the Derwent River.

Cape Direction Lighthouse at the entrance to the Derwent River

We wanted to be at a marina to receive our friends, so we motored up the Derwent River, past downtown Hobart and into the Prince of Wales Bay Marina on the northern edge of Hobart. It had taken the bulk of the day to get here. We were now docked in the famous town of Hobart, Tasmania and feeling quite happy with the achievement.

In Hobart heading up the Derwent River and under the Tasman Bridge