Erith Island to Deal Island. A short journey.

Sand writing. West Cove, Erith Island.

DB finally loses her snaggle tooth, mid-whinge. I no longer feel like I am living with a Small Nanny McPhee… The tooth fairy made it to the middle of Bass Strait – amazing!!

Nanny McPhee. Daisy's clone.

Daisy McPhee

After breakfast we motor back to the shore. I have lost a part of my heart to West Cove on Erith Island and the little shack there. I go back inside and leave a bottle of champagne and a little knitted heart. We read the visitor’s book again and take a 2016 copy of the ‘Erith News’ and information about the Kent Group National Park. The visitor’s book has not been signed since May 2016 – we are the first in over four months. M tunes their guitar.

We climb up behind the shack, up past the cairn and plaque dedicated to Stephen Murray-Smith – he and his wife Nita began visiting the island every summer from 1962, and his family continue to make the annual pilgrimage. There is something joyfully poignant about the continuing use of the shack and the tradition carried on by friends and family. I think of my dad, and how he would have have enjoyed it here.

We climb further up the hill. The view is a marvel. Way down below us on the beach is Foamy – pulled up near the rocks where we found five fairy penguins snoozing in sheltered nooks. We are up among dense thickets, rocky outcrops, tightly clinging plants and spangles of magenta wildflowers.

Small DB finds half an empty eggshell and we guess that it might be from one of the Cape Barron Geese we have seen wandering about. “I am going to start a museum when I get back to the boat.” She picks a leaf full of seeds and a small downy feather to add to her collection. “Aunty Kaye will know what that plant is,” I tell her. “We’ll send her a photo.”

Leaf. West Cove, Erith Island.

Back down at the shack, we fill our 10L water containers from the tanks – which are full to brimming. The water rippling along the shoreline is as clear as freshwater and it would be so easy to slip in for a swim…if it wasn’t quite so cold.

Bella Luna at anchor. West Cove, Erith Island.

On board the catamaran, M and I get things ready for the next little trip. I’m surprised how reliant we are on our generator. Our boat batteries were given to us and are, in batteryland, quite elderly. We have been using our generator to raise and lower the anchor, and also to get the stove started. Before we set out, I’d thought we would use it once or twice a week when I needed to whizz things up in the Thermomix.

Once we get to Tasmania, we need to take a few days to recalibrate – test the batteries, the generator – and I need to spend some time making friends with the Ubiquiti Bullet aerial – a whizzbang accessory that has not had any use at all so far.

The sail over to Garden Cove is short and we only use the jib. It looks bleaker than Erith – the greenery looks quite different. We anchor and again I struggle under pressure to make a reliable rolling hitch. I practice several times after the boat is secure and get it right each time. I need to be able to do the same thing under pressure!!

The beach is lined with beautiful rounded stones in graduated greys and muted pinks – they are lovely to clamber about on.

Garden Cove. Deal Island, Kent Island Group, Bass Strait.


  1. Didee

    I am loving reading of your journey. I only found the link today. I haven’t met you yet. When I read the line “M tuned their guitar” I began to weep with joy and anticipation. Thankyou for this.

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