Strahan to Port Davey: False start.

A short update as we leave Strahan and head out through Macquarie Harbour, back through Hells Gates and into the ocean again. I haven’t completed my post on the Gordon and Franklin Rivers, but as we are heading to Port Davey we will be out of range of any phone/interweba I thought I would quickly duck in here.

After a night in Kelly Basin and spending a morning investigating the abandoned town of Pillinger….

We headed back to Strahan to provision, suck up some wifi and wait a day or two for the weather window we had seen to get to Port Davey.

082/365 • the Smalls and I went on a walk (they scootered, after liberal amounts of WD40 were applied, I walked) this morning, trying to find @strahanhouseboat - M told me that Mills Bay was about 2km away - but we failed in our mission - couldn't find it

We spent two nights in Strahan – the weather was as hot as we’ve seen in Tasmania and we swam off the boat. For the past few days Small DB (who is going to become a chef) had been planning her ‘Feast’ – soz – ‘Feest’.

Such occasions are always a little fraught because she has the vision of Heston Blumenthal and the ingredients of a coeliac cruising child living on a hopeful shoestring. Here is the list of what she had planned…(please note she did this entirely by herself and thus her spelling is mostly phoenetic)…

DB's Feast Menu

Lemon custard
Chocolate cake
Strawberry soufflé
Lemon curd
Orange juice
Apple juice
Ice cream
Fairy floss
Icy poles

Her feest took place after a swim – a sugar filled afternoon tea, for which she had made decorations. Note the ‘F’ for ‘Feest’ in the top left hand corner – and the bunting, the mounds of whipped cream with marshmallows on top, the jelly, watermelon balls and the orange juice that she made. A grand success!! She said, “This is one of the best days of my life!”

The second night we spent at the dock where we were told it was fine for us to stay…and it was – until 6.30am in the morning when a knock on the hull came from a bloke telling us we needed to move out of the way because a Very Large Boat was going to tie up in an hour or two…

081/365 • when some bloke raps on the hull at 6.30am and says you need to move before the Harbour Master tourist ferry pulls up  - bit of rope work, Smalls slept onward. Lovely sunrise! • . #sunrise #dawn #dawninstrahan #goodmorning #exploring #westcoast

As I typed the above ^^^ yesterday we sailed toward Hells Gates, but the weather was not our friend and we motored around Back Channel and anchored. The weather was hot and the flies were flocking – not a great day.

Very strong winds kicked in at about 3am this morning (16 March 2017) and we had to move the boat at about 7.30am. Since then we have been sitting at anchor, running our generator to juice up the batteries. Hope to leave in a few hours and spend the night in Pilot Bay – then go on to Christmas Cove and explore the Wanderer River en route to Port Davey…


  1. Chris Hallam

    Hi Mark, Beth and the Smalls.
    It’s so good to see you are all embracing the cruising life with all it’s sublime joys and sometimes difficult learning curves. From time to time i have caught glimpses on the internet, of your journey building the boat etc……..such a big job and now it is finally in the water I’m so happy for you all to be having the wonderful experience of a Tassy cruise. I called in to the yacht club at Hastings when you where there, as one of your sailing friends who now works at the Wooden Boat Shop, told me you where there, but I was unable to contact you. I have just returned from a sail to Hobart for the wooden boat festival in the company of the cray boat Jane Kerr. I think it’s in your first pic here of Macquarie Harbour. We sailed on Storm Bay, a 54 foot fishing smack and sailed via Deal, then the east coast of Flinders Is and down the east coast of Tas. 16 days on the water checking out Bass Strait etc….. We had some cray pots on board that we set at each anchorage and caught a few tuna as we passed the Hippolytes, Cape Pillar, and Cape Raoul. It was the holiday of a lifetime and I can’t wait to get back out there. Port Davey will be an amazing experience for you……haven’t been there myself yet but it’s on the to do list. My boat is a 30ft wooden motor sailor and we are planning a Tas trip for 2019. Looking forward to catching up soon.
    Chris Hallam

    1. Post

      Chris! I saw your boat a few times!! I remember it distinctly because I was wondering who ‘Jane Kerr’ was… I’m completely envious of your tuna. That area of the coast is amazing, and I’m looking forward to seeing again on our way back up the East Coast in about a month. We really want to visit Flinders Island. Sounds like you had a blast! I am notoriously bad at reading up on the areas we are visiting, but I was told by several people to read Christobel Mattingley’s book about Deny King, who lived for 40 or 50 years at Port Davey – it’s worth a read if you’re planning to go there – I’m also hunting for another that’s been recommended, called ‘Win & Clyde’. Sorry to miss you – thanks for writing!! ?

  2. Jan Proudley

    Beautiful photos as always Beth and great to hear of your latest adventures. Love DB’s writing and I wish I could have had some of that feast!!! Sounds good to me. It has been hot here too, so lots of swimming and eating on the top deck. Has cooled down now though after a thunderstorm and rain the other night. Beautiful today.
    Saw the musical, Chorus Line at the Beaumaris theatre and it was fantastic! Great dancing,singing and acting. We all loved it.
    Love to you, hugs to the “smalls”,
    Mum xx?????????‍♀️??‍♀️??‍♀️??‍♀️??‍♀️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️?

    1. Post

      Mothership! Glad you are utilising both deck and water!! It’s been so hot here that I assumed you guys would be cooking! I remember that you used to have Chorus Line on vinyl! We all send our love – the last few days have been pretty crud… xxx ? Love B

  3. Craig Smith

    Hi Beth, Mark, Zoe and Daisy, I am just sitting here with Naomi after school pick-up having a nice time reading Beth’s day to day writings and looking at all the photos. Naomi wanted to keep seeing Zoe’s drawing of herself and Daisy floating in the water, saying that she always liked Zoe’s drawings and picking out all the details of the things she especially liked about this one.

    We had fun reading Daisy’s Feast (Feest) menu. My expert opinion…… is that instead of Lemon Curd, I think it is meant to be Lemonade. (I am an expert in how to spell words unkorectley)

    Keep up the great work Beth, I love reading what you write and always check for any updates. The pictures say more than words can do alone, great job with those as well. This is my only way to make sure you guys are safe and well.

    Mark, if you ever need anything made that is a bit too much for the average helpful person along the way, remember you can contact me and if I can’t make it and post it, I can get it made. Also if you need anything picked up anywhere in the world, I have a TNT account and can have it sent to anywhere. Maybe you will never need it, but the offer is there just in case.
    Be safe and check the hatches,


  4. Mark

    Chris! Craig! Ahoy!

    Chris, so good you got to Deal and the insanely dramatic SE coast. Shared an anchorage with Jane Kerr last night. I never got to chat, which is unusual because I am turning into Mr Chatty Pants, enjoying sharing gossip about places, boats and terrifying experiences 🙂 I got to the Festival by bus, sad I missed you, we were camped at Franklin, the festival was a hoot. Actually, Hobart was a hoot from Christmas onwards. For a big country town of just a couple of hundred thousand folks they sure know how to party. NYE, Taste, Wooden Boat etc…
    Mate, so lovely to hear that you have a boat to cruise on. This part of the world is fascinating. The cruising guides only touch the edges. So many rivers and bays to noodle up, tracks to follow, mountains to climb… if you can wait for the right weather. Sadly, we missed a window to drop into a few wild places on the way to Port Davey, as B felt a bit dodgy so we came back to Strahan. We will shoot straight there tomorrow night/day as the sea is calm and the wind is on our tail. We’ll hang in Davey for a few weeks. I’ll pass on some mud maps that came my way from a bloke who cruises this coast in a small motor sailor. He has found ancient art in caves, stands of huge Huon pine, forgotten wrecks alongside this coast. Just a matter of finding a few calm days to brave the bolt holes and river bars along the way. Look up The Wanderer River, The Sepero, The Mainwarring, The Giblin, The Mulcahy… all incredibly wild rivers with do able anchorages in the right weather between here and Port Davey. All written off as way too wild by 99% of yachts.
    Good to be in touch!

    Craig! Thanks for the offer of being our ‘go to guy’ with things broken and lost. Could have used you the other day. Had to weld up two brackets that fit around the prop that hold a plate that closes off the hull when the motor is up. I trashed them by being… um, incredibly stupid 🙂 Actually, the boat is rock solid, dependable and strong, the only things that stuff up are things I break… and I do seem break/lose/mangle/bend things on a fairly regular basis…
    Hope you are well and full of magic beans. Say hi to your lovely family for me.
    If you ever get the opportunity to join us for a while, you are and yours are always welcome. Not sure where we might be, but we would work something out. Having you possums onboard would be fun and easy.
    At present, trying to work around possible weather windows to get down the coast is tricky. My head hurts. We have a 90NM sail infront of us and in order to take advantage of an up coming window and arrive in daylight, because of reefs/currents/sea monsters etc, we need to leave around 8pm tomorrow night. So at 6 -8 knots average in 15 to 20 knot following breeze we are looking at arriving in the morning. Wind continues all that day so maybe we should leave early morning and sail only during the day, arriving late arvo. But, maybe not… but then again… 🙂
    Thank goodness for modern weather forecasts. I seriously would not want to out there in some howling storm with that dread, bleak coast downwind.
    Boat sails well (would sail a might better with you at the helm 🙂 Still getting a feel for it. It is sometimes a Beast to tack. The genoa winches are 20 feet apart! There is that one tack in 10 that is messy. Not getting caught in irons, but just stupidly messy.
    …and docking, sheesh! We have gotten away with it so far, but it is always a controlled crash. We have
    dragged the anchor twice. Both times I have been onboard… thank goodness. The anchor has proven itself to be ace but it really is a lottery what it is encountering down there.
    Enough of me unburdening myself 🙂 Take care Matey, and good to be in touch.

    1. Craig Smith

      Hey mr. so glad it’s going well. All a great experience. The girls will be bullet proof after all this, work hardened and capable. And Beth, what a champ, steering on the way to where ever through the night, that’s a gutsy effort for a newbie.

      I know it’s not your favourite thing to get caught up in a back and forth email thing, so I won’t do that to you, or me. But just so nice to keep track of your adventures. Good on Beth, she is my only hope of knowing you are still alive. She writes so well and Ivona and I sit here in a state of …. hmm hard to explain. You know when you watch a great movie and it ends, and just then you realise you haven’t had another though the whole time. It’s kind of like that reading and looking at where you have been and experienced. We will never do it, so it’s the next best thing. Love to somehow meet up for a day or two when you hit the warmer climates.

      We sold our Frankston house, so now the renovations on this house. Start around September I think. So plenty of time between now and then to make sure we somehow find you dudes and come and visit. Thank Beth for going to the trouble to post Zoe’s drawing for Naomi to see. Naomi is quite the little artist (of all the things to be good at!) and loves Zoe’s drawings.

      Hey remember these days? Go to this link.!AnMPi-oPcOKdgUPxia-KH6Cy8r7A
      Okay Mark, hope the long haul goes well. I will pass on your hello to the family. We are off to see Cirque Du Soleil this afternoon at Flemington Race Course. That should be a hoot.
      Look forward to hearing more about Beth’s seediness and the girls adventures and you dropping bits in the drink. Not a forgiving work environment by any stretch of the imagination.

      Stay well.

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