The journey from St Helens to Passage Beach went from one end of the scale to another. We set off in zero wind and had to motor for quite a while, which is always sucky… However, we got sent off by a pod of beautiful dolphins that had a baby with them – it was about a foot and a half long OMG!!!
Slowly the wind began to pick up. M, of course, was having a blast – and seemed to get happier and happier the further we went. I had a nap – sometimes it’s hard to tell whether I’m feeling a little bit queasy, or I just need a nap – napping is pretty much my seasick cure.
I got up after an hour or so, and holy hell! We had just turned into Schouten Passage and the wind was BANANAS. Just before that the bottom shackle on our extra jib had broken under the load, and M had to perform some impressive captainly manoeuvres to tame the sail and get it down.
After that we were scooting along under just a scrap of the remaining jib, averaging around 11 knots. Bullets of wind were coming down the side of the passage and kicking up the water, which was smoking with a kind of ozone haze. The scenery was spectacular.
It was a bloody relief to get to the calm of Bryans Corner and Passage Beach. I was entranced to see the green shipwreck still on the sand!! We first saw it two years ago (when, incidentally, we had an extremely benign journey through Schouten Passage).
At that time, it had been on the beach for barely 24 hours – and I’d found a stash of loose leaf tea in it – glory be – because I was totally out. And there it still was, lying sadly on the beach. M asked me if I wanted to go and check it out again, but I did not.
I’d made pea and ham soup for dinner early that morning (thank the lord) and it was hot in the thermocooker. I stripped the ham from the ham hock and threw the fat out of the window – to the joy of the birds…
We didn’t arrive until around 7pm and so had a late dinner. One fishing boat pulled in nearby, other than that, we were on our own. In the morning, however, a FLOCK of boats had appeared, fresh from Bass Strait during the night. Some of whom we’d met before!!
The sand on Passage Beach is like fine white dust – no doubt it’s going to transfer itself all through the boat and our beds. We had a failed attempt at paddleboarding on the creek because of too much wind… so we made some Christmas nature art instead.