GIPPSLAND LAKES – EASTER 2016

DAY 1 – THU 24 MAR 2016

Leaving Quo Vadis at Paynesville after the Marlay Point Overnight Race gave us the perfect excuse to head back down to the Gippsland Lakes for the Easter long weekend. Even though we had hoped that we might get away for a half day on the Thursday we booked the last room at the motel at Cann River – just in case. In the end, the usual “dead cat” work issue arose late on Thursday afternoon so we didn’t get away until about 5.30 pm. Following the advice of another sailor we stopped off at the truckstop behind Cooma for a “hearty meal”. Great burgers as well as a 10% discount if we purchased more than 200 litres of diesel! 3 ½ hours and 288 km later we arrived at the Cann Valley Motel – old and run down but always immaculately clean.

DAY 2 – FRI 25 MAR 2016

Good Friday! We had a quick breakfast at the local bakery before heading off for the remaining 2 ¼ hours / 180 km to Paynesville. Usually we have travelled via Lakes Entrance  as we like the view out over the lakes and the bar entrance, however this time we took the Alpine Highway via Bruthen  – a great little town and a new route which takes 15-20 minutes off the trip.

On arrival at Paynesville Quo Vadis was out on the hardstand out the front of the boat ramp – cleaned, polished, with a complete engine service and waiting impatiently. A quick fill of the water tanks and then we launched . . . . with no electric start on the outboard, and intermittent operation. Having just spent over $500 was not happy. Manually started it and motored off to the jetty in the mainstreet of Paynesville where we tied up to go shopping.

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Cabin Boy on duty at Paynesville

Once we had supplies we decided to visit a new restaurant on the wharf – Pier 70 – really exceptional food and service for what is a small country town. Feeling very well fed and leaving much later than we expected we motored off to Duck Arm to look for a suitable anchorage for the evening. On previous trips we have backed Blue Print onto the beach immediately southwest of the entrance. This time we anchored in a quiet bay on the northern side of the arm where the adults had a peaceful night. Cabin Boy – who didn’t have a winter weight sleeping bag – found the 8 degree overnight cold snap a little cold!

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Duck Arm (Banksia Peninsula)

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Duck Arm at Dawn

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New foredeck cover – shade and ability to open hatch for ventilation even when raining

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Duck Arm at dusk

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Quo Vadis in cruising mode!

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The Admiral doing some organising

DAY 3 – SAT 26 MAR 2016

After some grumbling from Cabin Boy we returned to Paynesville to do some more shopping. A hot water bottle later, and a deck of cards for “Sevens” (which we had left at home) and he was much happier. Tying off on the jetty on the main street we had a very leisurely morning – coffee, cake, newspapers and then meeting a range of people who stopped by for a chat – many of them fellow Noelex 25 owners. It became clear that a number of trailerable yacht groups were out for a ‘last hurrah’ before winter approaches – the Melbourne Trailerable Yacht Club, Bayside Trailerable Yacht Club, the Ultimate Yachts Association, the Sonata Yacht Association, and the Magnum Yachts Association. The local council sponsored a food produce market during the day, and that evening a Food Van Festival on the foreshore with an open air cinema. After a walk around Paynesville and after considering the weather forecast – winds increasing 15-20 knots, overcast, 50% chance of rain, possible southerly – we decided not to stay in town and returned back to Duck Arm.

And of course the forecast weather did not eventuate, the temperature reached 25 C, with water temperature of about 20 C, we then sent Cabin Boy off for a swim and played “fetch the fender” with him!

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After drying off after the swim, it was down below to start working on dinner! Butter chicken and basmati rice with the crew getting into their pyjama’s (or in the Admiral’s case her Qantas First Class PJ’s!).

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Butter Chicken and Basmati Rice

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Happy crew – post swim – waiting for dinner

Another very quiet night in a great anchorage – with Cabin Boy now too hot due to his hot water bag and the novelty of actually zipping his sleeping bag and sleeping inside it!

DAY 4 – SUN 27 MAR 2016

Another interesting weather forecast with the delayed southerly change expected through in early afternoon. Breakfast on board and then we sailed off the morning and back to Paynesville and right back to the same 4 Hour Public Jetty Beth that we had been at yesterday! Unfortunately it was right in front of the Pier 70 restaurant so more coffee’s and cake! Lunch on board, a few card games, another walk and chatting to locals.

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Cabin Boy, watching all the people getting off their boats with small dogs, that it would be a good idea if we had one, or if he couldn’t have one then his Grandfather in Yackandandah should have one for him. He then spent the next few hours doing market research and approaching dog owners to discuss the relative merits of their dogs. Unfortunately the one that he fancied the best was a Shiatsu/Jack Russell/Maltese terrier cross – all I could think of was “good luck trying to find one like that!”

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The elusive three breed cross!

Before he could accost any more dog owners the decision was made that we would go on ferry across to Raymond Island and conduct the “Great Koala Hunt”. There was some concern that we would actually find one, but after 15 minutes had found a good half dozen, dozing in gums around the island.

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Mission achieved we went back to Paynesville just in time for the southerly that had been forecast for the past two days to come through, with a 5 C temperature drop and an increase in wind. The local shire council again had put on a band in a floating hut which motored back and forward providing music for those moored alongside.

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The Band!

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At the end of a great day we decided it was time to return to our now favourite anchorage. With boats within a metre of us fore and aft we rigged a spring to get off the wharf, with the wind blowing us on. All was going particularly smoothly until Cabin Boy, instead of releasing the stern line decided to tie it on with “special knots”.  After some vigorous encouragement from his father, Cabin Boy moved like lightening to grab the emergency knife from the companionway and sans one mooring line we motored happily away!

Of course nothing challenging ever happens in isolation, and halfway across to Duck Arm the outboard decided to give up the ghost while we were 200m from a lee shore. Sails up in record time and we sailed the rest of the way across. Then of course, to prove that good things only happen in threes, after getting the motor started once we entered the Duck Arm, and just as the Admiral engaged reverse, the outboard leg decided it would separate from the rest of the motor. By now we were thinking uncharitable thoughts about the marine store that had carried out the service – it wasn’t perfect to begin with but at least it started manually and electrically and remained in one piece before we gave it to them!

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A new anchorage – determined by no wind and no motor – must buy a paddle!

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Siegfried and Sally

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Cabin Boy was quite bemused by his parents carrying on so went for another swim and made some new friends.

DAY 5 – MON 28 MAR 2016

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Another great sleep on the boat, and then off to Paynesville, praying that the bolt that D had found would hold the lower leg on for the journey back. No wind so sailing was not an option – the lake was like glass. Note to self – must buy a paddle for the boat! We made it back OK and had an easy retrieve. While the Admiral and Cabin Boy destowed the boat – D had a pointed discussion with the boat mechanic. With the decision made to leave the boat in Paynesville for another two weeks to give them an opportunity to rectify their mechanic induced faults it was an was an easy drive to Bruthen for a late lunch, and then home to Canberra by 7pm.

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