Written in Hobart 15th May 2010
We had a reasonable hop the first day from Port Lincoln to Memory Cove named for the seamen who drowned on Mathew Flinder's voyage through this area. Thorny passage has significant current flows into and out of Spencer Gulf, as well as meeting the Southern Ocean swells, and is a notorious area in unsettled conditions. The cove was a delightful anchorage with sea eagles overhead, a white sandy beach and clear waters, and a blowhole a dinghy ride away. We walked on a trail for some distance overlooking the islands offshore, and also found the letter drop rock from the early 1800's where sailors would leave mail for ships returning to England (thanks for letting us know about that Phil & Sylvia). The rock was marked by an engraved broad arrow & the number 4 to indicate the distance to the "letter box". 
From here our next stop was around the bottom of Eyre Peninsular and up to the northwest to Point Avoid. Strong southeast winds helped us on our way, and there was room to tuck in behind a reef in the lee of this headland in calm water. We left here at 2am in order to make the passage to Pearson Islands and be able to arrive in daylight. Had a good fast sail, goosewinged (1 sail each side of boat, wind from straight behind), and arrived about 4pm at Pearson.  The anchorage was quite rolly polly in those winds, with the swell wrapping around the headland, and gusts of wind buffeting us on occasions. It was one of those "not for the faint hearted" locations, a deep (17metres) anchorage close to rocks, so we were nervous about any wind shift.

The island was spectacular - a cross between Kangaroo Island's Remarkable Rocks, and The Olgas / Devil's Marbles. Big granite slabs down to the sea, and numerous sentinels of rock standing up. Penguins, sealions, sea eagles, wallabies on the land, but with the swell we were unable to consider making a landing. Got up in the night to fit a rope strop to the anchor chain to stop the grinding noise that comes with chain rumbling over rock. Had 2 days here and the swell was getting worse as the wind went further to the east, so we decided to start our journey to Tasmania before things got too dangerous. Sad to have been unable to get ashore on this pristine and remote Island, so we will have to save that for another occasion.

Saturday 3rd April
The trip to Tasmania started with fresh easterly winds, but with a leftover chop from the south & east, and quite a swell also from the south.  This meant a lot of water coming straight over the bow, and a rather jerky motion onboard. Indeed, Gay was tossed out of bed on the first night - maybe we should set up leesheets, but we generally sleep on the dinette side or the floor if it is that rough. Fortunately there was only bruising and we were not seasick, although we certainly didn't feel too flash until a couple of days later when the wind slowly went around to the northwest, on our stern quarter. Our course was basically a quarter circle - due south and west of Pearson to start with and then gradually curling our way around to the east. With our stomachs settling down we could enjoy the trip & what it had to offer - large Southern Ocean swells, albatross, prions, shearwaters, "foot tappers" (Wilson's storm petrel - little birds that flutter around millimetres from the water, and almost walk on water). We had a wonderful occasion in discovering that albatross like bacon fat - we threw a few small trimmings in to see what would happen and it gained their attention immediately - soon we had several albatross and petrels feeding just behind the boat. The wind was kind enough to us, although it did box the compass 1 1/2 times in the 8 days of the voyage. Generally light to moderate winds with a couple of frustrating calms and a short 40 knot blast when a cold front went through with lightning and almost horizontal rain. We loved the roller furling headsail which enabled us to easily reduce or increase our sail area, and also our chart plotter which takes all the effort out of navigation.

We kept our options open as to whether we would go to Strahan (half way down Tassie's west coast), or Port Davey with an easier entrance and only about 20 miles from the bottom.  As it was the weather was resonable so we chose to enter through Hells Gates and Macquarrie Harbour to Strahan. (The strategy being that you don't want to be trying to make a landfall on a lee coast in bad weather) We hove to 65 miles off the day before arriving (dropped all sail and lay ahull, drifting at 1.5 knots for 8 hours) so that we could arrive in daylight rather than the middle of the night. There was a big westerly swell running so our arrival at Macquarrie Harbour's Hells Gates was in a quite spectacular setting. Once behind the rock breakwater the swell was gone and we then had to face a strong outgoing current as we passed through the narrow waters of Hells Gates. 

How lovely Entrance Island and Bonnet Island looked -  they were like little Japanese bonzai rocks with the twisted granite and wind torn trees. The entrance is so narrow that you come in with your heart pumping, feeling the boat kick around in the eddies of current, at the same time enthralled with the beauty in front of you and in the distant rugged hills and mountains. After a couple of miles of tight water we were in Macquarrie Harbour itself and had an easy run up to Strahan with intermittent rain squalls.  The vee belt on the motor decided to smell hot as it had been continually stretching so we proceeded gently for the last few miles - long story re the belt which only lasted 135 hours - on our old motor it lasted 30 years!

And so we arrived in the pretty town of Strahan and tied alonside the fishing vessel Elizabeth on the inside of the town pier, in front of the Hamer Hotel