We cleared Customs mid afternoon on 19th January 2011, 11 months after leaving Adelaide - not a lot of miles under our belt for 11 months but we did enjoy Tassie. Caught up with old friend Don McIntyre who called by after we had cleared & about to depart. The wind was blowing up the Derwent River so it gave us an increasingly stronger wind on the nose, and having to clear Tasman Island & the East coast of Bruny Island, it would have been an exhausting bash to windward to reach clear ocean. It is not particularly nice to bash into head winds & seas in the early evening, with land to leeward, so we made the decision to stop for the night about 25 miles from Hobart at Wedge Bay, near Nubeena (west of Port Arthur). We called the Customs duty officer to advise our decision & he was happy with that. It gave us a good night's sleep in calm conditions, & enabled us to leave from a better location & favourable winds the next morning.

The 20th started with calm seas and a gradually increasing wind from the north east, and we began to romp along to the south east, realing off 165 miles in the first 24 hours.  As the waves built up we began to shovel solid water over the bow and cabin top, heeling over quite a bit in the wind, and had to reef down the mainsail & roll back the headsail (the roller reefing headsail is easy to reduce or increase sail area with minimum effort - better than dropping a sail & resetting another). Our little staysail (inner headsail) stayed up for the entire voyage. The motion made it difficult to do any cooking, so we ate sparingly from energy bars etc. until conditions settled.

Gradually the wind went around anticlockwise, easing up a bit, although it had built up to about 30 knots for a while, with tops of waves blowing off & moaning in the rigging. We generally get down to 4 reefs in the mainsail, the little staysail, & a scrap of headsail in these conditions. The wind died down & eventually we became becalmed, albeit in a very sloppy leftover sea. We normaly do a bit of motoring to recharge batteries in these calms, and the forward motion eases the tossing around somewhat. This pattern of winds repeated itself, the wind "boxing the compass" twice in the 8 days it took us to get to Stewart Island (ie a bit of wind from north south east & west, calms at times when the wind changed direction, then repeat the pattern)

During the trip accross we saw the usual albatrosses (plural??) about 3 or 4 varieties, sooty shearwaters, prions, Wilson's storm petrels ("foot tappers" / Jesus Christ birds - they almost walk on the water in strong winds, like a surfer dipping a hand in the water for stability when turning), dolphins, a few seals, and some penguins.  We fed some corned beef to the shearwaters which they love.  Saw no whales or shipping.

We rounded the capes on the south coast of Stewart Island at about 8am on the 28th, with a very strong current pushing us eastward & a bit to the south. This meant that we had now sailed south of the 5 great Southern Ocean capes, even though it was 31 years since we rounded Cape Horn!! The wind became light & from the north (on the nose now) so we motored slowly along the eastern coastline, passing through Pegasus Bay on the way. Some seals, drizzling rain and mist, calm inlets, and a very prehistoric feel about the place.  We exited through Whale Passage & continued up the east coast against a head wind & current.  It was obvious that we wouldn't reach Bluff, the port of entry, until about 3am, and since there is an axceptionally strong tide running in & out of the harbour, we thought it best to anchor overnight & enter in daylight.  Accordingly we pressed on to Port Adventure & anchored in Oyster cove at about 5.30 pm, What a joy to be in a safe & sheltered cove & get a good night's sleep - we had barely slept on the previous night prior to landfall.  We hailed a fisherman, Bob from Mana & he kindly notified Bluff Fisherman's Radio of our arrival. He also advised that it was high tide at Bluff tomorrow at 11 am, & it would be blowing 30 - 40 knots!!!!!

We set the alarm for 5am and got away while it was still dark for the final 30 miles into Bluff. The wind was screaming out of Port Adventure & we sailed under the small staysail only keeping as close to the land as possible to make our way north, before bearing away accross Foveaux Straits to Bluff. Our chart plotter shows a line in the direction that we are actually travelling, so it was obvious that we were aiming 30 - 40 degrees up current to avoid being swept past Bluff. It was about the the most boisterous coastal passage we have ever made. The wind eased back to 25 - 30 knots as we crossed the last part of the straits & we had to heave to with no sail up to wait 20 minutes or so for a ship to exit the chanel at Bluff - we have to comply with direction from Harbour Control at various ports - just as well we have a VHF radio now! With a clear channel we motored directly AT the Bluff from 200 metres away, the current sweeping us around the corner & into the channel.

Finally we were out of the very confused seas (10 ft,short & sharp) and tied up alongside the fisherman's wharf, (piles which require timber planks / fenderboards over our fenders to rub up & down the piles). The Customs officer was waiting for us, and a few minutes later the Quarantine officer, so we filled in all the paperwork, answered all the questions, empties cupboards of food & handed in any items that were subject to quarantine (our bottled meat - we arrived with more than we intended, anything that was not in it's original sealed package, anything that might sprout, mung beans, dried broad beans etc.) Customs were happy with our decision to anchor overnight rather than risk a night time entry with lack of sleep into a difficult harbour. Fortunately there was no charge for Customs or Quarantine. (Expect to pay $300 plus for Quarantine in Australia during offince hours, $600 plus on a Saturday!!)

So began our time in Bluff.