A gentle breeze drifted down the still waters of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel providing just enough wind to fill our sails and push Sea G along her course at a leisurely 3 knots. This comfortable walking pace complemented the early morning and we watched the mist rise over the mountains and the sun gleam gold on their remnant snow capped tips.
We followed a couple of fishing boats heading south, their wake forming an unbroken ripple across the gossamer sheen surface of the water. Rugged, densely forested slopes flanked both sides of the Channel, broken only occasionally by a cleared landholding supporting cattle, sheep or a sea side shack. The scenery was magnificent and we took pleasure in watching it pass. The vista we enjoyed was no doubt comparable to that of the majestic sea birds that soared across the terrain.
After passing the entrance to the Huon River where we looked out for seals amongst the cluster of fish farms, we hugged the shores of Bruny Island. The sandy beaches of Tinpot Point and Mickeys Bay beckoned, bathed in sunshine they looked tempting but the boat instruments gauged the water temperature at a mere 16.5 degrees so we sailed on.
We dropped our sails as the wind died out in the protected waters of Great Taylors Bay. We anchored off Lighthouse Jetty Beach and lowered the dingy to head to the beach where several people sunbathed on the white sand wearing bikinis and board shorts. We tied the dingy to a log that had fallen from the forest that fringed the beach. A few young men went swimming; they splashed their limbs vigorously and shouted with exhilaration after plunging into the cool water.
The walking track we sought started in the far the corner of the beach. You could either follow the 90 minute Luggabone Circuit or take 5 hour Labillardiere Peninsula Circuit. We opted for the shorter circuit which passed through heathland covered in wildflowers as well as Melaleuca, Banksia and She-oak filled gullies where Christmas Bells and Mountain Blue Berries flashed brightly in the undergrowth. The opposite side of the peninsula offered views across the silver water to the midnight blue mountains of mainland Tasmania.
On return to our dingy we took a ride along the bay to inspect Taylors Reef. The dingy skimmed across the bay at some 20 knots and we held on tight, our sunglasses pressed against our nose, caps off and hair flying about our heads. Jamie throttled down as we approached the reef where branches of giant kelp reached languidly toward the surface from the seabed. Giant crabs, there white undersides flashing in the depths could be seen scuttling across the rocks below us as we motored slowly around the reef. Although shadowed by twilight and the kelp forest, the water was clear enough for us to see fish darting between the seaweed.
Back on board the yacht we dropped a line in the water and were rewarded with a couple of flathead which supplemented our evening meal. Night descended and the glow of the stars, uninterrupted by ambient light, was brilliant. After identifying some of the more obvious constellations and musing on the role of the stars as a navigational aid, we crept into our cabins and fell asleep to the sound of crustaceans crackling along Sea G’s hull.