The day starts as most seem to in the roaring forties – windy. Its blowing so hard we are considering staying here for another night. I sit on the coach roof and do my ablutions – shave with the electric razor, brush the teeth, slop the block out on. We finally pull the anchor up around midday and head out around the point. The wind is blowing around 14 knots from the north east, so we close haul up the coast. We soon pass Mount Chappell Island, named by Matthew Flinders after his wife Ann. After being at sea since Boxing Day, I kind of understand why it may have reminded him of her, but I leave it to you gentle reader to be the judge of that. I will simply show you the photo.
Flinders took command of Investigator at the age of 27. Little did he know when he sailed in 1801 that he would not see his wife of three months for another nine years. Two years after that they had a daughter, and two years later he died of what historians suspect was renal failure. He was just forty years old. His daughter Anne never had any recollection of her father.
The Strzelecki Range recedes as we close haul up the coast. It is not the easiest coast to navigate, there are shoals and reefs everywhere. I prefer to use paper charts than the chart plotter, and occasionally resort to the hand compass to check a bearing from a local feature, but it all goes well. It is perfect sailing, just like in the brochures. We pass Wybalenna, I can almost hear the ghosts calling out and a chill goes down my spine. We fly across Marshall Bay, with Cape Franklin at its northern tip and tuck in to the only shelter in all weather on the north of Flinders Island, a beach behind Roydon Island in the Pasco Group. Flinders named Cape Franklin after his cousin Samuel who sailed with him on Investigator. It is a pretty place, in fact the whole island is a feast for the eyes. Tomorrow, if the weather is good we are going to make the passage half way across Bass Strait to Deal Island. I set to work on a passage plan, trying to work out the tides, which flow through the strait at around 2 knots, and we need to give Endeavour Reef and Wakatipu Rock a wide berth. We eat chicken and polenta for dinner as the wind howls in the rigging. The roaring forties are still roaring.