Making Plans...Keeping to Schedules

great australian bight  

Most people think that living on a boat and sailing around the world is a pretty carefree life. Oh sure, there are the maintenance issues, but for the most part, we can come and go as we please. It's really not so. Our passages are most times governed by weather and the season. Currently, our plans include crossing the Great Australian Bight (GAB). It needs to be timed to catch the east winds that will take us across and now's the season for the easterlies.

As much as we'd like to dawdle longer at Kangaroo Island (KI), we need to get a move-on. We put together a schedule which will allow us to stop at a few ports along the way, but we're reluctant to deviate much from the plan. The 600 nm passage across the GAB is not trivial. It's an open Southern Ocean passage with no place to stop in between. This span of the Western Australia southern coast offers no ports and few safe havens. Sailing during a good weather window is crucial. The window extends through March, but if we miss the window, it evaporates quickly into predominant westerlies until next austral Spring.

So, our itinerary after KI? Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsular for a week, Streaky Bay for a few days, perhaps Ceduna on the east end of the GAB, and then a crossing at first opportunity. We're hoping to be across to the Recherche Archipelago and Esperance by mid-late March.

Then we start planning all over again for the trip around Cape Leeuwin, one of the Great Southern Capes, and the passage up Australia's west coast and eventually across the Indian Ocean. We're looking at a great year ahead of us!