Portland, Victoria - en route and arrival

to portland victoria off king island  

We had planned an early start, but you know how that goes. It was still dark at 0600 and quite chilly. Our bed was warm. We reasoned there was no rush since the weekly island supply ship was due that morning, usually arrived about 0630-0700, and took up a good portion of the harbor getting situated. We didn't want to meet her in the entry pass. So it was that we got up late, Searoad Mersey arrived late and we had a bit of late start. Schedules tend to elude us.


king island to portland victoria range markers


Portland is an overnight away. The weather forecast called for several days of favorable weather and for once, the forecast held true and, in fact, the icy south winds arrived earlier than scheduled. The exit through the pass was a bit exhilarating, reminiscent of some Polynesian atolls we visited. Waves were crashing on reefs and shoals all around us. Three sets of range markers helped us find the clear, narrow path through it all, to the calm on the other side. There's always a quick adrenaline rush as you commit to the channel and then there are a few minutes of tumultuous water and you're in the clear. Whew!


king island to portland victoria leaving king


Dolphins stopped by to bid us adieu. Just a few though, nothing like on our arrival. They're better at welcomes than goodbyes. Then we were skirting along King's east coast, a few miles off, with beaches and heavy surf clearly visible. Far enough off to avoid the shipwrecks and the flies!

The wind was fresh and just off the port beam. We tooled along with jib alone at 7 kts. The southern swells seemed huge (5-6m / 15-20') as we surfed down into a trough and then up again. It was hard to stand watch since things appeared on the wave crests and then disappeared again as we sank into the troughs. The radar and AIS served us well identifying freighters and oil rigs along our path long before we could see them. The wind remained steady and cold through the night. We kept up our speed and track with little adjustment to the lonely jib which was earning its keep. No drama … the best kind of passage. Despite the late start, our arrival in Portland was earlier than expected. We covered the 189 nm, anchorage to anchorage, in ~30 hours. For us, a quick trip.


king island to portland victoria woodchip piles


Three ships were anchored off Portland, another was stationary, waiting for its harbor pilot. A seal greeted us in just outside the port, one flipper up and a peeking head. We had a moment of anxiety when we started the engine to enter the breakwater and the low fuel alarm sounded. It seems with all of our jouncing about during the night, an air bubble crept into the fuel line requiring a quick burp, then all was well.

The harbor is situated behind a large, protective breakwater and turning the corner heading towards the yacht club was a pleasant respite from the rolling waters on the other side. Several ships were loading and unloading at the wharf. Huge piles of wood chips and stacks of timber lined the dock and the air smelled of fresh-cut wood.


king island to portland victoria marina


We were surprised to see a large, unoccupied marina in the process of being built. Not only was it not shown on our charts, but it took up a good portion of the anchorage area in the northwest harbor. The inner harbor near the yacht club appeared full of local boats and the two free moorings we spotted were not suitable for Cups. We reconnoitered for nearly half an hour before finally deciding on a good spot. The hook set well in the mud. Sano y salvo, the Spanish say. Too tired for exploring today, but tomorrow maybe.


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My Way Day
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