Paddle across the notorious bass Strait, via the Eastern route, in preparation for our upcoming trans Tasman expedition.
- James Castrission
- Justin Jones
Distance Covered: approx 350km
Days paddling: 9 days
Hands down the BEST pound for pound trip that I have ever been on. I get asked a lot whether I would do the Tasman or the Antarctic journey again…to which I always answer WHY would I bother doing something for a second time when there are SO MANY other cool trips to do. This trip would have to be one of those exceptions to the rule.
Most people spend a year planning their Bass Strait. Cas and I took a month. At first this adventure was just going to be a training trip for the Tasman and a box we ticked to prove that we were serious paddlers. (I think we were trying to prove that to the general paddling community as well as ourselves), but it has since become the benchmark that I weigh all other adventures again.
We paddled from Port Welshpool on Main land Australia to Little Musselroe bay on Tasmania via Refuge Cove (Wilson’s Promontory), Hogan Island, Deal Island, Killiecrankie (Flinder’s Island) and Trouser Point (Flinder’s Island).
We initially had a hiccup at the start of the journey, when I got extremely sick and we had to hol;e up for 3 days in a cabin whilst I recovered…what was it? I’m not too sure but let’s just say that it was coming out at both ends. Not pretty ;(
We took 9 days to paddle the strait even with us having to have a forced rest day on Hogan Island and two at Killiecrankie due to bad weather.
The islands that we camped on were stunning in their own unique way.
Hogan Island was completely uninhabited…well with the exception of a 30 cattle, tonnes of mice, a colony of Fairy…sorry Little Penguins and the odd Cape Barren Goose. We had the run of an old herders cottage that became our home for two nights as we waited for the weather to improve.
On Deal Island we shared our campsite with Wallabies. Low on water we trekked across the island to the Deal Island lighthouse keepers house. How’s this for a good deal…you can put your hand up to become a caretaker of the island and have all your expenses paid whilst you man the light house and watch the world pass you by (on the to do list for sure!).
We spent two nights at Killicrankie on Flinder’s Island due to gail force weather, and met a chap that gave us a lift across the island to Whitemark so we could grab a pub meal, all we had to do for him was move a cabinet…2 hours of back-breaking work later (we ended up moving his entire shop for him) we finally were able to tuck into a quiet beer and schnitzel.
In typical Cas and Jonesy style, we had planned the crossing extremely well but didn’t have much of clue what to do when we reached the other side! A friend of mine from uni days had offered to pick us up but we had neglected to get maps or directions to this non-descript bay on Tassie’s coast. Luckily I had looked at some maps when we were at the map shop[ 3 weeks earlier and somehow managed to remember how to direct someone along the roads to our spot! (Thanks Esra for the lift back to civilisation!)
Interestingly we came across the worst seas on a day with a fairly benign weather outlook. The tides cause huge currents to roar across the strait from East to West and reverse. When they hit a land mass the currents then flow north and south. Coming around one point on Flinder’s Island we had the wind opposing the direction of the current and although we were only expecting seas of 1m or so were shocked to find ourselves in standing waves of around 3-4metres…glad we didn’t roll
We paddled a double Pittarak kayak across Bass Strait. It was the third time this kayak had crossed the strait and she took great care of us!