With the ship now replenished with fresh provisions, an extra 2,000 ltrs of fuel contained in portable fuel cells and both the main fuel tanks full, the
ship was once again ready for departure.
Discussions had also been held to obtain local knowledge regarding transiting the South Passage. This would save at least a day off our passage time south
compared to rounding Cape Inscription again.
Lines were let go at midday and we were on our way once again. At 17.40hrs we reduced speed and were crossing the South Passage Inner Bar where we
found a least depth under keel of 1.7 mtrs. The Outer bar was crossed at 20.05hrs where a least depth under keel of 4.3 mtrs was recorded.
The photos above show our track over both the bars. No swell was encountered over the Outer Bar but we started to run into it and moderate head seas
after rounding Steep Point. Overnight and through the morning we managed an average speed of 2.0kts. Our noon position on Sunday 30th October was
Lat 26 34.9S, Long 113 16.5E.
The weather continued to turn against us and we were battling a 3 to 4 metre swell and moderate head seas for the next 4 days.
Noon Position on Monday 31st October was Lat 27 12.4S, Long 113 39.8E with days run of 42.9 miles at average speed 1.79kts.
Noon Position on Tuesday 1st November was Lat 27 42.9S, Long 113 55.9E with days run of 33.7 miles at average speed 1.4kts.
Noon Position on Wednesday 2nd November was Lat 28 32.6S, Long 114.22.0E with days run of 55 miles at average speed 2.29kts. Today the decision was
made to call in at Dongara to wait until the weather moderated and to enable those crew members who had to be back in Perth to travel back overland.
The ship arrived and berthed at Dongara on Thursday 3rd November. We were all fast alongside at 09.10hrs. The remainder of the day was spent recovering
from the ordeal of the past 4 days. We also had the luxury of accommodation ashore.
On Friday 4th November the morning was spent sending down the topsails to reduce windage for the next leg southwards. New replacement crew members
arrived mid-afternoon and the main fuel tanks were topped up and fresh provisions purchased. As the weather report for Saturday was more favourable
it was decided to leave at 08.00hrs.
Saturday 5th November
Lines were duly cast off at 08.00hrs and we made our way out of the harbour for the final leg south.
At noon our position was Lat 29 28.5S, Long 114 45.0E, having covered 16.5 miles at an average speed of 4.6 kts since clearing Dongara. Good
progress and speed continued for the next 24 hrs in spite of a moderate swell and seas and at noon on Sunday 6th November our position was Lat
31 00.1S, Long 114 56.4E, having a day’s run of 92.1 miles at an average speed of 3.84kts.
Monday morning found us entering Gage Roads and passing North Mole en-route to the Fishing Boat Harbour and soon after 10.00hrs we were approaching
the Sardine Jetty. We were all fast alongside by 10.30hrs and so completed a journey that had begun 10 weeks previously. During this time just
under 15,000 people had stepped on board to tour the ship together with 4,000 school children.
In conclusion, I would like to express my thanks to all the crew members who participated at various stages during the voyage. It was a tremendous
team effort under harsh and trying conditions at times and an achievement we should all be proud of.