We had a difficult decision leaving Gove to head west. There are several island penninsulas going NE-SW between us and points west. The end point to the far NorthEast (NE) is Cape Wessel. We could go all the way around that point and back down towards the coast going west – 175 nautical miles or so. Or, we could go through several cuts in the islands and only go about 100 miles. But, the latter requires timing because of tides and currents through these cuts. And, given when high tide was today, we would have to wait an extra 18 hours or so to go the shorter route.
Early this morning, our friend Vic on m/v Sea Change came over in his dinghy and said we should leave now and go with a third alternative we had discussed as a remote possibility the night before. Turns out we could just make it there right at high tide, which is the only way you could go that route. The third route has us going through Hole in the Wall a narrow canyon cut between two islands that has treacherous high currents during tidal changes. But, at slack tide you can get through there.
The map below shows the three possible routes. The middle red one is the one we chose at the last minute. The green placemark in the middle shows the location of Hole in the Wall. You should zoom in to see this interesting geological cut between the islands.:
View Route problem in a larger map
We headed out quickly from the Gove harbour under motor. Then we had a perfect down wind angle seemingly so we raised our spinnaker. It worked great! The morning sun heated things up and we had winds about 15-20 knots and were soon average 7-8 knots. Later, with the flood tide, we were doing 9-10 knots. Past the first cuts we went straight through with our spinnaker doing 10.5 knots speed over ground. Awesome!
A bit later, we had to take down the spinnaker and slow ourselves down. We don’t want to arrive at the hole in the wall before the slack tide. So, we put out a little jib sail and are moving along at about 5 knots the final 10 miles or so.
We’ll let you know in a later post how the cut through hole in the wall goes! But, we will soon lose our internet connection for a few hours.