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Old 25-11-2014, 20:31   #1
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Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

Kangaroo Island, or "KI" for short, is Australia's 3rd-largest island and a sailing paradise. There are countless bays and coves along the North Coast to explore and three all-weather anchorages: Kingscote, Penneshaw and American River.

During summer, S or E winds tend to prevail along the Kangaroo Island coast, so conditions are well suited to North Coast anchorages. Just be prepared to weigh anchor if the wind swings to the N. Most of the South Coast of Kangaroo Island exposed to the full fury of the Southern Ocean and is to be avoided in S or E winds.

Kingscote
Kingscote is the Island's capital and largest town. Just north of town, the Bay of Shoals (35°38.2'S 137°37.7'E) offers shelter from all directions, although strong northerlies will generate some chop due to fetch across the wide bay. The Bay of Shoals Winery is a short walk up the hill from the boat ramp.

If it gets too bumpy, move to the lee of the Beatrice Islets (35°39.1'S 137°40.6'E). The Islets, which offer shelter from N through SE, are part of a large drying sand bank which stretches in a southeasterly direction from Cape Rouge (35°35.81'S 137°37.61'E) across the seaward (eastern) side of the Bay.

Penneshaw
Penneshaw, the second largest town on the Island, has a delightful little harbour at Christmas Cove (35°43.05'S 137°56.0'E), within easy walking distance of the town. A strong NW wind will bring some seas through the opening into the cove though. The town center and the "Penny" pub is a short walk.

American River
The River, as locals call it, is the finest all-weather anchorage on the Island, offering shelter from all directions. The narrow channel opens up into voluminous Pelican Lagoon, which produces strong tidal currents. Make sure you have an anchor which is capable of resetting itself, otherwise borrow a mooring.

These 3 safe anchorages are all great starting points for your Kangaroo Island explorations. If you're sailing to South Australia, definitely don't miss it.
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Old 25-11-2014, 22:27   #2
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

KI is a terrific destination, and the local trick is to make use of the Katabatic Winds, combined with a good SE air stream, to get down there from Adelaide.

Katabatic wind - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is not uncommon around our club to see yachts heading out of the pond at about 20:00 hrs, for a fast, smooth ride down to K.I. Older heavy boats like ours particularly benefit from the conditions, and some of the best sails I have enjoyed have come from hugging the shore line with the Katabatic driving me along. The ability to stay close to shore is particularly beneficial to us as our boat is sensitive to chop or short wave motion.

I have been watching the weather forecasts for a couple of days now, looking for a particularly suitable weather pattern, and Thursday night looks near perfect for us, maybe more wind than is useful for a faster modern boat, but enough to get our old tub hustling along at an acceptable pace. The 68 mile journey would feel like a quick stroll.

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Old 25-11-2014, 23:01   #3
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

Good information, thanks scruzin and GILow
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Old 26-11-2014, 22:57   #4
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

Sailing overnight as GILow says is definitely a good option if you're pressed for time - and don't mind sailing through the night. Unfortunately doing so you miss the beautiful Southern Fleurieu Peninsula scenery. If you have more time, I recommend doing it in two stages. First day: Sail from Adelaide to Marina St Vincent, more commonly known as "Wirrina Cove". Second day: Sail from Wirrina to KI.
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Old 26-11-2014, 23:13   #5
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

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Sailing overnight as GILow says is definitely a good option if you're pressed for time - and don't mind sailing through the night. Unfortunately doing so you miss the beautiful Southern Fleurieu Peninsula scenery. If you have more time, I recommend doing it in two stages. First day: Sail from Adelaide to Marina St Vincent, more commonly known as "Wirrina Cove". Second day: Sail from Wirrina to KI.
Yes, a beautiful view the whole way up and well worth sticking close enough to land to enjoy it properly.

For those with a choice, coming North during the day is often the best bet anyway, with the regular-as-clockwork SW coming in each afternoon giving a lively boost to any sailing boat. Having made the run in 9 hours with a snorting SW the whole way I can say it was exciting, if not particularly comfortable. Thos sorts of speeds on our boat are not easily or comfortably sustained.

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Old 29-11-2014, 03:41   #6
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

Thanks again. Anyone been over to the Port Lincoln area, Coffin Bya, Streaky Bay etc? Worth a trip?


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Old 29-11-2014, 04:39   #7
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

The sailing around Port Vincent is superb, Boston Bay is a delightful enclosure, with rolling hills coming down to the water, smooth water. I have experienced some superb racing sailing there, and my one regret at selling our Austral 20 trailer yacht is that Coffin Bay no longer appears to be an option for us. I am not sure if a keel boat can be taken in there safely, my charts make it look difficult if not impractical.

I have yet to sail the Joseph Banks group of Islands, but everyone I have spoken to who has done so assures me they are serene and picturesque. I have flown over them a few times and every time I wanted to leap out of the plane and sink my toes in the sand.

Streaky Bay is a good harbour, but I sort of see it mainly as a launching point to the Great Australian Bight and all that it has to offer. Good shelter and provisioning for those tracking the coast around the Bight. A friendly little town too.

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Old 29-11-2014, 12:43   #8
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

I lived in Coffin Bay for eight and a half years before moving south of Adelaide last christmas. Some great places over there. We regularly stayed at Halls bay, about half way to Elliston on the notth side of Point Drummond. From there an easy trip over to Flinders and Pearson islands.
Memory Cove and Thisle Island is also worth a look.
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Old 29-11-2014, 13:27   #9
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Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

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The sailing around Port Vincent is superb, Boston Bay is a delightful enclosure, with rolling hills coming down to the water, smooth water.

I meant Port LINCOLN darn it. Why do I always get those two towns confused?


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Old 29-11-2014, 13:29   #10
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

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I lived in Coffin Bay for eight and a half years before moving south of Adelaide last christmas. Some great places over there.

Bricky, can you comment on the navigability of Coffin Bay by keel boats?

Matt


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Old 29-11-2014, 17:49   #11
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

I have never had first hand experience regarding keel boats in Coffin Bay.
We have a small cat which draws just under a metre.
I do know plenty of monohulls visit and a couple i knew had their 50 footer moored there.
From memory i think he drew about 1.8m.
Also the Pilly boats use Coffins to unload their catch....I imagine they would need a bit of water.
The only time I have touched the bottom was following the markers out near Farm Beach.
Almost all boats, me included take a short cut and stay close to Point Longnose.
Once inside the bay just follow the markers.
Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 16-12-2014, 14:53   #12
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

I just returned from another sailing trip to the North Coast of Kangaroo Island and visited a couple of coves for the first time.

King George Beach

Location: 35°39’S 137°7.1’E
Anchoring: over sand

Also known as "Hawk's Nest," this is a pretty little cove for 1 or 2 boats, which offers protection from NE through S winds. There is a sandy beach. It is completely exposed to any westerly winds or swell. The beach houses behind the dunes detract slightly from beauty of the location though.

Knob Point

Location: 35°36.5'S 137°13.9'E
Anchoring: over sand

There is a tiny cove just south of this distinctive point, large enough for one 1 boat, which offers excellent protection from easterly winds from N through S. There is a sandy beach and the fishing is reportedly very good here, although we were not so lucky. Lathami Conservation Park, where endangered Glossy Black Cockatoos can be found, lies a short distance south of the cove.

Mares Tail

Location: 35°36.1’S 137°16.1’E

This cove, ~1.5 nautical miles E of Knob Point, is much more open than the other two, facing north, but offers protection from the southerly winds from E through W. It's therefore an alternative to Knob Point should the wind shift to the W.

NB: We sailed by this cove without stopping, but satellite imagery suggests anchoring is over sand.
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Old 25-01-2015, 19:08   #13
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

We spent 6 weeks in Coffin Bay last summer. Sailed around from Lincoln after visiting the Banks Group. Just as far from Lincoln to Coffin as Lincoln to Adelaide.
Spectacular coast with scary names - for good reason. Not many boats sail around. The bit around Cape Catastrophe is the most uneasy piece of sea I've ever seen, much worse than the Wide Bay Bar. Huge outgoing water flow meets SW swell. Messy even with no wind, but just choose your time carefully and it's fine.
Coffin Bay is fabulous. Excellent fish, oysters and cockles abound. Lovely walk around the town. You need a mooring in the township as the channel is crowded.
We are on a cat and draw 1.1m but friends came in their keel boat and draw 1.6m.
Use the tides to get over the shallow patch in the channel near Farm Beach, then ride the tide all the way in. Time delays from entry to town are over 2 hours.
Watch that last port marker near town - yes it is port marker, no matter how much wider it looks the other side.
Quite an adventure, well worth it.


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Old 26-01-2015, 02:17   #14
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

Teeto, thank you for posting your notes on Coffin Bay. Yes, scary names all around that part of the world, not least of which is Coffin Bay.


Between your notes and Briky's it seems it is better than it appears on my charts.


Funny you should post when you did, I was just thinking about the Great Australian Bight today, and wondering why I have not seen much in the way of comments on the sailing conditions in that part of the world. Coffin Bay would be one of the logical steps on the journey from Adelaide.


Food for thought for me at least...


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Old 26-01-2015, 02:53   #15
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Re: Cruising South Australia: Kangaroo Island anchorages

The channel in is well marked. Only a couple of small takeaway type shops and a pub in Coffin Bay. The locals drive 30 minutes to Lincoln to shop. We were offered a car to borrow! Very friendly.
If you go into Streaky Bay, shopping is good. Very nice spot.
I don't know how to message you on this forum but a good friend has written an excellent blog on this stretch of coast.


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