Harrowing Journeys Part #2

Monday, 7 October 2013

So. As I was saying...as we were packing the car in the morning I did notice that the wind was picking up but this wasn't bothering me - last year we drove to Coles Bay in high winds and everything was fine - although we were a little nervous about crossing the Tasman Bridge but as the wind was a tailwind we didn't have any problems. I had tied the boat on with double straps to be extra secure.

So on Saturday we ended up leaving home at about 8.15am and stopped for petrol on the way so we were approaching the Tasman Bridge at about 8.45am..  Now I should mention that for us to get to Coles Bay at all we need to cross the river - we have three choices - the Tasman Bridge - which is by far the quickest but being quite high up,it's also the most exposed. The Bowen Bridge - a bit out of the way, but it's a flat crossing, and Bridgewater Bridge which would have involved an extra hour of traveling. Anyway - as we were left the petrol station it was clear that it was actually pretty bloody windy, and Jon and I had a brief discussion about whether we should cross the Tasman Bridge or the Bowen Bridge. We decided we'd probably be fine going over the Tasman Bridge - we were last year.  As we got past the Cenotaph it was clear that it was actually REALLY REALLY windy, and not a headwind, but the worst sort, a side-wind.  We sort of felt committed at this point (although we could have actually bailed out - we just thought that by hoping it would be ok, that it actually would be ok).   So as it happened, on this occasion, fortune favoured the stupid as in the final approach to the bridge, a bus heading for Cambridge appeared just behind us.  Jonno and I both thought the same thing... wind-shield!  Jonno manouvered the car into the lane next to the bus and we stayed in the lee of it the whole way over the bridge and we didn't feel a thing. Easy Peasy.  Looking back at the weather observations at that time we had in fact avoided 70k an hour winds with gusts of up to 83k.  In hindsight there's no way we would have made it without incident and on a six lane bridge I can't even bear to think about the possible consequences of having a 6 metre boat bouncing around the road.  Life changing I suspect, and not in a good way.

Right - so whilst congratulating ourselves on our smarts (how ironic) we carried on towards midway point.  Going past the Cambridge shopping area we stopped to check all the straps - while Jon did that I ran into Repco Auto Parts to get something for my boat. As I searched for my item I noticed all the roof straps that they sold and wondered if it would be worth grabbing some since all our extra ones were burried under many hours worth of packing. Nah - I thought, we'll be fine..

So off we went again. The next section of the journey involved two low causeway crossings.   Heading on to the first one it suddenly looked pretty daunting..


The road was wet from the wind sweeping the water over it.  A few seconds later we were hit with the first of many waves..

 Holy hell this was not going to be good, and sure enough, from about halfway across the causeway the boat started banging around and moving wildly from left to right.  We'd slowed right down already - there wasn't any more we could do but hope it and the roofracks stayed on. We put on the hazards and slowly progressed to the little parking bay on the other side of the causeway.. to be continued..