Lake Pedder Raid

Andy Bullock writes: 

A contingent from the LBT recently undertook a raid on Lake Pedder, enjoying a halcyon three days between a wind-swept Dover regatta and the cold, rainy weather that subsequently prevailed. Lake Pedder is a truly magnificent and beautiful cruising area; the lake is ringed by rugged, jagged mountains while the extensive waterway has an abundance of bays, inlets, and islands to explore. The participating boats were “Freyja” the St Ayles skiff, with a borrowed sailing rig, “Hop the Wag”, a Bay Raider 20, a lovely, newly-launched Herreschoff Cochina clinker dinghy from Launceston, named “Shep” in honour of a beloved dog, and my sea kayak. Most people camped at Ted’s Beach, near the northern end of the lake, but a couple of softies, including yours truly, stayed at nearby Pedder Lodge.

The boats were launched on the morning after arrival, and set off across the Lake in sunshine and light airs, Freyja being rowed by a hearty crew with occasional assistance from the lugsail. We passed close to the north of Wilmot Island and entered Wilmot Bay, eventually landing on a quartz beach on the far side, where we were joined by the other two boats. Carnivorous plants were observed on the foreshore, as well as the footprints of what was conjectured to be a rather larger carnivore generally presumed extinct. After an extended lunch the vessels set forth again entering the next bay north through a fairly narrow entrance. The amateur naturalists aboard Freyja made all sorts of interesting discoveries around the shoreline. Hop the Wag led the way into a gorge surrounded by steep, densely timbered land. A Huon pine tree and a waterfall were highlights. Finally, in the late afternoon, a light but steady breeze came up and we were able to recross the lake under sail, with the wind astern.

The following day there was a morning fog that burnt off as the day warmed. Freyja, Hop the Wag, and Shep headed south towards Hermit’s Basin, while I launched my kayak at the far eastern end of this Basin, which is filled with islands, and paddled westwards through Stillwater Passage. I found it a bit eery, as well as lovely, to glide alone through the deep, silent, cold, tannin-stained water of the channels, among islands formed from the tips of drowned mountains. To be honest I got a bit lost, until I rounded a point and came across Shep, being navigated with the aid of Navionics, whose crew gave me a fix. That night a celebratory final meal was enjoyed by the raiders at the lodge; in the morning we departed this wilderness paradise ahead of the inclement weather approaching.