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Melbourne/Tasmania Bass Strait


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On a Caribbean cruise in January,  we were in astonishingly glass-like waters while traveling between Aruba and Grand Cayman. My manicurist and I discussed other seas--calm and rough--that we experienced; she said the worst she'd been in, besides Drake's Passage, was Bass Strait between Vistoria (Melbourne) and Tasmania. Whoa! We'll apparently be passing through next February on our way out of Melbourne to the Pacific--and back! Anybody have experience? How long does the ship actually stay in this "notoriously rough" water (sez Wikipedia)?

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It can be a little rough as you come through the heads out of Port Phillip Bay into Bass Strait but unless there is a low coming through it is unlikely to be too bad. We have sailed out in both November and March and it wasn't too bad, You sail relatively close to the coast as you head into the Tasman Sea. If you are prone to seasickness take medication as soon as you are onboard and you should be fine.

 

Leigh

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Depends where you are going, I have crossed Bass Strait many times, some as smooth as glass, others some of the roughest seas I have sailed, including the tail end of a cyclone where a balcony cabin had it’s door smashed on deck 7. I think you said February, which is usually smoother conditions.

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We were on the Ovation Of The Seas from Sydney to Hobart.

 Ovation is 18 stories high and there was spray going right over the ship ,it was really impressive and fun .The waves were huge but the ship just punched through them .

There was green water going over the bow and a lot of green faces but I think alcohol may have something to do with it.

The captain said it was some of the roughest sea he had seen.

It only really lasted for a few hours and died off.

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If you are heading from a Melbourne to the Pacific Islands, you won’t get the worst of it, but if you have motion sickness start your medications before you board, the Tasman sea can also get pretty rough at times. But like any seas can vary greatly.

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If you are travelling on a massive cruise ship the cutlery might wiggle a bit on the table cloth. 
If you are on the ferry - it can be awesome. On one of my first trips in the 70s the back doors came open and cars went to the bottom of the strait and the ferry went into dry dock for considerable repairs. We had dinner with the captain about a decade later and he said that night was still the toughest crossing in his career. 
If you are travelling on a yacht it can be fantastically rough. 
 

There have only been roughly 1000 shipwrecks in the Bass Strait since early 1800s. None of them include current day cruise ships. 
 

I'm guessing you will be on a large cruise ship with stabilisers etc and will barely notice it. I usually have to stand outside and check the ocean to make sure I am actually moving. I prefer smaller vessels where I can actually feel the ocean. 

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  • 2 months later...

Been across it a few times without heavy weather, but our last cruise in February we bypassed Melbourne and went from Hobart to Sydney.

 

Biggest issue is that it is comparatively shallow, so wave heights are increased.

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  • 1 month later...

We came through the Heads in January and it wasn't particularly rough.  However, I watched the pilot leave our ship and transfer to the pilot boat, which was definitely hitting some waves.  The operation took about a half hour, which is pretty long for a pilot transfer in most areas.  However, I didn't feel much on the cruise ship at all.  And I got to see a rather amazing (to me) display of coastal lighthouses on the shore as we left the Heads. 

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