The canal will save 6-8 hours rounding Tasman Is.
Reviewed Jul 2016
I use the canal at Dunalley frequently. Around 5-8 times every year. It saves me 10+ hours of motoring at 7 knots. I can leave Hobart and arrive at Maria Island in under 8 hours, providing the tide and opening times align. The operator (Denison Canal) is located in Dunalley, and can be hailed on VHF16. He will then respond and recommend a channel. I suggest an hour before your intended transit and again a 5 minutes out. If your draft is less than 2 meters and you follow advice, your will have no problems.
Slack high water in the canal with wind and weather conditions is 2 hours and 16 minutes after Hobart high tide. I prefer to arrive at the swing bridge that crosses the canal about 1-1/2 hours after Hobart high tide. This means that just outside the canal the water is starting to drop, but is still flowing into Blackman Bay. At 5 knots you can transit Blackman Bay to the Marion Bay Narrows and arrive there before the strong outrunning current stands the swell up too much. Information on the approaches can be located at (http://www.mast.tas.gov.au/recreational/speed-operational-areas/bridge-transits-denison-canal/).
The township of Dunalley is quite small, with a pub, a general store and a fuel station. It is possible to tie up at the town wharf, but a few fishing boats use this as home port and you may need to raft up. If you are on the wharf, you are protected from SW through to N winds. If you have to anchor off the wharf, the most fetch is from the ENE and is up to about 3 miles. If you are using the canal to transit to Maria Island or Orford, you should allow 3 hours of travel time at 5 knots. If you are heading to Hobart, there are good protective anchorages in several locations, just to the south of the canal. Dunbabbin Point, Connellys Marsh and Lime or Monk Bays, all good holding but dependent on wind direction.
Don't use the Marion Narrow durng strong N-NE winds
Black mud at Dunalley