Leaving, Melbourne to Eden.

Leaving Melbourne and Queenscliff to the pub.

31May2010

 

It’s an interesting thing leaving on a long trip, sort of melancholy and exciting all at the same time but that’s the way of things.  After all of the work and effort over the preceding months it all seemed like something of an anti-climax when the time actually arrived to caste off the lines and watch the city drop over the horizon. But then again we did have a very good going away party on the previous Sunday at the skippers place and the days were not going to get any warmer in the immediate future. We had also waited an extra three or four days while a nasty, viscious, east-coast low savaged the NSW coast but that did give us time to recover from the party.  The boat was still at Stuart’s yard up the Yarra and with our farewell party at hand, (the skipper’s mum and dad, Sandi, Stuart, Ray and Bobby), the intrepid mariners dropped the lines and headed off for the 35 odd miles to Queenscliff and straight to the pub.  Our crew for this most demanding of legs was the Skipper, Dave (special) of St Kilda fame, Gini from both Denmark and the UK with a most interesting accent, Gerry of St Kilda who paints and Leif from Germany who knows how to fix engines and one feels, most other things.  Dave and Gerry were plotting to help move the boat to Eden where from they would bus and train home. Two more crew were planning to come aboard in Eden, Zoe from Bendigo who likes to travel and is a friend of Gini and Tin who is very French and travels with an extraordinary amount of luggage (and 7 pairs of shoes)!!!

Big thanks to everyone who helped get the boat organised to go, Paul Bartly, Stuart and the lads at the yard, Sandi, Leif and Gini with help and pre-departure assist and Raelene and the skippers parents for letting him yet again move large quantities of possessions to their place. Also to everyone who came to the going away, great party guys, big thanks to Kristen, Trish and John for setting up and cleaning and Dave Moll, Warren, Allen and Rachel for the great music. We’ll miss you all!

Queenscliff to the Prom and Bass Strait by pussy-cat!

01June – 03June 2010

The passage down to Queenscliff was uneventful but sadly we were too late for the food at the pub and had to settle for nosh on the boat; get used to it one might say at this point.  We did of course retire to the Esplanade Hotel for the obligatory beers cheers and bonding (leaving and all) and the skipper got to have an all things nautical chat with Vic Goy who runs Marine Training Services and with whom the skipper did his master-5 course in 2009; Vic was at Queenscliff on some navigation training with another Master-5 group. Next morning we caught the last of the ebb and in very benign conditions we slipped out through ‘The Rip’ for the 100 mile run to Wilsons Promontory.  After the preceding week of solid easterlies (that east coast low again) it seemed that the weather gods were at least not against us. What wind there was for the next three days was generally speaking from the west but it was very light; it’s only diesel and it makes you move!!!

We arrived at the bottom of the Prom around dawn and the crew got to see Cleft Island emerging from the gloom along with a little bit of breeze. Gerry loved this as he got to actually sail the boat around to Refuge Cove where we planned to stop for a while to see the sights and stretch the legs before heading across the ‘Paddock’.  The Prom is always great to visit with the only danger being the risk of not wanting to leave, staying too long and missing a weather window for the dash to Eden.  But the weather gods were still smiling so we slipped into Refuge for the day and while the skipper spliced up a lifting bridle for the new tender the rest of the crew sallied forth for the climb up to Kersops Peak and the southerly view stretching down in the direction of Flinders Island.  Refuge as ever was lovely, little quiet beaches, trees growing right down to the rocks and shore and when we arrived no boats. One source of interest though was the water which instead of a lovely blue was brown and what with all the flotsam thrown up in the NW corner of the bay left one pondering what sort of sea had been working in!!  Later on we were joined by Ron and Peta out of Fremantle in their 14  metre ‘Finesse’, just started sailing and a year and a half into their circumnavigation of Australia. After watching the sun go down and having tea our departure from Refuge was after dark so with the light on Cliffy Island fine on our port bow we organised watches and pondered showers and then a meal at the ‘Great Southern’ when we would arrive in Eden in two days time.

The Paddock is always something of an event no matter which direction one is headed in and it always requires considered thought about conditions and timing. It is 190 miles from the Prom to Cape Howe, well offshore for most of the time, nowhere to run and hide, lonely waters with only oil rigs for company. After Cape Howe there is another 35 miles to Eden. Last time we took the Gadfly in this direction (2007) we had glassed out conditions until 30 to 40 knots from the SW and the most spectacular rolling sea shot us past ‘Point Hicks’, around the ‘New Zealand Star Bank’ and up to Eden.  This time it just stayed flat; but the oil rigs were as impressive as ever.  However you get across the place you just get across it!

On other things, one of the biggest changes in sailing over the last twenty years has been advances in technology and aids in navigation and communication.  Global Positioning technology makes life monumentally easier for navigators, radar makes blind pilotage very reassuring, HF modems and satellite phones make weather easy to obtain while cell-phone technology enables Gerry to get constant updates on his ‘Russian Blue’ pussy, ‘Tasha’ with the gimpy eye.  Of course this then required much ongoing discussion by Gerry with our resident Veterinarian (and master chef), Dave, on the issues associated with said gimpy eyed pussy. Dave of course with his very high regard for kitty cats (“concentrated evil”) had several suggestions as to what could be done for the Russian Blue, the easiest one requiring no vet fees at all!  Anyway amongst all of the kitty-cat discussion the newer seafarers amongst the crew learnt more of the vicissitudes of watch keeping at night, Gini: “this is the longest half hour of my life” and Dave kept up some sterling performances in the galley.  At 1115 after two nights out from the Prom we rafted up next to a fishing boat that was looking kind of sad from being beaten against the wharf recently and pondered a couple of boats on the slipway also looking very tired.

It seems that now infamous east-coast low had done a major job on the south coast of NSW and probably explains the state of the water at Refuge. Apparently four boats went on to the bricks, one had to be cut up and taken away on a truck, the big steel motor cruiser on the slipway had no rudder or screw left while no amount of panel beating would help the damage to the hull.  The little keel-boat at the bottom of the slipway was looking very sad and had managed to lose all of it’s rigging. After the obligatory boat reorganisation and ablutions we gave considered thought to that pub meal and in the company of our two, new crew. Zoe arrived and promptly lost her wallet and Tin staggered down the pier under the weight of her pack and had to do two trips in company with others to retrieve all of her luggage; oh joy!!  After enjoying the culinary delights at the pub, Dave and the skipper played pool with the local indigenous community and held the table against all comers.  Great fun with ‘Doylie’, ‘Brad’ and ‘Johnny’ amongst others and “can you lend me two dollars bro, I’ll pay you back on pension day”.  After the pub we walked Gerry to the bus stop and at 1.00 in the morning said our farewells (also always sad). On a good note though Dave is heading north with the Gadfly.

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2 Responses to “Leaving, Melbourne to Eden.”

  1. Trish Godden Says:

    Great update, thanks Trevor. Glad to hear the conditions are treating you well and thanks to Dave, you aren’t starving. It sounds like you are making good time? Will you get to the regatta in time?

    • Trevor Says:

      Hi Trish. Still time to get to Darwin on time, tight though. Question of getting some miles in over the next week. Move move move as you might say. Here in Brisbane tonight though, recovery mode after debacle last night. Ah well, the weather is getting warmer. Also tying to work out exactly how to drive this wordpress blog site. Cheers and beers, Trevor.

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