Tasmania circumnavigation 2009.

15February2009 till day before Easter (whatever that was). 

2009 Tasmania circumnavigation. 

In Stanley, wind wind wind!

(23Feb) Ah yes , Stanley waiting for some favourable wind, memories of this from last time, sitting in the pub waiting, waiting, waiting.  Last time we passed through here it took about a week and we have been here three days so far, with luck it might be quicker this time! 

Well a week or so in and the crew are looking very laid back and suitably relaxed, which is just as well as the weather hasn’t really been all that favourable.  The original plan of heading down to Tasmania through Deal and Flinders Islands had gone awry as the persistent easterlies were telling us King Island was really a much better option. We got away Friday a week ago at 1100 and had a fabulous beam reach down the bay for an overnight or two at Queenscliff.  Queenscliff is very different these days and instead of rafting up to a fishing boat or three we parked alongside the lovely new floating jetty; lots of big power boats there now.   Of course the fellow in charge of extracting the $50-00 per night to park alongside (up from $6-00) was quick to explain that that would be the standard charge in a caravan park and they did provide a towel and little bottles of shampoo for a shower; how could we argue, ah well progress as they say?  Anyway we left Queenscliff on the morning of Sunday 16Feb for a sail down to King Island in what was supposed to be 15 to 25 knots of easterly.  Of course the skipper was very suspicious of the strong wind warning for Port Phillip Bay and Westernport that hadn’t been extended to Bass Strait and with good reason.  After exiting the heads the wind went pretty well immediately to the SE at 25 to 35 knots with this really horrible, steep and close 2-3 metre sea; the crew very quickly became cognisant of the concept of ‘the weather doesn’t look all that favourable’.  Our 24 hour motor sail, close hauled on the breeze became a forgettable experience as the easterlies that had been blowing for the past 5 days let us know they were far from finished.  However, aside from the occasional bout of throwing up amongst our erstwhile mariners the highlight of boring was the failure of the fuel lift pump for the engine, at 0300.  This required the skipper delving into the depths of the bilge in somewhat musical conditions to keep our trusty diesel operational.  The just recently installed electric lift pump was replaced with the spare of the same variety and on we went.  With a bit of altered angle and slight wind shift we were finally sailing until a mile off Grassy harbour we went to start the engine, the newer pump had also failed.  Oh joy, a mile off King Island, on a lee shore with 30 knots of wind solid and no engine, just what we needed.  The sails still worked however and there we were sailing a racetrack while rendering some fairly rapid repairs.  Anyway the skipper got the engine going with a fuel transfer pump ripped from somewhere else in the boat and in we went arriving at 1100 in Grassy harbour with the wind still blowing  at 30-35 knots from the east.

The stiller conditions provided much joy for the more sea sickness afflicted of the crew and with two anchors out we decided we should have a bit of a look at King Island; just as well as we had about three days waiting for the wind to do something other than blow from where we wanted to go.  The skipper decided to remedy the dodgy fuel pump problem and got two pumps brought in from Melbourne and now has two ready to go anytime; watch this space as they say.  A hire car allowed a bit of a cruise about the island, over to Currie, getting some cheese and a trip to the west coast to Cataraqui Point.  The Cataraqui was wrecked in 1845 on the point now named after it, not too far from Currie.  She struck at night at 3.00 AM on August 04 and of 369 potential immigrants and 46 crew only 9 people survived.  She remains apparently the country’s worst peacetime, maritime calamity.  The bodies were buried in isolated and mass graves with a cairn now located over the only known grave of 206 people.  It was quite hard to imagine what it would have looked like when the wreck happened as with the easterly wind the much vaunted and feared King Island west coast was very placid with nice clear water and low swell.  The sand flies on the other hand were deadly and very, very motivated.  The skipper also spent some time fretting about a lost opportunity to have a serious look at what might be still available on the wreck. While doing the rounds of some of the more culturally oriented establishments, Deb bought a ‘catskin hat’ for herself, fully equipped with tail.  We were assured the fur was from a feral cat but also noticed a sign at the local café asking people to look for a missing moggy; perhaps the missing kitty goes by the name of ‘Hat’? 

The town of Grassy is interesting.  There was once upon a time at Grassy a thriving community based around a sheilite mine that extracted ore containing tungsten.  The mine closed in 1993 and there are now rows of mine houses empty and falling apart.  Ben observed that the few kids here are so bored they are not even interested in trashing the houses; well they probably do get bored given how many empty houses there are.  Now this town once accommodated 1200 people so one can imagine just how many decrepit houses are available in what really is a quintessential ghost-town.  In Grassy there is a pub, café, butcher, convenience shop, phone booth and not much else including people. But of course there is always the optimistic real-estate spruiker trying to see an upside, in this case trying to sell ‘home and land packages’.  Some things just never change!!! 

We got away from Grassy on the Thursday in company with ‘Ellos’, a 34 foot boat out of Adelaide with Bob and Jill Hogarth on board.  The weather was still east but moderating and in very pleasant conditions both of us motor-sailed for a large part of the day to Chimney Point on the back of Three Hummock Island.  It seems the sand flies at Cataraqui point had communicated ahead because as soon as the anchor went down the Chimney Point chapter of biting flies incorporated attacked us.  Fortunately mortein and incense kept most out of the boat and they appeared to go to bed at dusk allowing a pleasant drinks and nibbles session when the Hogarths’ visited.  The next day we sallied forth in light conditions from you guessed it, the east until we tied up on the main wall at Stanley.  The Hogarths’ on arrival rafted up to us and of course invited us aboard for the return drinks session; a hard life it is!!!  Of course an hour after arriving the wind went to the south-west, predictable probably.  After reacquainting ourselves with Stanley we were advised by a local fisherman which one of the few pens we would be able to occupy for as long as we like and also discovered the preferred café for breakfast, shore runs. 

A consideration now became should we attend the planned social event for the around Tasmania rally currently headed our way, with most boats located on the Tamar at Beauty Point.  This was scheduled for the Sunday afternoon at the Beauty Point Yacht club and as Deb had to be in Launceston to get a plane home on the Monday we decided Launceston looked the goods.  Not wanting to give up our flash parking spot we decided to hire a car and drive over for the festivities.  So after procuring a car from ‘Red Spot Car Hire’, actually the BP service station at Smithton, we nipped over to Beauty Point, went to the soiree and spent the night on Ralphs’ boat ‘Tom Bowling’.  In the morning and after breakfast at yet another café we dropped Deb off at the airport and with much sadness bid her farewell; very traumatic it was for us all.  After driving back to Smithton the ‘Red Spot’ people (Leslie) very kindly gave us a lift back to the ‘Gadfly’ and here we are awaiting the arrival of the 20 to 30 boats that will try and shoehorn themselves into the little harbour here at ‘The Nut’; with us very smug with our preferred berth.

For those not to have been here the fishing port of Stanley is out near the NW tip of Tasmania and sits under a very large lump of rock that is known as ‘The Nut’, in fact it is so big that they have built a chairlift up to the top of it for those unwilling or unable to walk up.  The town is very reminiscent of an Irish fishing village with little harbour, large tidal variation, boats sort of scattered about the place, the pub as the central focus of the town, bugger all traffic (it’s either in to town or out) and lots of very pleasant and quaint restored cottages.  In fact one of the cottages is apparently the birth place of former Prime Minister, Lyons (we will try and get the details later for those at all interested).  The weather is supposed to go south-west later today and at some strength for the next couple of days so we will be watching what might be on offer for our dash down to Strahan hopefully later in the week.  In the meantime the skipper is working on the boat (cruising = boat maintenance in exotic locations) Ben is helping John on his Roberts 43 get water with our hose and Louise is in town checking out what happens on a Monday afternoon in Stanley.  (At 2000 the wind arrived from the west at 40 knots, nice to be in the pen!!!)

The crew!!!

 

In the pen at Stanley

 

Congestion in Stanley before the west coast.

 

The skipper.

 

Chimney point headed in.

 

Stanley to departure Macquarie Harbour                08March 2009

Well the stay in Stanley this time around was eight days, to be expected one might suppose but then we were forced to leave having expended all options for breakfast at the cafe.  We ended up getting away on the Saturday morning for a rather vigorous sail down to Hunter island in initially 15-20 from the south-west but eventually 25-35 tending west and on the nose, some things don’t change.   All of the boats were pretty much hiding along the east side of Hunter Island in either ‘Shepherds Bay’ or ‘Cave Bay’. We were in Shepherds Bay sharing the anchorage of course with the ubiquitous nasty, bitey, sand-flies that had come across especially from Three Hummock Island just over the strait. The short to medium term plan for many of the intrepid circumnavigators then seemed to be to go around the top of the island and work down to ‘Cuvier bay’ before heading out into 20-30 knots of SW wind, this did seem problematical but there you go.  The fleet of boats became eventually spread from back on the Tamar at Launceston (at least Beauty Point), all the way to Strahan. 

Along with Ralph, Ken and Phil on ‘Tom Bowling’ we sat out the Sunday and listened as the boats beat into the prevailing SW wind and gradually worked there way south towards Macquarie Harbour.  We of course waited for the Monday when the breeze was expected to go NE and blow at last from the correct direction.  We (Gadfly and Tom Bowling) left Shepherds Bay at 0400 on the Monday morning headed south and at first light turned west through the Hunter Passage at the bottom of Hunter Island.  The passage (Hunter) could definitely be described as interesting with lots of current, tight channels between islands and impressive and large standing waves where current meets the ocean outside.  But, with the current in our favour away we went initially motor sailing into a SE breeze but then 15-25 from the NE blowing us down the coast Our initial plan was to arrive at first light the next morning and slip in through Hells gates, but, the best laid plans and all, such a good run was enjoyed that Tom and the Gadfly arrived outside at 2300 that night and uncertain about the entrance in the dark; it seems that our chart plotters are not altogether sound down here and all concerned were collectively less than happy with the proposed night entrance.  So the decision was made to anchor in relatively benign conditions off ‘Pilots Bay’ and go in the morning. 

Well the NE gale that developed made this a night to remember and one that all concerned on both boats would like to forget; maybe memorable one day; thank you god for good ground tackle!!!  After seeing the sun come up from two cables off the outside training wall (breakwater) both boats slipped in through Hells Gates the next morning, again at first light and with all concerned feeling somewhat fatigued we went to anchor in ‘Mill Bay’ just around the corner from Strahan.  The wind was blowing very hard from the NE by this time and we decided to go into town to catch our new crew members, Sharon from Cairns and Clara from France.  After meeting the newer crew the collective decision was to have a meal at the pub and then all concerned decided a room at the hotel would be a good move; what with showers and all!!!  So along with Ken from Tom Bowling the hotel option was pursued and then back to the pub we went; that night it blew like hell from the SW, rain, thunder, the works.  Next morning bright and early Tom Bowling was spotted heading into the town dock and with the realisation that a town berth was in the offing the crew raced back to the boat to organise how close the boat be located to the pub.  Well, after an intimate encounter with the mud bank on the south side of Mill Bay (associated with thunder, lightning and hail) into our berth we went, 40 metres from and the closest boat to the pub (the skipper paced it out to check). 

What with the shite weather and all another decision involved a tourist exercise up the Gordon River and to Sarah Island.  This was a proposal from Phil and there they were, Phil, Sharon, Ben, Louise and the skipper, up on the top deck of the big catamaran, drinks, food and comfy seats. Cruising down the harbour, warm, full of food and champagne, looking at the trees, discovering the apparent magical properties of all things associated with Huon Pine and enjoying the talents of the tour guide on Sarah Island (Isabelle from Brunswick).  Sarah Island of course was one of the initial reasons for settling Macquarie Harbour, where the development of a penal settlement provided convict slave labour for the exploitation of resources, especially huon pine. The Van Diemens Land settlement of Sarah Island is also regarded as perhaps the most horrendous example of the penal system established in Australia in the 1800’s. Between January 1822 and December 1833 1136 male and 16 female convicts were sent to Sarah Island. The Island was reserved for prisoners who had offended a second time, that is the particularly difficult types who had stolen their second loaf of bread.  The convicts themselves summed up their feelings in a ballad called “The Cyprus Brig” considered so subversive it was suppressed:

 

When we landed in this colony to different masters went’

For little trifling offenses boys to Hobart gaol were sent,

Now the second sentence we received and ordered for to be,

Sent to Macquarie Harbour, that place of tyranny.

The Brig ‘Cyprus’ was a vessel used to transport many of the prisoners to Macquarie Harbour.

Some interesting points, the initial Governor of the island, Cuthbertson, was described, by his friends, as a sadist with ‘perculiar’ tendencies; basically he liked seeing people beaten to death. He apparently drowned trying to rescue a boat and surprise, surprise, nobody felt inclined to help him.  One of the military types had to depart owing to his intimate associations with a goat and one of the (very religious) doctors chose to leave after his wife was regaled with a naked convict/gardener.  Another convict received solitary confinement for breaking into, that’s right into one of the solitary confinement cells; one suspects that his motivation may have been influenced by his female, convict, friend serving time in the cell.  Another prisoner got an extra seven years for stealing parsley from the doctor’s garden and one of the military types found guilty of fraud was apparently later made governor of the colony; some things don’t change. 

It also seems that the unmitigated disaster of Sarah Island as a penal settlement took a profound turn when a Scot by the name of ‘Hoy’ arrived to build boats/ships out of Huon Pine at Hobart. Unable to procure his timber with enough efficiency he decided to take up residence at Sarah Island and go as it were to the source.  After the departure of the more socially reprehensible of the officials and military from Sarah Island, the eventual arrangement was that the convicts in return for working very hard to build boats got better food and contraband (tea, sugar, tobacco, possession of which previously got solitary confinement), slept in the more comfortable courthouse that Cuthbertsons’ replacement ‘Butler’ built, and went fishing one day a week.  There was also the provision that men would not have to work in the water at the bottom of the saw-pits when the temperature was below 8 degrees.  This would seem to have been quite an exercise in enterprise bargaining!! For a period of time the shipyard at Sarah Island was the most productive in the colonies.  Of course this was too much for Governor Phillip who decided to close Sarah Island and in an enlightened move open the Port Arthur prison, or rather the new ‘model prison’ at Port Arthur. It has been suggested that the ten convicts who escaped on the last of the vessels to be built at Sarah Island, the ‘Frederick’, were not trying to escape Sarah Island but were avoiding going to Port Arthur.  After making off with the ship they got to Chile where 4 were eventually caught and brought back 2 years later.  Charged with mutiny and piracy and facing death they got off with theft only, as the ship had not been commissioned as a ship.  Every day in Strahan for the last 13 odd years there has been a play celebrating the ‘Frederick’ theft called appropriately ‘The Ship That Never Was’.  None of the intrepid mariners was hanged and the four that were caught were eventually released.  Another highlight of our tourist trip on the big catamaran was a trip outside Hells Gates for a more civilised look at our bedroom of Monday night.

The weather stayed basically awful from the Wednesday through Saturday and much time was expended scratching around Strahan.  The manager of the pub loaned the crew her car on the Friday and Ben and the girls drove into Queenstown to replenish supplies.  A barbecue for the adventurous around Tasmania sailors was organised at the ‘Strahan’ yacht club (membership now sadly down from 200 to 2) and following this the skipper, Ralph and Phil retired to the pub to watch Collingwood stitch up Essendon in the footy and to watch the drunken locals wrestle and try to fight each other; some other things don’t change.  One of the issues with this part of the world seems to be either the closure of mines or altered work practices where people travel in to the mines to work and then go away.  This means there has been an apparent loss of community with some of the things that bind the community gradually declining.  Not enough people to support sporting organisations such as yacht and football clubs, and local industry and commerce undergoing great change; all causing significant upheavel for the longer term locals. Another aspect of course is the shift from local long term residents working in occupations such as mining to perhaps a more transient population in tourism based commerce.

This of course is not an altogether new development.  On the Saturday and in company with Tom Bowling we headed down to ‘Kelly Basin’ at the south end of the harbour to have a look at the ruins of Pillinger.  This was once a town (or two towns East and West Pillinger) based around a copper mine that kicked off around 1900.  West Pillinger was the ‘company’ town with terraces of houses, shops, piers, trains and all sorts of mining-town infrastructure.  East Pillinger was the government town with train line, brick kilns, timber mills, piers and visiting ships.  The whole enterprise lasted about ten years and following the death of the industrialist supporting the program ‘Mr Crotty’ in London, the mine fell into decline.  What was a community at one point of 1200 went backwards very quickly and all that is left to show for the optimism of the day is ruined piers, decaying brick kilns, rusting boilers, remains of train carriages (one with a very large tree growing through it) and the occasional lump of rusting iron. With both boats anchored off West Pillinger we had a look around the old mining settlement, poked around the shack that is maintained in a state of not quite total disrepair and then headed off to ‘St Ledger Point’, where we rafted up the two boats for the cocktail hour; the crew of the good ship ‘Fargo’ also coming over for drinks and nibbles on board.  The next day we had a scratch around East Pillinger and marvelled out the old brick kilns and train spur.  One beneficial result of this spectacular folly was the construction of this train spur into East Pillinger, now providing a spectacular walk from the beach out to a bridge and the gravel road into the area.  The crew of both boats did the 7.5 km walk today with the route following a terribly picturesque river through quite spectacular rain forest.  Lots of trees, tree ferns, decaying old railway bridges and more moss then you can imagine. 

After the rain-forest sojourn we pulled up our anchors and here we are anchored in ‘Double Cove’ about half-way up the west coast of Macquarie Harbour, rafted up together, listening to music, drinking wine and enjoying the solitude.  Tomorrow we are headed outside to work our way down the coast toward Port Davey.  The weather is still from the south but if we are to believe the weather gods it will be relatively light (yea right).  We may stop overnight along the way and finish our run the following day but we wait and see what happens when the sun rises.  Ah yes, J.A Lyons was prime minister from 1932-1939 or so the sign said.

Hells Gates.

 

Strahan, 50 metres from the pub!

 

Sarah (Settlement) Island penitentiary.

 

The wooden rails top and bottom are the old huon pine slipway rails!!!

 

West Pillager photos.

 

West Pillager, pier 2009.

 

It has changed a lot, West Pillager!!

 

Pillager hut and boats crew. Gadfly and Tom Bowling.

 

Train carriages and trees!

 

Reflections, Kelly Basin.

 

Even better reflections, Kelly Basin!!

 

Rafted up with Tom, Kelly Basin.

 

Leaving Macquarie Harbour, Port Davey and on to Hobart.

 

Well the departure from Double Cove was as scheduled at 0700 and both boats were through Hells Gates at 0930 and headed south; with just a couple of glances at our Monday night anchorage.  The weather was still not very kind and we were motor-sailing in to 10-15 of southerly, ah well, at least it was light.  The plan was to head down to either ‘Hartwell Cove’, or ‘Nye Bay’ and spend the night at anchor, rather than travel straight through.  These overnight locations very much fit the description of west coast anchorages and are definitely not the places to be in westerly weather.  But, as the wind was south and east they are okay for a break in southerly travel. Hartwell Cove is about 36 miles from Cape Sorell outside Hells Gates, it is small with only room for the two boats, a little beach at one end and cliffs and reef around most of the rest and we still didn’t get any fish.  Next morning bright and early the skipper was woken by Ralph yelling that they were off for Nye Bay, so after rousing the crew out of bed he had the Gadfly under way for the twenty mile hop down to Nye Bay and the Giblin River.  Nye Bay is more of an open roadstead than a bay anchorage, a big sweeping beach and the entrance to the ‘Giblin River’.  After negotiating the ‘bullies’ the fishermen warn of (underwater rock bommies), both boats were at anchor in a freshening SE wind and a fair sort of swell; a bit rolley one might say.  As the cruising guide provided by the Royal Hobart Yacht Club suggests the river was worth a dinghy trip away the boat crews went for a forage on the shore and trip up the river.  Big sand dunes, tannin stained water, little rocky gorges and laid back ducks that had Ken pondering duck for dinner. 

Next day equally early our rather relaxed southerly progression continued with a stop at ‘Svenor’ Bay north of Port Davey.  The Svenor was a big, 1266 tonne, iron sailing ship (or rather Barque) that caught fire off the Tasmanian coast in 1914; well it didn’t really ‘catch’ fire!  She was bound for Fremantle in ballast when apparently the ballast shifted putting the ships rail underwater.  This was about three hundred miles off the Tasmanian coast so after 22 days and after cutting off the masts the ship was on something approaching an even keel but drifting with the crew in boats looking for another option.  She was spotted by the crew of  the ‘SS Wainui’ and after unsuccessfully attempting to take the derelict in tow the best the two ships company could come up with was to burn and sink her.  So after opening some cocks and setting her afire they left the scene assuming the good ship Svenor would sink within a few hours. 

Well, it seems she was a much better ship than the ships company were crew.  Seven months later she was found high and dry on the beach about 12 miles north of Port Davey.  Some timber cutters engaged in cutting a track from Birch’s Inlet (Macquarie Harbour) to Port Davey located her, intact, fully provisioned and with the exception of fire damage still pretty much what should have been a going concern.  It seems the north and south bound progression of sea traffic had failed to notice  this rather large lump of iron parked where you wouldn’t normally park a ship; the skipper did ask Clara if it was a French ship given it’s rather strange parking spot!  It seems the fire burnt only the forward section of the ship so with the stern section intact she became something of a coup for the local fishermen who took full advantage of the situation; now who would have thought?  Rather disappointingly all that remains now is parts of the decks, most of the aft section of the hull, the rudder and big iron plates with large holes; looks a bit like a very large colander you might say.  It speaks loudly however on the toughness of these old ships.  The vessel is still to a large extent intact even after almost 100 years of exposure to some of the worst weather and conditions the ocean can throw at it.  If one assumes a tonne for every cubic metre of water when a wave hits the hull and then consider the size of the waves coming ashore and the size of the vessel, this was a tough ship. Little wonder the ship didn’t give up even after the crew had.  It would seem that the Glasgow ship builders of the period very much new their business!

After our shore visit and dash back out through the shore break in our somewhat underpowered dinghy, we amused ourselves by not catching any fish again and then departed for Port Davey.  The day then turned into one to remember, no wind but sunny, warm, clear skies and the sort of conditions one just doesn’t expect on the west coast of Tasmania.  Spectacular stuff this was, cruising past the islands and reefs that stand outside Port Davey waiting to catch the unwary, with names like ‘Sharkjaws Reef’ being a bit of a worry! The entrance to Port Davey (or at least Bathurst Harbour) is guarded by the ‘Breakseas Islands’ with an entrance around each end, north and south.  It is a bit like sailing straight towards cliffs until one sees the entrance behind opening up.  Gadfly went north, Tom Bowling went south and into Bramble Cove we went to partake in the end of a BBQ that the rest of the fleet had been into all afternoon; oh bugger, we missed the beach cricket!

Cape Sorell, outside Hells Gates.

 

Tom Bowling leaving Hells Gates.

 

Tom Bowling in Hartwell Cove, west coast Tasmania.

 

Giblin River, Nye Bay, west coast Tasmania.

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

  

Giblin River, Nye Bay, west coast Tasmania.

 

 

Svenor wreck and some of the crew, Ben and Sharon.

 

Svenor

 

  

 

Headed into Port Davey.

 

Port Davey and further south.

After the completion of the beach soiree the fleet scattered to various anchorages around Bathurst Harbour. This part of Tasmania has to be seen to be believed.  A winding body of water as large as Sydney Harbour surrounded by hills and mountains, with no development at all and a multitude of brilliant anchorages.  Bathurst harbour is actually a drowned river mouth estuary and is fed by rivers that form in the SW wilderness area of Tasmania.  The waters in the harbour are stained by tannins and have the same dark-brown tea like appearance as Macquarie Harbour.  This is truly one of the places in the world to visit.  It’s just kind of hard to get to as it only accessible by boat, foot or plane.  You can fly into ‘Malaleuca’ away up a winding river reach but if you don’t have a boat, after that it’s walking.  People can also walk in from Recherche Bay as the harbour is on the SW wilderness walk that takes the very motivated all the way to Macquarie harbour; you would have to be very, very motivated.  We parked the two boats in a tiny little cove called ‘Iola’ rafted up to Tom Bowling with only one other boat in present; just as well as there wasn’t any room for any more boats.  That night we spent a very social evening with a visit from the crew of Nirvana. The next day the skipper, Ben and Sharon did the walk up to the top of Mount Rugby, only 770 metres up but almost a bush bash along a sort of track (non-track) and hard and steep.  But, what views, all the way across the SW wilderness area, mountain ranges fading into the distance watching the very tiny boats winding there way along Bathurst Channel out to the sea; what a place. 

The plan for the rest of the fleet was to now head for the entrance to the Harbour and head further south the next day, around the corner and into Recherche Bay.  We watched the boats all head down to the entrance but decided we would wait for the Saturday as the weather was suggesting better sailing conditions; as opposed to motoring!!  After a visit to Clayton’s corner where the little wharf looked dodgy we worked our way back up the channel and ensconced ourselves in a tiny anchorage called ‘Horseshoe’ again with only one other boat ‘Dingo’ on it’s way from Geelong to Kettering in Hobart.  That night was a BBQ on board with the skipper trying to burn off his eyebrows with the gas bbq. The next day was a rather lazy sit around and then back to Bramble Cove ready to leave next morning.  The weather gods had been promising plenty of westerly with NW going SW in the early afternoon, this should in theory accommodate favourable winds all the way down around SW Cape and then across to SE Cape!!  Anyway at dawn away we went after breaking up our now routine raft, headed south and around the corner.

The crew.

 

Iola anchorage, Port Davey, SW Tasmania.

 

Rafted up at Iola.

 

Bathurst harbour and stunning.

 

View west from the top of Mt Rugby. Breakseas Island not quite obscured in the middle distance.

 

Bathurst Harbour, SW Tasmania Wilderness.

 

Well, they broke their solemn word on the weather yet again. Instead of what was supposed to be a rather mild southerly change the forecast had changed to something more vigorous but still west. Anyway, the weather started light and variable and stayed that way till early afternoon when it went east, yes east.  This of course meant much motoring wondering where the expected change was actually going to materialise from; not to mention some excitement with machinery problems on the good ship Tom Bowling.  In Ralph’s own words, “the back seems to have fallen off my fresh water pump, I don’t suppose you could tow us for a few miles”? Oh joy, there the two boats were, 10 miles north of SW Cape with some very ominous looking, rather black clouds looming up from the west, at least it was supposed to go west we foolishly assumed.  After an hour or so of towing, the crew of Tom converted the engine into a direct raw-water cooled unit by pumping sea-water directly into the block. Managing the cooling side of things required the very high tech procedure of clamping the inlet hose with vice-grips.  The other notable feature of this novel cooling system design was the leaking and hot sea-water converting the aft cabin of the boat into a very nice thank you very much, Turkish steam bath. 

After getting around the rather imposing vista of SW Cape the weather closed in and it rained, went light and variable and eventually as discussed, east at 10-15 knots.  The overhead thunder was also fun but at least the wind stayed light albeit with visibility down to about one mile.  The cruise through the Maatsyker group was an interesting experience through rain and low clouds with Maatsyker itself but a distant grey presence in the gloom; pity as in betterer weather it is quite something.  After an eventful trip around the bottom we slipped into the lovely Recherche Bay where we again rafted up in ‘Coalbins Bay’ with Tom for drinks and tea; fish and salad.  Yes, we actually caught some fish on this leg with two nice Barracoutta down on the SW before getting around the corner.

Next morning bright and early we were off again, this time to the very pretty Port Cygnet and a BBQ at the sailing club.  All the boats were gathering by this time as for the Hobart crews they were getting very near to the finish of their cruise.  For others, such as us and the boats from Geelong, we are only really half way around the place.  The BBQ was a bit of fun with the Gadflys of course being the last to leave, followed by a big session back on the boat leaving the crew feeling a bit the worse for wear next morning; lots of questions and all, “where was that music coming from last night”?  The next morning involved investigating the local cafes and buying some food for yet another BBQ in the evening, this time at Sykes Bay on Bruny Island only three hours from Hobart.  The skipper had some fun at this function asking the very German driver of ‘Holger Danske’ why at a BBQ he preferred pressure cooked savaloys and sourkraut.  The German of course went to great lengths to explain that when he came to Australia the meat was very poor so he avoids BBQ’s preferring savaloys and mushy cabbage; very, very German!  Next morning in we went, slipping into the RYCT marina in Sandy Bay where both boats were safely ensconced near the clubhouse.  The skipper that  night went on a bit of a walk and discovered to his and others peril that it was in fact St Patricks day with all of the conventional celebrations  occurring at ‘Irish Murphys’ on Salamanca Place.  This of course turned into a session to be remembered involving large and larger quantities of Guinness. 

On other things the good ship Gadfly had become the minder of ‘Matty Maatsyker’, a stuffed, pretend version of a Tasmanian Devil which is apparently the mascot for the cruise.  The program with Matty is to decorate said stuffed toy with some item of apparel or adornment and provide a story as to how the mascot came to acquire said apparel or equipment; that is, explain the experience.  The mascot was handed to Sharon when the skipper sadly wasn’t about and much discussion was entered into as to what the hell to do with the same stuffed toy.  The skipper suggested a cremation at the last BBQ with the ashes delivered to the dinner Thursday night.  Ralph and the skipper discussed the concept of the toy acquiring a facial tumour; watch this space.  Ralph at this juncture was also attempting to sort a rebuild on the water pump or perhaps an alternative.

Well the girls decided the best thing for the stuffed devil was to acquire a girlfriend for the dinner with a story involving large quantities of Guinness, enter ‘Maria Mary’; on the dark stuff, Louise has become a very quick convert to the whisdom of Guinness consumption.  Ralph has been actively engaged in attempting to sort a replacement pump or alternative but may be stuck in Hobart until Tuesday or later.  The good ship Gadfly is looking at leaving on Sunday given the crews desire to visit the ‘Salamanca Markets’ on Saturday and a need to get moving as quickly as possible up the east coast.  Both crews tried to go to dinner on Friday night at the ‘Shipwrights Arms Hotel’ at Battery Point, but, we weren’t made welcome as there was a full house.  Apparently in Tasmania a full house means, “well, there are tables but the chefs don’t want to cook any more meals” (direct quote)!  We have booked for the Saturday evening as ‘The Shitkickers Arms” comes recommended for a meal.  One bit of gossip going around also is that the frankfurt eating German who has one of the most beautiful, timber boats getting about, apparently had a coming together with a very large and fast moving rock on the NE coast.  From the size of the divots on the front of his keel and the extent of movement in the timber hull, most people think he should buy tattslotto tickets this week!

Rounding SW Cape, Tasmania (Van Diemens Land).

 

Cygnet

 

The Gadfly people, Sykes Bay, Bruny Island.

 

Clara and the Sykes Bay BBQ; Bruny Island.

 

Paddy’s Day on Salamanca Place!!! 17March2009

 

Sharon (Shiraz) and a problem with driers!!!

 

 

Hobart to St Kilda, homeward bound.

 

Well here we are swinging on an anchor or rather, two, in ‘West Cove’ on Erith Island in the Kent group of Islands, midway between Flinders Island and Wilsons Promontory.  The wind is blowing 30-35 out of the west with the expectation of greater excitement later today when a cold front brings forth a gale that should last for two days, yet more joy.  It is Sunday and if the weather gods are on the money this week we should be headed for home on Tuesday in the early morning and hopefully back into St Kilda on Wednesday afternoon.  We arrived yesterday after an eight hour trip up from ‘Prime Seal Island’ in the Furneaux Group (Flinders Island and others) in conditions that started rather forgettable but finished marginal; 30-40 knots, three metre seas and winds not exactly on the desired angle. But here we are at stunning Erith admiring the scenery of one of Bass Straits’ most beautiful destinations, contemplating cups of tea, the DVD library and the merits of good ground tackle.

The journey up the east coast of Tasmania has been if nothing else leisurely with a lot of time in company with the small group of circumnavigation boats out of Geelong; not to mention waiting for Tom Bowling to rejoin after Ralph and Ken  also waited sort of patiently for repairs to the now infamous water pump.  The crew was now the skipper, Sharon, Louise and our new French addition ‘Johan’.  Ben had to head back to Melbourne for work and Clara jumped ship to continue her land based travels. Gadfly departed on the Sunday (22March) and after sadly waving goodbye to the Tom Bowling crew and Sue and Michael on MaMahli we headed for Port Arthur.  MaMahli is a big beautiful 52 footer out of Seattle in the US with Sue and Michael half way into a circumnavigation of not just Tasmania but most other places as well.  After spending some time socialising and watching films on board they have promised to call us when they arrive in Melbourne in a few weeks time. 

Leaving Hobart

 

With Dolphins.

 

The first port of call was of course Port Arthur, the location for Governor Arthur Phillip to open his new model prison in 1830 when Macquarie Harbour was closed.  It seems the Governor had reservations about the apparent decline in physical hardship and rates of punishment occurring at Macquarie harbour and needed a more efficient and larger operation closer to Hobart. Port Arthur was closer, easier and cheaper to manage, more prisoners could be employed in ganged labour, greater space than Settlement Island (Sarah Island) meant the place could be expanded easily and the narrow isthmus of Eaglehawk neck meant it would be very difficult to escape from. Between 1830 and 1877 some 12,500 convicts were incarcerated at Port Arthur in dire conditions, many as second offenders and most for crimes of something approaching trivialty.  One can’t help but wonder at the concept of having a train line with carriages pushed by gangs of convicts to allow the more fortunate to travel in style! The place was abandoned in the 1870’s and successive bushfires destroyed much of the extensive buildings over the following decades.  The remains of the penitentiary, barracks, chapel and many (other) of the buildings are now a tourist attraction with all of the usual tours and promotional activities one would expect; and probably most have visited.  To continue the tragedy of the place of course, in 1996, 35 people were killed in a shooting tragedy and a large memorial now stands at the site of the old ‘Broad Arrow’ café.  We arrived here late afternoon and after the obligatory self directed walkabout tour and breakfast at the new tourism centre, we were off headed past Tasman Island for the east coast.  Rather than go south of Tasman Island we slipped through the little gap north of Tasman Island past Cape Pillar for a leisurely  20 mile sail north to Lagoon Bay and a BBQ on the beach. 

Port Arthur anchorage.

 

Port Arthur penal settlement.

 

Our French helmsman, Johan, passing Tasman Island.

 

Headed north and home; Tasman Island astern.

 

Lagoon and a BBQ.

 

BBQ

 

Good BBQ on Beach; Lagoon.

 

One of the features of the southern part of coastal Tasmania is the large kelp forests in many of the bays and estuaries and ‘Lagoon’ is no exception with a large kelp forest to motor through on the way in.  This anchorage is a large open bay with a very pretty beach, good protection from anything other than easterly weather and of course just right for a fire and BBQ.   The next morning the skipper went for a dive to try and get a crayfish or even fish, but despite much effort saw nothing other than a few undersize cray, and no fish worth catching.  The return to the boat however was entertaining with Sharon and Louise having caught some small mackerel with a follow up attempt to catch a good size squid with a bucket.  Now next to your average marine mammal a squid or octopus is probably the smartest thing getting around in the sea and the girls’ squid was having none of that bucket. But you have to laugh at the two girls being apparently outwitted by a well connected mollusc with a brain (or at least the Cephalopod equivalent) smaller than a pea. 

After lunch off the Gadfly slipped back out through the kelp headed further north.  Further on the kelp, these stands are a distinctive feature of southern Tasmanian and used to be present further north and into Victorian waters.  Especially spectacular is the forests of intertwined Macrocyctis pyrifera that grow in depths down to about 12-15 metres where a diver can swim around the marine equivalent of a rain-forest complete with overhead, surface canopy.  These habitats of course also support the usual range of other plants and animals offering food, shelter and exported organic material (detritus-food for grazers). They have also been identified as at risk from global warming as they are rather sensitive to changes in sea-surface temperature, or rather temperature increase.  Indeed, along with coral reef and alpine, forest communities, kelp communities are one of the ‘at most risk from global warming’ habitats identified.  So for those interested it may be opportune to head south and have a look at these rather spectacular systems before they go the way of other ecological icons.

Next on the list of places to see was Triabunna, a small fishing port 23 miles further north through Mercury Passage between Maria Island and the mainland (of Tasmania that is). The most obvious feature on the way in to Triabunna is a large mountain of wood chips destined for export to places where trees are perhaps valued more than in Australia. Indeed, this mountain of wood chips is so volumous that the organisers have a large excavator busily constructing large and aesthetically pleasing mounds on the top of said, former, tree hill. So to the sound of trees being frightened to death in the largest mulcher one could imagine, we avoided going aground in the rather shallow channel and headed in for a shower and the pub.  Triabunna itself is one of those little ports where nothing much seems to have happened, but, with the new dock and all over brightening up of the place great things may be on the horizen for Triabunna. The port is close to yet another penal settlement on the national park of Maria Island, has great diving nearby and there is even a scuttled ship for the ship-wreck, diving fraternity (the ‘TroyD’.  The skipper in his travels had a chat to the manager of the local service station and dive operation and the subject of crayfish came up.  The man from the service station suggested that the lack of crayfish is due to too many crayfish being taken by the recreational fraternity.  Apparently one of his commercial, crayfishing friends put out 38 pots earlier that week and only caught 8 crayfish, apparently “they (crayfish) are just not about”!!  Now a cynic might count the number of crayboats working the coast, multiply that by the number of pots on each boat and then consider the successive generations of overfishing that has occurred; but, no, it’s definitely too many divers or weekend fishermen!

Alongside at Triabunna; East coast Tasmania.

 

Just around the corner from Triabunna is the Freycinet National Park, and a little bay on Schouten Passage at the bottom called ‘Bryans Corner’; this is on the south-east corner of ‘Great Oyster Bay’. The good word from Dave on the ‘Lady Bay’ (Adams 12 out of Geelong) was that the little flotilla of Geelong boats were gathering there for yet another BBQ so in we went for an afternoon on the beach.  There we all went, flat water, white sand, fire on the beach, fish to cook (recently caught), out came the guitar; just another evening in paradise. The next morning all were off to Wineglass Bay so around through Schouten passage we sallied and on to anchor in one of the iconic bays on the Tasmanian coast.  All of the clichés apply here, sweeping white sands and clear water, spectacular views, all in all a very pretty place for what turned into three days waiting for southerly winds. The trip into Wineglass Bay was also memorable for the wildlife and especially the birds.  Whilst dolphins and seals escorted the Gadfly into the bay what was initially thought to be enormous numbers of seagulls turned out to be the most enormous gathering of albatross that any of the crew had seen; literally several hundred wheeling and soaring across the entrance to hundreds of metres in the air.  Out came the bird book and the crew came to the considered decision that they were, probably, ‘Shy Albatross’; although they didn’t really appear all that shy.  The bird book is great for pictures and descriptions, but in the absence of having some of the birds land on the boat and cooperatively display wing markings and feather colours the actual identification was probably a bit of hopeful guesswork.

Wineglass Bay, East coast Tasmania. Do not light fires on the beach!

 

Wineglass Bay.

 

Sunset in Wineglass Bay; Tom Bowling.

 

With the Geelong ‘circumnavigators’ in Wineglass Bay.

 

The three days at Wineglass were quite memorable and the company of the Geelong boats made for a very social gathering. Most of the boats crews went for the obligatory walk over to the Coles Bay side of the peninsula or up nearby hills with views followed by yet another gathering for a fire (we didn’t have) away up in the SE corner of the bay. Also on the Friday all were pleased with the arrival of Tom Bowling after a dash through the Denison Canal to rejoin with her newly restored water pump.  That night was another BBQ and on the Saturday rowing races in boat tenders.  Ralph and the skipper avoided the aquatic festivities by embarking on a gathering exercise for a crayfish and abalone soiree on Saturday afternoon.  On Sunday we bid a sad adieu to the Geelong boats as they headed for the north coast and ultimately Beauty Point, while Gadfly and Tom Bowling slipped into Waubs Bay at Bicheno for a counter meal at the pub.

Monday was a 75 mile sail all the way around the top to Great Musselroe Bay and to anchor before heading across Banks Strait for the Furneaux Group and Flinders Island. The trip north started in moderate SE winds that freshened as the day went on before shifting easterly and at strength as the two boats rounded the Eddystone and started to head west.  After sheltering in Great Musselroe in 30 knots of easterly the next morning was a quick 20 mile sail again in 30+ knots across the notorious ‘Banks Strait and up into the Furneaux Group of islands.  This part of the world requires some caution with a strong tidal race between Clarke Island and Tasmania proper where the last thing any intrepid mariner wants or needs is wind at strength against the tide.  But with the flood tide (east to west) and an easterly wind all was sweetness and light with the world. The first stop here was Spike Cove on Clark Island and the chance of a dive on the ‘Litherland’, a whaling bark that came to grief in 1854 and by the look of the kedged in anchor and chains it was a bad night.  Apparently she dragged in and struck stern first with the crew escaping with nothing but their shirts; according to contemporary reports the captain’s wife didn’t even keep her hat.  The wreck is a pretty dive, timbers splayed across the bottom, try pots (blubber boilers) sitting upright in the middle of the site, anchors and chains laid out and that well stuck anchor giving much food for thought on the trials and tribulations of navigating Bass Strait with nothing more than sails.  At Spike Cove we were also thoroughly investigated by a ‘Customs’ plane that did a number of passes over us, presumably got loads of lovely photos and wanted to know exactly who we were and where we were from; dodgy looking boat that ‘Tom Bowling’!

Spike Cove, Johan, Ralph and Ken.

 

Spike Cove, blowing hard.

 

That easterly had now backed north to north-east and for the next few days insisted on blowing at 30-40 knots and stronger.  So there we were, moving slowly up the west coast of Flinders Island waiting for the wind to moderate and go preferably south.  Next stop was a night under ‘Trousers Point’, 18 miles north of Spike Cove, then on to Settlement Point the next day, another 25 miles north.  Settlement Point provides another insight into the tragedy that was early Tasmania.  It was here in 1835 that George Augustus Robinson, a builder and lay preacher in the employ of the colonial Government decided to establish a settlement to save the remaining Tasmanian aboriginals from extinction. This (re)settlement followed ongoing conflict as the aboriginals fought for their country.  It was they were told to be a temporary arrangement and supposedly followed by a return to the mainland. Called ‘Wybalenna’, meaning in the aboriginal language ‘White mans house’, the settlement was to offer a ‘modern’ and ‘comfortable’ environment where the aboriginals would be safe from persecution! Of course here, separated from their land, culture and spiritual connections they died by the numbers until the few remaining went home to die at Oyster Cove on mainland Tasmania.  Another cynic might conclude that the outcome solved a dilemma for the Government of the day and kept the farmers and landed gentry happy, but such were the times and attitudes that maltreatment of starving convicts and native Australians was a cultural norm.  All that remains now in this rather sad place is the restored chapel built originally by convicts, piles of bricks here and there to mark where houses once stood, a museum and a lonely cemetery marking graves of early settlers and the 100 odd aboriginals buried thereabouts.

The cemetery at Wybelenna

 

Piles of bricks!

 

Chapel/Hall built by covicts at Wybelenna.

 

Marker for Aboriginal graves.

 

After a night at Settlement Point the wind was scheduled to shift west and eventually SW so on the Friday (02April) with the wind starting to move both boats slipped the 5 or so miles across to Prime Seal and anchored in ‘Peacock Bay’ as the wind freshened to yet another 30-40 knots.  Before our departure the skipper dropped our French helmsman ashore so that he could head for ‘Whitemark’ and a plane ride eventually to Sydney and France before his visa expired; probably a wise move as the weather and wind wasn’t looking terribly cooperative. That night was another “shall the anchor hold” night and “my, the wind does sound rather strong doesn’t it”!  Fortunately the Gadfly anchor stayed stuck and Tom Bowling’s anchor let go obligingly after dawn. That morning was the 45 miles to the Kent Group about mid way between Flinders Island and Wilsons Promontory.  The wind hadn’t moderated on the departure but improved as the day wore on and at about 1600 we anchored inside ‘West Cove’ on Erith Island and went ashore for an early dinner at the hut in the NW corner of the bay. 

The ‘Kents’ are perhaps the most beautiful island group in Bass Strait with the three main islands, Erith/Dover and Deal separated by the narrow Murray Pass.  This is breathtaking stuff with sheer granite cliffs plunging into deep water, shipwrecks in the bays and on the beaches and the old lighthouse on the top of Deal sitting so high it was often in cloud and useless.  Caretakers maintain the lighthouse, keepers quarters, there is a museum at the lighthouse buildings and a little shack on Erith where passing mariners fill in the visitors log and offer anecdotes and insights into their travels.  Both Erith and Deal had been used for decades to run cattle but the Kent group is now a combined island and marine park, after the ‘Bush Heritage Fund’ organisation acquired the grazing leases and pushed for the island group to become a park. There is good all weather anchorage here with shelter from westerlies in West Cove on Erith and from easterlies in East Cove on Deal; just be careful of wind shifts.  Like everywhere in Bass Strait, just have an alternative anchorage in mind no matter where one might be!  A feature of Erith is the bullets or ‘catspaws’ that blow down and over the hills into the anchorage during periods of strong westerlies.  These seem to come from any quarter and at anchor boats can go hunting off in any direction making anchoring and holding bottom an interesting sport during a blow. There are stories pinned to the wall of the hut on Erith detailing significant problems past travellers have encountered holding bottom in Erith and horror stories of dragging anchor.  There is only one location to anchor on Erith, in the sand under the cliffs at the SW end of West Cove and for the two boats this trip, we both put out two anchors with 10 metres of chain between them; just make sure they are in the sand. 

Like many of the islands of Bass Strait there is also a considerable history of maritime activities, exploitation and shipwreck. A favourite for the Kents is the survivors of the schooner ‘Brothers’ in 1809 building a coracle from sealskins and trying to cross Murray Pass while sharks were happily endeavouring to chew up their boat.  On sharks, Dave from ‘Lady Bay’ regaled the skipper with stories of sharks beaching themselves on Deal and trying to grab wallabies that feed down on the beach.  Having dived here frequently Ralph and the skipper were somewhat interested in this concept! More prophetically from an historical perspective is the grave above the beach at Erith of George Phillpotts, ships boy from HMS Myrmidon who died on a survey voyage, December 20, 1886.  The original cross is in the museum on Deal having been replaced by the crew of HMAS Ardent in 1988.

West Cove, Erith Island. Deal Island in background.

 

The hut on Erith.

 

West Cove on Erith; boats tucked up in the SW corner!

 

Left over junk on Erith.

 

High point Erith; still blowing hard.

 

After much anchor watching, walking on shore and cooking food at the hut the next leg was the 45 miles to Refuge Cove, yet again in 30 knots of south westerly.  So on Tuesday off we went for the penultimate leg of our circumnavigation and into Refuge; probably the prettiest of anchorages in Bass Strait.  Located of course amidst the beauty of the Wilsons Promontory National Park, Refuge offers protection from almost all weather with the exception of strong north-easterlies.  This is one of those places you just can’t get sick of visiting.  White sandy beaches, trees and rocks down to the waters edge where the only visitors come by boat or walk in.  The weather had moderated as the day wore on and in the middle of the bay the two boats rafted up for the last time and the skipper, Ken and Sharon went ashore for a walk. The sense of isolation at Refuge has perhaps been disturbed by the National Parks people putting a large obtrusive sign above the beach telling people what (they already know) they can’t do, but being overly officious is part of such peoples job description; they just can’t help themselves. This stunning place is very much a favourite for boats going in both directions through Bass Strait and in the days of yore visiting mariners were inclined to paint the names of their vessels on the rocks above the bay.  This wasn’t terribly attractive so a number of decades ago the volunteer group ‘Friends of the Prom’ cleaned the rocks (traces remain) of this graffiti and at the western end of the beach is a boat visitors, camping area where vessels names are either on plaques or carved into the boards of a wooden visitors stand or fence sort of structure.  There also used to be a whaling effort out of Refuge and when the skipper first walked in and stayed here, whale bones were used as stepping stones in the creek at the eastern end of the beach near the overnight camping area.  There are still whale bones under the seagrass just off the beach and the collection of whale bones at the Parks hut seems to get bigger with each visit.

Sharon

 

Ken and Ralph on Gadfly, last night.

 

Headed home.

 

Louise

 

Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse.

 

Cleft Island (Skull Rock).

 

Lots of Mutton Birds (Shearwaters)

 

Over Wellington Cape, Wilsons Promontory.

 

Never get sick of Refuge!

 

Refuge Cove

 

Next morning we said goodbye to Ralph and Ken as the good ship Tom Bowling slipped away and headed home to Port Albert in Gippsland.  The Gadfly waited at Refuge until 1030 as we needed to time our approach to Port Phillip Heads and the ‘Rip’, that nasty bit of water at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay that has a history of swallowing ships and boats of all sizes and denominations. The wind was supposed to go SSW but true to form as we rounded the bottom of the ‘Prom’ it went west of course. This then required a beat out to sea to get enough angle on the wind to motor sail around the southern side of the islands at the bottom and west of the Prom; at least it was light!  This part of the Strait is quite spectacular and cruising past islands such as Rodondo and Cleft was certainly a nice way to finish the cruise.  Cleft Island in particular is something else close up and it’s alternate name ‘Skull Island’ well deserved.  The wind proceeded to drop out entirely so motoring all the way to St Kilda became the order of the day, evening and morning.  So with the sea going glassy that night we approached the Mornington Peninsula and at 0300 passed Cape Shanck in mirror smooth conditions.  The night was clear, the seas flat and with a full moon from a mile offshore it was as if you could reach out and touch the Schanck light.  As we passed Portsea the skipper pointed out some of the dive locations of note along the back of the Peninsula.  This of course included Cheviot Beach where our one time Prime Minister, Harold Holt, proved he wasn’t quite the swimmer he had led people to believe by disappearing. We approached ‘The Rip’ in perfect conditions passed Point(s) Lonsdale and Nepean at 0745 and shaped up for the West Channel and home.  At 1300 we slipped into the pen at St Kilda secured lines and greeted our welcoming committee. 

Glassed out going up the bay

 

Passing Queenscliff.

 

Home again.

 

Cheers to all and next time shorts, t-shirts and thongs are the go!!!

 

 

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One Response to “Tasmania circumnavigation 2009.”

  1. shiraz Says:

    Loved it was a great trip

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