Around Hobart, Summer 2012-2013

Down the Channel with Tim and Kylie

Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 December 2012

Our first real sail for this summer starts on Thursday. Guests Tim and Kylie arrive the previous evening, and after shopping for provisions and eating lunch we slide Nahani out of her new berth and head down the Channel. This is the third Tassie trip for Tim and Kylie, so we have to take them to anchorages new to them. Surprisingly, we haven't stopped at Barnes on either of their previous trips, so we beat to windward down the river, then sail slowly down the Channel, and into Barnes. We pick up a mooring in Quarantine, taking advantage of our recent decision to join Kingborough Boat Club, which has moorings for the use of club members in many of the Channel anchorages. We make an expert landing and think how much easier it is to use a mooring than to put down an anchor. We have another bonus - having a new gas stove instead of the old, very temperamental, kero monster, means that for once the cook is prepared to allow the guests into the galley, where Kylie makes a splendid spaghetti bolognese for dinner.

On a calm, sunny and hot Friday Tim starts the day with a swim, which includes diving under the keel and telling us we have a mussel farm down there, possibly explaining why the boat seems to be moving somewhat slowly. With him back aboard we cast off and captain and mate experiment with close manoevring techniques between the cluster of mooring buoys at the top of Quarantine. We motor round to Simmonds and the Duck Pond to give Tim and Kylie a look at the rest of Barnes, then, with very little wind, we motor down the Channel and across Great Bay to Little Fancy, where we anchor to enjoy a warm afternoon. Mate swims ashore, captain follows in the dinghy, guests swim off the boat, before we all reconvene for gin and tonics and a barbecue on deck.

On Saturday a strong northerly springs up. We motor eastwards, narrowly missing a fish farm whose markers are hard to see in the chop, and anchor off the beach north of Ford Bay. Trusting the new Rocna anchor to hold the boat in the wind we take the dinghy ashore, shipping surprisingly little water in wind and waves with four sizeable adults aboard. We walk up to the Bruny Island Cheese Factory for coffee and lunch, return to the boat and make a long beat across Great Bay in strong winds, round Kinghorn Point, then tack up the Channel and back into Barnes. There is a southerly change forecast so we head for another Kingborough mooring just round from Alexanders, and again pick up expertly, even though the southerly comes in just as we are approaching the buoy. Temperature drops, making a roast dinner below very attractive. After dinner Tim and Kylie introduce us to a game of Catan ("trade-build-settle"), which the mate finally wins by exploitation of mineral resources (just call her Gina).

On Sunday we finally have a favorable wind and a great sail back up the Channel and the Derwent. The captain is very nervous about making his first real entry back into the pen, but it goes very smoothly with the southerly pushing us toward the jetty. We dine out on Sunday night, and Tim and Kylie get up at some ungodly hour on Monday morning to catch a plane back to Canberra and work. Captain and mate wish them a safe journey and go back to sleep - ah, the joys of retirement. [Top]


Saturday 15 to Monday 17 December 2012

Captain and mate make flying visits to Melbourne after the first guests depart. We are booked to slip the boat on the Monday after our return, but on Saturday morning, our first morning back, we are in the middle of a Skype conference when there is a knock on the boat to tell us we can go up early. Rapid preparation, then we exit the berth, once more leaving a boathook behind, this time in the water (last time it was hanging from the rope pole). We get into the cradle and up on the hard stand with ease, spend the morning cleaning the hull and the afternoon patch priming a few spots on the hull, particularly along the keel where the mussel farm had been removed. Sunday we antifoul all the patches, replace anodes and do a few repairs, and are ready to go back on Monday. The two extra nights on the hard stand have allowed us to patch the antifouling, rather than just cleaning as planned, so we are very pleased, if a little stiff and sore from scrubbing and rubbing, climbing up and down ladders. There is a brisk northwesterly blowing when we return to the berth on Monday morning, and our entry is less than perfect - mate can't reach the pickup line for the spring so we put a dent into the new jetty while the captain is trying to steer and pick up a stern line at the same time, while the mate uses a boathook on the slider line to keep the bow under control. But there is no major damage and at least we stay well clear of the classic wooden boat Vanity in the other half of our pen. [Top]

Relief mission to Koonya

Sunday 6 to Monday 7 January 2013

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We plan a two-day sail with guests Nick and Tuesday, with two more days ashore to visit Mona and see a bit of Hobart. The decision on where to go is made for us when a serious bushfire breaks out north of Dunalley on Friday, burns out the town and then progresses down the Forestier and Tasman peninsulas on Saturday, cutting the Arthur Highway which is the only access road to this area. Cousin Claire and husband Gösta are camped on the beach at Koonya with their grandchildren Max (five) and Ruby (three). Alex, the children's mother is back in Hobart with baby Henry. She is planning to join them at Koonya, but the fires prevent this and she is anxious about the children, especially as the fires have reached Taranna, only a few kilometres away. After multiple phone calls, we decide to sail down to Koonya on Sunday to pick up Max and Ruby.

We collect Tuesday and Nick at the airport early Sunday morning, enjoy breakfast in Salamanca, then we return to Nahani and we're ready to pull out. Once again the mate has trouble dropping off the pickup lines and the boathook is left dangling, but finally we work out that the slider line needs to be above the spring line so that it doesn't jam as we back out of the pen. Next time... Out in the Derwent there is no wind and as we are on a mission, we motor at speed downriver, round the Iron Pot, past Betsey, up Fredrick Henry Bay. Navigation is interesting as we go east - all the familiar landmarks are hidden in the haze of smoke from the fires. We manage a bit of real sailing at the top of Norfolk Bay before the sea breeze comes in and we are heading into a stiff southerly. The upside of the wind shift is that it is safe to anchor off the beach at Koonya, which we do, then go ashore to enjoy a swim in the warm shallow pools of Koonya at low tide. We return to the Nahani to collect food to contribute to a meal ashore shared with Claire and Gösta, and Sue and Jack who come down from the house to join us in the tent on the beach. There is no power on the Tasman Peninsula, so we are helping them eat food from their now non-operational freezer. As the boat fridges are operating, we can contribute ice cream, and we take their freezer blocks from the car fridges back to the boat to freeze overnight. We have schnapps and songs after our meal, then head back to the boat in the dinghy, watching in dismay flames on Smooth Island near Dunalley.

On Monday mate and guests enjoy a swim off the boat before going ashore to collect Max, Ruby and Gösta, who is due back at work. Claire elects to stay, knowing that even if the fires spread round from Taranna she can stay safe by taking a dinghy out into the water. We leave her milk, bread, and the freezer blocks, regretting that we have already lent our generator to her other daughter, who was under threat of losing power at Dodge's Ferry when a wind change started driving the fire west from Dunalley. Otherwise we could have provided Sue and Jack with power at the house. By mid-morning we have ferried all the extra passengers and belongings from beach to boat, and we head across the bay, once more having to rely on the GPS to navigate as we can't see the familiar headlands. We wonder how the kids will cope with a long day aboard the boat, but after lunch they both settle down for a sleep. We are very pleased that they do, because half way down Frederick Henry Bay the seabreeze comes in with a bang and we have 25-30kt on the nose, with rising seas, and the going gets quite rough. Ruby wakes and gets quite reasonably anxious as we heave around, but we tell her it is like a roller coaster. This works for a bit, but then she wants the one thing we can't provide: "Mummy!". But we give her a hug and tell her to hang on to Morfar (Grandpa in Danish) and she copes bravely with the rough conditions which persist until we get into the lee of Betsey Island. We motor sail from there to the Iron Pot, then have a lovely sail up the river on a dead run with the headsails wing and wing. By then both kids are relaxed and Max is helping Gösta steer. Finally we berth and the children are happily re-united with their mother. Our guests go off for a night ashore and we have a welcome early night.

We have various non-sailing excursions in the following two days: breakfast at Jackman and McRoss, an afternoon at Mona, dinner with the Blichfeldts on Tuesday, then a drive down the Channel Highway through Snug and Kettering, round to Cygnet for lunch, then to Huonville and the Wooden Boat School at Franklin before bringing our guests back to Hobart for dinner, then to the airport to catch their return flight to Melbourne. As with all our guests, Tasmania has worked its magic and they want to come again. [Top]

Plague ship goes to Quarantine

Wednesday 16 to Friday 18 January 2013

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At the end of the first week in January the mate finally succumbs to the virus that has afflicted the captain since New Year, and once she is over the worst of it we decide we should take ourselves out of circulation before we transmit it to anyone else.

Where better to take a plague ship than Quarantine Bay? We go out on Wednesday afternoon. We sail to windward downriver at good speed, but have to motor when the wind drops in the Channel. Thursday is a lovely calm sunny day (see the sunset picture), and we have plans to get on with some on-deck chores, but somehow the attraction of just having a really restful day wins out. On Friday we reluctantly return, but have the compensation of a great sail back with a strong southerly to take us up the Channel and the river. Captain is a little nervous about getting back into the berth, but it is calm enough inside the marina for it to go smoothly. [Top]

To Koonya with Carroll to launch Auntie Elvie

Saturday 26 to Monday 28 January 2013

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Friend and past crew member Carroll is coming to work in Hobart for a week and decides to come early so that she can sail with us over the long weekend. Her flight from Melbourne is cancelled, so when she finally arrives on the next flight, we take her for a much-needed lunch at Jackman & McRoss before picking up final provisions and heading out. As she has been down the Channel and round Bruny on a number of other visits, we decide to head to Koonya again, a place we haven't yet taken her.

We motorsail downriver, expecting the wind to be more favourable once we round the Iron Pot. But the wind seems to be still on the nose so we beat into Slopen Main and anchor there for the night with the wind coming offshore. When we wake a change has come through with rain and a westerly blowing us onshore, so we decide to move on before breakfast. Tide is high, so we navigate carefully between Slopen Island and the Tasman Peninsula, then put up a headsail and creep round to Lime Bay where we warm ourselves with porridge for breakfast and wait for the weather to improve. Round midday the sun comes out and we have a great sail down to Koonya with a brisk westerly, doing around 7kt. We anchor off the beach, go ashore where the Blichfeldts are camped en famille. Liv and Alex are on the beach with their new babies. Their husbands Andrew and and Brent help us to carry the Mirror dinghy that we bought before Christmas down to the beach, together with its sails, spars, trailer, rudder etc. Once we have all the bits, we rig the boat and wheel it across the sandbars to put it in the water. Captain Peter then takes all and sundry for a sail, starting with the mate, including young Max and finishing with guest Carroll, who steers the dinghy expertly back almost on to the trailer. The wind is very light, but there are enough occasional gusts for us to know that she sails very nicely. She is to be named "Auntie Elvie" after the original owner of the property where the beach camp lies. We join the Blichfeldts ashore for drinks and dinner with a beautiful sunset and full moon making the scene perfect.

On Monday morning the mate has a morning swim from the boat before we go ashore briefly to de-rig the Mirror, store it near the main tent and its gear in the shed on the beach, ready for the next use by us or any other of the Koonya visitors. We return to Nahani, weigh anchor and sail home in record time. We have to use the motor to assist the sails when the easterly drops in strength about half way up Norfolk Bay, but have a good run at the top of the bay, through Flinders Passage and about a third of the way down Frederick Henry Bay. Then, as on our last trip, the southerly comes in, although not as hard, and we motorsail close hauled in rising seas down to Cape Contrariety, past Betsey Island to the Iron Pot. The wind is dead astern once we turn into the river and with wind, tide and waves all following we speed up the river doing 7-8kt. It is still blowing hard in Sandy Bay so we anchor near Wrest Point and eat our dinner before attempting to berth. It goes well, except that we catch the carabiner clip on the slider line between hull and jetty as the strong southerly blows us on, and put a scratch in the paintwork. But that's always going to happen now and then if you use your boat, so we are philosophical. And we had a great trip, good company, good food, and we've continued to enjoy Carroll's company for evening meals when she's finished work during this week. [Top]

Here and there with Tony and Ysabel

Thursday 7 to Wednesday 13 February 2013

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We pick up Ysabel and Tony, our UK visitors, from the bus terminal on Thursday afternoon. They have been enjoying pony trekking in Cradle Mountain, before getting the bus from Launceston to Hobart. After they've settled in to the guest cabin we drive back to Salamanca for a preview of the Wooden Boat Festival in Kings Pier.

Friday is the Parade of Sail, and we set out with eight aboard, captain and mate, Tony and Ysabel, cousins Claire and Gösta, Helen and Wayne. We have a great time dodging around the huge number of sailing craft on the river, both genuine wooden boats participating in the parade and other boats out like us to watch and wonder at the beauty of the boats, and the skill shown by some of the crews in an increasingly strong northerly. We follow the wooden boats up toward Sullivan's Cove, then head on under the bridge to drop anchor in Cornelian Bay for a late lunch. We return to the berth after a lovely day on the water, marred only by issues getting Nahani in and out of her pen in a strong northerly - very taxing. When the captain has recovered we take our visitors for a wonderful dinner party at the Blichfeldts.

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On Saturday our tourists manage to sandwich in Salamanca market, another look at the Wooden Boat Festival and a trip to Mona, followed by a meal at the Fish Bar with the Brownscombes, who've just arrived at the yacht club. Sunday sees us off in the car travelling west to Queenstown then north to the Tarkine. After two nights at Corinna we move on to Stanley for a night before dropping our visitors off at Devonport airport for a flight back to Melbourne. The trip is full of highlights: seeing huon pine sculptures at The Wall, the Pieman river trip on the Arcadia, seeing huon pines growing, walking through the Tarkine rainforest, driving the Western Explorer road to Marrawah (an experience for our guests and a contrast to the Devon lanes which are their normal beat), taking the chairlift up to the Nut at Stanley, and a final celebratory dinner in the hotel there.

As a change from driving our usual route from Devonport to Hobart, we take the A5 through the Highland Lakes, and enjoy more spectacular scenery and another part of Tasmania we haven't been to before. All in all a most successful trip for both our visitors and us. [Top]

Apollo, Cygnet, day sail with Nils & Miki

Sunday 17 to Thursday 21 February 2013

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We have promised to take cousins Nils and Miki sailing before Nils goes back to work in Sydney. We arrange for them to hitch a ride with Nils' mother Claire, who is now working at the Marine Discovery Centre in Peppermint Bay and plan to pick them up there on Tuesday morning. We head out on Sunday evening in hot, calm weather and motor to Apollo Bay. We spend a lazy Monday there, reading and (for the mate) enjoying a couple of swims from the boat. When we go to bed it is almost too hot to sleep, but it starts to rain at about 2am and by morning it is cold enough for us to make porridge for breakfast. It's also clearly going to keep raining, so we postpone our sailing trip with the young. Early in the afternoon the rain clears, and we move round to Cygnet, first motoring, then motor sailing, until we get the southerly behind us as we go up toward the Huon River and then round into the Cygnet estuary.

We arrive just in time to watch the Tuesday evening race, then go ashore for the club night barbecue, catching up with the members we know there. On Wednesday we walk into town for lunch and a few more provisions, then return and set sail again. Winds are not all that favourable but as we aren't in a hurry we beat rather than motoring and by about 8pm we are back in Apollo, having sailed most of the way.

Thursday is a perfect day, sunny with a brisk northeasterly, and we are across the Channel ready for the pickup in good time. From Peppermint Bay we sail east across to the beach near Ford Bay and walk up to the Bruny Island Cheese Factory for morning coffee. We sail back over the same course and round to Apollo, where we stop for a leisurely lunch before heading back up the Channel to Hobart. The northerly means we have to tack in the Channel, but then we sail all the way up the river on one long beat, averaging nearly 6kt, with Nils steering us home. A successful landing in the berth and we are ready to head off to Blichfeldts for dinner ashore after a great day's sailing. [Top]

Port Davey

Wednesday 27 February to Tuesday 12 March 2013

A trip to Port Davey always warrants a Voyage page to itself. [Top]

Barnes Bay

Friday 15 to Sunday 17 March 2013

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We pick up the Evans at the airport early, take them to Salamanca for breakfast, then put them on the MONA ferry. We meet again at MONA for an excellent lunch at The Source, returning to the RYCT at 4pm. We take Nahani out and sail down the river in a nice breeze, round to North West Bay, then motor across the bay at speed to meet a taxi that is waiting to take one of the party back to the airport. The dinghy arrives on the beach at 19:03, pretty good for a scheduled 19:00 pickup. The driver is waiting on the beach, and is even prepared to help push the dinghy off again, but the captain thinks it is more appropriate for him to get wet feet than guest or driver. He returns, we haul the dinghy up again and head on down the Channel, into Barnes Bay and anchor in Alexanders in time for a late dinner.

Saturday is wet and cold, so we have a lazy day, reading and cooking Anzac biscuits and a supersize hot cross bun (having the oven on warms up the boat). On Sunday the rain has cleared, so we do a tour of Barnes Bay, stopping on the other side in Quarantine for lunch. Then we sail up the Channel and the river, with the wind behind us, using the motor occasionally to keep our speed up as our guest has a plane to catch on Sunday evening. As we approach the RYCT the captain spots dolphin out in the river, so we detour to go and watch them. They have obviously come in to feed on something and are too busy to pay much attention to us, but two or three cruise around the boat before going back to dinner. Reluctantly we leave them, to make an easy entry into the berth with very little wind. We learn that the plane is late, giving us time to have champagne and a leisurely dinner before driving our guest to the airport. [Top]

Koonya and Kettering

Thursday 4 to Tuesday 9 April 2013

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As our next guests include an eight year old boy who we fear will find long trips boring, we organise to pick them up at Dodge's Ferry, instead of collecting them from the airport. We leave the RYCT after lunch on Thursday, motorsail down the Derwent, round the Iron Pot and past Betsey, then have a pleasant sail up Frederick Henry Bay, finally feeling our way into the mouth of Pittwater, where we anchor behind Tiger Head. It's a new anchorage for us, but we find a spot between the moored boats without much difficulty and have a very quiet night. Our guests arrive by taxi next morning to be picked up by dinghy at the Dodge's Ferry boat ramp. The captain makes two trips to collect Rosie, Susannah, Max, and their assorted luggage. With all aboard and bunks allocated, we set off for Koonya in beautiful sunny weather, but no breeze, so we motor, arriving in time to take our lunch ashore. Our guests are most impressed with Sue and Jack's beach camp. We enjoy the weather and the beach, swimming, dinghy sailing in both Nahani's tender and in the Mirror that we bought at the beginning of the summer to use at Koonya. We have a barbecue ashore in the evening with Sue and Jack, then return to Nahani to spend a very calm night anchored off the beach.

Back to the beach again next morning to wash up from the previous night and have some more beach time. In the afternoon the wind comes in strongly from the north, so we retreat under motor to Eaglehawk Neck and anchor just past the fish farm, where we can see clearly the damage from the recent bushfires, but also the regeneration that is already underway. It is another new anchorage for us, and provides good shelter during a windy night.

On Sunday we head back to Koonya after a late start, but with a nice gentle southerly blowing we decide not to go ashore again, but to take advantage of the breeze. We sail north slowly in a light wind, anchoring in Lime Bay around sunset, in time for dinner.

Monday dawns calm and cloudy, and the guests take the dinghy on a fishing expedition, returning with a couple of nice flathead, and stories of the two bigger ones that got away. We weigh anchor as soon as they are back aboard, as our next destination is Kettering, in the Channel. There is very little wind, so we motor into a swell in Frederick Henry Bay, causing everyone except the captain to suffer from mild seasickness. We put sail up as we approach Cape Contrariety to try to steady the boat, and it does give us some increase in speed as we go past Betsey and the Iron Pot and head for the Channel entrance. Once in the Channel we have very little wind, and what there is is right on the nose, so we drop the sails again and motor down to Kettering. Susie and Max are leaving us there to stay with a friend in Kettering, and her father Tony has offered us his mooring for the night. It's the first time we've been into Kettering for several years, and we pick our way carefully through the crowded moorings, trying to identify the one we are to borrow. We pick up one that we hope is right, but Tony arrives to tell us we are close, but not correct. The captain picks him up in the dinghy and he guides us to the right one. Once safely moored, we all go ashore for a meal with Susie's friend Cathy and son Toby, who is the same age as Max.

Late Tuesday morning we slip the mooring with Susie and the boys waving us off, and the rest of the crew head back up to Hobart. It is another sunny day, but devoid of breeze, so we motor at a relaxed pace and make a perfect entry into the pen around 1600, in time for drinks and a final meal with Rosie. On Wednesday Rosie goes by ferry to Mona. Susie and Max are given a lift back to Hobart, and spend the day exploring on foot and by double decker bus. We reconvene at the RYCT late afternoon, then go for an early tea at the Fish Bar in Sandy Bay before taking all the guests off to the airport for the flight back to Melbourne.

We had lovely weather, great company aboard, an opportunity to catch up with Sue and Jack, and two birthdays to celebrate, as the captain and Rosie both clocked up another year during the voyage. A good way to end our ninth summer in Hobart. [Top]