Around Hobart, Summer 2021

Summer 2021 begins in December 2020, ends in April 2021, one of our longest ever uninterrupted liveaboard periods. The shadow of COVID is a deterrent to air travel, and there isn't much to go back for that can't be handled via Zoom. So once we arrive on the SoT, we just stay in Tasmania, where everyone is much more relaxed about COVID than they were in Melbourne.

Hobart at last! On the slip

Friday 11 to Monday 14 December 2020

Link to Google Photos

We arrive in Hobart around midday Thursday 10 December, in time for the weekly roast in the yacht club, so we greet all the back bar regulars as we get lunch. On Friday we are up early to put the boat on the slip, and by the end of the afternoon the Bilge Rats have finished cleaning and antifouling. In the four days between arriving and coming off the slip, we catch up with Alan Perkins, Penny and Jeremy, cousin Claire and family for a birthday party, and Dougie at our favourite bookshop. We check out Caspian for Sandra and David, who won't be here until after Christmas. And we go to our favourite Hobart places: White Box Noodles, All Thai and Suminato for evening meals, Brew for coffee, Jackman and McRoss for lunch (scallop pie, of course), Salamanca market on Saturday for vegetables, Brian at the chandlery for new fender covers and some more anodes. We even have a wander through Shiploads. It's beginning to feel as though we've been here for weeks.

There is a bit more work to do on the slip on Saturday. While the ship's engineer is fitting anodes, the IT person is getting the ship's laptop up-to-date after over 10 months without use, so that this blog can stay up-to-date. This year has been such a blur that we couldn't remember the status of technology on the boat, with the result that we now have 3 laptops aboard - an old Windows 7 Toshiba, the nice new Acer that we bought to replace an equally old Toshiba laptop in Melbourne and brought with us on the ferry, and the nice new Dell we had completely forgotten that we bought in Hobart last January to replace the Nahani Toshiba. We're blaming COVID, rather than just admitting that our memories are now rubbish.

Bosuns don't work at the weekends now so we have an enforced rest day on Sunday, a sleep-in and a walk to the supermarket later to provision. Another walk to the shops very early Monday to visit the German Bakery for bread, cheese and spinach rolls and Christmas Stollen, ticking off another favourite place. We're all ready to go back in the water at about 9am. [Top]

First sail of Summer to Barnes Bay

Monday 14 to Wednesday 16 December 2020

It is a lovely, cloudless, sunny day on Monday, with a strong northerly blowing. Since getting into the berth in windy conditions is always tricky, we decide to just sail away as soon as we come off the slip. We back out of the Marina to avoid trying to turn the boat in the wind, then head toward the Garrow light, where we put up sail and turn the motor off. With just the jib we do 6+kt with the wind dead astern. We tack downwind towards South Arm, then tack back to the Channel entrance. Less wind at the south end of the Derwent, but we are still doing a comfortable 5-6kt, then 4-5kt once in the Channel. We sail into Barnes, putting the motor back on to take us up into Quarantine Bay to pick up a mooring. Of course the wind strengthens as we approach, and the pickup isn't as tidy as one would like, but we do it in one go despite being out of practice. We are safely moored in time for lunch and a lazy afternoon. Later we put the dinghy in the water, clean 10 months of muck out of it, put the outboard on and the captain goes for a burn around the bay while the mate has a swim.

Tuesday proceeds as planned, doing not much. Cockpit is cleaned. Around coffee time we shift from Quarantine to a mooring at the top of Sykes Bay, the first time we've used this one. Mate has another swim, as it's still hot although there is a change forecast, which is why we move moorings. Wind now increasing, and Mt Wellington has disappeared into cloud. Rain would be good to help wash more dust off the decks.

No rain, but Wednesday is cloudy and chilly and the forecast is for rain all day on Thursday, so we slip the mooring after morning coffee and motorsail back up the river. We don't raise the main because we know there's a birds nest in the boom bag, and we want buckets and hoses handy to remove the mess when we open it up. There's not much wind when we reach the berth, but the captain's ability to judge the turn has gone off after 10 months. Fortunately Ian from Ariel is there to help us pick up lines, and with his aid it's painless. It's nice to be back in the Marina as it's cold enough for the electric heater to be welcome. [Top]

Christmas and New Year, in the Marina

Thursday 17 December 2020 to Saturday 9 January 2021

We spend the last weeks of 2020 with a mixture of socialising, maintenance tasks, and relaxation. We lunch with Anne and Tom, do Christmas shopping, wrap presents, entertain various people aboard for coffee, lunch, sundowner drinks. The decks are cleaned with the Karcher, and there is general tidying and cleaning inside and out. The birds' nest is removed from the boom bag, and the sail cleaned up. The annual "Reflection" is written. Christmas books are read. Clarinets are played. Christmas e-cards are sent and received. We continue to communicate with friends and rels in Melbourne and elsewhere by email, phone and Zoom. We spend Yulafen with the Blichfeldts, Christmas Day with Gus and Susie at her place in Kaoota, New Year's Eve at the Blichfeldts.

2021 begins with the mate going down with something, which fortunately turns out to be a cold, not COVID (she has the test). The engineer services all the winches, a long overdue maintenance task. U3A tasks are done. Research is done on-line for new kayak(s) to replace the inflatable one we've had for years but which we gave away when a leak proved impossible to repair. Further research is done on how/where a diesel heater could be fitted, prompted by the fact that the weather was chilly for the last two weeks in December. A quiet but enjoyable time. [Top]

Down the Channel

Sunday 10 to Friday 15 January 2021

Summer finally arrives, Saturday 12 January is hot and windy and the marina empties. We spend the Saturday provisioning and leave early Sunday when it is quiet and easy to get out of the pen. Not much wind, so it's motoring nearly all the way to Barnes, with a brief bit of sailing at the top of the Channel. In the Derwent we are rewarded for finally leaving the marina by having a pod of dolphin come to play. We reach Quarantine Bay in time for lunch, and have our pick of the moorings. It's a lovely warm afternoon, the mate has a paddle in the new kayak. Monday is hot at first, the mate has a swim as well as another kayak excursion, and even the captain has a go. The kayaks are pronounced a success. There is a thunderstorm late afternoon on Monday, rain overnight, and a change threatening Tuesday morning so we move across to Rosebanks before breakfast. The wind goes to the south but it doesn't really get cold. We laze, with books. The mate takes a kayak ride round into Alexanders where she finally locates the Kingborough Boating Club mooring buoy. We've known from their website that there was one there, but have never managed to locate it. We now know that's because it looks completely different from all the other KBC buoys - it's black and very large. We'd always assumed that it was a private mooring. At kayak level, you can read the small tag that says "Kingborough Boating Club". Useful to know for another time. In the evening we enjoy a roast and a DVD.

We drop the mooring at about 8:45am Wednesday, motor out of Barnes and dodge the Bruny ferries before putting up the headsail. The following breeze is very gentle so we motor sail as far as Long Bay Shoal, where we cut the engine so that the mate can phone her brother in quiet. Wind increases during the call and by the end of it we are doing a respectable 4+kt so we sail the rest of the way to the west side Huon Island, where the wind becomes variable. From there we motor sail to Cygnet, drop anchor and then take a break until the afternoon cools down a little.

Our recent research into installing a diesel heater has borne fruit - after a visit last week by Nick from Dieselheat our system is chosen and our installation plan is about 90% complete. The captain has a new idea about where to put the exhaust which he wants to run past Nick, and as Dieselheat is based in Cygnet we give Nick a call. We accept a welcome offer from him to pick us up from the yacht club. We dinghy ashore, pile into his truck and head to his workshop up in the hills behind Cygnet town. After further discussion about exhausts we walk back into Cygnet, check out the main street for any changes, stop for a coffee at the Lovett Cafe before walking back to the yacht club and dinghying back to Nahani.

Having discovered that our favourite second hand book shop cum op shop doesn't open until Friday, we decide we don't need to go into Cygnet again on Thursday. After a lazy morning we lift the anchor, clean off the Cygnet mud and head down the estuary in flukey winds, motor on, motor off until we get near the Huon. From there we have a following wind and we only need the headsail to take briskly across to the Quarries. Shortly after we anchor there it rains, so there's no shore excursion by dinghy or kayak. The rain stops in the evening and we enjoy a spectacular sunset after eating our roast dinner.

The weather forecast is for a series of cold fronts, so we're up early on Friday to get back to the marina asap. It's a beanie and porridge morning, with not much wind and not from the right direction. We motor all the way, it starts raining as we get to North Bruny and stops just in time for us to get into the berth without getting wet. Cold with more rain this afternoon, so we feel our return is well-timed. [Top]

Channel with John

Thursday 28 January to Thursday 4 February 2021

Mate's brother John arrives Friday 22 January, but various things keep us in the RYCT Marina for the next few days. On Thursday 28 January we leave the marina mid-morning. It's grey and chilly, but there is a nice easterly breeze and we sail all the way to Apollo Bay under main and headsail. It's the first time we have sail up before we pass the Garrow light in the Derwent, and don't need the engine again until we are picking up a mooring in Apollo. By the time we get there the sun is out, the sky is blue, and only the strengthening and still chilly easterly deters us from getting in or on the water. John decides to swim anyway, and manages to swim to shore and back without hypothermia setting in. Later we move to the KBC mooring that is further from shore, as the one we are on seems a little close for comfort. On Friday the forecast is for strong winds and we stay put.

Saturday is sunny, but no wind. We motor south and east, pick up a mooring in Great Bay, go ashore for a mid-morning coffee and cheese platter at the Bruny Island Cheese Factory, where we notice a couple and their daughter who are wearing lifejackets. We realise they are off a big steel boat called Escapade that was following us in Great Bay. A long chat about boating follows. Heading further south we consider stopping in Little Fancy, which would have been a good idea as the wind strengthens and goes southerly as we go further south. We motor all the way to the Quarries, anchor near Escapade who are there ahead of us. After dinner we make a post-prandial dinghy trip ashore for a brief beach walk on one of the little beaches.

From the Quarries we motorsail down to Mickey's bay on Sunday. After lunch we take the dinghy ashore and walk to Cloudy Bay Lagoon. The path we've used in the past doesn't seem to exist any more, but we find our way via someone's drive. On the Lighthouse Road we meet the Escapade crew again, who enlighten us about a shorter route, and tell us we've already passed the path down to the Lagoon. We retrace our steps, walk down and spend a happy time enjoying the stunning view across the lagoon to Cloudy Bay, and picking oysters off the rocks. We return via the alternate route to find our dinghy high and dry, and requiring considerable effort to refloat. On our way back to Nahani we are hailed by Escapade and invited aboard, but as we are wet and sandy, we invite them to join us a little later when we've had time to clean up. We have a very pleasant time when they join us for sundowner drinks.

John and the mate go kayaking in Mickey's on a sunny Monday morning, then we relocate to Lighthouse beach as the forecast is for the wind to go to the south. Which it does and becomes cool and cloudy, so we have a quiet afternoon aboard before accepting an invitation to visit Escapade. She's a beautiful vessel which her captain designed as a live-aboard for his family of four: Mark, Simone, Georgie and Lucy the dog. Another enjoyable drink and chat with them before we return to our vessel for a roast duck dinner.

We tow the kayaks between Mickey's and Lighthouse Beach, so on Tuesday the mate and John paddle to the beach and back before we haul them aboard for the next leg of our journey. Plan A is to sail from Lighthouse Beach to Port Cygnet. After a bit of debate we decide to head up the east side of the fish farms. The forecast moderate southwesterly turns into a brisk westerly, so after we clear the fish farms we decide that trying to head west into it to get to Cygnet is going to be heavy going. Instead we put up main and staysail, and continue to head north. Later we add the headsail and we sail most of the way up the Channel, with motor assistance from time to time as we get further north. We drop main and staysail in the Channel, then motorsail with just the headsail into Alexanders, where we pick up the KBC mooring that the mate finally identified in a kayak expedition during our last stop here. We are very sheltered and calm overnight.

Wednesday the mate is on call for U3APP, so we stay in Barnes. Mid-morning we drop the mooring and tour all the Barnes inlets, Sykes, the Duck Pond, North Simmonds and then pick up a mooring in Barnes. After lunch John and the captain go ashore to visit the Quarantine Station. After a night of rain, we motor back up the Channel and the Derwent on Thursday, another calm morning. Most boats are back in the Marina now, making our pen entry a little more difficult, and we bump the other boat in the pen on the way in. It's a gentle bump, anchor to anchor, so no harm done except to the captain's blood pressure. After lunch we clean up, tidy up and then have an excellent celebratory meal at Kosaten. [Top]

Channel with Steve and Chrissy

Sunday 7 to Wednesday 10 March 2021

After a couple of days doing things on the boat in the Marina, we are ready to sail on Sunday. We head out early afternoon, eating lunch after we're past the Garrow. As we have Steve on board, who wants to see the new sails, we have sail up even though the wind isn't particularly favourable. We get a bit of proper sailing at the top of the Channel, but the rest is all motor sailing. We pick up the mooring in Alexander's and have a very quiet night.

Monday is another day without much wind. There is a glimpse of a couple of dolphin as we motor out of Alexander's. We continue round to Ford Bay under motor, lunch at the Bruny Island Cheese Factory, and then have a good sail across to Simpson's point, down the Channel and round towards Huon Island. The wind dies there, we drop sails and motor the rest of the way to Cygnet, anchoring as usual near the town jetty.

On Tuesday, we complete the Great Heater Project when Juan from Dieselheat comes aboard and gets the system going for us. See the blog for all the details of this long-drawn-out project. When he leaves we get ourselves organised for a trip ashore. The captain drops Steve ashore first, then takes the rest of the crew to the Port Cygnet Sailing Club (PCSC) jetty. We walk into town and eat lunch at the Lovett Bakery. Chrissy and I mooch around in Cygnet while Peter and Steve walk on up to Dieselheat to buy a controller for the heater (this is the device you need to unlock the system if you've had too many failed attempts at starting it up). We return to Nahani in time to watch the PCSC Tuesday evening races before dinner.

We make a fairly early start on Wednesday and motor sail back to Sandy Bay in light winds. Steve does what he can with the sails, and there are some brief periods where we are doing well under sail, but not well enough to do without the motor. Our first attempt at putting the boat into the pen is a miss, so we let the wind blow the boat gently back out again. Second attempt is a perfect landing. We have a last night dinner aboard and drop our guests back to the airport next day for their Thursday morning flight. [Top]

Barnes Bay - last trip for 2021

Tuesday 29 March to Monday 5 April 2021

The great heater project continued to occupy a fair amount of time after our last guests left. See blog for more details and more pictures.

We are finally ready to head out by the weekend of 27-28 March, but the weather isn't promising. We finally leave in lovely sunny conditions on Tuesday 29 March. The engineer has been concerned for some time about a vibration noise he hears when the engine is running. It is apparent again as we approach the Garrow, so we continue across to the mouth of Ralph's Bay, anchor and investigate. Nothing found, so we weigh anchor and head toward the Channel. A benefit of the diversion is that the wind has come up and we have a good sail across to Pierson's Point, doing 6-7.5 knots. In the Channel the winds are flukier and less favourable, so we need the engine to help us reach Quarantine Bay, where we have the pick of the KBC moorings. We stay in Quarantine for five of the six nights we are out, with one night in Sykes when the forecast is for a strong south-westerly change. During the day the mate sands and varnishes the anchor locker cover and the fore triangle that is usually inaccessible because there are four mooring lines round the samson post. Sanding takes a couple of days, then one coat of varnish is applied each day. Meanwhile the engineer finds one more leak in the heating system, so the shed is unpacked again as it's a major exercise to get to the fitting that needs adjusting. When not doing boatwork we laze and read. The mate has a couple of kayak excursions, and one very brief dip in the water (freezing) to check that there is nothing on the prop that could be causing the mystery vibration.

When we move from Quarantine on Thursday, we first try North Simmonds, but the KBC moorings there have weed-covered ropes which will drip all over the mate's fresh varnish. Instead we go to Sykes, which as usual is less comfortable in a strong southerly that one would expect. There's no fetch, so no wave action, but the wind seems to funnel down the hill so that the boat swings a lot on the mooring. The mate is in wetsuit, about to go overboard for prop investigation when the change slams in, blowing so hard that it would be quite dangerous to try and dive under the boat. That job is postponed until we return to Quarantine. As we motor back from Sykes to Quarantine early the next morning (to beat the Good Friday rush) we see a pod of dolphin, the second time we've seen them in Barnes this year.

We leave Quarantine early on Monday morning as we have a dinner engagement for the Captain's birthday. We have all sail up most of the way, with the wind going from west to southwest as we come up the Channel and the lower Derwent, then going to the north east as we approach the Garrow. We need the motor as well all the way to keep up a reasonable speed. We berth in absolutely calm conditions, but still manage to make it a challenge by turning a little early. The fenders on the starboard side do the job they are there for - protecting the other boat in the pen as we brush past. The mate has no hope of reaching the pickup line but we just drift gently across to our side of the pen and all is well. It was a lovely last trip for 2021 in glorious sunny Autumn weather. [Top]