Tag Archives: Autumn2017

Mother’s Day : Nine


{NOTE: – I am happy to report that this Mother’s Day was a vast improvement upon the previous one.}

The decadence that is waking up on the water in the middle of Sydney on a sun drenched autumn morning. I like it. M keeps telling me we can stay here for a while if I want to – he heard me telling his niece about my yearning to be in one spot for a little while. And this is true – but the place I want to STOP for a bit has turquoise water that is 20 degrees or above. For me, Sydney is a blissful sideline – a stopover on our way up north.

And let me say now – anyone who we don’t manage to see on the way up, we will see on the way back. The only plan we have is to check out the Whitsundays, and then noodle down the east coast checking out rivers and other little interesting spots. Meanwhile, floating right next to Glebe, and opposite the fish markets, is quite lovely. I could definitely sit here all day watching people do their thing.

However – we are in love with Sydney’s public transport system. While I’m sure that there are various outer-metropolitan areas that lack essential transport infrastructure, we are lucky to be right in the city, and our Opal cards work on the light rail, buses, trains and ferries. M is so enamoured of the whole thing that he’s developed an unnaturally close relationship with his Opal travel card.

Here he is, dreaming of the Sydney Transport System – wishing he never had to leave…

M. Stairs.

Travel on a Sunday is $2.50 to go pretty much anywhere, so we took the light rail and then a train to go to the Finders Keepers Market in Barangaroo – the market took a bit of finding – but it was lovely to be able to browse our way through a host of lovely things. These two were my particular favourites:

Vacola Jar Lantern from Upswitch
Australiana – 5 Piece Bamboo Dinner Set by LoveMae

My other highlight was getting to finally meet my Intsta-friend Myf, who hand-dyes beautiful fibres with botanicals and makes many beautiful things. She wasn’t there selling her own creations (sadly) but was behind the counter at the DuckFeet stall – surrounded by amazingly fantastic shoes. The boots. Sigh. It was so frustrating – she had been staying almost in sight of Bella Luna but was flying home to Melbourne in a few hours – so I didn’t get her aboard for a cup of tea…

I told her about one of my childhood scars left by my overactive embarassment gland – being the new kid at a small country school and desperate to fit in – only to have my American Mothership turn up in a beret with her shoes clad in what she called her ‘DuckFeet’. They were a shoe – a cross between these two…

Vintage Boot-Style DuckFeet – as worn by the Mothership circa 1983
This was the shoe-style and colour scheme of the Mothership’s feet.

After the Smalls had knocked back a relentlessly expensive gluten free donut each, we headed back toward Circular Key. And again, M’s need to relieve his bladder struck gold (just as it did in Cygnet) – he left us on top of a hill to find a toilet…

View toward ANZAC Bridge.

…and when he reappeared, he said; “Follow me…”

He had stumbled upon the Sydney Observatory. It was built like somewhere a lighthouse keeper would live. The dome on the outside is covered in greened copper – the dome on the inside is copper as well…

Ceiling of the Sydney Observatory

The enormous and beautiful telescope was installed in time for the transit of Venus in 1874.

Sydney Observatory. The telescope.

We looked all around the various rooms, and while the timepieces and historical information were absorbing, I just loved looking at the views from the windows that were wedged into the foot-thick walls…

Sydney Observatory.

We must have spent over an hour or so looking around at everything. The building itself is so intriguing. By the time we got outside, clouds were piling up and dusk was approaching…

Sydney Observatory

View from the Sydney Observatory

M insisted on a Mother’s Day photoshoot…and I can tell from this shot that my dad would say I look like my grandma (his mother).

The Smalls and I. Mother's Day. 2017

M then led us back through a remarkable collection of stairways and back alleys…


…until we arrived at Circular Quay. So I suppose he really was born here…

Circular Key. Dusk.

Bermagui – Jervis Bay – Sydney

After leaving Bermagui we pulled into Jervis Bay when it all got too hard. Had to motor for a few hours in order to get in before sundown. In the morning, we had new neighbours!

116/365 • the crazy of waking up in the morning to find that new neighbours have appeared in the night! • . #jervisbay #jervisbaynationalpark #nsw #Autumn2017 #cruising #bellalunaboat #goodmorning #abcmyphoto #visitnsw

We spent two nights there, and planned to leave at about 9.30am on the morning of 9 May. However, the Australian Navy had other ideas and sent a message over Channel 16 instructing all boats in the area not to go anywhere until 11 AM because they wanted to practice their manouvres. Yike! Those warship things are ENORMOUS. We stayed dutifully quiet in one spot until 11 o’clock – it actually gave me a chance to make some dinner in the thermocooker, which I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do. It also gave my psychosomatic quease-dread a chance to subside.

We went right out to sea this time – because that’s where the MetEye said most of the wind was. Ha! We had planned for a worst-case-scenario of a hideous windless slog to Sydney that might take up to 30 hours (kill me now). However – we had the opposite issue!

We were making such good progress that our ETA was 11pm that SAME NIGHT! What the?! It was really not our intention to reach Sydney in the dark – I’m sure it’s hard enough to navigate the harbour in the daylight! It was super-frustrating, but we took down the mainsail and reduced the jib to the size of a hanky and averaged about 2.5 knots all night.

It was still a good sail, and I didn’t have the quease, but we were both extremely vigilant on looking out for big ships – both out on deck and over the AIS. I almost had a heart attack at one point, when about six ships appeared on the screen…and belatedly realised that none of them were moving, and we were passing Wollongong, where they were all anchored. Jeeeez.

117/365 * so we kind of planned for worst case scenario on the Jervis Bay to Sydney journey and significantly over-estimated how long it would take (probably because the sail from Bermagui was so revolting and fresh in our minds). Having left at 11am we s

One thing that is on our extensive (and ever increasing) boat wishlist, is an AIS transponder. That would enable the big ships to see us. At the moment, we use the AIS receiver that is built into our radio and with that, we are able to see all other boats that have an AIS transponder – but they can’t see us. They probably can on their radar systems? I’m just guessing.

It felt like a pretty long night – but the excitement about what we were going to see as we turned into Sydney heads gave M and I a buzz – we woke the Smalls at 7am so they could see the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

Since she was about three, Small DB has remarked, every time we drove to the Mothership’s house on Nepean Highway and went under various pedestrian bridges – “Is that the Sydney Harbour Bridge?” She was finally able to see it for realz… it was super exciting!

DB and me. SYDNEY!!!

Me and the Smalls - we arrive in Sydney!

An adrenalised but tired me - sailing into Sydney Harbour.

M had helped deliver a boat to Sydney a few years back, and knew he wanted to anchor in Blackwattle Bay. We ended up just past Anzac Bridge in between Glebe (hello Cliff Hardy) and the fish markets. It was a crazy feeling to realise that we had been in Tasmania eight days before (having stopped for two nights in Bermagui and two nights in Jervis Bay).

We were anchored right near the Sydney fish markets.

Sydney Fish Market

Sydney feels like kind of a big deal. A milestone in our journey…

Although we were dead on our feet, M and I were adrenalised and walked with the Smalls to the Powerhouse Museum – which was great, but as the day wore on, we could hardly keep our eyes open. The Smalls enjoyed themselves…

M and Zoe. Powerhouse Museum. Sydney.

Electric DB. Powerhouse Museum. Sydney.

Cafe at the Powerhouse Museum

We had left Foamy tied up at the jetty next to the fish markets – one of the workers there told us he would keep an eye on it. We’ve used that spot a few times over the past five days and it has been very useful. (Those are the fish markets – behind M’s head as he steers Foamy.)

On the way back to Bella Luna from the fish markets.

On our second day we (at Small DB’s behest) walked to the Sydney Opera House to investigate it. We walked via the Australian Maritime Museum, where we looked about at the things we didn’t have to pay to see, like the replica of the Endeavour. And this:

119/365 • because there's never enough maritime • . @ANMMuseum #ANMM #Autumn2017 #visitnsw #sydney #smalls #bellalunaboat

We walked on and found a Coles Express supermarket in the city and for $13 bought enough stuff for lunch, which we ate sitting on the stairs of a building in Martin Place – the only bit with some sunshine. It was interesting people-watching. Especially since we haven’t been in a city for some time.

We had competitions about who could spot the person wearing the highest heels – being lunchtime, people were coming and going. Besuited, be-heeled…all striding along, barely anyone looking up. Martin Place is odd – a tunnel of shade unless (presumably) the sun is right up above – because it is cut off by buildings at any other angle.

We stumbled upon the Tesla showroom…

120/365 • the closest we'll get to a #tesla • . #smalls #sydney #bellalunaboat #Autumn2017 #red #visitnsw #9yo #zmow

…and into the sunshine of Circular Quay. We were a minuscule part of the floods of tourists and school groups all thronging around the area, but it didn’t feel over-crowded.

The opera house is like an impressionist painting – totally gobsmacking from a distance, but standing right in front of it? It’s impossible to take it all in, and impossible to ignore all the brown brickwork and brown-tinted glass…

Here is a photo entitled: Boat Children/School Children
The Smalls. The Opera House. The Other Schoolchildren.

The Smalls were very disappointed not to be able to see into any of the working-parts of the opera house. A ticket for a family tour was $90 – vastly in excess of our budget. We tried to blend in with a school group, but that didn’t quite work out. We retreated, and had our first experience with Sydney’s public transport system – it was love at the first tap of the Opal card. And, I’m sorry Melbourne, your public transport system is largely crap in comparison.

Central Station was a visceral experience for M, having spent so much of his youth there. I had not been there since I was about 20 – I remember having absolutely no money but a train ticket to Melbourne and no idea how I was going to get home once I got there. Right now it reminds me of how Spencer Street Station used to be – it looks like it is under perpetual renovation. The Smalls are thrilled by trains that have an upstairs and a downstairs – something that you don’t see in Melbourne.

M and the Smalls went back to Bella Luna while I happily traipsed the back streets of Glebe, looking for the care package that the Mothership had sent to the post office. Gosh – I’d forgotten how I love all those two story Sydney terrace houses, the dappled shade of all the old trees, the crazy flights of stairs that join laneways together, little parks and playgrounds tucked away in side streets…


Glebe. Street art.

As I wandered, I saw many shops I wanted to duck into, but didn’t have time. Except for this one…

Glebe book shop. Crime.

By the time I made it back to Blackwattle Bay, the moon was high…

121/365 • shooting the moon last night •

Over the following three days we caught up with friends and family, with two separate lots of people sleeping over aboard Bella Luna – we were taken out to dinner, driven to the supermarket, and given lots of treats 🙂

St Helens to Bermagui

The first of May is last day of my forty-third year. In fact, I had to do some counting to figure out how old I actually am. Two years ago I was in Tasmania for almost a week and it was both fantastic and appalling. I had to say goodbye to my dad the day before I left, knowing I would never see him again. Awful. Last year was a boatyard birthday, and it was impossible for my brain to jump forward and imagine where my next one might be…

St Helens in Tasmania. Utterly unpredictable.

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The night before we left St Helens our new friend Dav(id) cooked us a birthday-eve dinner. It was terrifically novel to have someone that wasn’t us in the galley/kitchen while we sang/danced/nibbled in the main cabin – he created a beautiful tomato chickpea rosemary soup and potato rosti – and proclaimed that the latter was the worst he had ever made. We had no objections to it – the Smalls hoovered it up.

There was champagne, GF chocolate cake with mounds of cream and a candle for me to blow out. Joy! A lovely night was had. The following morning – proper birthday-day – David appeared with gifts, and not just for me. M scored a cask of red, the Smalls some chocolate and I was gifted Dilmah tea (which I have since converted to while I’m unable to source any Nature’s Cuppa Engligh Breakfast) and AND a little jar of caviar! What the?!

As a birthday present to my own self, I bought three green plates – to match our others.n Thank you me, and the Life Buoy and Quail St Emporium

109/365 • found these yesterday and I'm going to go back and snaffle three or four of the plates - it's not often I find ones that match our boat crockery! • . #johnsonaustralia #plates #almondpetal #lovely #goodmorning #abcmyphoto #tasmania #discovertasm

One of the things about cruising – you meet many more people than you would in your normal stationary life, and with some of them you have an instant and easy connection. And so it was not strange that we had Alan (from Amnesia II) singing ‘happy birthday’ to M in Port Davey and sharing cake and champagne – and David in St Helens.

I was sung-at by the Mothership over FaceTime and spoke to Small Brother and SWWNBB. I missed my dad. The Smalls gifted me sweets and beautiful cards, M presented me with a handmade card, a bottle of white, gourmet curry paste, fudge and ‘The Little Book of Calm’. It was a very lovely morning – we paid a final visit to the library to return our books and do some digital borrowing.

112/365✨ • ? forty-four - BRING IT! (as long as I don't choke on The Little Book of Calm) - thank you #M ❤️⚓️??• . #happybirthdaytome #44 #thelittlebookofcalm #thankyou #M #Autumn2017 #tasmania #sunshine #happybirthda

The forecast was holding. At around 2pm, feeling mostly sorted, we had a last cup of tea/coffee with David, said our sad goodbyes and he let our last line go from the pier. We were sorry to see him go – and had offered him a spot onboard to come north with us (he possesses the attractions of seasick-immunity, foodiness and the ability to sing songs about farting with the Smalls), but he had other committments.

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It felt odd to be sailing back out over the St Helens bar. Our six or seven months in Tasmania have been e-p-i-c. I can’t get it into my head that I will love anywhere else quite as much. But the only way I could tolerate a Winter there would be in a strawbale house… If it hadn’t been for the increasing chill-factor, it would have been far harder to leave.

As we looked back behind us, there were splashings and exhalations of air at the front of the boat ( I am aware that anyone vaguely nautical reading this must flinch frequently at my lack of proper terminology – the bow of the boat – the BOW). A dazzle of dolphins threw a party all around us for about an hour, as Tasmania disappeared behind us. I decided that it was a combination farewell and birthday gift. We were away…

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This was our longest passage to date. Our plan was to cross Bass Strait, head up the east coast, and keep going until conditions dictated that we stop. I mentioned in the post about sailing from Westernport Bay to Wilsons Promontary how I had found the experience similar to labour. This was no different.

We started late in the afternoon – the Smalls know the drill. Small Z sticks to my bed, Small DB makes a nest for herself on the couch. M and I got things in order and then I went to bed, leaving him to do the first shift. I took over at about 11pm. Quite honestly, it is all a bit of a blur. M, being lovely, greeted me with a cup of tea.

Already feeling ordinary, I shouldn’t have drunk it. But I did.He went off to bed. I sat at the wheel feeling nauseous. I ate some potato and leek soup I’d kept warm for such a purpost. I felt worse. We sailed on, and were making good time, but the whole area when we were passing Flinders Island, was pretty mess.

Eventually, for the only time in seven months, I vomited gracefully off the back (stern) into the ocean. Repeatedly. Oh god. I am a pathetic vomiter – it immediately makes me want to cry and go to bed. However. I swallowed a teaspoon of cement and toughened up. That was the last thing I swallowed for the next day and a half except sips of water.

[I am going to give this post to M in case he would like to add his own, more positive experience, of the crossing to the mainland, as mine has very few.]

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M took over at about 2am and I collapsed into bed. The sea got messier, but the wind was good. Like a zombie, I did the dawn shift. Quite honestly, I don’t remember there being daylight on the journey. If I wasn’t on my steering shift, I was prone. M kept the Smalls fed and relatively happy.

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The second night was again like a dream. The frustrations of this kind of sailing for me are my inability to do anything but keep us on course (more often done by Hoo-Ray the Autopilot) and keep a watch for other boats. I can’t crochet, write, read – and when I’m feeling particularly haggard, I can’t even listen to podcasts. Oh the woe…

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As we neared the mainland, we also entered the shipping route – where those huge hulking monoliths piled with shipping containers come around doing the Sydney to Melbourne run, or similar. We have an AIS (Automatic Identifcation System) receiver built into our radio – this enables us to see any ships within a radius of 15nm (15 nautical miles). Some of those ships are so big that you see the lights marking each end of the vessel and it looks more like two ships.

Anyway, by this time the only way I could function was to put my phone on a ten minute timer, lie down, doze off, wake up, check the AIS/the horizon/the steering – set the timer for another ten minutes – repeat, repeat, repeat. For three hours. M did most of the sailing-the-boat stuff during the daylight hours (the ones I don’t recall) while I continued to lie flat.

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By the second day we could see the NSW coast. Finally, I was able to sit outside in the sun and broke my fast with two soft-boiled eggs. We continued to track north – but as we neared Bermagui, the lure of the land was too much and I threatened mutiny unless we pulled in. The timing was actually spectacular – we scooted over the bar ten minutes before sunset.

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My beautiful Bermagui – never have I loved a pier so much. We tied up, plugged in some power – chatted to the pier guy who said that it was (as we had thought) $25 a night. Markedly more expensive than Tasmania – and particularly St Helens, where $20 had bought us a week. Too knackered to care.

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I slept for 12 hours, being cheerfully awoken by Small DB at 7am. We went exploring and found the library, two playgrounds, houses we liked the look of, and a showroom of a Woolworths supermarket – where we bought fresh Tilba milk and marvelled at how cheap all the fruit and vegetables were.

We saw some galahs – an even number of galahs is aways a Good Thing.

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The two days we spent in Bermagui, in retrospect, were ESSENTIAL for my headspace and coping skills. I had agonised in St Helens about what we would eat on the journey, what meals should be pre-cooked or kept in the ThermoCooker – but what we actually required were plain and simple:

green apples
peanut butter
corn/rice cakes

That’s it. M, the Ever-Powerful, was able to fry up some chunks of sweet potato and eggs for himself and the Smalls here and there as we made our way up the coast, but I cannot stand up inside for the length of time it takes to cook ANYTHING.

We took the Smalls to see the Blue Pool, which was, as ever, too freezing to swim in…

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Anyway, on our second Bermagui day, I shopped according to my new realisation, and so far it is going well. Fruit is our friend. However, all attempts at making popcorn have failed. There is some incompatability between the hotness of the stove, the pot and my brain that seems to prevent any sort of success.

The bulk wholefoods shop on the main street is inspirational and prices were great.

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I bought dried salted broadbeans, and these were my sailing snack – there is a theory that if you keep your jaws moving your inner ear will be less confused by the whole scenario… (UPDATE: although the broadbeans fixed up my seasick, or at least kept it at bay, they made my butt so bionic that I could have doubled as a backup outboard motoer, so I have abandoned them out of compassion for the captain and crew.)

M changed the oil and sparkplugs in our two outboard motors, which made them (and him) very happy. It was also a relief to be able to dispose of our recycling in recycle bins – of which St Helens had none. NONE! WTF ST HELENS?! You were fantastic in every other way!

We had some guilt over not contacting mine and M’s relations that live not too far from Bermagui (mine in Tura Beach and his in Eden) but we were exhausted, and focusing on getting everything together to try and improve conditions for our next chunk of journey.


Tiny immortal jellyfish

{There are no pictures for this, and possibly the next few posts, as we have almost zero internet. Text only for now.}

When we tied up to the pier here, I didn’t immediately recognise that it was similar to a small street. But after several days – almost a week – I have learnt more about the other pier dwellers and regular visitors than I could have predicted – lubricated, as always, by Mr Chattypants.

I am going to record a few of them here so as not to forget this lesson: lurking under the countenance of ordinary everyday faces are stories so deep and bizarre that stretches of imagination are not required. You just need to scratch the surface to start extracting them – and this is what Mr Chattypants is for. As well as his navigation skills, which are also helpful.

St Helens falls into my wondrous basket of Tasmanian coastal quirkiness – it’s as friendly as anywhere we have been, and we have given someone 20 dollars (TWENTY) for almost a week at the pier, with power and water included. I am not kidding – being able to use my Thermomix to cook thrills me to bits – as does being able to plug in my laptop. Huzzah! Huzzah!

111/365 • we won't be going *anywhere* in this wind except the library • . #weather #winds #bellalunaboat #tasmania #Autumn2017 #abcmyphoto #pier #cloud #goodmorning

There’s a park at the end of the carpark, adjacent to an impressive skate-ramp. M and the Smalls were there the other day, flying paper planes, and one of M’s acquaintaces approached, said he had to visit some oyster leases, and would they like to come for a ride?

“Yes please,” said M and the Smalls, and ran to put on their lifejackets.

They jumped in this guy’s boat and took off. Literally. Their eyeballs smooshed into the back of their skulls because this boat had a 200HP motor and was fanging flat-out. I am very sorry to have missed it, for speediness is my friend. As they toured all around at top speed with a wind chill factor of about minus-304, M was chatting (!) to the bloke – his history, the years he spent growing up in Tasmania.

His father, of course, was a Norwegian fighter who ran a boxing tent around Tasmania, while his mother (not a Norwegian fighter) was a snake charmer. And that was how they made a buck – thumping and/or charming the punters – he and his brother helped put up the tent and sold the tickets. M’s awe was so profound it almost overcame the numbness in his hands and face.

A few nights before that happened he had been chatting (!) to a couple of guys at the end of the pier, and was gone for many hours. He invited them in for a cup of tea one night, and so we had the cage-fighter renovator and the recently separated biologist foodie both sipping tea in the main cabin. They were very nice. We gifted the former a car-phone charger and the latter entered M’s heart by being a hiking/camping gear geek – they began comparing the weight and girth of their…

Tents. Of their tents. Then our dear friends from Franklin came to visit for a night, bringing with them two pots of aloe vera and a bottle of red wine. I was given crochet tuition and a lovely night was had.

We told them of another guy on the pier (why is it that there are so many MEN messing about on boats – where are the ladies? Oh – at home in front of the woodfire and under a ceiling that isn’t raining condensation down up on them – I forgot) and he had a very fancy motor boat – one big enough to travel easily across Bass Strait in most kinds of weather and look good while doing it.

He had not had the boat for very long. This was because the previous owner had bought it for $350k and three days later had run it up on a sandbank. The repairs were to cost about $265k so the insurance company hauled it off the beach, having siphoned several tonnes of sand out of it, and wrote it off.

Apparently when this kind of things happen, the insurance company (not an industry known for oozing kindness and compassion – hello Allianz!) puts the boat up for tender and the highest offer gets it. No one put in an offer on the boat, except for this guy. We’re guessing he got it for under a grand…

“Does it feel like you won Tattslotto?” I asked him.
“Yes.” he said, “It feels like I won Tattslotto.”

Rafted up to the boat borrowed by the biologist foodie is another boat regularly occupied by someone people refer to as the ‘nocturnal German’. Nocturnal because when he does sleep aboard he walks across the deck of the biologist foodie boat at about 2am. Other nights he sleeps in the back of a shop in the main street. The nocturnal German has butted heads with another regular pier dweller, known for his hard life and nice dog, and has taken out a restraint order against him. This necessitates that Hard Life keeps a particular distance away from Nocturnal German at all times – a task made more difficult by the Nocturnal German appearing on the same bit of the main street, or glowering nearby in the park, in order to communicate his ongoing dissatisfaction.

Everybody wants the Nocturnal German to leave, but nobody wants to tell him. And nobody stays up that late.

Another day, M was being mule-boy, and dragging our mound of washing in a trolley to the (overly expensive) coin laundry, when a car pulled over. (I am inventing this bit, because I am not quite sure of the events.) It was Karyn and Jim – our friends who had lent us their car while we were back at Prince of Wales Bay Marina were driving back from Burnie. The Smalls and I found M ensconced with them at the laundry (which is also a café – so that’s why he wanted to do the washing…).

It was lovely to catch up – although the Smalls wouldn’t tolerate more than 15 minutes of boring adult-speak. Thank you for your lovely bottle of wine and the cherry tomatoes, Karyn and Jim – we are SO grateful (the wine didn’t last the night).

110/365 • ? immersed ?• . #6yo #books #Autumn2017 #reading #bellalunaboat #daisybelle #abcmyphoto #tasmania #discovertasmania #tassiestyle #bellalunaboat #Autumn2017 #cruising

Port Davey to Franklin via Recherche Bay

The trip back to Franklin did not daunt me; the weather forecast was good, and the Smalls and I had our minds firmly fixed on the gluten free fish and chips there. We left at about 6am, bidding farewell to Spain Bay and the Breaksea Islands.

It was useful to have the track we had taken on our way to refer to. We could see Stephens Bay, where we had walked yesterday. This time we went between Flat Witch and De Witt Islands (the latter also known as Big Witch).

There was a 15 knot northwesterley coasting us along…which sadly dropped away as we got around South Cape…and then turned into an easterly, which was not what we wanted. This necessitated some motoring, then some sailing, then some motoring, and finally at about 9.15pm we arrived at our old anchorage in Recherche Bay near Cockle Creek. A spew-free voyage.

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Just as we arrived I heard my phone ‘BING’! The first mobile coverage we’ve had in over two weeks. It was the Mothership – a message from seven days before. I called her straight back…the phone call was a long one, as there was a lot to catch up on.

Particularly the part where another family member had started to worry about us having been out of contact for so long, and that seemed to have caused the worry to become tangible for the Mothership and T – the latter tracked us with sniffer dog precision via the telephone, finding people who had seen us in Strahan and then others who had seen us in Port Davey.

All assured him that we appeared intact. However, I was told to expect some communication from the Search and Rescue services, who had been notified that we appeared to have gone AWOL. WHAT THE!?

Sure enough – there was another ‘BING’ on my phone…

Search and Rescue. OMG!

The JRCC – the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre. Truly.

I called them. Spoke to a guy called Phil.

“JRCC, Phil speaking.”

“Hi Phil, this is Beth from the catamaran Bella Luna – apparently some of my family members got a bit excited while we were down in Port Davey?”

He laughed. “Don’t worry about it. Happens fairly often. Where are you now?”

“We left early this morning and have just put the anchor down in Recherche Bay. Sorry for any drama.”

“No worries. Sounds like you’re having a great time!”

“Thanks Phil. Bye.”

These were my first communications with the outside world after a fortnight off the radar. I needed, and made, a strong cup of tea – then passed out.

At 7am we were back on our way and sailed to Port Huon. Who did we meet on their way downriver? Grant on Apache!

He had arrived in Franklin the day before we left – had loved it and stayed there a month and was on his way back to Hobart – we caught up and tacked alongside each other before heading our separate ways – we will see him in Hobart soon.

We had dinner with Ian, Juleen and Rory at the Aqua Grill – home of the GF fish and chips, with outstanding handmade sweet potato cakes. It was so good to be back – we told them of our adventures and our horror of the impending cold weather. They couldn’t believe we weren’t even going to stay a whole week.

Over the next four days there were many cups of tea. We borrowed the ute for a whole day and did our MOUNTAIN of washing at the excellent laundry in Huonville, and a very big shop to try and replenish our foodstores as best we could until we can make it to Eumarrah – the bulk food shop in Hobart.

092/365 • it's SO lovely that be back in Franklin *swoons* - we arrived at about 4.30pm yesterday, straight from Recherché Bay. Dinner at the Aqua Bar with our awesome friends, something the Smalls had dreamed of during the last few days of our journey wh

It was lovely to see Calamity – their little wild kitten – she had become much tamer and happier during our month away. She was very shy of the Smalls, who are a bit noisy and unpredictable, but I managed a pat or two… I wish so much for a boat-cat – but that is another post entirely.

We collected mail from the post office and mourned the loss of the beautiful apple tree that had made us so happy. The vacant block it was on had sold in our absence and the new owner had seen fit to chop it down entirely. I somehow think that I would not get along with that person, should we have the misfortune to ever meet. Dickhead.

Our last night in Franklin was spent sitting by the wood heater in Juleen’s loungeroom – the Smalls hot-chocolated and happy – but desperate to stay and have Easter with our friends. We all ate dinner aboard Bella Luna, where M was cranking out the rice-paper rolls.

Goodbyes are awful. We swapped our last stories, last digital files and I said a wet-eyed goodbye to Juleen and her blokes – they had let us into their house and their hearts.

093/365 • a misty Franklin morning - Autumn is well and truly here...it will be hard to leave, but we must head north soon to avoid the colding ❄️?• . #franklin #goodmorning #mist #huonriver #boats #tassiestyle #bellalunaboat #Autumn2017 #c

Bramble Cove, Port Davey.

M heaved himself into the day at 6am and somehow managed to untie the ropes from the shore, secure the dinghy and pull up the anchor without mishap all on his own. I had earned a Small in the night – courtesy of the cold – and I earned another – Small Z – who had been woken by the anchor winch.

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By 7.45am we were floating in the channel and picking up the first forecast we had heard for a few days. (Note to mariners: there is no VHF coverage in Casilda Cove). Based on the new information, we decided to leave on Tuesday when there’s a north-easterly forecast for the morning with minimal swell.

We finally had a day of intermittent sunshine instead of icy showers indispersed with sleet. We went to Waterfall Bay and scoped out the waterfall, to which some enterprising soul had attached a pipe and a kooky kind of construction that looked as if it would be far easier for a monohull to tie up to than a multihull. I refused to let M try. There was a lot more water coming down than there had been when we first arrived…

The weather was kind and the wind minimal so we went to explore Bramble Cove – I am so happy we did. This was one of the first beaches where the the sand was sand, and not mostly quartz. M and the Smalls did some jumping…`

SloMo jumping. Bramble Cove. Port Davey. Tasmania.

There were gum trees growing down to the sand, and a beautiful little creek.

Bramble Cove. Port Davey. Tasmania.

Bramble Cove. Port Davey. Tasmania.

Bramble Cove. Port Davey. Tasmania.

I followed it up a little way and – another pipe! It was like a rigid black hosepipe and the other end was out of sight, further up the creek. I climbed the side of the creek to look at the water flowing out of the pipe and walked into a sublime campground.

Bramble Cove. Port Davey. Tasmania.

There was no rubbish anywhere – two wooden tables, an old kettle hanging in a tree and two frypans ready to use. There’s not a lot that would convince me to return to camping in a tent (as opposed to my caravanX) but a week there of sunny days would please me greatly.

Bramble Cove. Port Davey. Tasmania.

The Smalls climbed on an island…

Bramble Cove. Port Davey. Tasmania.

We motored over to a titchy little cove right next to Aylen Point and I climbed a hill…

Bramble Cove. Port Davey. Tasmania.

The final beach of the day was near Datum Point – M was keen to find a walking track up to the top of Mt Milner. The Smalls did crescent-kick-the-dadda on the beach, while I wandered through the bush on the point and found what looked like a track.

M took us back to the boat and then set out on his solo manly ascent of Mt Milner. Standing on deck we walkie-talkied each other when he’d made it to the top. Trouble was, he was so tiny, I couldn’t tell the difference between him and the trees that peppered the ridge.

“Wave your arms!” I instructed, gazing at the top of the mountain. “No, I still can’t see you…”

“I’ll wave my coat?” suggested a walkie-talkie M.

“Nope…I swear you must be about a centimetre tall – where are you?”

I gazed and gazed to no avail. “OK. Crouch down and then stand up a few times….oh! There you are!!”

A tiny dot was visible – short, then tall, short, then tall. This, for whatever reason, was a comfort. He had indeed walked a long way. This is a picture he took when he was a centimetre tall on top of Mt Milner.

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We spent the night at anchor in Bramble Cove…