Goodbye Hobart, hello east coast with crew!

Sailing well with Ange and Belle.

Due our [failed] real estate aspirations, we have had to forego the west coast of Tasmania. I’m hoping to come back down sometime via the Kent Island Group and then on to King Island and down the west coast instead of up it… but that will have to wait.

Many months ago I booked a ticket to NYC to hang with Small Brother – somehow, my departure date is now just over four weeks away. I leave from Sydney. We mused on me flying to Sydney from Tasmania and M finding someone to crew with him across Bass Strait and a bit up the east coast of Australia, but it all got too tricky…

Instead we intend to head to Flinders Island and grab a weather window (because I’ve decided there WILL be a good one) to head up to Sydney, so M has crew, and I can fly away. Get that – I’m going to FLY SOMEWHERE ON MY OWN. I haven’t visited Small Brother since Small Z was 18 months old. She was still breastfeeding, I was a sleepless wreck, and also trying to orchestrate a good travelling equilibrium between the Mothership and M.

Spinning on the streets of New York
M & Z. New York City. June 2009.

Now I’m heading back, having put in a decade of parenting, and I intend to wander the city and SOAK UP SOME CULTURE. And then I am going to wander in the Catskills and SOAK UP SOME MORE. As you may be able to intuit, I’m becoming a little bit excited about going solo – but I’ve never left the Smalls for more than a few nights, so I’m sure that will be something of a wrench…

Ange and Belle with the Smalls.

The change in our plans has meant that we have been able to bring along our friend Ange (violinist, pianist, artist, jeweller, chook whisperer and florist) and her daughter Belle for a week as we sail between Hobart and Orford. It has been quite wonderful to have them aboard – and confirms my theories about sharing your living space with others – it keeps on your game.

The crew kicking back.
The crew. Kicking back.

Hobart Kebang!
DB and Belle, fishing for flathead.

Ange has sailed for many years on huge old wooden boats like the Lady Nelson, this is her first time on a catamaran; she’s hoping to get experience on all kinds of boats because she hopes to have her own vessel at some point. It has been awesome having her and Belle aboard – our Smalls have been vastly better behaved, and Small DB in particular has been blooming, playing bunny-mamas with Belle.

Belle & Ange. On our way out past the Iron Pot.

We left Hobart on Saturday, March 30th and headed to Lime Bay for a night or two before heading through the Denison Canal. Little bit dicey getting through – we were ready with the fenders!

B’s head, M’s legs, and three kids…

Going through the canal…

Highlights of Dunalley? There were few, but they were good. The playground is a winner.

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087/365 • …the blessed basket swing… •

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As is the boathouse on the jetty next to the little slipway. We talked to a bloke there who teaches boatbuilding to kids from the local school, in addition to making chairs. M literally squealed when he saw a bespoke electric bicycle that another inhabitant of the boatshed had made – it was beautiful.

Boat shed. Dunalley.
Boat shed. Dunalley.

There was enough of the afternoon left to explore the beach at the Narrows in the Marion Bay Conservation Area – the beach is sublime, though bereft of sea-glass…

Beach at Marion Bay near the Narrows.
Waves in the clouds.

It was about 12 nautical miles to Maria Island the following morning – gosh it’s lovely. It’s hard to believe how industrialised it was a hundred years ago. we walked to the old cellblocks and were practically kicking wombats out of the way…

Maria Island
Cellblock wombat. Maria Island.

We saw many wallabies, pademelons and wombats, and found a few pieces of old china thrown away by long ago inhabitants. Ange played some gorgeous piano music…

Angle on the piano at the Coffee Palace, Maria Island.

We spent a fairly hideous night on the mooring getting sloshed around in the waves and wind. There was not a lot of sleep – and therefore we didn’t make it ashore until midday. We were shamed by Gonyonda, who all scaled the resident mountain – a massive effort! We took the easy way out and went for a walk to the Fossil Cliffs and then cut back past an engine room and some smoke stacks.

Maria Island
Bella Luna. The album.
Maria Island
Door frame. DB.

Maria Island
Engine room. Small Z.
Maria Island
Gate post and chimney stacks.

Maria Island

Orford in the afternoon. A far superior anchorage for the conditions. Everyone got a Much Better Sleep. We wandered around the following day, doing a bit of shopping and lunching with GonYonda in the park while the kids played. M, Ange and I spent the night gossiping and playing around with family trees on

Saturday morning: the last morning I’d get up and see Belle and Small DB sitting together with their buns – Rose and Bunny – on the couch, either plotting mischief or minecrafting. I made pancakes for breakfast and gave Ange her last coffee with cream before we all went ashore and delivered our lovely crew to the bus stop and said our farewells.

Goodbye Ange and Belle! The perfect size family to have aboard – we enjoyed your company so much! Thank you for your hospitality and help and violin awesomeness while we were in Hobart (and while we’ve been at sea).

After Bunny sent Rose a postcard, we grabbed a few more supplies, pulled up the anchor and sailed off for Wineglass Bay…

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