Duckpond ahoy! (an escape from the river)

californian poppy

A catamaran muster was scheduled to occur on the last weekend of October 2020. M was keen to attend; then he wasn’t. Then he was, and then – again – he wasn’t. By that time I was over it and had realised that the thought of leaving the river had given me a bit of a sparkling feeling. Recently, this has been rare.

“I don’t care what you do and don’t want to do,” I told M, in a stern and specific manner. “We are going away for this whole weekend – even if only to miss all the Halloweeny stuff that is going to happen around here. Sort out the water tanks, I’ll get the fuel.” Well, it kind of went like that.

226/366 •...Huon River at 5.49am this morning; I was heading to the LBT to make a quick cup of tea with the electric kettle and then to Huonville to fill a couple of fuel containers with juice for the journey...•
Very early morning – heading to Huonville for fuel.

I put Small Z on the Big School Bus on Thursday morning, gave my seedlings a fond watering… (here is a picture of the Block at that time – very early morning and so lovely…)

227/366 •...I’ve not been to the block early in the morning - 6.30am - went to donate some scraps to the compost bin and check on the seedlings 🌱 it was lovely 😊 ...• .
Sunshine rising from the river.

We disentangled ourselves from the dock. Goodbye bikes on the jetty. Goodbye electricity. Goodbye Franklin – may distance make my heart grow fonder. Once we hit the middle of the river I was hit again by HOW BEAUTIFUL FRANKLIN IS – sorry Franklin. It’s just I was hoping to be building the world’s most frugal beautiful house by now, but the council has us measuring the height of the pre-existing fence palings…. But I digress.

229/366 •...the beautiful ’Nancy’ at 9.41am this morning on the river. She has an electric motor which makes her perfect for river explorations on sunny days; people often book in at the Living Boat Trust to do exactly that 😍...•
Good morning Nancy with the Electric Motor!

This was a novel situation for Luna the BoatCat – she has only ever been on the river, never out into the sea. She’s barely heard the motors at all, let alone the cacophony of creaking, plashing, winchey sailing. So she spent most of the journey hidden in her safe place under the desk.

As we went past South Franklin I sent a message to our friends Tony and Margaret; the latter was in the shower, but the former waved enthusiastically from their bedroom window, which is only to be glimpsed from a certain angle in between the eucalypts. Tony called me.
“I saw you!” I chirped. “You were waving! I saw something white!!”
“That was probably my arse, I was naked.”
“Ah well then, I thought it might have been a flag of surrender. Can you send me your poem about croquet?”

We hoisted the sails closer to the river mouth. I seem to have retained sailing muscle memory.

“Go forward and check that the bridle and anchor are sorted,” instructed the captain.

I duly checked the bridle, noted that the anchor winch was not working (until M turned the power on – we have not anchored anywhere for many many months) and then thought I should practice my Knot Of Glory – the rolling hitch. I call it my Knot Of Glory because it’s the one knot I can do in the dark on a rolling sea. But can I do it anywhere else? Tying a rope clothesline in the shipping container? Tying the sign to the tree outside the organic shop? No. Am completely incapable of doing the rolling hitch anywhere but on to the anchor chain. I did it immediately and faultlessly.

As it happened, we tied up to a jetty in Cygnet, so I didn’t need to worry anyway – no anchoring required. The getting-on-to-the-jetty bit involved just a little bit of adrenaline. The older guy that came to grab our lines successfully wrapped them around a cleat.

“That’s great,” shouted M enthusiastically. “If you could just pull us in a bit further?”

Meanwhile, I was doing my normal scrambling. At one point I jumped off the back of the boat after M, who hurriedly pointed out that having at least one adult on the boat while docking was fairly important.

“Mate?” called M again, “If you could just pull us in a bit?”

“I’m an old man with no lungs,” said the man, unashamedly, “This is pretty much my limit.”

I could see M gulp and begin cantering down the dock toward him. “Sorry mate!!”

230/366 •...the joy of waking up SOMEWHERE DIFFERENT!! Headed out of the Huon River yesterday morning (no offence Huon River, but a change is long overdue) and sailed (we really did) around to Cygnet where we tied up to this jetty and walked into town to
Bella Luna, M and the Lungless Old Bloke who’s good with a rope.

After sorting out all the ropey bits and having a something to eat, we began the walk into town. It was heavenly. The sun was out and it felt like we were back doing things like exploring, adventuring, having to walk everywhere… No seedlings to worry about, no one to see, nothing to do… Except meet Small Z at the bus stop, which we did. She was in a very happy place, having got the part in the school play which is called, The Play That Goes Wrong.

“Let’s go!” she said. “Where’s the car?”
“Ummm. Boat?”
“Oh! Wow! That’s right!”

We celebrated her part and our boating adventure with cake and iced chocolates. Spent the night at the jetty. Waking up somewhere different? So. Very. Awesome.

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