How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Leaving the Tamar

Leaving the Tamar
Tamar Marina at Dawn
Friday 24th Jan 2014; Alana Rose is sitting alongside the wall in the Stanley Boat Harbour. We broke away from the marina’s hold three days ago and are now on the run once more.

Tuesday 21st Jan 2014; MrJ and I had chosen to take a run up the river, the Tamar River, before heading out to sea. The currents in the river are very strong and will take you away when trying to go against then.
wooden boats moored
We anchored in what is called Devil’s Elbow a side gullet up near the Batman Bridge. This section of the river is narrow, deep and features very strong currents and tidal flow which we did not want to be caught in. As it was, in Devil’s Elbow there were many moored boats that had taken the best spot and we found ourselves somewhat in the middle of the gullet and in direct line for the wind to bullet through a saddle in the hills. The wind backed off after nightfall leaving MrJ and I to get a good night’s sleep, well sort of; in between anchor checks.
the Tamar Valley is famous for it's vineyards

sailing under the Batman Bridge

Batman Bridge Connects the West Tamar Highway to the East Tamar Highway over the Tamar River. It was built from 1966 to 1968. It was the first Cable-stayed bridge in Australia. The main span is 206 metres (675.8 ft) long, suspended from a 91 metre (298.5 ft) high sloped A-frame tower. The deck is 10.3 metres (33.8 ft) wide. Many protesters have climbed this bridge for different reasons over the years the last being in 2007 for “We don’t want the proposed pulp mill that is headed this way further down the river causing who knows what to our wonderful clean green environment”. While in 2011, over 1500 people filed across the Batman Bridge in yet another protest. The Pulp Mill is an ongoing controversy even today.
The Batman Bridge

Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014 at 6000hs we pulled up the anchor form the wonderful mud bottom and headed out of the river. We pass the beautiful rolling hills with rural setting, the small hamlets along the shore and the last of the pulp milling on the eastern shore. 

We also pass a salmon farm.
Tasmania's northern most salmon farm, Van Diemen Aquaculture is situated at Rowella on the Tamar River. It is the only Tasmanian salmon farm utilising Norwegian styled system farm technology. Van Diemen Aquaculture produces over 2000 tonnes of quality Atlantic salmon each year in a lease area just over 6 hectares. Van Diemen Aquaculture use state of art automated feeding systems and internationally recognised humane harvesting systems. The fast flowing waters of the Tamar produce firm, toned fish ideal for sashimi but also perfect as fillets on the barbecue or whole salmon seasoned and in the oven. The fish farm claims to be one of the only farms in the world to be antibiotic and anti-foulant free and the only company in the world that use 100 per cent brass nets.
Low Head Lighthouse
turbulant waters

As we move down towards the heads, the river opens up and has some shallower sand flats which we have to navigate. The tide was going out making our passage quite good.  As we pass by the lighthouse at Low Head the outgoing tide hits the incoming swell from the sea causing a great turbulence in the water.

This was short lived and we were soon on our way west along the coast to do the next 20n/m into Devonport. The shoreline was once more spread with a rural outlook; of what looked like manicured paddocks with dots of white building in between.
MrJ and I had put both sail up for most of the way; we than furled the genoa about two thirds of the way due to the shift and drop in wind. The main was pulled in at the mouth of the Mersey River just before entering. As we came closer to the entrance to Devonport and the Mersey River I could see the town building along the shore with the rolling hills behind and the mountains in the background. What a beautiful sight to see from the sea!
AR motored up the Mersey River. I could see the Spirit of Tasmania ferry at the wharf along with two other commercial ships that were docked. The ferries have been used for regular transport across Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria. The shipping company’s twin ships depart from both ports at 7.30pm and arrive the following morning at 6.00am. During peak season (around Jan, Fed & March), they also operate day sailings departing from each port at 9.00am and arriving the same day at 6.00pm.
Our destination was the Mersey River Yacht Club; we had lined it up with the Commodore, to be able to tie up on their jetty for the night and as Murphy’s Law will always have it, there was another boat on the jetty. MrJ brought AR alongside the pontoon on the end of the boat ramp jetty till we could sus the situation out. At the very same time our friends from Devonport, Cabba and Anne had arrive to greet us in. With the help of Steve off Rhapsody (the boat on the jetty) MrJ managed to backed AR onto the YC and then we were able to greet our old fried while making new friend on Rhapsody (Steve and Karen).
 Mersey River Yacht Club - Investigations revealed that the first regatta held at Sayer's Point, where the original Club House stood was in 1877. It was not certain whether a club-house was actually built at that time, but it is certain regattas and other yachting events were held then. A Yacht or Aquatic Club was inaugurated in September, 1893. The inaugural meeting of the Mersey Yacht Club, as we know it today, was held at Curwen's Salon in Rooke Street, Devonport on 12th November 1923 and the first open day was held that December. Our mate Nigel, crew on Banyandah, the boat that we had sailed part of the west coast of OZ with and cut across Bass Strait with; his dad, Morrie Cropp was the Commodore of the Mersey River YC in 1972.
That afternoon we were whipped away by Cabba and Anne to spend a lovely time on their back veranda after the pleasure of a hot shower and I was able to do some washing. Good to have great friends!
Devonport's night skyline reflecting on the Mersey River
That evening it was to be with more friends (the Banyandah mob – Glen, Anne and Nigel) again; dinning at the nearby Argosy Motor Inn Bistro (nice meals and friendly service). The friendship that sprouted on the faraway wild western coast had grown and ripened into a closeness that felt like family. I hope this will not be the last that we will see of the Banyandah mob.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Tis the Season in Tasmania

Tis the Season in Tasmania - December 2013
Morning on the marina
The life is slow and the days are cold in my new home at the Tamar Marina at Beauty Point.

Beauty Point is a small town on the Tamar River that is the home to the Tamar Yacht Club Marina, a major yachting hub, and two major tourist attractions, Sea Horse World and Platypus House. As much as I would love to see these wonderful creatures in the wild, I don’t think I will. To visit Sea Horse World and Platypus House gave me a unique chance to see these creatures in the flesh.

Western Australian Seahorse

Weedy Seadragon

Beaconsfield is my nearest town for supplies and fuel.
The Beaconsfield area was first settled in 1804. By the 1870s the town was a major producer of gold, the old Grubb Mine. The active mine finally closed its door in early 2012.
The remnant building of the old Grubb Mine
and the newer mine shaft
are now part of the famous Beaconsfield Mining Museum.
I visited the Beaconsfield Mine Museum. This was well worth the visit, lots of great information on mining and great interactive displays. Also there were some wonderful exhibits on early Australiana.
In April 2006 at Beaconsfield, Tasmania, a mine accident killed one man and trapped two more underground for days.  Five days later their colleagues found a way to get the two miners out safely. The miners were trapped over half a mile, almost a kilometre underground (925 metres). It was two weeks (or 321 hours) after the mine collapse that the two miners walked free and put their name tags onto “safe”. The mine disaster is handled with great sensitivity and this gives a good idea of this little town and the banding together of the community around this event. The day the two miners were rescued was the funeral of their colleague who had not survived the initial rock fall.
Beaconsfield mine disaster knitted scarves display
Later in the year, a ‘close-knit community knitting’ project began to knit a scarf 925m long. People were invited to contribute small sections to the huge scarf. All the pieces were joined together to make this scarf which would symbolise the careful work of the many people involved in the rescue. There were knitting days in the local town of Beaconsfield and contributions from farther afield (Tasmania, other Australian states, overseas). On the first anniversary of the accident, the “Close-Knit Community Scarf” was unveiled by local schoolchildren as part of the ceremony.
It is astonishing how many ways the work of our hands can serve to unite, to remember, to draw us together as human beings and people and communities. This is just one. The many AIDS quilt projects around the world are another.  The list of the various possible activities is long and wonderful and humbling and grand, often beginning as the “what-if?” thought of one or a few people. The value and rewards can be as much if not more in the doing, the process as in the finished product. It is all about patience and commitment, not just skill. 
In the main street you can still see a few of the old buildings.
In 1884 the Beaconsfield Bank robbery took place. The bank manager was waylaid and robbed of the keys to the safe. After robbing the bank, the robber re-locked the safe and threw away the keys. Francis Jackson, a locksmith from Launceston went to Beaconsfield to open the safe. The staff at the bank told him that it was no use trying to open it as the lock was un-pickable. Francis Jackson inspected the safe and requested staff to retire for a few minutes. Shortly afterwards he called them back and swung open the safe door, proving that he had picked the "un-pickable" lock.
This is the original Beaconsfield Branch of the Bank of Tasmania, where the gold was kept usually safe.
Now a quaint little shop.
The Victorian era Exchange Hotel, on the main street, was the scene of many colourful historic incidents
in the roaring days of Beaconsfield.
 MrJ and I made many trips into Launceston; on one of our trips we stopped in at the Cataract Gorge, which is on the NW edge of Launceston City at the beginning of the West Tamar Road and is a highlight of the City. The gorge begins at King's Bridge and continues for many kilometres to Trevallyn Dam. Most people do the short walk from King's Bridge to First Basin, where there is a lovely old kiosk and restaurant. MrJ and I drove into the car park at the top and walked down. A chair lift can take you across First Basin; I preferred the walk across the swing bridge.
Cataract Gorge can be an awesome sight. This is a shot of the First Basin from a higher lookout.
This is the view into the cauldron of
Cataract Gorge from the swing bridge.
MrJ on the swing bridge
me on the swing bridge

marina storm
marina sunset

And then there was some of the boring but essential work on the boat.....................

Enough about work..............................

Let's have a look at all the interesting stuff.....................................................
it was time to stop and small the flowers
a visit out to the Low Head Lighthouse
a stroll around historic George Town
my photo made the cover of the Christmas edition
green scenes everywhere
old towns and logging trucks
a drive to Bridport
old wooden boats and jetties
a drive through the vineyards 
getting ready for Christmas
diners with friends
visiting friends
everyone is in the spirit
rural fields for miles
Turner's Beach
Christmas parades 
a drive to Deloraine
more wooden boats
a drink at the local - Rosevear
a drive along the Tamar River
a sign of the times - a closed paper mill
Dorothy in the morning
Dorothy and the boatshed
fogged in
winter in the middle of summer
the yacht racing - leaving the Tamar
waiting on the Derwent for the Sydney to Hobart yachts to come in
the finish line - female skipper of the Switzerland clipper round the world yacht
road trip to the Huon Valley
trip through the midlands - Richmond Bridge
one in a million - the poppy fields
and vintage stores
back on the Tamar River
quick..............look..................!!!  a summer sunrise
a drive across the river
a visit to Cradle Mountain
a peaceful place tis Lemonthyme Lodge
rainforest walks
on the drive back to the boat we came upon some great letter boxes near Wilmot
Glen and Anne

say goodbye to great friends
Nigel, Vickie, Anne, Glen with me and  MrJ