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.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Tasmania - Sailing West

Tasmania - Sailing West
Thursday 23rd Jan 2014:
Stanley Boat Harbour

It was very early on the Mersey River when Alana Rose and Rhapsody slipped their lines to quietly sail away. We were heading west once more, west along the northern coastline to the Stanley Boat Harbour (S40’46.071/E145’18.101) the lay beneath the Nut at Stanley. The morning was dark as night; the waters were silent and still. The first thing to catch my eye was the smooth wings of a great Shy Albatross in flight, soaring across the seas. This magnificent sea bird was to follow us all the way to Stanley.

kid's will be kids
The Nut & Stanley, as seen from inland

some of the quaint old buildings
Stanley is the second largest town, second to Smithton, on the north-west coast of Tasmania. What I liked best about the town was the friendliness of the people and the perfectly preserved colonial buildings now restored and made into quaint cafes, shops and quality B&B cottages that all sheltered in the imposing shadow of the Nut a very distinctive landmark, of course. The Nut with its steep sides rising 150 metres straight up from the water's edge with an immense flat top is an old volcanic plug which was discovered by the explorers Bass and Flinders in 1798, who named it Circular Head.
The first morning in the boat harbour Steve off Rhapsody went for a run up the Nut via a steep track which I chose not to even walk (big sooky la-la that I am) and most tourists took the chairlift.
You can take a history tour through Stanley's streets, lined with quaint stone cottages dating back to the town's early days when it hosted the headquarters of the Van Diemen's Land Company. In 1825 the Van Diemen's Land Company was granted land in north-western Van Diemen's Land, including the Stanley area. Employees of the company from England settled in the area in October 1826. It was named after Lord Stanley, the British Secretary of State for War and Colonies in the 1830s and 1840s, who later had three terms of office as British Prime Minster.
breakfast at Moby Dicks
A port opened in 1827 and the first school opened in 1841. The Post Office opened on 1 July 1845; it was known as Circular Head until 1882. In 1880 the first coach service between Stanley and Burnie was established. In 1936 a submarine telephone cable was put through from Apollo Bay in Victoria on the mainland to Stanley. It provided the first telephone service to Tasmania.
Today Stanley is a tourist destination and the main fishing port on the north-west coast of Tasmania. The family owner fishing company Hursey’s have been operating out of the Stanley Boat Harbour for many generations.
sunrise from the marina
the wall

waves wash us against the wall
on the wall
The first night in the boat harbour both boats, Alana Rose and Rhapsody, had been put on the main wharf wall by Les who worked for TAS Transport. He stated that the southern end of the wall was the best place to be. What a lot of crock! MrJ and I put out lots of fenders and our fender-boards to protect AR’s hull from getting bashed on the old wooden wall. That evening all was well, well enough to have sundowners onboard. We had invited Steve and Kerrin over for a couple of quiet refreshments. Three hours later they went home!
Steve was born in Pommy Land; he had served in the British Army, he then moved to New Zealand and joined the NZ Army. I believe he held the rank of a Captain and holds duel passports. Really nice fella; never outspoken but has strong beliefs, very fit, exercises every day. Kerrin was born in Germany, on an island in the Baltic Sea. Kerrin tells me that she is Friesian; a lovely lady with a gentle nature, a great sense of humour and a beautiful smile. Kerrin is also a camera buff. It is good to have some female company for a change.
AR in the fishing pen
fishing boat leaving at dawn
the strong swell coming inside the breakwall
On our second days stay in the boat harbour the winds freshened somewhat terribly from the SW, bringing the swell and fetch right through the harbour opening. One of the fishermen came over to suggest that we move into the empty pens over the ways that were used regularly by the fishing boats. The occupants were out and not expected back that night. After our chat I introduced us, the fisherman introduced himself as Jim Hursey. It was then all touch and go to manoeuvre our boats across the harbour. I never did get to thank Jim properly as by the time we had settled into our new berth, Jim had left the harbour. The next morning I saw him waving from one of the fishing boats as it left the harbour on sunrise.
To the NW of the town of Stanley is a lush farming region named Highfield where we had visited the week before with Glen and Anne on one of our many road-trip around Tasmania. From Highfield you can view the picturesque little town with The Nut in the background.
leaving Stanley
Saturday 25th Jan 2014:
a limestone coast - Shepherd's Bay Hunter Island
sailing towards Cape Grim
This day was our turn to be leaving Stanley Boat Harbour but not at dawn. The wind and seas had settled, we ate a hardy breakfast and then set sail for Shepherds Bay (S40’28.352/E144’47.541) on Hunter Island, part of the Fleurieu Group (Hunter Group) of islands on the NW tip of Tasmania. There are strong tides and currents in the Hope Passage/channel between Hunter and Three hummock Islands, anything from 2-4 knots that can cause overfalls and rips when the tide is against wind.
rough ride between Hunter and Bird Islands 
Cape Grim
If the weather is anything but settled all the anchorages can be a bit rolly or swelly. We had picked a good weather window to anchor with and got the tides pretty right when we left the next morning through the passage to the south between Hunter and Bird Islands, sometimes called Bird Island Passage. The current in this passage flows W and you need to be at the top half of the tide – approx 30mins after Stanley. In strong westerly weather the W currents can cause a dangerous rip to form on the seaward side of Bird Island. In any condition it is best to heed what the guide book says.
last phone call out

hope you had a Happy Australia Day

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