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.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Bass Strait to Eden – A Horror Crossing

Bass Strait to Eden – A Horror Crossing
leaving the calm water of the Franklin Sound
Wednesday 5th March 2014
MrJ, AR and I broke loose from the Lady Baron wharf; we make our way out through the shallow waters of the eastern outlet of the Franklin Sound, out over the interesting bar where the waves were breaking on both sides. MrJ found the calmer waters to between the foaming seas and I believe that the shallowest we experience was round the 3mt depth. As we poked our noses out into the ocean a moderate ESE breeze was there to greet us and we were all feeling very happy. This feeling was not to last. At sometime through the first night out this happy feeling was to turn to alarm and dread; even a feeling of fear.
the seas breaking on the shoals beside the bar
I had cooked a pot of beef stew for our meals, MrJ and I had both eaten. I had retired to the aft bunk to get some rest or even try to sleep a little before I was due on watch again at midnight. I had not even had enough time to relax into my fluffy pillow when I could feel and hear the increase of the sea and wave action on the outside of AR’s hulls. The weather condition had changed!
night falls and all looks pretty good
I was up to have a look! The wind had changed to ENE; it was coming in strong at 20-25 knots. The night was dark, full of nasty clouds hiding the stars and there was no moon. I could not even see the sloppy waves that were slapping our sides.
MrJ told me to go back to bed and try to get some sleep, but I couldn't sleep, the adrenalin had already taken over. It was to be a rough night at sea; I was not sleeping; I was being tossed about in my bunk.
Thursday 6th March 2014
the waves still crashed over the bow
Come midnight MrJ did not call down to wake me for change of watch; I stumbled off my bunk, crawled into a few extra clothes and stuck my head out to find us in a wash of sea water that had been breaking into the cockpit. The night was pitch black, the wind was howling at 35knts and the sea was foaming all around. MrJ had a tight grip on the helm and I was told to go back to bed, again. I did as the skipper said but I didn’t get any rest. I was up and down through the night; just checking, checking on MrJ, checking on the boat but it was uncomfortable to be moving around anywhere in or on the boat. The sea and wind were giving us a canning; the bows would plough into the waves, the waves would crash over the bows and sea water would come crashing over the top of the bimini and into the cockpit. AR was getting tossed around and so were we. How could I sleep?
the seas had settled enough for me to get the camera out again
It was daybreak that the wind settled back to 20/25knt and I was able to take the helm from MrJ. MrJ was drenched again; he had changed his clothes three times. Yes MrJ and I were wearing our foal weather gear, our Santa suits I call them.
In the daylight we were able to take stock of the many things that went adrift through the night – it is not too often that our catamaran throws books on the floor and things jump from there secure homes.
That day we had many rain squalls to mix fresh water with the sea water that was still coming over the bow and would spray into the boat but we were able to keep our normal watch which enable us both to get a little sleep. We were heading a course for the coastline of Victoria.
The weather in Bass Strait during the Spring or Autumn times can be very unpredictable with so many low pressures over the mainland. Our second night out in the Bass Strait found us still bashing into the rough seas but still holding the same course towards the Victorian coast.
Friday 7th March 2014
rain squalls
and the Albatross
Into Eden
Green Cape Lighthouse in the rain
The Green Cape Lighthouse was the first cast concrete lighthouse tower in Australia. At 29 metres it is the NSWs second tallest light.
Friday before daybreak MrJ was able to turn AR on an easterly course and then a couple of hours later to head on a northern course along the mainland coastline. We were still getting the rain squalls but the sea had settled. Everything had settled including my nerves. At 1130hs MrJ and I were to motor AR calmly into Two Fold Bay, into Snug Cove and finally into Eden.
MrJ did admit that he had been scarred too!

into Eden
AR on the wharf in Snug Cove
a well earned treat at the end of our passage - local prawns straight off the fishing boat
Enjoying Our Stay in Eden
Eden is a historic whaling town that was built around a promontory that juts into Twofold Bay. The southern right and humpback whales that migrate along the coast between May and November are what attract man to this bay.
sunrise across Twofold Bay

Snug Cove is the third deepest natural harbour in the southern hemisphere and where three wharves unite as one. Locals and tourists are encouraged to wander the wharves, watch fishermen unloading their catch and then sit back at one of the cafe/restaurants and appreciate the spectacular deep blue water with iconic Mount Imlay in the distance.
no longer do the whaling boats go out - Eden is now a fishing port
prawn boat
A walkway, Warrens Walk, was a nice walk up from Snug Cove to the town of Eden that MrJ and I would enjoy throughout our stay. Warrens Walk was named after the local fishing family who worked in the industry for generations since 1883.
Lizard of Eden - whenever I walked Warrens Walk I came across these lizards - a type of Skink
In 1828, Thomas Raine established the first shore based whaling station on mainland Australia. A small pier was erected by Raine, as well as slab huts for a home and for the whaling try-works. The first wharf built for shipping was built in 1860. 
“The Death Flurry” by Sir Oswald Brierly, painted in the 1840s of a whale hunt in Twofold bay with stylised small killers in attendance. The unfortunate right whale is in its last moments, with its blowhole spouting blood.
MrJ and I took a leisurely stroll around town to absorb some of Eden's history. Many of the building have a plaque outside to tell you about its past.
The Crown and Anchor Inn is the oldest standing and was the first substantial building in Eden. It was preceded by slab and bark huts only. Originally a hotel, it was built in the early 1840s and was first licensed in 1845. For a time in the 1860s it was also used as the Telegraph Office. It now offers bed and breakfast accommodation.
The Half House was the first two story building erected in Eden, which has now been restored as a private residence. It was built in 1850 and was thus nick-named because its planned extension onto the gabled roof at one end was never completed.  Like the Crown and Anchor the original slate roof has been replaced by corrugated iron. From 1868 when Mr Charles Kebby was the Eden Telegraph Station Master & line repairer and resided there, the Half House was used as a Post Office until 1885, and was subsequently used as an office of the Government Savings Bank.
We also paid a visit to the wonderful whaling museum -
the Eden Killer Whale Museum
The Eden Killer Whale Museum, a fascinating display of boats, whaling gear, photographs and nautical apparatus, has been in operation for over 80 years and is a publicly owned facility.
The original capstan was used at the Davidson whaling station, Kiah Inlet, to roll the whales over and winch large flensed ‘blanket strips’ of blubber to the ‘try pots’ where they were cut into ‘horse pieces’ or small chunks. After the boiling down for oil, the blubber ‘scraps’ were used to fuel the fire and the oil obtained was stored in large iron tanks later being transferred to casks for shipment to its final destination.
Once a whale had been caught and killed, the process of removing the blubber from the whale flensing began. The raw blubber was then placed in ‘try pots’ in order to extract the oil. Flensing is the removing of the blubber or outer integument of whales. English whalemen called it flenching, while American whalemen called it cutting-in.
The building is situated overlooking the Pacific Ocean where, in the season, whales may be seen from the various vantage points. Inside features exhibitions about the shore-based whaling operations from Twofold Bay during the 1800s and early 1900s include a full skeleton of 'Tom' the Killer Whale, legendary Orca. He led a pack of killer whales in the hunt for baleen whales on their southward migration each year.
Old Tom
There is also an exhibition relating to the involvement of local indigenous Australians in shore-based whaling.
A typical Davidson five oared whaling boat. George Davidson was on board. Also on board were three members of aboriginal Thomas family usually at front of boat. Eden whalers never hunted from motorboats.
Aborigines form a vital part of the local whaling industry. Pictured here in about 1915 are (L-R) Bill Thomas, C E Wellings, Albert Thomas Snr and Albert Thomas Jrn.
There is a full scale model of the type of whale boat used in whale chases out of Twofold Bay.
whaling boat
whaling boat bits
Exhibitions depicting the local fishing and timber industry tell of the extremely important role that these industries have had and continue to play in the Eden community.

MrJ and I spent five wonderful days exploring Eden.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your successful passage!
    The Eden whaling museum is a real gem.