Tassie Cruising

As we moved up the d’Entrecasteaux Channel toward the Huon River the weather improved. The shores of the Channel were as pretty as ever, though somewhat brown and drought-stricken. Since our last visit the number of fish farms had increased, with the sites taking on an increasingly industrial aspect. Interestingly, unlike the farms in Canada and Chile, which are pretty much static, the cages in the Channel are periodically moved both for the sake of the fish and of the local environment.

Port Cygnet near the mouth of the Huon is a pretty village with a sheltered anchorage. Here we again met ‘Apache’ and her owner, Grant, who cruises her engine-less up and down the East coast.







Kettering is a hive of wooden boat activity. With the shortage of mooring space in Hobart and the immediate convenience of sheltered cruising in the Channel, Kettering has become so popular with locals that there is little or no space left for visitors.

By yet another of those serendipitous cruising coincidences Vicky happened to meet Ben and Jane Marris, the owners of ‘Saona ‘ – the very boat in which Vicky’s parents Ken and Leo had cruised the Channel in 1951. They so enjoyed the cruise and the place that they determined to pass the name d’Entrecasteaux to their daughter. ‘Saona’ is still in pristine condition and giving cruising pleasure.









Also on a mooring at Kettering was ‘Diomede’, and elder sister of ‘Sunstone’. ‘Diomede’ was built to the lines of the famous S&S ‘Finisterre’s’, from which ‘Sunstone’ is a more modern development. The family relationship is obvious despite the differences in the yawl rig.




By mid-March we ready for a spell in the big city – well, the biggest available – and tied up in Constitution Dock in the centre of Hobart. Though there were still one or two boats left over from the Wooden Boat Festival, the Dock was fairly quiet, except when the pubs let out on a Saturday night. Moored at Elizabeth Street Pier, was ‘Maggie B’, Frank Blair’s striking modern revisiting of the Grand Banks schooner. While chatting over drinks in ‘Maggie B’s’ cockpit, Frank and Tom suddenly realised that they had been at school together, albeit separated by two years in age. Cruising is a small world.


The quiet water of Con Dock and the warm sun of the early autumn weather were opportunities too good to be missed to get at least one side of the hull varnished.

Our neighbour in the Dock was Blizzard, whose owners, David and Hannah, have fitted her for high latitudes chartering. Appropriately they met while doing the Round the World Clipper Race. Hannah holds the remarkable and daunting record of being the fastest person to trek solo across Antarctica to the South Pole. Her next venture is to attempt the same at the North Pole.




After ten days or so of replenishment and socialising under the shelter of Mount Wellington, we headed out to make the most of the remaining warmer weather, cruising up the East Coast. We made our way past the Iron Pot and Cape Raoul to take another look at the ruins of the convict settlement at Port Arthur.




A long day’s motor-sailing past Tasman Island’s organ pipes and the Lanterns got us to Maria Island. On our last cruise up the coast we had neglected the Island.


A long day’s hike around the Island made up this deficiency and also made us acquainted with some of the inhabitants, wombats, wallabies and Cape Barren geese. The rolling landscape of the Island was about right to get us back in shape for hiking, so that by the time we reached Wineglass Bay, after a brief stop in Triabunna, we ready for something more challenging. The climb to Mount Graham was all of that, as well as giving superb views over the Bay, the Hazards opposite and much of the Freycinet Penninsula.






Returning southwards we escaped the Easter crowds in Wineglass for the sheltered anchorage behind the wreck in Canoe Bay.



From here we could hike round to the trial which climbs up to the view over the Lanterns. The view of the Needle is particularly spectacular, though one which Tom was happy to leave to Vicky eager photographic eye. The previous day a young French Canadian hiker had lost his camera – happily not his footing – taking the same shot!




Vicky couldn’t resist the opportunity for another brief cruise up the Channel before we settle for the winter at Hobart. The latter was a decision we made about this time, as we had previously planned to head north for the winter to Queensland. We liked Tassie so much, had no particularly fond memories of Queensland and so decided to stay. This time we approached the Channel from the East, rounding South Bruny Light, last visited by land in 2001.  

After stops at Dover and Southport we decided to explore further up the Huon River.