Settling and Unsettling



Our bikes were feeling neglected since their last use in Adelaide, so we gave them an outing by biking from our anchorage at Port Huon along the banks of the Huon River, up to Huonville. The rolling farmland of the valley was full of apple orchards, brimming with autumn fruit.


At Franklin on the banks of the Huon is the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Centre. Here courses are run for students. Those on the year-long course build a full-size yacht to commissions. The Centre is one of the few schools in the world where students can still learn the traditional skills of shipwrights working in wood.

The resident black swans make a pretty contrast to the white paint of the wooden boats afloat at the Centre.






Our determination to get a full workout took us the next day to the village of Geevston, where the local timber industry is so well rooted that even the local sculptors work in wood.



The beautiful and placid Duck Pond at the northern end of Bruny Island was the ideal spot to varnish the side of the hull which had been neglected a month earlier. Our final foray on our bikes while cruising was also from here. We pedalled past ‘paddocks’ full of sheep and cattle to the isthmus which connects North and South Bruny Islands. The road along the eastern shore led to our destination at Adventure Bay, Captain Cook’s repeated rendezvous on his southern voyages. In fact, Cook’s name is everywhere – even on the Captain Cook Memorial Caravan Park! By the time we returned to the Duck Pond we had covered 60 kilometres, quite enough for a little day out in the country.






Despite the difficulty of finding mooring space in Hobart, Ron, the Bosun at the RYCT (Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania) found a spot for a ‘small one’ and we settled into a pen for the winter. To celebrate we confirmed our biking addiction by struggling up Mount Nelson to the old semaphore station with its panoramic view over Hobart, the River Derwent, the Tasman bridge and Bellerive on the opposite bank. The Saturday market at Salamanca gave opportunities to view the wide range of local crafts and to listen to some of the rather diminutive buskers.








Much to Vicky’s joy, she found the Central Library in Hobart is the proud possessor of not one but two copies of the original atlas of the charts and drawing produced on Bruni d’Entrecasteaux’s voyage by his hydrographer, Beautemp Beaupre. Not only were these available for viewing, but, more amazingly, she was allowed to touch and photograph them. Bliss is hardly the word!



Both to celebrate this amazing discovery and to fortify against likely inactivity on our visit to England in June, we biked the long uphill trek to the Shot Tower. Though it is initially a little hard to believe, apparently the only reliable way to make well formed lead shot is by laboriously building a tower over a period of several years, so that you can heat and pour molten lead through a steel screen at the top, allow the shot to cool while falling to the bottom, where they dive into a pool of water for a refreshing dip. As an industrial process it seems a little over capitalised for the final product, but the resulting shot was seemingly much sought-after and prize winning, so perhaps it was worth it. It was certainly worth the effort of getting up the hill to find all this out.






At the beginning of June, we tucked ‘Sunstone up in her pen, cob-webbed with numerous lines and with reassurances from friends that they would let us know if she sank. We headed north to Sydney to visit the many friends with whom we had hoped to catch up earlier when our plans had included a cruise up to Queensland. Joanna, Vicky’s cousin and her husband, Neil, kindly put us up and showed us the sights of Botany Bay including yet another Cook Memorial. We also had a chance to catch up with David and Kendi Kellett. As ISAF Vice President, David has the heavy responsibility for ensuring that the sailing side of the 2008 Olympics goes smoothly. Given the lack of experience of the Chinese in managing sailing events, this is a burden only shoulders as broad as his could manage. It was also great to see again fellow Pacific cruisers Peter and Lyndall Aston, Kevin and Theresa Ruscoe, with new addition, Thomas (great choice of name!) and crew member from the 2000 Sydney-Hobart, Michael Jackson.



During our time in Chile we had exchanged emails with Alex Whitworth during his remarkable trip with Pete Crozier to circumnavigate taking in the Fastnet Race between two successive Sudney-Hobarts. Sadly we had missed meeting him by one day in the Falklands, but finally met in Sydney. Perhaps appropriately there was a 100 year storm at the time, churning the water between Sydney Heads white and nearly blowing Alex over when he took us to view the wind-blown spume.




Despite the almost continuous rain during our visit we managed to do some sight-seeing and Vicky attended a concert at the Opera House. Thanks to Alex’s kindness we were also able to attend a day seminar on Captain Cook at Sydney’s excellent Maritime Museum and the following day we made out second tour of the Endeavour replica, which we had first visited in Port Stephens in 2001.


With visions of the cramped quarters, even in ‘first class’, of Cook’s crew and passengers, we girded our loins for the 23 hour flight to London, via Hong Kong.