We did it - we finally slipped the mooring lines and departed
We woke to a cool misty morning and, by the time we were ready to leave the sun had broken through, the sky was clear and it was very still and cool. At about 10:30 AM on the 26th April 2006, Roy (the previous owner and boat’s builder) was there ready to untie the mooring lines and farewell us so that we could continue on the dream he had when he started building the yacht 20 years before. It was a classic Hobart autumn morning.
It was very emotional leaving our bay for what we planned would be the last time, where we had had both Luparis tied up on their moorings and where we had first met, fallen in love, and decided that we were compatible enough to take on this adventure together.
Our first stop was the fuel berth at the Queens Domain just downstream from the Tasman Bridge to fill up the fuel tank. It took almost 400 litres, but we wanted to make sure we had enough to get us to Melbourne because fuel stops between Hobart and Melbourne are few and far between. We knew that we could almost motor all the way with that amount of fuel, although we hoped that we wouldn’t have to.
After filling up we motored slowly past the city in very calm conditions. We were farewelled by our friends and club bosun, Laurie and Sue in Tucana in true nautical style, circling our boat as they returned from their trip and, later on, we saw Two B, another yacht from our club, returning from a successful trip to Port Davey.
We couldn't sail. The wind, was on the nose and there was very little of it anyway.
There were good omens for us right from the start. We saw a very fat seal (Sammy - a local identity at Constitution Dock fish and chip punts in the city at lunchtime) as we were passing Macquarie Wharf and when we were nearly at Taroona High School we had a pod of dolphins swim with the boat. We have always enjoyed the sight of dolphins and this made it very special for us. The next “good omen” was when we were passing Cape Raoul after crossing a relatively calm but heaving Storm Bay. As the stars came out the Southern Cross was sitting in the rigging as if to guide and protect us.
As we were leaving the Derwent River, we both thought of the good friends and family we were leaving behind, wondering when we would see them again. The beauty of the day and the realisation that we were actually on our way had us feeling happy again before too long. It was a very emotional moment for us both as we passed the Iron Pot The Iron Pot
Crossing Storm Bay was, as we had experienced it in all our trips, uneventful except for the rolling swell. The ocean heaving like some great animal. Greg, bored with just sitting, unused to doing nothing at this stage, tried to start the 240volt petrol generator which had not worked for a few weeks. It would not start. This added to the discomfort that Greg was beginning to feel so he stopped fiddling with it and continued to steer the boat and as it got dark we found ourselves nearing Cape Raoul. The scenery around the bottom of Tasman Peninsular is extremely spectacular. We have been around Cape Raoul several times and only one of them was in daylight. But we have never crossed Storm Bay in the weather that it is infamous for, fortunately.
I never tire of sailing at night. It is beautiful to be out on the water watching the stars and listening to the sound of the ocean splashing past the hull. We feel like a very small speck in the universe.
The passage into Port Arthur was very similar to our first trip there two years before when we had Katherine on board on our very first yacht adventure, although not quite so dramatic. It was dark, I was navigating with the instruments and Greg was on the helm feeling “green” . I was relaying instructions about where to go. The helm was the best place for him. We made a perfect instrument landing – we knew exactly where we were going and had the GPS waypoints to navigate by. We used our computer navigation charts too and we ended up dropping the anchor exactly where we did last time, in Safety Cove. The new radar showed us where the hard bits were and where the “vague bits” were. I was to navigate toward the vague bits. We anchored perfectly in 8 metres of water off the beach, had a hearty meal and went to bed exhausted and happy rocking gently to the oceans movement at last.
The moon is high, the sea is deep,
We rock and rock and rock to sleep” Sally Boynton. Goodnight Goodnigh