Our Life Afloat

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Blog of Jack and Jude
explorers, authors, photographers & videographers

Fast Voyage Completed

250 Nautical miles in less than two days, from 10 AM Monday to 3 AM Wednesday, plus another hour to sail through Hells Gate after daylight.
 

Starting with fast currents sweeping us out the Tamar River and finding strengthening northeast winds that took us to Tasmania’s NW corner. From there, a gentle north wind carried us down the coast to the “Gate.” Arriving before dawn we hove-to. These light breezes freshened after daybreak to send us through the Gate flying just a reefed mainsail. Fabulous! We might need a day or two to recover, meanwhile, our broad smiles remind us of how fortunate we have been.

Dawn in Betsys Bay

Resting up – Dawn in Betsys Bay



Voyage from King Island to George Town Tasmania

21/Feb/2020 08:16:00 AEDT – 041° 02.335S, 146° 44.899E
A Perfect Passage
Weeks of strong easterlies finally relented and we bolted for open sea with the following SW breeze that had us scampering along across the gap until in the lee of Hunter and Three Hummocks. In calming seas, that lovely breeze kept us flying all night under a clear starry night. No wonder we sail – What magic to be alone with your lover upon such a dream night at sea. Even managed a few hours of sleep.


22/Feb/2020 13:15:34 AEDT – 041° 06.592S, 146° 49.163E
Alongside at the friendly George Town Yacht Club
George Town has every facility including a large Woolworths and great library. Anchoring can be a problem due to depth and current from the rather large tides. For short stops to provision, use the town wharf, it’s free. For longer stays try Peppers Marina across the bay, or drop your hook in 15 metres with good scope.
The GTYC pontoon was empty and we gladly paid them for its use. Good folks at the club that we got to know very well in our extended stay here several years ago.
Beauty Point, just up the river 30 minutes usually have berths available, Phone: 0418 321 339 Email: office@tyc.asn.au
or drop your anchor in any of the protected bays for a quiet spell.


George Town Ramble

1797 voyage of Sydney Cove

1797 voyage of Sydney Cove

In 2016, Jack and Jude sailed to a little-known Tasmanian location to film the final resting place of a historical vessel few would have known. The ship carried the same name as its destination back when Australia’s first colony was struggling to survive. That scamp of a ship brought much-needed food and goods to help rescue the colony from desperate times. But fate had other plans for the Sydney Cove and eleven Englishmen and forty-four Indian Lascar seamen.

In a compelling tale that leads to the eventual discovery of Bass Strait by Matthew Flinders, who was a member of the rescue mission, and who upon his return reported to Governor Hunter that he believed a passage from the west lay in those waters.

For nearly two centuries that ship lay hidden until nesting mutton birds exposed porcelain artefacts on Preservation Island. This lead to an expedition unearthing the vessel and recovering precious booty from Australia’s earliest days. Today those artefacts are on display at the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston. After seeing images of this booty from so long ago, Jack and Jude produced a film telling the heroic story of these men stranded in such a faraway place. While doing this, we witnessed firsthand the amazingly beautiful location still filled with wild ferocity. And when reliving the sailors’ lives on that isolated island, we yearned to examine the articles retrieved from the sailing ship Sydney Cove.

Filming at Preservation Island
The Wreck of the Sydney Cove

Queen Victoria Museum ~
Sydney Cove AnchorHere in George Town, a day after steady heavy rain, we left our Banyandah securely tied to the pontoon at the yacht club and boarded an early bus for the fifty-kilometre journey to Launceston. Our destination, the Queen Victoria Museum to view the display of artefacts from the wreck of the Sydney Cove. If you’ve watched our film, Summer 16, you would have seen photos given to us by Parks and Wildlife maritime heritage officer Mike Nash, who helped recover many of the artefacts from the wreck. Having seen them on our monitor, a visit to their resting spot seemed high priority while in the area.

All went well until we marched into the museum where we were told the display was temporarily closed for the day for necessary maintenance work. Silly me meant to telephone the day before to confirm availability but got heavily into editing our books for launching on Amazon and, well, time slipped away. 

Therefore, at reception suffering a stress attack, I rattled on about the work we had achieved on Preservation Island and the resulting film hoping to get a Get Out of Jail pass – but we didn’t.

Disheartened, Jude and I traipsed around the other displays. We partially enjoyed an illuminating visit to the blacksmith shop associated with the Launceston Railway Yards that once operated from this location. Still feeling unfulfilled, when starting to leave for our next destination, a trip to Bunnings–a burst of good fortune shone down on us well-meaning souls because as we made our way to the self-opening doors, a lass ran up to say that the workmen would finish early, and if we came back after lunch, we’d get a showing.

  • Entrance to Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston
  • Greeting us, Australia's largest raptor the Wedge Tail Eagle
  • Officers Quarters Sydney Cove
  • Six Pound Canon
  • Remains of leather shoes
  • Restored porcelain cup
  • Rudder decay over two centuries
  • Indian made porcelain decanters
  • Clay Pipes and misc
  • Ship's rudder showing two centuries of decay

 
As a result, we have two cameras brimming with images of stuff we’d seen before on our monitors and came away very impressed with the university’s display and informative write-up. However, regretfully the display lacked details of the survivors’ island. Preservation and Rum are spectacular islands with giant granite tors surrounded by wild beauty. Yet, none of this featured in the displays-just the history and broken shards, and a somewhat rusty anchor and rudder remnants.

I had come prepared for such a situation and asked to see the assistant CEO once again to inform her that we had made two films on Preservation and would she like free copies to include in the display. Not her department, she said, and instead gave me a card with the email address for enquiries on it. Until we hear more on that, watch this short clip of amazing Preservation and Rum Islands.



Additional information:
Photos of Furneaux Islands in Bass Strait
Historical Shipwreck Revisited
Summer 16 Filmed on Preservation Island

Maintenance ~
All boat owners have this. The sea extracts a toll from all that floats, and cleanses all that doesn’t. Banyandah in her forty-seventh year of service has withstood the sea’s attack for hundreds of thousands of miles. Amazing really for a homemade yacht.

While in George Town, we are repainting her cockpit, dodger, and aft cabin house in the original cream. Around twenty-years ago, we sprayed that with two-pack polyurethane during her rebuild. John, our current neighbour alongside suggested we just need give her a polish, it looked that good. But John doesn’t see the blemishes and wear that we do.

Jude’s the workhorse, or I should call her an artisan she’s such a perfectionist. I don’t mind. We have been a husband and wife team since our first adventure down through Africa in the late sixties. When we made furniture for a living, she did the coatings, making my joinery look first-class. She’ll do the same for this paintwork, and then we’ll be off again into the wild blue yonder for a bit of fun.

Dr David Lewis ~
Have you ever heard of Dr David Lewis? When I told a friend of our difficulties at the museum, he told me a fascinating story about Dr Lewis, a good friend of his.

Imagine sailing alone for 14 weeks in freezing temperatures aboard a 32-foot sailboat. Imagine your boat capsizing three times and losing your mast and rigging 3,500 miles from help. And imagine doing all that without modern electronic navigational tools. His survival was a miracle of endurance, skill, and some luck.

Dr Lewis was a courageous sailor, an extra-ordinary navigator and an adventurer with big dreams. He was also the first navigator in modern times to cross the Pacific Ocean without using instruments, following a legendary Maori course from Tahiti to New Zealand.

But my friend told me of his difficulties to get David’s life displayed to encourage our youth to take on challenges and be brave.

Graham Cox said,
I talked to the National Maritime Museum director about my friend, Dr David Lewis, and his Antarctic exploration aboard his sloop, Icebird, which is held in a storage shed by the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. His film and papers, which should be preserved as they are significant maritime cultural artefacts, are in boxes under his son’s bed and will disappear when his son dies. The National Maritime Museum director had never heard of David and was amazed to discover he had published 12 books about the sea and his voyages. But they claimed they had budgetary restrictions. I sailed away soon after and nothing happened. It might have if I had stayed and turned it into a major campaign. 

Environment ~
A brainwave struck in the middle of the night, and I had to get up to do a sketch. The driving force was, if the Macquarie Harbour fish farm workers could visualize the effects of losing plastic ropes into the water, they would take extra care to prevent it from happening.

This image printed on A2 pasteboard, could be mounted wherever the workers congregate like their lunchrooms and locker area. If they see how the plastic breaks down into strands and then into micro-fibres, maybe we can stop a lot from going overboard?

Open letter sent to: Mr Mark Asman, Head of Aquaculture, Tassal Salmon Products
G’day Mark,
I am sure you were not pleased to see that we produced another video of the farm trash littering the shores of Macquarie Harbour. It saddened us to see that the plastic ropes are breaking down into strands and filaments that then degrade even faster into micro-plastic.

Against our best efforts to find a solution to this unfortunate situation, and the efforts by your team to reduce it, the truth is that day by day more farm trash finds its way to the shores of Macquarie Harbour.

Attached is an idea we’ve come up with that may encourage your team members to take extra care when handling plastic ropes in their day-to-day operations.

It’s a poster suitable for printing on A2 board, which we thought come be mounted wherever workers meet or relax.


eBook Now Available in Epub and Mobi format….. AUD$12.25 ~
Around the World in Ever Increasing Circles
140 colour photos and maps ~ Immediate download
[MORE INFO]


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Comments

Our Life Afloat — 13 Comments

  1. Hi Jack and Jude .
    Not a bad voyage for a couple of salty septuagenarians.
    Love and kind thoughts
    Brian and Sandra Dorling
    MVSealeaf

  2. Hi Jack and Jude, I feel your pain, dealing with Australia’s massively oversized bureaucracy is like banging your head against a brick wall; feels good when you stop. I recently got fined $260 for “fishing from a tender”. I wrote a letter and finally got my money back, but some fisheries inspector had decided that one little old man and his young grandson picking up 2 crab pots in a 10ft tinnie, deserved the full force of the law. Ridiculous! Waste of taxpayer money. The inane replies that you’re receiving to your well documented issues concerning illegal polluting are another case of taxpayer money being wasted on oversize, incompetent, dysfunctional public service. All jargon and no action. Keep up the good work guys, and good luck! Steve.

      • reply from Stephen: Queensland, where else? Apparently, in Qld, it is illegal to use a tender for fishing. All the boaties that I’ve spoken to are unaware of this regulation. You can pay registration on your tender and then it is technically not really a tender anymore, but another registered ship that you lug around on your big boat. But being a registered ship means you must display your registration number, and carry all the safety gear, flares, V-flag etc., which is what I now do. I can understand the concern that a commercial operator might be able to use a mother ship and run a fleet of fishing vessels from that ship without paying rego on all of them, and I suppose that’s why the law is there.

  3. Excellent example of citizen science. Inspiring stuff guys, keep up the good work.

    Richard, ‘Heart of Gold’, currently in Metung VIC but potentially heading to Tassie soon

  4. Hi Jack and Jude! Angie and I are like-minded sailors here in Tasmania with our 35′ timber yawl “Neptune”. We keep her moored at Kettering although we live in the north of the state… will you be anywhere near Kettering on your travels? We’d love to catch up for a yarn! Cheers Jim & Angie

    • Hello Jim and Angie, nice of you to send us greetings and let us know of your timber yawl Neptune.
      We just returned from down-harbour without comms. Our plans are to stick around Macquarie as we’re in a new writing project and this is such a fabulous place to work. We’re so lucky here in Tasmania. If we take a run around the island later this summer, we’ll drop by for a cuppa. Cheers, J&J

  5. Hi Jack and Jude
    Always enjoy your blog.We are aiming for the west coast Tas during January /February.If you are around ,we owe you a beer.(we always use your cruising guides).
    Kind Regards
    Brian and Sandra Dorling
    MVSealeaf

    • Hello Brian and Sandra – Great news – we should be around here somewhere. Must finish our outside paint work which means we may go up to the north coast for a spell. Cheers, J&J

  6. Hi Jack and Jude, great to hear you are both still going well, like you most of us are very concerned about climate change and the effect it may have on our planet and life styles. Hopefully nature can adapt, because the major polluters are not going to change anytime soon.
    We are still sailing on the east coast and out to New Caledonia on Olivia III, but at present back in Albany, WA for Xmas.

    • Hello Peter and Liz – Regarding our concerned about climate change, we feel more pressure on politicians will demonstrate the need to change. Climate change concern helped Labor at 2019 election but Coalition won on economy – survey. Would love to be in Albany again. Cheers J&J

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