Rest, Relaxation & Repair

Monday 4 February 2019

Shoal Bay, Maria Island

Overnight our anchorage in Shoal Bay, Maria Island, remained calm in the extreme, despite the steady south east wind.  Little wonder so many other vessels had made the same choice.

Morning saw a few yachts up-anchor and depart, but for us, this would be a day of adventuring ashore – rest and relaxation (and repair)  and so we would be staying put.

The dinghy was launched off the stern and after a late breakfast and some maintenance on a water tank and a few other things, the first group headed ashore – me, Linda, Rosie, Liz and Murray. 

Soon enough, I was back for Bill and Alistair and we all then followed the well-worn and very short track across the narrow, long sand dune that separates the north and south ends of Maria Island.

Bill strikes a lonely pose walking the short distance from the ocean side to the sheltered side of the Maria Island Isthmus
It was just a short walk from the Shoal Bay anchorage on Maria Island across to the main surf beach

Despite the coolish wind we instantly noticed that on land the temperature rose immediately as the sun radiated off the sand.

Apart from walk an hour along the surf beach, then an hour back again, there really isn’t much to report here.  It was just a time to soak in the rugged, isolated beauty of the place.  There were lots of animal tracks in the sand – wallabies, birds of all types, and some other small mammal, the source of much speculation – Tassie Devil, Quoll, Koala … Thylacine??    plus the usual selection of drift wood, shells and beach-debris.   

Liz and Murray soak in the remote wilderness

Some shells had a very neat, small hole drilled into them, making them ideal for threading onto a string.  The source of the hole remained a mystery until Linda suggested it was a predator of some sort.

Despite the fact that fish of all description abound in these parts – according to almost everyone we have met – our skills and enthusiasm in this area could best be described as “disappointing”.  We sometimes troll a line out the back, in search of those particularly dumb, hungry, big and impulsive fish … but so far to no avail.  As for the tasty flathead, whiting, snapper and the like, not to mention crayfish, I suspect you need proper bait and correctly configured rigs, placed in the right spot at the right turn of the tide … all things that have so far eluded us.  Probably what we really need is a crew member whose super-power is catching fish … a bit like our Rosie in the galley … but with fishing gear.

Linda plays a trick with a panoramic shot by appearing twice
The Hairy Bill Turtle comes ashore at Maria Island
Beached as, bro …
Hiding places for birds and small animals
After time at sea any rest can turn into a sleep
Lots of tracks had us guessing

In the afternoon the relaxed tone continued … with much sleeping, talking, listening, eating and laughing – no fishing.

As the night closed in one of the annoying things it must be said, were the mosquitoes.  These were industrial-strength beasts who’d obviously managed to find their way out across the sea to us, despite the wind and considerable distance.   

Bill the fixer, this time it’s one of the water tanks

One other thing to mention, particularly for those over 5 feet 10 inches tall is the height of the ceiling aboard.  Technically, we have 6 feet headroom, but in practice it’s necessary for some of us to adopt a permanent stoop as we make our way around.  Newcomers eventually develop this Chimere-stoop, but only by accident.  And it’s generally the head that pays the price, as evidenced in the photos.

Murray shows off his latest bumps
Alistair’s head is learning to stoop when going through doorways

Having mentioned the challenging headroom – for some – I should mention a few of the GREAT things about Chimere.  In particular the fact that we have five separate cabins, albeit small, for sleeping, storing our personal gear and generally getting away from everything when necessary.  There’s also a large saloon for communal dinners and movie watching, which also passes as a galley, study and with a few small modifications, a bedroom.

Chimere’s internal layout

Out in the cockpit there’s the wonderful, fully enclosed space surrounding the wheel, which I suppose could be called a wheelhouse, where upwards of 8 people can gather and shelter and where Linda makes her, very comfortable, nest at the end of the day.  Stepping aft of this is a very useful back porch platform, ladder down to the water and davits, which enable the small dinghy to be lifted and stowed out of the way and be ready for quick deployment.

After 2 days at anchor in Shoal Bay our path back and forth makes for an interesting diagram

The end of the day was greeted with another extremely tasty Rosie-dinner, chicken curry, followed by apple pie and ice-cream (yes you read correctly, ice-cream).

Watching a movie in the saloon while enjoying one of Rosie’s culinary creations

Smooth seas, fair breeze plus rest, relaxation & repair

Rob Latimer


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