Matt Flies In

Friday 15 February 2019

Price of Wales Bay Marina

Having escaped the confines of the marina, it was now time to return; to the marina.  Partly to bid farewell to Mark, our trusty companion and crew for the past few days, and partly to welcome our son Matthew, who would be flying in from Melbourne for a few days late this evening.

The wind had died off overnight and for Liz and I, who happened to be out and about early enough, it was a lovely sunrise over the nearby sandy isthmus off our stern.  The others aboard would have to view it on photo-replay, as shown below.

Morning light at Eaglehawk Bay, looking east

Morning light at Eaglehawk Bay, looking west
Looking back down the Eaglehawk Bay channel

The chart plotter had laid an in-bound track on the screen, known as “bread crumbs”, so it was a simple case of following them out … as closely as possible.  Having already gone through the uncertainty of whether there would be adequate depth in the Eaglehawk Neck channel on the way in, this was a great source of relief.

One thing we had NOT fully appreciated, however, when the cruising guide said  …“good holding ground”, was that the seabed was black mud.  This wouldn’t have been a problem, except that the mud came up with the anchor chain and from there would have made its way into the anchor well if we hadn’t washed it off link by link with a hose at the bow roller as it came aboard.  This task fell to Liz, whose aim with the hose to cleanse the chain was worthy of high praise.

The lifting of the 30-odd metres of chain naturally took a little longer than normal, but we were soon on our way, gliding along at 6 knots over the glistening water.

Once again, the relative comfort of our day’s travels was dictated by the direction and strength of the wind.  And fortunately, whilst it wasn’t always going our way, when it wasn’t the seas were mercifully slight, which meant we could make good progress against the elements with the motor alone. 

Past the Iron Pot lighthouse again, our approach to Hobart was marked by the vision of a massive new structure on the horizon; in the vicinity of the docks.  A structure the size of a block of flats which turned out to be the 950 foot long, Queen Elizabeth ship.  Plus another cruise liner parked nearby – enormous but not as massive as the QE2.

The Iron Pot again … this time taken from the starboard side of our boat as we return to the marina UP the Derwent River
The very photogenic Iron Pot Lighthouse

Under the bridge again, we witnessed for ourselves the stopping of the cars on the high deck above as another big ship made its way up river to the zinc works, after first sounding its horn for upwards of 30 seconds or more.

Approaching the Tasman Bridge once more
QE2
The Queen Elizabeth dominated the Hobart skyline for a day
Murray at the helm practicing his “pirate”
“Look mum, one hand…” Mark in control
Mark wos here …

The wind by now had picked up significantly and as we made our way into Prince of Wales Bay and approached the marina, our main thought was whether another boat had berthed next to our designated spot.  Not that this would be a concern for the skilled and experienced crew of Chimere, it’s just that the direction of the wind was now AWAY from the marina finger and NOT onto the dock. 

Preparing the fenders and lines on approach to the marina berth in Prince of Wales Bay

To the uninitiated this may not be such a big thing, but the fact is, once a boat is driven into a marina berth, no matter how straight and professionally, if it is not quickly and efficiently secured to the dockside by the mooring lines (not ropes) then the wind will quickly take over.  And if the wind is blowing ONTO the wharf – no problems.  If, on the other hand, it’s blowing away from the wharf, as it was on this day, then the boat will quickly “drift” away – into vacant space, or onto the next-door boat if one happens to be innocently parked there.

In summary, it was fortunate, that no boat was parked next to us.  Not that we did anything basically wrong.  In fact as a bonus, there were two people standing on the dock ready to take our lines and quickly attach them to the cleats on the pontoon, the second they were handed to them. 

And it’s probably at this point that things started to fall apart. 

At the helm, all I can remember is seeing a man on the dock (who turned out to be an experienced deck-hand off another boat nearby) take our mooring line as we entered the berth and immediately attaching it to pontoon.  No problems there.  The trouble is, he did it WITHOUT taking in any slack, leaving around 3-4 metres of loose line for Chimere to then simply “drift” away once I’d finished putting us into reverse in order to bring us to a complete stop.  He then walked away to helpfully receive our bow line further up the wharf. 

By now, however, we’d drifted away from our marina spot and it took great effort to draw in the taut line that was just a few seconds before quite slack.  It’s not that I’m ungrateful for the assistance. And it wouldn’t have troubled me if the person offering assistance was someone with no knowledge of boats.  But there you go.  Things happen.  And again, it’s fortunate there was no boat to our immediate left.

Finally secured in our berth again we tidied up before then going out to dinner over at the Motor Yacht Club again at Lindisfarne, with Peter and Gigi Wright, plus Mark Stephenson and his wife Denise who had driven down from Devonport to pick up Mark and who would also be staying the night aboard.

Finally found some FREE WiFi !!

In summary, the dinner (and dessert) at the Motor Yacht Club was magnificent and Murray did a wonderful job of driving us safety back to our marina home.

Then while most of us collapsed asleep after an active few days afloat, Uber-Murray drove out to the airport around 11:00pm to pick up Matt who would be flying in from Melbourne

Smooth seas, fair breeze and Matt Flies In

Rob Latimer

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