The Kettering Incident

Sunday 17 February 2019

Mickey’s Bay, Bruny Island

Apparently there’s a new Australian Foxtel TV drama show in the “thriller” genre set in the town of Kettering.  It’s actually called “The Kettering Incident”

I haven’t seen the show, but Murray and Liz have, and from their descriptions it would seem to have no resemblance whatsoever to the other recent Tasmanian show, that appears on the ABC called Rosehaven

Anyway, the mere mention of the word “Kettering” has Liz and Murray developing nervous ticks, as they together relive terrifying moments of suspense and terror.

So here we are Sunday morning, a beautiful, still, sunny Sunday morning, motoring Chimere into … you guessed it, Kettering (cue dramatic sci-fi music here) and Murray and Liz are jokingly convinced that our predicament has something to do with … “the disappearance of Chloe” … or “another one of Anna’s blackouts” …

Sunrise, sunset … one’s in the east and the other’s in the west … they all seem to blur into one
Mickey’s Bay turned out to be as popular as Docklands …
The catering department certainly pulled their weight …

The truth was much more mundane.  As mentioned yesterday, we twisted the heavy metal hatch cover to our anchor well and our Tassie friend Dick, introduced in yesterday’s Ship’s Log, had offered to meet us at the Kettering Public Wharf around 9:00am.

Not only did Dick offer mechanical assistance, but because he would be travelling along the route to be taken by new crew member Cathy (and Matt’s girlfriend) as she travelled from the Hobart airport to Kettering, he also offered to act as a free “Uber driver” the last 15-20 minutes of the way.

Cathy’s epic 18 hour journey from Mallacoota in East Gippsland to the Kettering Public Wharf ended with smiles all-round
Dick was soon aboard and recommending a solution to the bent steel hatch cover

As for Cathy’s journey to get here … well, yesterday (Saturday) she was working a full-day (as a school nurse) till around 3:00pm at a remote school campus near Mallacoota. (East Gippsland)  Around 3:30pm she started a 7 hour drive to an AirB&B location in Gladstone Park, then drove to the Melbourne airport around 5:00am (this morning)  to catch the 6:30am flight to Hobart.  From here it was a 45 minute Uber-car to the North West Bay Golf Club, where 2 minutes after being dropped off on the side of the road, she was picked up by Dick and Carolyn and Dick’s (95 year old) father Hans for the 20 minute drive to the Kettering Public Wharf.  Her arrival at the wharf then coincided, within 2-3 minutes, of Chimere tying up along side and making her lines safe.  An exercise in precision planning!

It was great to catch up with Dick and Carolyn again and to be able to host them aboard Chimere for morning tea after their hospitality 11 years ago at Flinders Island aboard their vessel.  It was also good to talk with Dick’s 95-year-old father Han’s who, incidentally, still owns a 38-foot Huon Pine built ocean-going yacht which he regular sails by himself around local waters.  As a guide to Han’s mental agility and ability, I showed him a book about a particular Bass Strait ship wreck and he was so keen to get a copy, with a few minutes he’d established, by means of his SmartPhone, where he could buy a copy, or even a softcopy he could download.

A couple of stilson wrenches and she was soon back in shape
Matt, Cathy, Liz Hans (Dick’s 95 yo father) Carolyn, Rob & Dick – hatch cover all better again
Matt, Rob, Dick, Hans Carolyn and Linda, with Carolyn sporting her complementary copies of Bass Strait Fury 1&2
Dick and Rob share the same hair stylist

Hans and Dick were a wealth of stories, of growing up in Croydon and Mooroolbark (Melbourne – about 10 minutes from where Linda and I currently live) of renovating an old Couta Boat in the 1960s and 70s, and going on sailing adventures around the Wilsons Prom and the Bass Strait islands.

Dick and Carolyn’s boat, also called Carolyn, has its own spot at the end of a pier at Kettering

As for the bent hatch lid, Dick felt a couple of big stilson wrenches would do the trick, using their long handles to bend the stainless-steel frame back into shape.  It worked a treat !!  And we soon had it all reassembled and working perfectly. 

As a parting gift we gave Dick and Carolyn DVD copies of our “home produced”, but still semi-professional,  films Bass Strait Fury 1 & 2.  The main attraction being that both Dick and Carolyn, and their boat, played a cameo role in Bass Strait Fury 2, way back in 2008.

With social activities, and the fixing of the hatch lid complete, we were soon untying the lines and heading out once more.  With nothing more mysterious in Kettering than perhaps … “where did the muesli get put…”  Murray and Liz could breath a sigh or relief … or could they …?!   I’m keen to watch the Kettering Incident TV drama now.

The wind and sea remained idyllic as we made our way further down the D’Entrecasteaux channel.  Bruny Island off the port beam and the mainland off our Starboard.  Conditions were SO perfect in fact that we hoisted THE BIG ONE … that is, the Genoa, or really big jib, that resides wound-up on the most forward stay.  It’s a light weight fabric, that extends way back past the mast when unfurled, and so we can only really use it when the wind is under 15 knots and there’s little chance of big gusts.  We even got to pull out the smaller jib, called the Staysail, PLUS an un-reefed mainsail. 

The BIG ONE hoisted in the light breeze, plus the Staysail and an un-reefed mainsail
Gentle breeze and flat seas heading south down the
D’Entrecasteaux channel
Cathy and Matt finally get a chance to relax together after their respective jounrnies down from Melbourne
Always a good time for a wee snooze …

Aye, it were a grand sight, I wish yee could ‘a seen it !!

After a time, the engine was turned off and with no time constraints we coasted along at 4-5 knots, simply soaking up the warm sunny morning and the glorious coastlines both sides of us.   Linda made two wonderful loaves of bread and again made good use of the green and colourful objects in the fridge by making vegetable soup.  This formed the basis of a late lunch, and trust me, there is almost nothing so much worth eating out on the high seas as home made bread, coated with lashings of butter, dipped into hand-crafted vegetable soup topped with grated cheese.

Eventually, the wind died some more and our patience at speeds of 2-3 knots drew thin and so we turned the motor back on so as to make our anchorage for the night in good time.

Linda and Matt chill out in the dinghy on the foredeck
Approaching Mickey’s Bay on Bruny Island
The genoa is our Goldilock sail … the wind has to be just right, or there can be tears before bedtime…

Drawing on his local knowledge, Dick suggested we might consider anchoring for the night at “Mickey’s Bay” towards the bottom of Bruny Island.  So that’s where we set our sights, past the many, many, many fish farms that are scattered up and down the coastline in these parts.  Next time you buy Atlantic Salmon in the supermarket, think of Bruny Island and south west Tasmania !

On approach to Mickey’s Bay we could see another vessel, about the same size as us, also heading in a similar general direction.  Could they be thinking of also anchoring in Mickey’s Bay?  Not that it was a “race”, as such, but a slight tap to the throttle would ensure we’d get their first. 

We’d already noticed several masts in the distance – yachts anchored maybe 3-5 miles away at the bottom of Great Taylors Bay, and speculated how they might go when the wind shifted more to the West and North-West later in the evening.

In the end we didn’t have long to wait, within a couple of hours all the yachts from the other anchorage joined us and by nightfall there were six more yachts sharing the seclusion and serenity with us.

The still conditions and some spare time in the afternoon gave us a chance to address an issue that had become apparent that morning.  The 12 volt water pump.  This is pretty important, because it lifts fresh water from one of our three tanks to the galley sink, as well as the washbasins in the two toilets (or heads), along with the wash-down hose on the port side near the boarding steps.  I’d always marveled at this pump.  Of all the things we’ve replaced, fixed and renovated aboard Chimere since we bought her in 2006, this pump just kept keeping on.  It seemed bulletproof, unbreakable.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have a spare pump in a box under the floor; but that was purchased many years ago. 

They put those pumps in the darnedest places…

But as luck would have it, I purchased another water pump at the Wooden Boat Festival Trade Stand just 8 days ago, and so with the ol’faithful pump now quite obviously leaking from its metal housing and near to death, Matt (our on board engineer) was able to install it as a changeover.  I still have my original spare motor in stores.  On pulling the old pump out we noticed that it was installed in November 1999 – it had truly lived a long, productive and useful life !

With dinner attended to, and a medicinal drop of Captain Morgan’s Rum imbibed, it was lights out all round soon after.

Matt provides after dinner entertainment on the ships guitar
Linda’s signature dish … Chicken Thai green curry … very tasty
For medicinal purposes you understand … and only to be sociable
End of the day

Smooth seas, fair breeze and The Kettering Incident

Rob Latimer


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s