Apologies for those that missed the last entry!

Apologies for those that missed the last entry, some computer error or ME error! The past week has seen the weather start to warm a little but the rain and wind greets us most mornings. The sun appears most afternoons for an hour or two. We took the opportunity yesterday to drive south and find somewhere for lunch with a few stops on the way. It was an overcast and cold day and unsuitable for Duncan to do more work on their boat so they joined us for the scenic tour. We first stopped at the Apple and Heritage Museum and participated in the short demonstration of how the early settlers began their farms and processed the apples for domestic use and export. The Tasmanian Apple Industry started in the 1800’s and through to its heyday in the 1950’s (when this shed produced 300,000 cases of export apples per year) and up to modern times. We then arrived at Huonville for a look around the Salmon and Apple Race Day held on the banks of the Huon River. We checked out the shoreline and facilities as we would like to take OL there soon. There were wine tastings, stalls, music and things for children to do. We then drove to Dover where we had lunch at the Dover Hotel, and again it was very good. After driving around Dover to the southern shores of Port Esperance where the Salmon Processing plant is, past the anchorage at Rabbit Island where we get our feed of oysters and then back to Hobart.

Monday 19th October

Tonight starts our Sea Safety and Survival Course here at the RYCT in preparation for the Sail Around Australia Rally. It runs for the next 4 Monday nights and also a practical day next Sunday. We are not looking forward to this as we have to jump fully clothed plus wet weather gear in an outdoor pool and right and upturned liferaft. The only thing wrong is the air temperature is expected to be 12 – 15 degrees and the water temp 10 degrees!!! Too bloody cold!!

Wednesday 21st

The sun was shining and as we have a few days with no commitments, the shorelines were thrown and off we headed. It was a last minute decision, a quick thought about food and then we were off!

A gentle 10 knt Noreaster was blowing, the sun was still out and the Derwent River was picture postcard perfect! As Opal Lady effortlessly meandered down the river I prepared our lunch and sat in the pilothouse to enjoy the views. We passed the Iron Pot to port and after some perusal of the cruising guide I suggested that we head across Storm Bay to Wedge Bay and the tiny fishing village of Nubeena. My mission is still to visit all of the anchorages in the guide by the time we leave. The barometer was still rising, so the weather should continue for a few days. The 26nm trip at 1400 rpms took us 4 ¼ hours arriving at 5pm. (43. 06 – 147. 44) The entrance to Parsons Bay was full of fish farms and once we were near to the head of the bay we could see several fishing trawlers as well as one up on a slipway on the western bank.

The pressure was on for us to catch our dinner, so the fishing rods were brought out and a beer opened as the competition started. Alan caught a fish????, after a look in our books we identified it as Red Cod, they were marked as ** reasonable!! But as he caught another six within the next 20 minutes all cod, I suggested we eat them. But we now know that they are only suitable for fish cakes as they were very mushy, the fillets fell apart in the pan.

After a very peaceful night we left at 11.30 am to head to Primrose Sands, 15nm, for some flathead. The sun was shining again and the water was like a mill pond and sparkling. By 2.30pm we turned the motor off to drift fish back down Norfolk Bay, the 18 knt easterly wind moving us sideways down the bay. Before Alan had turned off the motor I had already caught my first flathead, but the fish were scarce and after 2 hours standing in the cockpit trying to stay warm using the warmth from the engine air vents we had only caught another 3 flathead so we decided to start the motor and head the 6nm to the small inlet of Dodges Ferry. Here the 1 ½ nm narrow channel opens out into a wide expanse of water called Pittwater but the depth in here is quite shallow and tidal, approximately 2 metres deep. We anchored and within 10 minutes we found ourselves in swirling tidal water as the water was running out so we pulled anchor and reset it 500m away and out of the flow.

It was a peaceful evening with some nice fresh flathead for dinner, and a magic sunset. We both commented on how great it was to be away from the marina.

Friday morning saw another great day and I did some cleaning and finally for the first time in months I was able to hang some washing outside to dry. I transform the boat deck to a clothes line using the tails of the halyards on the mast to wind around the boom and paravane arms.

We were the talk of the little town and as it was a public holiday and sunny there were lots of people out sailing, jet skiing, fishing and power boating. Several people came over to talk and ask questions about the boat.

I log on with Tascoast radio each night when we are out and the forecast for Saturday was looking bleak so we decided to return to RYCT early to arrive before the expected wind would not allow us to return to our berth. Note: They have a campaign down here at present regarding Tascoast “use it or lose it!” So I’m trying to do our bit!

Sunday 25th

Our practical experience day was here, this is where we learnt the applications for the different flares, everyone had a opportunity to experience a red and orange flare going off in their hand and after a change of venue and lunch at the historic town of Richmond we visited the home of one of the club members with a swimming pool to practice our liferaft manoeuvres, fully clothed with wet weather gear on. The weather didn’t let us down, it made the day a very realistic experience being cold and raining.

So you see life here is never dull!!

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