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Leaving Tasmania

Jean on a good day for drying laundry

It is never a good day for plumbing

A week later-New Zealand

After thirty hours-Chicago from our front widow.

Presentation at the New York Yacht Club.

January 31, 2015

Melbourne, Australia

We planned to leave for Tasmania after our Australian Open tickets ran out in the quarter finals last Wednesday but, due to the weather, we remain. A large semi-stationary low that sits in the Tasman Sea is combined with a large high in the Bight to funnel cold air up from the south, dead against us. The latest forecast promises that waiting until Thursday when the lowfinally moves will give us warm favorable winds. We will go to a movie tonight instead of going to sea.

We have enjoyed this last week. Jeannie's entertaining New York neices, Tracy and Lorrane O'Conner, flew in and went to the Australian Open Tennis with us. In addition to the great tennis, Australia Day, commemorating Captain Cook's first landing in Australia, arrived on Monday bringing barges of fireworks to moor directly in front of us. Our normally empty marina filled up and like our new neighbors we, for the first time in five years, pulled our barbecue out of the engine room and invited friends over. Experts from other boats provided unsolicited advice on how to light the fire, properly let it heat up, hang the lid so it shields the wind and how long to let the snag (sausages) cook before turning

The fireworks were spectacular. Melbourne rivals Sydney in everything - fireworks included. Having seen both Sydney's New Year and now Melbourne's Australia Day, we were asked by locals what we thought. Of course we were on a bridge a mile from the center in Sydney and here we were sweeping embers off of the deck so it was easy to say this was more impressive which scored points for us. Whatever, the fireworks suppliers must be in clover.

The bikes will come out today and we will see how bike friendly this city is. So far we have relied on trams that grid the city. I must say the locals are amazingly polite. Whenever we climb onto a crowded car we are offered seats-causing us to look into the mirrors more often to see if we really look that old.

February 7, 2015

Tasmania's West Coast

43S 145 27E

Tasmania's west coast appears as a hazy serrated silhouette above the sharp edge of the deep blue sea and beneath an early morning's soft cirrus cloud. Onora moves under motor in light winds as she rolls along rocked by the gentle south west swell, one meter every seven seconds. This tells me that a new low must be 200 miles away but will not bring great winds.

By noon we will land in Port Davey, one of the two sheltered waters on this rugged coast that faces the worst fury of the roaring forties-nothing but water between this coast and the tip of South America. Today it is quiet.

Because of its unique flora and beauty and advocacy of the late tin-mining naturalist, Deny King, it is a protected area and a World Heritage Site. It is also a magnet for a few adventures arriving by foot (six days from Hobart), boat (24 hours from Hobart) around SW Cape, one of the five "Great Capes", and now most by air (thirty minutes). There are no roads.

February 15, 2015

Hobart, Tasmania

Port Davey is now one of our top ten places to visit on a boat. It is a dramatic mix of mountain, water and sky with sheltered anchorages, few boats and no roads. I almost wish Denny King had never built the airstrip but he did by scraping the surface with his WWII era Cat bulldozer and muscle. He did it so his wife, children and hikers could fly to Hobart for medical attention and later school and town visits. The aero club that provided the rides eventually spawned a small airline which eventually bought a larger plane and successfully lobbied the government into closing the airport, the runway was now too short. Denny then had to lengthen the airfield so his wife, prone to sea sickness could comfortably come home. There must be five flights a day now which, if the wind is not howling, is all that disrupts the tranquility.

After four nights we sailed on to Hobart where our friends, Brian and Eva Oldfield on Zofia who we had met in Port Lincoln and Miles Stephens, were waiting for us on the dock wearing the Chicago White Sox baseball caps we had given them and White Sox shirts they shipped in

Brian and Eva have been here for two months and seem to know half the town. They have become members of the yacht club where they arranged for us to tie up. Brian has also been on a quest to find the perfect sausage roll. He believes he has found it here at Jackman and McRoss just up the hill from the dock. After Onora was secured we followed Brian up the steps, walked a couple of blocks and found ourselves at a very busy bakery/cafe where the famous flakey pastry with sausage filling was served. They were excellent. Two hours later Brian returned for another.

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania is a special place for us. It was from here on February 5, 2005 that we left Hobart for New Zealand. Our return three days ago completes our second circumnavigation.




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