Sunday, 21 December 2014

Surprise reunions, Fresh fish, Canals and ... finally, Hobart!

One of the many sea side suburbs of Hobart from the water .. on the way up the Derwent River towards our marina.
When I finished writing my last blog we were on our way to Maria Island to spend the night at Chinaman's Bay.  Maria Island is large and a national park ... people go there on ferries from the little town of Triabunna to camp and mountain bike around the tracks and the few roads/paths. 

The Bay we anchored in is along the eastern side of the island and approaching it for the first time we found it to be a huge curved expanse of white sand.  The bay is shallow but it was possible for us to move close in and around the corner to a place called Encampment Cove.  There were only 3 other boats in the Cove .. and since we're new here we certainly didn't expect to meet up with anyone we knew.  But, as we were coming in and positioning ourselves to drop the anchor, a voice came on the radio calling, "Southern Belle, Southern Belle".  Boy were we surprised.  It turned out to be a friend we met on the Louisiades Rally .. Ken.  He invited us over for a good catch up on his boat.  We had a great time and he put us in touch with another couple from the Rally who live here in Tassie as well.  George and Bruce enjoyed the fishing talk and got some pointers on catching Flathead around the bays here in Tasmania.  Then as we were leaving he went to his freezer and gave us 24 fresh, cleaned Flathead fillets for our dinner.  George was excited!  Flathead is a terrific eating fish .. very mild and flaky.  It was an excellent and completely unexpected evening!

It was getting late when we went back to our boat so we stuck the fish in the freezer and went to bed.  The next day we planned to go through the Dennison Canal.  We needed to get up at just after 0400 to make the tide and to travel the distance from our bay to the Marion Narrows. 

The Narrows start out with a small passage which looks almost creek like and open out into a very shallow Bay .. then you twist and turn through the channel markers before arriving at the canal.  Here's what it looked like in pictures....

Approaching the Marion Narrows .. from the port side it looks like the land comes out well into the opening.

And from the starboard side there is a sand bank.  It was very calm for our entry.
 I wouldn't like to try this with wind driving waves up on the beach!

It takes about half an hour to go through the Narrows and then across Blackman Bay.   When you're at the leads to the canal you call up the bridge keeper on Channel 16 - at this point he can't see you and you can't see the bridge ... and the canal looks like a narrow ditch. 

We still had a bit of current against us as we entered the canal proper.  For deeper keel boats like SB it is good to enter Marion Narrows and then the canal itself 1 hour after Hobart high tide.  We seemed to have plenty of water under the boat
in the shallowest part with almost (three quarters) a metre to spare.

And as we rounded the corner and started our approach to the swinging bridge over the canal the wind stopped and we had a smooth passage.  Again, because the opening is so narrow, I wouldn't like to do this in any wind!

From there we had an easy trip to Hobart .. we motored most of the way into head winds.  One thing we're learning about Tasmania - the wind is off and then on and then crazy!  We were sailing up the Derwent River - the river Hobart is situated on - and out of nowhere over 30 knots came in from over one of the mountains!  We only had the head sail up but the boat leaned over like it had all the sails in position.  And then it was gone.  The wind down here is certainly unpredictable.

Going up the Derwent River we passed sailing ships and the Tasman Bridge....

One of two replica ships we saw on the way into Hobart on the river.

Tasman Bridge

It was so good to finally be in a marina after 2 weeks living on the boat.  Just the security of being tied up to a dock with electricity and water and showers is a luxury. 

Shortly after we arrived Ian from "Bogart" came aboard to welcome us and we decided to cook our 24 fish fillets on his BBQ and have dinner on his boat.  Good night, great food and great company ensued!

So today we enjoyed our first day at our destination port.  The three of us started the day as usual when arriving after a long journey ... by cleaning!  Laundry, scrubbing toilets, cleaning floors, filling water tanks, washing down the boat  .. etc. etc.  It took most of the morning and was finished nearly at noon.  From there we went into Hobart's famous Salamanca area for a look around and lunch.  I can't wait to spend more time there .. the art & craft stores, Tasmanian goodies and shops are waiting for some quality time.  There is so much to see and do in Hobart alone, this is going to be a great vacation ... if the wind can be tamed!

Looking down the "strip" of Salamanca in Hobart.

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