2001 Sept 5 – Oct 22: Tasmania Winter

A few notes on Tasmania’s Climate.

The cool, temperate climate of Australia’s island state with its distinctive four seasons, (reminiscent of conditions in central Europe without the severe winters) makes this place ideal for year-round comfortable living and touring. The long summer evenings provide opportunity for extended sight-seeing with darkness coming slowly.

The occasional deep low in the Southern Ocean, usually in springtime, can produce a gale that “blows dogs off chains” (the island is located right in the Roaring Forties after all). During summer, autumn and winter successive days of calm, balmy weather compensate, while no-one has ever complained about the regular afternoon coastal seabreeezes from October through to May.

The green, lush climate helps produce high quality products including wines, cheeses, fish, oysters, berries, stone fruit, apples, hops, vegetables, poppies, barley, lavender, timber and flowers all of which contributed to a good life.

The climate also provides many benefits for those touring the island such as rainforest wilderness areas, bush walking, with unique wildlife such as Tasmanian Devils, Tasmanian Tigers and Cape Barren Geese.

Selection of Climate Measurements.

Rainfall is an obvious choice as most people insist in stating that Tasmania is wet and yet Hobart has one of the lowest rainfalls of any of the 13 cities. Rainfall figures for the full year have been used in the chart

Minimum Temperature must also be included as many people claim Tasmania is cold. The records for the month of July which is the coldest month of the year in all cities show that Hobart ranks as 5th coldest out of the 13 cities.

Maximum temperature has been used for the month of January which is the hottest month of the year in all cities. The normal temperature for an air-conditioned building is about 21∞C. In the Maximum temperature chart we see that Hobart has a January temperature similar to an airconditioned building. A very comfortable climate.

Sept. 5, 2001

This weekend is the first of many flower shows in the region — camellias and daffodils in the City Hall. We peeked in the back door this evening on the way to a restaurant, and saw the familiar cloths covering long tables. No sign of the bottles full of water. I’ll take some photos this weekend. There is probably new snow on the mountain from yesterday’s cold, but the cherry blossoms are just about finished, the daffodils are in full bloom, and some of the irises are blossoming. There will be a tulip festival at the botanical gardens soon. Many of the little cottages in the historic district of Hobart have small cottage gardens which are now in full bloom. The pink magnolias are huge and very pink, and some specimens have obviously been around for many, many years, given their large size.

This month we will celebrate the end of our first year aboard Adagio. Wish you were here to receive your due credit for your enormous contributions to the successful launch of our venture. We are discussing our next voyages with locals who have made such voyages, and checking our charts, Ocean Passages for the World, cruising guides, etc, etc. Meanwhile we are studying the local cruising guides, as the days lengthen, and Steve checks off more and more items from his to do lists. There has been a great deal of maintenance and refitting going on in the past few months, to Steve’s credit. I am moving some of the heavier stored items from the port forward closet to the aft starboard cabin, to better balance the boat.

Yesterday we had Leslie and Robert Swan over for lunch and long conversations about their many years of cruising, especially their “Slocum-style” cruise of the Chilean waters in the 1980’s. Navigation was by sextant and taffrail log.

Last night we attended the Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania AGM and monthly meeting, and presentation by Bill Wright of his voyage to and from Chile. We were guests of our new friends Margaret and Gordon Gowland. They tied up alongside Adagio a few weeks ago when the Cruising club visited Constitution Dock for their annual visit and dinner at the Ball and Chain Restaurant. Very wonderful folks. This is the club which wrote the Cruising Guide to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, southern Tassie’s premier cruising grounds. We will participate in some of their spring and summer cruises. A very jolly and interesting group of sailors.

Bill Wright has recommended that we contact Audrey and Duncan Hemingway of the S/V Matsu, who spent two years in Chile.

Saturday we will attend a theatre performance, a 10 minute walk from Adagio. Last week the Tasmanian Symphony performance was one of the most beautiful we have ever experienced. Vaughan Willians and Beethoven and a female NZ composer as well. At the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Hall just a five minute stroll from Adagio.

Tomorrow we will attend the monthly meeting of the Tasmanian Field Naturalists, and perhaps join them on their field trip on the weekend, weather permitting.

We love it here. Spring is just around the corner, and we’ll be taking to the water soon, trying out Adagio’s reefing gear in the strong spring winds and flat waters of southeastern Tasmania.

—-

September 12, 2001(AM), equivalent to evening on Sept. 11, 2001 in the USA

Early in the morning we heard a knocking on the hull of the boat. By the time I made it out to the cockpit there was nobody to be seen. I wondered who had knocked. Five minutes before, I had tuned into the local news and just heard the tail-end of a report about terrorist planes in the US. The next hourly news report gave us more information. We felt immediate shock and fear for our friends and family members in the US. We felt so far away, safe from harm, and guilty not to be able to quickly help if needed. As the story unfolded during the day, we received news that none of our immediate friends or family members were directly affected by the disasters, and e-mails of condolences from several friends in New Zealand. To quote from our friends David and Susan in Russell, NZ, “Not since America came to the defence of New Zealand, preventing the Japanese from invading, have they felt this way toward America.” Local friends and acquaintances visited us at the boat. We were comforted by our local Southern Ocean support system, and in tears for most of the day. How lucky to be berthed in a safe harbor with access to the Internet and the web. We are able to access all the major news services and newspapers throughout the world. Our cell phone links us directly to friends and family. Thankfully we were not anchored at an uninhabited island or deserted cove. News would have arrived nonetheless, but more slowly. The urgency to be informed and in touch with events around the world is still part of our lives. We spent many hours reading newspapers and web coverage, attempting to grasp the meanings and causes of such unimaginable events. The peacefulness of our world seemed such a contrast to what was unfolding in America. It had been our friend Tom Walton from the S/V Half Moon who had made the attempt to contact us by rapping on the hull of our boat early in the morning as he was on his way to work.

Sept. 16, 2001 — the Antarctic Connection

Today it rained horizontally, gusting especially strongly between buildings, just the way the wind increases between islands in the tradewinds. It was a fitting day to give my attention to inclement living conditions experienced by adventurers in Antarctica. The Fullers Bookshop in downtown Hobart hosted Robin Burns, author of “Just Tell them I Survived!”, an account of the experiences of many women who have worked in the Australian research station in “the Great White South”. Herself a summer expeditioner to Antarctica, Robin has worked in psychology, anthropology, education, public health and women’s studies at a university in Melbourne. I looked forward to hearing her viewpoints on (in her own words) women’s struggles with isolation and loneliness, the friendships and the fun, and the tactics women have developed to survive the physical and social challenges of this ‘last frontier’. Well prepared and obviously passionate about the subject, she took her audience through some of the hilights of her book, and I was impressed by how much of what she described also pertains to the experiences of blue water voyaging women. I frequently nodded my head in agreement at what she said, and thanked her when she was finished for her insights and the efforts she has gone to collect and record these experiences.

Antarctica plays a large role in the lives of Hobartians. The Australian scientific research body “CSIRO” has a large facility overlooking the Derwent river, not far from the finish line for the Sydney to Hobart sailboat race. Two large icebreaker research ships, L’Astrolabe and Aurora Australis, spend the winters tied up to the Hobart wharfs. In the spring they complete their maintenance and carry another group of scientists southward. We have met several of the researchers, a marine geologist, a carbon cycle expert and a krill biologist. One of the tourist attractions at our favorite plaza, Salamanca Place, is “The Antarctic Experience”. This is an educational museum full of multi-media science displays and exhibits. The Australian Antarctic research headquarters is located in Kingston, a few miles south of Hobart.

Sept. 24, 2001 — Tassie Bush Tucker

Our favorite deli here in Hobart is The WurstHaus. In spite of its name, there is very little German about it. The best cheeses, coldcuts, meats, smoked fish and condiments in Hobart can be found here. But best of all, if I don’t feel like whipping up an entire meal, I can purchase mostly prepared dishes of the best quality. So I was really excited when they announced a cooking class, taught by the head chef Karen and her assistant Sam.

…….

October 6, 2001

Hobart’s yacht racing fleet put on a spectacular display on the Derwent River when it gathered today for the annual sail past — the official opening of the summer sailing season. The opening day sail past was cancelled last year when high winds whipped up the river.

The sail past is a combined performance by the yachts from the three major clubs — the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, the Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Bellerive Yacht Club. All other clubs and boats are invited to participate. Starting at 11:00 AM, the fleet filed past the Egeria, the 16m launch of Governor Sir Guy Green, to exchange the official salute. The Egeria was anchored in Sullivans Cove, providing an opportunity for the public to see the fleet up close from Hobart’s waterfront.

From there, the boats proceeded to a mark off Wrest Point and a rendezvous area for a nautical get-together. We were guests of Les and Joanne Westman aboard their 52 ft sloop Van Diemen, and rafted up with other yachts from the Tasmanian Cruising Yacht Club. Our friends of the yacht Bird of Dawning were aboard, as well as John and David and Jenny. The day dawned still and sunny, and the light breeze allowed for a peaceful and safe procession of boats of all sizes and styles past the Governor’s launch. The sea breeze filled in after we were safely anchored, and most boats avoided fouling eachother’s anchor rodes. Our host and hostess wined and dined us with hors-d’oeuvres, pasties, toasties, cheese, fruit and chocolates.

October 10, 2001

We visited the Tahune AirWalk today.

October 13, 2001

Our lovely granddaughter celebrated her first birthday today. Long Distance grandparents that we are, we feel her closeness, as her mom, our beautiful daughter, has been e-mailing us photos and video clips of her early toddling adventures. Our daughter’s e-mailed descriptions of her children’s antics keep us laughing, and are preserved far better in her written messages than they would be in a phone call. Our grandson also feels close, as we have spent many, many hours together enjoying learning about eachothers interests and personalities. It is times like today when we feel we should be closer to family, but also realize that the life we lead enriches their lives as well as ours. We love being the grandparents who live on a sailboat and travel from country to country, sending exotic stories and gifts which stimulate our grandchildrens’ imaginations and learning. We love having friends and family visit us to share our lifestyle. We cannot imagine our lives being other than as they are today. We feel very fortunate to share these precious years together living our dream of adventuring in foreign lands.

Tonight was the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music Gala Concert.

October 14, 2001

The Royal Australian Navy’s hydrographic vessel “Melville” spent two days at port in Hobart, resupplying and visiting.

October 16, 2001

This morning dawned typically partly cloudy with a chance of showers and a possibility of snow on Mt. Wellington (not typical). Many hours of sunshine interspersed with rainbowy showers is Hobart’s usual springtime weather. This is perfect weather for vigorous exercise for maintaining fitness.

We have fallen into a daily routine while berthed at Constitution Dock: Dorothy, being a lark, is up early listening to the early morning radio news and making coffee and breakfast. She also has e-mail and web access all to herself for an hour or so. She enters into our log the weather observations and forecast and checks the calendar. If the cockpit is wet with rainwater, she uses our huge squeegee to dry it and reposition the foot mats inside and outside the cockpit door. If it’s not raining, this is a good time to top off the water tank from the hose to the faucet ashore.

Steve usually takes a morning walk to buy the newspapers (usually the Tasmanian Mercury and The Age from Melbourne). He’ll often take the opportunity for a “morning constitutional” exercise session walking through the lovely historical neighborhoods nearby. Five times up and down the “Kelly Steps” into Battery Point is definitely of aerobic benefit to his circulatory system. We take turns being at the boat to supervise any tradesmen when work is being done on Adagio.

Dorothy will run errands in the CBD (central business district), collecting the mail from the GPO (general post office), and mailing letters and packages to friends and rellies. She usually takes her constitutional walk in the late afternoon, touring Battery Point and her favorite Princes Garden, as well as the waterfront next to CSIRO. On Saturday mornings, we enjoy the Salamanca Market where Christmas shopping is on our minds, as well as fresh produce for the next few day’s meals. About once every two weeks Dorothy will drive to the supermarket in Sandy Bay, but most days perfers to shop at the Salamance Fruit and Vege grocery store and the WurstHaus delicatessan.

The day’s appointments and errands keep us busy, and we also find time to our web site, manage the week’s digital photos and study charts and guides to plan our next cruising adventures. Most days bring friends to the boat for our “Grand Tour” of Adagio, cups of tea and cookies, and fun stories and updates on what people have been doing. Yesterday our friend Tom Walton presented us with two large bottles of his home brewed dark ale beer. Many cruisers brew their own beer. Tom’s was delicious with our dinner of curried lamb and home made pear and tomato chutney with native bush tomatoes. We have been dining out several times each week to take advantage of the low prices, uncrowded multi-star restaurants, wine discoveries and good company. When we leave Hobart it’ll be 100% home cooking until we return. The culinary skills of the local chefs are extraordinary. “Cheffing” is a well-respected career in Australia and New Zealand, and the country’s fresh produce, meats and seafood are unsurpassed in the world.

Sandwiched into this schedule is a day full of working on boat projects, or occasionally if the weather is suitable, a drive down the Huon River valley or down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, or into the hinterland for a visit to one of the National Parks or forest reserves. On rainy days we catch up on the new exhibits at the numerous Hobart museums. Evening concerts by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra or at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music and theatre performances occupy many of our evenings. There is so much yet to see, and so little time remaining. Our departure date aboard Adagio from Hobart is still uncertain, as we like to say, “All schedules chiseled in jello!” Our wiggly plans are to cruise the Tasmanian waters until April of 2002.

October 17, 2001

Guitar lesson with John Lockwood.

October 18, 2001

Hail fell on Adagio today.

Dinner at Bellerive Yacht Club with Helen and Stef Peters and son Jack.

October 22, 2001

Cooking class at Wursthaus.

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