2003 Mar – Nov: Hobart, Tasmania

Steve visited the Salamanca Market the next day, while I napped, then we had a cook’s night out – naturally at our favorite Hobart seafood restaurant Kelleys. We were so very happy to be back in Hobart and looked forward to seeing all of our friends. There were many items on our To Do lists, so we would intersperse the work with the play. The weather was beautiful and mild — just what we had hoped for.

Soon the Ten Days on the Island Festival would begin – we had booked tickets for about ten events already!

After cruising the east coast of Australia and then crossing Bass Strait, how wonderful it was to have returned to Hobart, Tasmania. We had been looking forward to seeing our friends, indulging our passions for Hobart’s music and arts scene, fine markets and restaurants, and the local cruising grounds.

Our first visitors aboard were our dear friends Peter, Arlene and son Andrew. We took them for a day sail on the River Derwent. Other friends came aboard for the occasional sunny Sunday sail, including Margaret and Gordon, Heinz and Helen, Pat and Roger, Les and Joanne and many others. One day we counted 17 people scattered about ADAGIO’s decks and saloon.

Our friend Sam was in town aboard his immaculate fishing vessel STORM BOY, as were Peter and Barbara aboard their sailing vessel RALLINGA from Port Davey on the west coast of Tasmania. We invited Peter and Barbara to dinner aboard ADAGIO to reciprocate the hospitality they had offered to us at their home several years ago. Kevin and Beth were still in Hobart aboard their Alaskan vessel RED, and Rolf and Debra arrived aboard their Antarctic adventuring sailing vessel NORTHERN LIGHT.

In March we sailed south to North Bruny Island and invited Lesley and Robt Swan for dinner. Their two Kiwi friends Jim Dollimore and Jill Telford, from Warkworth, New Zealand, dined with us, too. The next morning we went ashore for a marvelous B&B breakfast at Robert and Lesley’s Swanhaven on Bruny, then motored around to Apollo Bay for BBQ on the beach with fellow cruisers Margaret and Gordon, Les and Joanne and Patricia and Roger. We motored back to Lindisfarne on a windless late afternoon.

At the end of March we put ADAGIO up onto Hobart’s Domain slipway for four days of repairs and hull and engine maintenance.

Tasmania’s Ten Days on the Island music, drama and arts performances kept us royally entertained, and by contrast we watched dolphins swimming and feeding between ADAGIO and the marina shore while a large seal swam by.

In April we spent two beautiful days of cruising down the d’Entrecasteaux Channel south of Hobart. We helped our friend Margaret and her husband Gordon celebrate her birthday by dining aboard their fun boat, BIRD OF DAWNING, and eating her yummy minestrone soup. I had a cake to contribute to the birthday celebration. The second night we anchored in a snug cove behind a little island, in the shadow of a 1,227 meter high mountain, with clouds and mist flowing around its peaks in the morning’s sunrise. We sailed past a pod of small dolphins and watched a large seal snorting its way through the water.

Some of the anchorages were becoming filled with salmon farm floating pens, much to the disappointment of the boating community.

The weather was so mild that we traveled many times by bicycle, crossing the bridge over the River Derwent and into Hobart and the Salamanca Market on Saturdays. Dorothy particularly enjoyed biking the riverside trail through the forest on the eastern side of the river.

We spent parts of June, July and August visiting relatives and friends in the U.S. Steve’s father passed away at the age of 96, and it was good to be with his mother and sister for a while.

Back aboard ADAGIO in August, we decided to replace our ship’s batteries, and still had a lot of reorganizing to do on the boat in preparation for our passage to New Zealand. We attended concerts almost every day as part of the Conservatorium of Music’s Spring Chamber Orchestra Festival. Wonderful violin and piano, viola, cello and guitar. The audiences were small, so we always sat in the front row. It was a good way to spend rainy days.

We had delayed our departure to the end of September. With snow on Hobart’s Mt. Wellington just about every day since our return, the top of the mountain was usually white each morning, and with the snow melting during the day. Our weather was quite unsettled — not at all conducive to voyaging across the Tasman Sea. So we kept working on preparing ADAGIO for sea, and are enjoying our friends and wonderful music performances.

Our friends Peter and Arlene and their son Andrew told us about their plans for for building their cruising yacht. Our cruising friends Jeremy and Penny flew home from New Zealand, where they had been cruising aboard ROSINANTE and sending us valuable descriptions of their adventures. Our friends aboard KATIE KAT were also in New Zealand, looking for a weather window to sail to Fiji. And our circumnagivator friends Beth and Evans contacted us from Fremantle, Australia, where they were hoping for a weather window to sail to Hobart. We were looking forward to meeting them in person, after a 5 year email friendship.

So there we were, monitoring the weather while happily enjoying the company of land-based friends, and keeping track of the whereabouts and plans of our cruising friends. Our Alaskan friends Beth and Kevin kindly annotated our maps of the West coast of the US, Canada and Alaska, as we were considering cruising in that region.

Meanwhile I needed to solve the corrosion problem on our kayak — which seemed not suited to salt water use (although the company claims it is).

On September 8 I phoned Lesley Swan at her home on North Bruny Island and learned that during the previous week’s storm (aboard ADAGIO we were experiencing wind gusts of 50 knots), thousands of farmed salmon had escaped into the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, our favorite cruising grounds. The first morning Lesley had caught in her small net 27 salmon, 2-1/2 to 3 kilograms each. Over 20 more were in the net in the afternoon. Dolphins and seals were gorging themselves on the salmon throughout the area. Lesley was hauling salmon up from her boat dock in a wheelbarrow, for her freezer, and for the man in the town of Snug who smokes her fish. She was giving salmon to all of her neighbors, some of whom went out and bought new deep freezers. In exchange, her neighbors brought her huge bouquets of daffodils and freesias, which were in full bloom this time of year.

Our friends James and Jenny live north of Hobart, in the Coal River Valley, where James grows poppies and Jenny is a physician in Hobart. I took two bins full of books that we no longer need to keep aboard ADAGIO, and which Jenny and James and their two teenaged children might want to be reading. James’ spring poppy seedlings were just sprouting through the dark black soil in the fields surrounding their restored sandstone, slate-roofed home. Tasmania is the world’s greatest producer of poppies which are used to make medicinal morphine. The growing and harvesting of poppies is closely regulated in Tasmania. When the poppies are in full bloom, the hillsides are clothed in pale pink blossoms.

This year’s Tulip Festival at the Royal Botanical Gardens was blessed with a day of sunshine, sandwiched between the greatest number of rainy days for a spring season in many years (according to the locals). The University of Tasmania’s Taiko Society performed and showed us their huge Japanese drums. An alpaca farmer was displaying his stock and selling the very soft alpaca wool. Tulips of every color were blooming by the thousands, among other flowers and beneath a wonderful collection of giant trees growing on the expansive lawns where picnickers had spread their blankets and children played chase. We visited with our cruising friends Les and Joanne.

Dorothy enrolled in a Spanish class, and attended several cooking classes at our favorite deli The Wursthaus.

As we had delayed our departure we found that we were in the spring season of “equinoctial gales”. Steve prepared our parachute anchor in case we might need to “park” our boat at sea while we waited for a cold front to pass over us. After three years of cruising, it was high time that I go through the entire boat and take off the items that we were not using, and update our computer-based master inventory, so we would know where everything was located. I was also unpacking the emergency equipment, testing it, and stowing it in more accessible cabinets.

Aboard ADAGIO, my goal was to stow all items which might go flying across the room if ADAGIO were hit by large waves during our passage to New Zealand. I was also trying to move heavy items from the forward areas of the boat to the stern areas, to keep the bows from burying themselves under waves in heavy weather.

By mid November, Steve was recovering from a bout with the flu. ADAGIO was clean, stocked and ready. Peter Cook had agreed to sail with us to New Zealand. His professional skipper’s training and experience, many years of yacht racing, and relaxed Aussie disposition was mightily welcomed aboard ADAGIO. His boss, Peter Roche, demanded a ransom for his release from duties in the form of a copy of the video tape that I had taken of his wedding reception, which had been held at Constitution Dock. I had photographed the reception from the deck of ADAGIO, particularly enjoying the bride climbing aboard the getaway boat in full bridal regalia, and taking the helm while groom Peter raised the anchor.

We had faxed our entry papers to New Zealand Customs, and had prepared our exit papers from Australia. All we needed was our clearance forms so we could purchase duty free diesel at half price and depart.

I was looking forward to being at sea again, seeing our friends in New Zealand, and cruising the best areas there during the southern summer. A deep low pressure system passed over Hobart, bringing peak gusts of 52 knots. We had put on a second bow line and re-rigged the reacher sheets direct to turning blocks and rolled in another 2 turns on the reacher furler to be sure we didn’t have an unfurling disaster in high winds.

On October 10, we attended the Conservatorium of Music’s Gala Concert at the Stanley Burbury Theatre on the campus of the University of Tasmania. The concert is one of many we have attended, enjoying the talents of the music students during their spring time chamber music concert series and graduation recitals.

October 12, the weather was beautiful, and we sailed out onto the River Derwent, carrying aboard Peter and Arlene Cook and their 2-1/2 year old son Andrew, plus Peter’s Mum Bev, Helen and Heinz Vojacek, and Will Howard. A shared meal for lunch was enjoyed underway. A light sea breeze carried us down the river and then quickly back to Lindisfarne Bay by late afternoon.

October 13 was our granddaughter’s third birthday. Happy Birthday Sarah! Her mother Kim reported that Sarah requested a party theme of farm animals. Kim created and executed another of her birthday spectaculars, complete with a cake decorated with handmade (by Kim) marzipan farm animals, a hand made huge cardboard barn for playing in, bandanas, cowboy and -girl hats and numerous farm games, including a “Pig-yata” which was burst by pulling several strings, and balloon pig races. Kim was touched when Sarah brought to the party a photograph of her best friend Mahren who lives in Tiburon, California.

October 23. The weather was sunny and warm — perfect conditions for taking those much delayed photos of the Sullivans Cove area of Hobart. The fishing boats have much character, providing good opportunities for additions to our web site photo gallery. Tied up alongside the inside at Victoria Dock was s/v RALLINGA, owned by Peter and Barbara Wilson who are tin mining and living in the wilderness of Melaleuca, an inlet from Bathhurst Harbor at Port Davey on the southwest coast of Tasmania. They had invited us into their home for our picnic lunch when we were visiting aboard ADAGIO two years ago.

Each year Peter and Barbara make two voyages aboard RALLINGA to Hobart to deliver tin oar and purchase provisions and supplies. We had admired RALLINGA at Melaleuca. We invited them for dinner aboard ADAGIO. They were scheduled to have RALLINGA hauled out of the water for repairs at Woodbridge on the weekend. At dinner we enjoyed tales of their interesting lifestyle, stories of their participation in the conservation efforts to save the endangered orange-bellied parrot, that we had viewed from the windows of their home during our visit. They were fast friends of Deny King, whose life is described in his biography, “King of the Wilderness”. Deny is considered to have been the original pioneer and wildlife conservationist in the southwest of Tasmania.

On September 30 we alerted our weather router Rick Shema that we were ready to begin looking look for a weather window.

On November 2, we received a call on our VHF radio from HAWK, saying they were anchored in Newtown Bay, just across the river from our berth in Lindisfarne Bay. They had arrived during the afternoon, and would make their way over to the MYCT the next morning. We are so please that they have arrived before our departure for New Zealand.

Steve and Evans had been continuing for the last eight years a correspondence which began as both were planning for and executing the constructing of their cruising boats, HAWK and ADAGIO. We studied Beth’s book “The Voyager’s Handbook” while we were preparing for our maiden voyage, and have recommended it to numerous friends. We have followed Beth and Evans’ cruising adventures in their magazine articles for several sailing magazines, and their monthly column in Bluewater Sailing magazine. They first circumnavigated aboard their yacht SILK in 1992-95. HAWK was built for high latitude cruising and launched in 1998. Since then they have sailed from Florida to Newfoundland, then to the Caribbean, across the Atlantic to the British Isles and Iceland, then down the east coast of South America and around Cape Horn to Chile. Beginning in January, 2003, they sailed sixty days nonstop from Patagonia to Fremantle, Australia and finally to Tasmania.

We alerted our crew Peter Cook that our weather router was looking for a departure date for us. Peter was able to book a return flight, NZ to Hobart for November 20. Peter said that a Wednesday, Nov. 12 departure would be best for him, as he was scheduled to drive the Roche Brothers fast cat to Port Arthur on Tuesday morning.

On November 8, Rick sent the message:

Take your time in getting over the flu. The gradient is stacking up to be westerly 30-40 kts next week in Tasman Sea.

So here we were, ready to go, and the weather window was looking not as favorable as originally believed to be. Steve was still a bit under the weather, but still keen to sail on Wednesday if his condition improved. Meanwhile, Beth Leonard wants to photograph ADAGIO for an article for SAIL magazine’s series “People and their Boats”. We invited Beth and Evans to sail with us down to North Bruny Island over the weekend, to give them a feel for ADAGIO under sail, her sail handling gear and procedures. Also, living aboard would give them a feel for ADAGIO’s amenities and comfort.

November 8 we all went to the Salamanca Saturday market. The weather forecast was for light breezes, with a possible afernoon sea breeze, so there was no hurry getting out on the water. Dorothy introduced Beth to Cary Lewincamp, and she bought his first CD. Cary kindly played his signature piece for her. Steve told Cary about the Apple Music Store, and will email to Cary the information for Cary to submit his CD’s to the store.

November 8, Saturday afternoon, we set off on a mini-cruise down the River Derwent to visit our friends Robert and Leslie Swan at their home on North Bruny Island. A 12 knot sea breeze from the south allowed us to demonstrate ADAGIO’s windward abilities in light air. We telephoned Leslie Swan as we sailed under the Tasman Bridge. She and Robert were sailing in very light airs in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel aboard their lovely 93 year old sloop WEENE’ that Robert restored to its origional splendor. She was such a fast boat, that the local racing committee had elevated her into more and more modern racing classes, as she could beat most of the other boats in the races.

Robert and Leslie lived “gently” on the land, surrounded by wildlife reserve, growing their own vegies, living in a house that Robert built, collecting eggs from their 9 chooks. The kookaburas nest in the trees looming above and around their home. The rare forty-spotted pardelote, shining cookoo and several species of quolls and other marsupials were frequent visitors to their native gardens. They are parents of Amanda Swan-Neal with whom Dorothy sailed in 1998 from New Zealand to French Polynesia aboard the sail training boat, MAHINA TIARE III, owned by Amanda and her husband John Neal.

Robert and Leslie’s only complaint is that the sometimes lengthy waits in the long lines of cars bringing summer holiday makers to and from the island on the ferry can make the trip off of the island for provisions take longer than they would wish. Sometimes they make the trip to Kettering on the mainland of Tassie aboard their own boat to pick up a visiting relative.

Leslie and Robert greeted us from their floating wharf, and helped us tie ADAGIO alongside, using a long line tied from the bow to the shore and shorter lines to the wharf.

Leslie prepared a dinner of fresh lettuces, broadbeans and flowers from her garden, newly-harvested potatoes, and salmon fresh from the net in their bay. Dessert was apple crepes with ice cream and cherries.

Leslie netted more than 50 salmon after a storm broke up one of the salmon cages at the nearby marine farm. Thousands of salmon, weighing six to eight pounds each, escaped into the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, and locals bought new freezers to contain the bounty. Farmed salmon do not survive in the wild, and if not caught right away, will wash up dying on the shores.

Before dinner Beth and Dorothy helped Leslie lock the chickens up for the night, to protect them from the native quolls. She gave us a tour of her extensive garden, completely fenced and screened off from the local marsupial grazers. Broad beans, lettuces, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, espaliered apples, leeks, snow peas, strawberries, raspberries and more. A visit to Leslie’s craft cottage showed us the lovely quilts that she makes for hospitalized children and stillborn babies.

Over dinner we enjoyed stories of Leslie and Robert’s circumnavigation aboard their home-built boats, during the 1970’s, and their trip to Chile in later years.

We all breakfasted aboard ADAGIO on Sunday morning, on blueberry pancakes served with real Vermont maple syrup from the maple trees on Evans’ parents’ property in Vermont. Our friends Gordon and Margaret arrived aboard their sailboat BIRD OF DAWNING and joined us for coffee. They had just returned from a three month land tour of southern Australia. Leslie presented us with a dozen fresh-from-the-nest eggs from her chook coop.

The afternoon sea breeze did not make an appearance, so we demonstrated ADAGIO’s excellent motoring abilities back to Hobart, enjoying the excellent views in stunning weather conditions.

Steve’s flu had not improved to the point where he would feel comfortable departing for a blue water voyage to New Zealand, and our weather window is not looking as good as it did a few days ago. So we will pass on this opportunity and wait for the next window. Peter Cook had booked a return flight from New Zealand, and will now have to change the date, when we find another weather window. We are so very pleased that Peter can crew for us on the passage to New Zealand, and know that he is disappointed with our change of plans.

Meanwhile, spring time in Hobart was lovely, the moon was full, and we were surrounded by friends. What more could we ask?

On November 11, a diver cleaned ADAGIO’s bottom of algae. Dorothy collected from the Australian Customs Service the “Application for Clearance and Guarantee to Pay Duty”, as well as three “Outgoing passenger cards” and a “Crew Report” form. We had been instructed to notify Customs 48 hours before our departure so that they could come aboard, stamp our passports and clear us out of the country. Steve needed the clearance form before we could order the duty-free diesel for delivery to the boat at MYCT by truck. Dorothy also made a final visit to our safe deposit box at Westpac Bank on Elizabeth Street in Hobart.

November 14 was Steve and Beth’s birthdays. We all dined at Kelleys Restaurant for the birthday dinner. Before dinner, Beth and Evans invited us aboard HAWK for wine and nibbles.

HAWK is a no-frills boat, easy to maintain and sail. She is alloy, with natural silver finish on the topsides and a blue waterline stripe. The interior is painted white. Evans told me that when passage making, they rarely go forward of the galley and nav station. They sleep in the aft berths at sea. At anchor they sleep in the v-berth forward.

We ere still not seeing a weather window off to the west, which would bring us comfortable conditions for sailing to New Zealand. Numerous heat lows develop on the Australia mainland, and are carried towards Tassie by the upper level jet stream winds. These lows join with fronts extending up from low pressure systems in the southern ocean. These appear between high pressure systems as they pass from west to east, moving rather quickly into the Tasman Sea. What we wanted was a nice, slow moving High that would hold its shape and blocks the cold fronts.

We had faxed our Arrival Advance Information papers to New Zealand Customs in Nelson, and prepared the necessary papers for clearing out of Australia. With clearance papers in hand, we would order duty-free diesel and wine and spirits. But for now, we waited patiently.

The winds are northeasterly for today. There is a high fire warning in Tasmania, and numerous fires are already burning in the state. The air is hazy with smoke.

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