Monday, September 16, 2013
(Anchored of the beach near the sailing club)
After settling in and making sure our anchorage was secure we went ashore with the crew off 'Banyandah' , we walked around checking where things were like laundromat, supermarkets and a nice place to have dinner. Other items on the list to check is closest fuel and water.
Getting the dinghy ashore is quite easy at the boat ramp, the boat ramp has a short fixed centre dock, we used this to go alongside get out of the dinghy then I took the long painter (rope) and went to the ramp and Nancy held a stern rope on the dock to keep the dinghy straight and from being carried with the surge of the swell coming in from the heavy seas outside. I then timed the swell to bring the dinghy up the ramp. We have wheels on the dinghy so I dropped those and hauled the dinghy to the top of the ramp and on the corner of the footpath where there is a lamppost and locked the dinghy to that for security.
After walking around we had found two shopping centres, the museum, the laundromat and a very nice place to have dinner. Glen had talked to some people and asked the best place for dinner and they all said Skeeter's.
We called in a hotel for sundowners before dinner and then crossed the road to Skeeter's, the dinner was very nice food was excellent and good service. Main courses are around $35 but it is top quality. We enjoyed a nice night there before returning on board.
Today was laundry day so we headed to the laundromat which is a short distance away from the boat ramp around 5 minutes walk at the end of the park. Whilst the laundry was going around in the machine we went to find the place to put in our early vote, that done back to the laundry where we chatted with other travellers. These travellers were four wheel drive and caravan people.
With the laundry finished it was lunch time so we called in the Sails Cafe that had been recommended to us and had lunch before returning on board. The rest of the day was quiet other than doing a water run. Glen had found the water tap at the top of the boat ramp there is a shelter with a large stainless steel fish cleaning station for the fishermen on one of the structures posts is a tap which is covered by a steel cover to protect it from damage. Nancy filled the containers whilst I carried the containers back to the dinghy tied to the dock.
That was the work for the day and we had a quiet night.
Today was the day to play tourist and one of the first items on the list was the HMAS Sydney II memorial which is a good walk and up to the top of a hill. This is an incredible memorial and a lot of thought went into it.
HMAS SYDNEY - History
HMAS Sydney was built at Newcastle-on-Tyne UK, the keel being laid down in 1933 as HMS Phaeton. She was one of three light cruisers of the British Modified Leander Class, but was subsequently purchased by the Commonwealth of Australia and renamed HMAS Sydney, She was launched on 22nd September 1934. (Full history of photo below).
On the 19th November 1941 HMAS Sydney was returning from Sunda Straits after escorting the Hired Transport Zealandia to a handover with HMS Durban. That evening HMAS Sydney encountered the German Raider HSK Kormoran and became involved in an engagement which eventually lead to the loss of both ships.
No trace was ever found of HMAS Sydney or her valiant crew of 645.
The Memorial of HMAS Sydney:
(The dome of 645 stainless steel gulls and the structure representing the bow of the ship)
(HMAS Sydney and its crew)
The memorial is a must see, the lost crew of HMAS Sydney were very brave to continue their fight basically to the death to ensure the German raider did not get away to do more damage.
(The Sydney was finally found in March 2008)
(Sunrise from our anchorage, you can see in the centre the HMAS Sydney monument the Bow with the flag flying and the Dome with the 645 Silver Gulls)
From the memorial we headed back down the hill towards town and on the way we came across the old hospital which is now used as a medical centre and a visitors centre. The visitors centre provide people to give tours to visitors at places like the museum and the HMAS Sydney memorial, times are advertised at the visitors centre.
Across from the visitors centre is the old gaol, the gaol is open to visitors for the price of a gold coin donation. The unusual thing about the gaol is that nearly all the cells are occupied by arts and crafts people. These people have been given control of the gaol and they have set up shops in the cells.
(Old Police Station attached to the gaol)
From the gaol we headed to the museum, it is another must see. I believe that you need to visit more than once to take it all in. They have many sections with lots of information, local history of Geraldton, Local Aborigines , the ships Batavia and Zeewijk, HMAS Sydney, the first training of AIF volunteers in covert operations behind enemy lines in 1940 and many more topics.
The story of Batavia:
(The above are sections of a plaque in the main street)
(These stone sections of the gateway were the ballast found in the hull of Batavia and obviously had been made for their home country)
(The stoneworks found on Batavia above)
The region has been known to be treacherous for shipping below are sections of a plaque in the museum.
From the museum we went to the Geraldton Hotel for lunch as a local told us they also served good meals for $10 and they were right, good food and good service and it is very popular. After all the walking around and a good lunch we returned on board.
(Just a short distance from the boat ramp and near the sailing club there is this yellow submarine)
This morning it was chores we did water runs and fuel runs. The fuel station was a little way to walk around 20 minutes. We did two runs for the fuel using both fold-up two wheel trolleys Nancy had one with one 20 litre container and I had the other with two 20 litre containers on the first run. The second run Nancy had the same and I had one 20 litre container and two 8 litre containers for ULP fuel.
We had planned lunch for the Geraldton Hotel again today and I was meeting up with an ex-Naval friend Charlie Britt who lives in Geraldton the last time I saw Charlie was around 1983 when we both lived in Alice Springs. We met up with Charlie and had a nice lunch then Charlie took us to show where he lived and gave us a guided tour of the town. Then it was a quiet night on board.
(Charlie and I at the front of his house)
Each morning and night we check the weather reports to see when we sail south, the weather is changing regularly probably due to the changing season, at this stage I reckon we will leave sometime on Sunday, the boys on 'Banyandah' reckon it will be early hours Monday, so we keep watching.
We need some more warm clothes, we have not been in a wintery climate for nearly seven years usually heading north for the winter and south for the summer but we have arrived south before summer and we are feeling it and we have further south to travel yet. So we headed to River as they have specials and purchased a couple of items there then up to another shopping centre then another making sure we have enough warm clothing.
Tonight the boys on 'Banyandah' are cooking a roast for us all for dinner, Glen made it clear that tonight will be a two bottle rule night, meaning only two bottles of red wine.
We headed for the farmers markets they had some good quality vegetables which is what we were after and prices were good. The markets were not very big I think all told there would have been no more than eight stalls and two only had vegetables. My back pack was loaded and had two other bags to carry back to the dinghy.
After taking the vegies back on board it was then off to the supermarket Nancy with her grannies two wheel trolley both with back packs and a few more bags, we called over to "Banyandah' to let them know what the markets were like, I told Glen that I did not think much of his two bottle rule, I did not realise he meant two of ours and two of his, it was a good night but a little rough this morning. Glen asked if I had looked at the weather and I said I had and we would be leaving tomorrow Sunday, he said that he thought early hours Monday morning but I wanted to get down to Rottnest Island before the stronger winds from the NW came in. We headed off and did the shopping again loaded to the hilt we walked back to the dock and loaded the dinghy and returned on board.
Saturday afternoon and we had the latest weather and Glen agreed we move Sunday but not too early, we figured around 0930 - 1000 hours.
We did the final checks and were ready to sail, the boys on 'Banyandah' went ashore to do the final shopping and found that Woolworths is not open on Sundays and had to go a little further to the IGA supermarket. I got them to take our rubbish ashore when they went in.
On their return we set sail or should I say motor sail as that is what we will be doing all the way with the wind although not strong it will be head on for a while.
We found Geraldton to be a very tidy place and friendly it is interesting to read about this part of the country looking at what it produces and the amount of commodities that go out through this port. We enjoyed Geraldton and found it quite interesting.
(Tug and platform heading out)
Below are a few websites that provide information.