Saturday, March 29, 2014
Flinders Island to Eden
Wednesday - 05/03/2014
As I mentioned in my last scribbles that we left the dock at 1700 hours and drifted in the harbour of Lady Baron to stow fenders, fender boards and ropes ready for sea. The local Police Officer Matt had given me some information regarding exiting the bar on the eastern side, and that was to favour the red side slightly as the bar has moved, he said we would see it when we got out there and we did. Where the leads indicate the waves are breaking quite well but just to the port side on exiting there is calm reasonably water which we went through and some as shallow as 3 metres.
It is a fair way out to the sand bar but the ebbing tide pushed us along at 9 knots. When got out there the predicted ESE winds of 10-15 knots was there which pleased me although I am expecting a short burst of strong easterlies later tonight for a short period.
We passed Babel Island at a good distance just on dark and dolphins came out for a play at the front of the boat then the night settled in and a dark night no moon. Then the wind changed to ENE and came in strong 20-25 knots. I checked Meteye on the net and it still indicates we should be getting ESE 15 knots. As we went on the winds got stronger and eventually we had 35 knots and the waves standing up quite a lot, to get any benefit from the sails I had to change course to head for the Victorian coast, I figured if we had this wind all the way when we got close to the coast we could then change course and the wind may not be as strong.
Come the time of change of watch I did not wake Nancy, it was a little scary for me out here, it would be very scary for her to be here and besides I would not sleep worrying about her out here. Nancy got up a couple of times and I told her to go back to bed. She finally took the watch at first light, things had calmed down some we now had 20-25 knot winds still from the same direction and very uncomfortable. It is not often in a catamaran we lose books and stuff off shelves but we did last night.
Thursday - 06/03/2014
The day brought rain squalls and strong winds but not as bad as last night, I am on my third set of clothes the others being very wet. Last night we had waves coming over the top of the boat as we crashed into them. I was looking out the side checking for any other ships when one wave hit and I ducked under cover, thinking I was smart that the wave missed me I stuck my head out again just as the boat rolled and all the water on top of the bimini went down the back of my neck.
We are still get water over the bows and spray over the top occasionally but today the rain is coming in with it. We kept our normal watches today and I got a bit of sleep, we still have today and tonight to go before we get to Eden. We are still on the same course for the Victorian coast and hoping for the wind to give us some favour tonight when we get close to it.
(This short video is of the second day from Flinders Island when things had settled a little)
On these overnight runs Nancy always makes a big pot of stew or alike in the Shuttle Chef, so we have plenty to eat and can grab a feed whenever we feel a bit hungry. The food also warms you when it is cold and it is cold.
Friday - 07/03/2014
The weather has not changed but at least now the predictions are showing what we are getting in fact that did occur yesterday morning to be fair. As I mentioned before weather this time of year in Bass Strait is very unpredictable with so many low pressures over the mainland.
The sad fact is that we are not going to get any change in the weather until we start heading north for Eden so we have to stay on course for the Victorian coast and then change to an eastward course when we are a few miles off and bash into these east winds until we can turn north.
I change to the eastward course during my watch after 0400 hours and was pleased to change course northward some two and half hours later, daylight came and although there were a few squalls the sea was calmer than it had been it poured rain for a few minutes at a time as the squalls came by us. After the squalls the seas settled and we just motored along into Eden.
(Cape Green as the rain squall goes by)
We arrived at Eden at 1130 hours going alongside the dock for a couple of days.
It is quite a long approach into Eden and it is rather a large harbour taking in the different bays, we had contacted the harbour master to go alongside the dock, unfortunately it is on the side that has the swell pushing us onto the dock but conditions were good at this time, the cost of the dock is $25 per day for vessels of out length. Again the dock has pylons so the fender boards were required and we have to watch the tide levels with the length of docking lines. We soon learned to also take an anchor 45⁰ off the bow away from the wharf naturally. We did this by me lowering the dinghy and taking our large Bruce anchor out and dropping it in the appropriate spot and then tensioning the anchor rope this helps to hold the boat off the dock.
(Alana Rose alongside Eden Dock)
(Fisherman behind us repairing nets)
Just after we got settled a fishing boat came along the other side of the dock from us and people started arriving, one of the guys wives told us that they go out getting prawns and when they get alongside they cook them and sell them from the boat as well as to the fish shops. So that is what we had for lunch, 1Kg of cooked prawns as fresh as $20. A nice lunch of beer and prawns.
Fortunately the harbour master told us to get settled if we did not catch him today see him Monday, by the time we went for a walk ashore he had gone home so Monday it was.
Whilst we got our prawns organised along came Peter and Chris off 'Honey Bee' a monohull yacht, they had been looking out for us as we had them having been told about each other by three sets of mutual friends, so we finally met each other, they were anchored out away from the dock. They were heading off to town and we told them about the prawns so they bought some and we stored them in our fridge until they came back.
We also talked to a couple from Victoria that was walking the docks, they love looking at the waterfront and boats, so we had a chat and as they were interested in what we had done I gave them a card so they could check out our blogs. They thanked us and asked if we needed a lift into town to do the shopping and we said we are fine.
We had a quiet night aboard as we were both a little bushed from the last couple of days.
Saturday - 08/03/2014
We decided after breakfast we would head into town so off we went as we got to the end of the dock the couple we were talking to yesterday were there to meet us and ask if they could drive us into town. What a nice gesture, again the Aussie spirit comes forward, there are a lot of nice people out here. We took their offer and they drove us up the steep hill to town, we thanked them and they asked if we wanted a lift back and we said we were fine and they realised we were used to doing what we do.
We had a look around town and checked where things were and on the way back we called into an important shop to get a few bottles of red wine then we headed to the Whale Museum, a very interesting place, Eden has a lot of history not only being the first place in Australia to start shore based whaling but also maritime events and political. It was first thought that this is where the houses of parliament would be. I bought a book from the museum called the Two Fold Bay Story, great little book.
(Eden Killer Whale Museum)
(A painting that shows how the men chased and killed whales)
(The skeleton of 'Old Tom', you can see the damage by the infection on the top of his right side jaw and the damage to his teeth on the left bottom, this damage was caused by Tom helping the whalers by grabbing the harpoon line and dragging it down to drown the harpooned whale)
Australia's first shore based whaling station started in Snug Cove in 1828 when Captain Thomas Raine sent a party of 25 men who stayed for 3 months and others followed after them. Many of the places and streets are named after the men who started whaling in the area, fortunes made and fortunes lost. There were many aborigines worked the whaling boats and the man they worked for treated them fairly and they were paid well which was different to many others and the incredible part is that the killer whales (Orca's) that worked with the whalers. They would round up a whale and drive them in the bay and it was known for one of the killer whales to come into the bay and let the whalers know they had a whale and would lead them to the whale they had rounded up. You may ask why the killer whales would do this, well it was for reward, killer whales like to feed on whales lips and tongues, they learnt that the whalers once they had harpooned a whale from a whaler boat not a ship and once they had tired it they would then kill it and tie a buoy to the harpoon rope the whale would sink, this is when the killer whales would feed on the dead whales lips and tongue, some day later the body of the whale would start to decompose filling the body full of gases and the whale would float and that is when the whalers would tow them in.
The killer whales would work in groups and in one group there was a leader and the most famous in the area was a killer whale named Tom, Tom's skeleton is in the museum, Tom was found dead in the bay aged around 35 years it looked like he had an apses on a tooth which had eaten away part of his jaw, they feel that this prevented him from eating and he died from starvation. Tom was thought to be a lot older as they thought he had been around many years before, apparently they are identified by the shape of their fin, but apparently there must have been two Toms, one replaced the other.
Whaling ceased in the area for a number of reasons, a gold rush started at one time, then there was the industry of sleeper cutting which many whalers took on outside the whaling season and in the end felt it safer to continue sleeper cutting rather than tackle the monsters in the sea where their lives were at greater risk. This combined with less whales coming to the bays for the simple reason there were fewer female whales, the fact was that the whales that came to the bay were looking for some place to have their young so many of the whales that were killed in those times were in calf this naturally lessened the numbers of the future whales to be. The other thing to was that there were now whaling ships and chasers operating, the chasers did the harpooning and the n fill the whales full of compressed air keeping them afloat at the end of the day they would tow them in and tie them to a buoy ready to be hauled ashore.
Some of you may feel disgusted that this occurred but one has to remember that this was the only oil for lighting and other uses of that day, it is not really any different to what we are doing today in drilling for oil and other products but most drive cars that uses these fuels and oils but every time there is a disaster in the industry we all get up in arms about it, but as I say again we all use these products as the people did in the days of whaling. Whatever your thoughts it is part of our history and a very interesting one. Eden and Two Fold Bay has a lot of history besides whaling , the later days of fishing which is now falling away with new restrictions. This place used to have an enormous amount of fishing boats today they are but a few.
One thing I have noticed in our travels is the many smaller places closing down as the industry has been taken away from them and there is nothing to take its place, empty shops and business premises and the crime rate rises in the way of theft. I believe we have to protect the environment but sometimes I wonder whether we are going too far the other way, look at the crocodile population, let's face it today they do not have a predator in this country and as the waters warm up they will move and already are moving further south. Food for thought. One fact is that many governments try to encourage people to move to rural areas to reduce the growing numbers in the cities, but the problem is they are also creating much red tape and restrictions that business cannot survive in the rural areas and they are closing down.
(The Cafe I mentioned below is in part of the historic building)
Sunday - 09/03/2014
It is a wet rainy day today so we decided to head into town early with the washing for the Laundromat and whilst the washing was being done head to a cafe for breakfast and there is a great little cafe in town called 'Cuppaz Cafe' if you want a great feed this is the place very friendly service and most the locals go there. When breakfast and washing and drying was complete we headed back to the boat and whilst it was calm decided to go and anchor out as the seas were going to get a little rougher today. On returning we got things organised started engines let go of the docking lines and then I pulled the Bruce anchor up which as I did helped pull us away from the dock, we went out just passed the moored boats and dropped the anchor.
(The view from our anchorage of Snug Bay)
(Eden docks Snug Cove)
(HMAS Stuart going into the naval dock at East Boyd Bay, this is where the naval ships pick up their explosives, they closed down the Sydney armoury in 2003)
Eden town has two supermarkets and many other shops to get all your needs. The is also a great fish and chip (plus other seafood) shop near the docks, it is the one that is around the corner from the larger cafes.
Eden is a very nice part of this world and worth a visit, people are friendly and the place is very clean and tidy. For travellers there are toilets and showers down by the docks. Quite a unique shower it has a preset temperature of around 40⁰C and it has a timer button instead of taps so you have to keep pressing the button whilst you have a shower.
As far as using the dock it costs $15 up to 12 metre boat and $25 for 12 - 15 metres per day. The problem I have mentioned before if there is a surge it can bounce you against the dock, the other alternative is contact one of the fishing boats and raft against one of those or just anchor out.