While I slept well overnight, I did come to when the ship started travelling north; the feel of the waves was different from those across the southern coast of Tasmania. Having recognised the change I stayed put for a while, then curiousity forced me from bed. Onto the deck I went to find I was the first passenger up. “Monday and I have been up since 4.30 with a gradually lightening sky. Seeing the west coast with the south coast long gone.” The wind was pushing into the side of the ship, and I learnt that a storm was promised later in the day. Dawn was arriving. The black shapes of the mountains and coast line in the distance were gradually greying.
The brisk temperature on deck, and the immensity of the changing colours of the water and sky had me almost bursting with excitement – I suppressed myself from crying out with pleasure at how I felt from what I could hear, smell and see. Complexity and simplicity rolled into one. Beauty unrestrained. I felt so fortunate.
Members of the crew named some of the islands we were passing: Mutton Bird Island, Sugarmouse Island, Sugarloaf Rock, East Pyramids and Wendar Island. Other unnamed rocks and islets dotted the Southern Ocean not far off the coast of mainland Tasmania.
Ralph came onto deck in time to photograph some of these islands.
I looked into the radar room and photographed the position of our ship, Windeward Bound, nearing Port Davey.
Once we passed the conical Big Caroline rock, we were inside the huge expanse of water known as Port Davey.
With a storm expected, the captain chose not to stay in the Port Davey area rather to motor directly to the protective safety of Bathurst Harbour. Ahead we noted the 500 metre high Breaksea Islands which hid the Bathurst Channel from view. I thought of the early travellers hundreds of years ago happening on this bay and not realising both a north and a south passage enabled safe travel behind these islands.
As we sailed into the south passage the sun came out to highlight the eastern side of the Breaksea Islands.
Ralph snapped a stunning photo looking back at these islands.
Soon we turned east at Turnbull Head to motor into the wide and long winding Bathurst Channel. “I think of the Channel as a wide container of islets, islands, rocky outcrops.”
Our mooring was on the eastern side of the Celery Top Islands within Bathurst Harbour; the anchor went deep into glue-like mud and ensured, even with strong winds, the ship wouldn’t drag the anchor; remembered a significant wind storm was expected. The downside was that every time the ship was moved later, it took an hour or so to bring up the anchor and wash the mud from each chain link. Still – we all felt very secure in that mooring.
Later in the evening, Serena took the following atmospheric photo, showing the shimmering silver of sky and water, as she looked southwards. In addition she caught some final rays of pale light from a distant sun. The shadowy layering of mountains behind mountains entranced us all; she offers a clear photo of this phenomenon. And Mt Rugby was a permanent high fixture in our vision for every waking hour while moored near the Celery Top Islands. Serena photographed this mountain with its ‘wig of long hair’ being blown away.
Because there was “constant dotting of the almost flat calm waters- dotting with heavy rain drops”, the chances of going ashore diminished as time passed. Sadly I realised that “I don’t really like being on the water. Much prefer the land. So water travel is only for convenience.” Nevertheless, the weather in this part of the world controls action.