Each of us were given the opportunity to steer the boat at some time during the voyage, and I think most did. Certainly I recall seeing other passengers at the helm. One steered it for hours on the last day.
On the second night as we sailed along the southern coast of Tasmania, after the other passengers had gone to bed, I was still very alert to the changes of the night and eager to stay up longer. When offered the chance to stand at the helm and steer the ship I grabbed it eagerly, albeit with some trepidation. Black as pitch the night was. I could not have seen a thing if dramatic avoidance was called for, however I knew no one would ever let me be on the wheel if problems were foreseen.
At that moment I was still finding my sea legs so, being relatively unstable, I was a little ‘at sea’ when I stood up and tried to read the wobbling compass and align the lines which kept the ship on course. Besides, I was almost standing on my toes trying to look into the device as I swayed with the roll of the waves. After a while I gave the job back to the crew member feeling quite dissatisfied with myself.
The photo below by Ralph shows a fellow passenger resting on the wheel. Trust me, you cannot do that once the ship is moving. This shot was taken when moored in Bathurst Harbour but I have included it here because it is a terrific photo in its own right and more relevantly it reminds me that most if not all of us did steer the ship at some stage.
A couple of examples of others acting as helmsmen were recorded by Ralph’s camera.
Below, I caught a shot of a crew member bringing us home on the last day.