Early morning chats focused on the experiences of the night; four crew had been violently ill and one passenger had rid herself of last night’s dinner. The rest slept well enough. That the seas were a mild 2 metres at their highest overnight, made me think of travellers historically who had occasionally faced and survived up to 10 metre waves in these tiny wooden ships; frightening.
When I came out on deck, we had travelled about three quarters the way along the south coast of Tasmania. On the night trip to Port Davey we had seen fishing vessels with their strong lights moving or positioned close to the shore. Refer Ralph’s photo here showing an example of one of those moments.
This morning we saw yachts with their full white sails heading west. The mountains and an irregular coast line provided a constant backdrop.
We were fortunate to be thrilled by dolphins. It seems not to matter how many times you see dolphins in the wild, each new occasion remains special . Over a 30 or so minute period, a few dozen common dolphins played around and under the bow of the ship are we sailed along. I imagined they left us eventually because there was no competition; our ship wasn’t nearly as fast as they could swim. Around this time I saw the spouting of steam/water whooshed from a whale, but never the body.
Before long after we turned north, the southern end of Bruny Island came into view. A while later I could see the white stalk of its southern lighthouse.
Mostly we sat on deck and watched the landscape as we passed, attempting to name peaks in the distance. Or got blown around by the wind.
While motoring in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel we spotted the Lady Nelson, another replica sailing ship, travelling south in full sail. Ironical. One of my reasons for travelling on the Windeward Bound was to enjoy being on a ship with fully laden sails. Except for a short while at the end of day 2 when a few sails were unfurled, we motored for the rest of the voyage because the wind kept blowing from the wrong direction for the sails to be raised. So the universe seemed to be thumbing its nose by allowing the fully dressed Lady Nelson to sail so dramatically past us in the distance.
Passing Kettering, I could see the vehicular ferry disgorging cars onto Bruny Island before returning to mainland Tasmania with another load of travellers.
When the Captain listened to the wind report at Hobart, she worried that the easterly might challenge docking. A zodiac would be needed to act like a tug boat. So we motored into the relative calm of a bay off Bruny Island near the Quarantine station. We waited for the lowering of a zodiac before proceeding towards Hobart with the extra boat in tow.
Sometime afterwards, I fell asleep while lying horizontally on the deck in the sun, without a hat or other protection. Weeks later my ankles still showed the sign of a good dose of sunburn and my nose retained some unwanted redness. When I notice these colourings, I am reminded of that final day at sea.
Hours later Mt Wellington appeared on our left in the distance. Around this time we were invited inside for nibbles and a final sip or two of wine.
Mentally I was ready for home before we turned north in the early morning. During the afternoon a helicopter flew overhead, probably carrying a sick or injured person to hospital in Hobart from somewhere further south. I wished they had room for me. After turning north past Whalers Point earlier in the day, I would have happily accepted an airlift home by helicopter. My eighth day seemed to be extremely long.