02/13/2012, Cape Howe, NSW
We are motoring along in very light air (2-4 kts) and moderate seas (less than 1 meter) and about 6 hours from taking right turn into the Bass straight and the final 75 miles to Lakes Entrance. It is about 12 miles to Cape Howe which is on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. I can see Gabo Island sticking out beyond Cape Howe. This looks like an excellent coast for shipwrecks in the days before good charts and GPS.
We started out in heavy overcast and light rain but the cloud cover has lifted and there are patches of blue now. The barometer has been creeping up over the past 24 hours.. The weather forecast suggests that we will have more of the same the rest of the way to our destination except that the wind might pick up a bit in the morning.
The Gippsland port maintains some web cams at Lakes Entrance so we can see the condition of the bar before we approach it.
The link to the web cams is http://www.gippslandports.vic.gov.au/webcams.php They post the pictures about 10 minutes apart. Ill try to post a position report right before we head in tomorrow so maybe it will be possible to see us on the web cam if the timing is right
I started a new book called "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This lady is a really good writer on a par with David McCullough. I knew who she was from seeing her on the Daily Show but had never read anything of hers. Fifty pages into this book and I know Ill be reading everything she has written.
The book is about Abraham Lincoln and takes its title from the fact that Lincoln asked most of his major political rivals to serve in his cabinet. These guys were not just Lincoln's rivals but they had all been competitive with each other throughout their political careers. But they ended up being a very effective war time cabinet.
This is one of those old fashioned books made from paper and weighing more than a dozen kindles.
This is one of the weeks that there is no New Yorker published so I should make good progress on this one.
Ill post a screen shot of the chart of this part of Australia. The red plus symbol is our current position. The dashed line is the course ahead of us. The solid line is our planned route and the green triangle next to us is the AIS image showing the position of a cargo ship (AAL Brisbane) that passed about 2 miles outside of us a few minutes ago.
The red circle with a yellow center is our next waypoint where our course turns more to the west
02/11/2012, Eden NSW
We had another good night's sleep on the hook here in snug cove.
The two tug boats based here left the cove early to help a ship off the pier at the lumber mill on the other side of the bay.
There was an announcement by the Eden VRM (volunteer marine rescue) about operations at the Naval base across the bay, too. When any Navy vessels are tied to the wharf boats are not allowed closer than 500 meters to the Naval wharf.
Today was haircut day. We had waited quite a while and both needed haircuts. I thought Shawns hair was harder to cut when it is long but he said he thought it was easier to cut mine when its long. Either way they were messy haircuts with lots of hair to get rid of.
I took the dink over to another boat that is anchored here in the bay to pick the brain of the skipper about strategies for crossing the Great Australian Bight. He had left the Adelaide area about a year ago to circumnavigate Australia and had a lot of helpful information about weather patterns and strategies for the crossing.
He also told me about western Australia. He is a big fan of cruising in Western Australia ("West is Best" was his way of putting it) and, since he has completed a circumnavigation, he seems like a guy who is in a position to compare and contrast the various cruising areas of the country.
He was a big fan of the Kimberly Islands which is an archipelago located on the NW shoulder of the continent. He showed me a cruising guide with some very impressive photos of the area. Its such a big country and a year is not really enough.
We may rethink our strategy for the rest of the year after we finish with Tasmania. One option would be to sail back up the east coast and over the top. We could visit the northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef including Lizard Island, the Gulf of Carpenteria and Darwin and would also be able to visit the Kimberly islands before departing across the Indian Ocean. The big negative with that idea is that we would miss Shark bay and the stromatolites. Maybe that would be a side trip by bus or plane. Its been a while since we signed up for a garden variety tourist company tour.
Anyway, we have a lot to think about and all the options are good ones.
We are getting a little rain this afternoon but the weather is pleasant.
Shawn is making one of our favorite Peruvian dishes for supper tonight called Adobo de Chancho (google it). It is a pork stew that we first had in one of our favorite Peruvian cities, Arequipa. Smelling it cooking brings back a lot of good memories of our travels in Peru. Wikipedia says it is Spanish in origin and the list of ingredients suggest it was one of the fusion dishes that resulted when Europeans discovered the spices of the east Indies and those of the new world. The dish has potatoes in it so we know the Spanish could not have done it without Peruvian influence.
It looks like we will be departing on Tuesday with an anticipated arrival at Lakes Entrance around noon on Wednesday. We are fortunate to have Dave and Marcie on Nine of Cups in front of us again and providing us with all sorts of helpful information about the ports ahead of us.
I will post a chart showing our planned stops over the next couple of weeks as Im sure a lot of our friends dont know any more about the geography of this part of Australia than we did until we got here
02/10/2012, Eden Killer Whale Museum, Eden NSW
We finally discovered something amusing about Australia that Bill Bryson missed in his book "In a Sunburned Country".
In the book Bryson took genuine delight in describing uniquely Australian things like giant road side sculptures and the many unique Australian living things that can cause you an agonizing death.
He missed this one which is unusual for Bryson since his research is usually first rate.
In the Killer Whale Museum here in Eden they have a display for a very weird treatment for rheumatism that was an additional revenue opportunity for the whalers here.
The picture at the top of today's blog entry shows how they would cut a hole in the skin of a whale carcase and then made people sized holes in the blubber. The patients would then get into their individual blubber holes and sit there in the very warm whale blubber for as long as they could stand it. Gentlemen were immersed naked but ladies wore a loose fitting gown. Since they were each immersed in separate blubber pockets it is very likely that established standards of Victorian proprietary were observed, otherwise the treatments would have been even more popular.
The primary side effect of this novel therapeutic modality was that the patients smelled like dead whales for a couple of weeks following the treatment. According to the descriptions in the Whale museum display that was not a particularly enticing aroma. I would expect that one of the related, and more beneficial, side effects is that you would not have much trouble getting an empty seat beside you on the bus.
Patients were quite enthusiastic and were quoted as planning their next treatment as soon as they completed the fist one. Why not, their social life was probably not very active following the first treatment.