26 April 2014 | As it suggests.... Williamstown :)
FRIDAY MARCH 28th - Williamstown
We found out overnight that many VERY LARGE cargo ships sneak almost silently in and out during the night, and the mooring is not a long way from the edge of the shipping channel, though far enough away to be safe. I wouldn't have imagined cargo ships to be so quiet but with almost all of them, you feel rather than hear them coming, with a low, vibrating thrum in the air before you hear the muted bass pitch of the gigantic engines. It's quite disconcerting to find yourself in the ship's shadow before you hear it.
We also discovered that idiots in speed boats make a much larger wake than any giant ship. In the bay at Williamstown are scores upon scores of moored and anchored yachts, and watching a large wake come through is fascinating. It begins nearest the channel with boats beginning to sway. After a few seconds the sway becomes a violent undulation as the wave spreads in towards the shore several hundred metres away, jostling each boat until the masts of almost all of the vessels in the path of the wake look like humongous metronomes set to tick at different times. (This is especially disconcerting when your own boat is convulsively pitching from side to side with you in it).
Rather than stay on a rocking boat, we took the dinghy and headed for town on a reconnaissance mission to see what was what in Williamstown. We took the roundabout way via the nearby wharfs and a close up view of the Sea Shepherd boats the "Steve Irwin" and the newest in the fleet, the "Sam Simon", which were tied up near the ship HMAS Adelaide, which itself was nearing completion in the docks. After snapping some photos we wove our way through the flotilla of boats to the public jetty. By that stage the first priority was to find the nearest toilets (isn't that always the way?).
Photo : Sea Shepherds!
Well, finding a loo was far easier said than done that's for sure Williamstown please get a clue.... signpost your public conveniences better! I ended up having to use the library's facilities and even that wasn't signposted, despite being on the "Where's the nearest public toilet" app (yes that's how desperate I was and how frustrating it was!!) . Once relief was established we wandered the main around a bit, found the shops, ate some stuff and basically dicked about until my knees were ready to pop their caps. Ugh... walking is hard work these days but unfortunately the jetty is high and the bikes are a little awkward to lift up a ladder so whilst we're here, the bipedal method will have to suffice.
SATURDAY MARCH 29th
Into the wee small hours the double-decker party boats kept chugging past with music blaring and happy people laughing and drinking and dancing and wooohoooing. The odd cargo ship also snuck past, like a giant trying not to attract the attention of the clamorous Lilliputians. Luckily though, the water was still and so sleeping without fear of being tossed out of bed was possible once the parties had gone back to the city.
Photo: Party boats were constant.
Photos: Busy times in the Bay... even a wedding.
Come the dawn and Dave woke me to let me know that there were half a dozen hot air balloons outside. Though being cognisant at that time was in itself unpleasant and being cognisant after dealing with party animals for half the night is even worse, I was glad he gave me a shake. How wonderful it was watching them silhouetted against the pink and mauve sky. There was just the slightest breath of wind and it felt almost ethereal watching the silent, distant pinpoints of flame and the subtle ascension of each balloon as they floated lazily across the hazy, waking city and harbour.
Photos: Balloons and more.
We needed a few bits and pieces from the shops and so headed back to the jetty in the dinghy. It was a funny thing but for some reason the streets felt decidedly more 'up' than it had yesterday and the Indian summer weather was also considerably warmer so we didn't hang around for too long. A quick visit to Coles, a loaf from Baker's Delight and it was back to the boat for the afternoon to watch the action in the harbour, from yachts to jet-skis, fishing boats to disgustingly expensive penis envy vessels, sea planes to powered paragliders. It was all happening on and around the water and with the weather being simply glorious, it turned into a really nice afternoon.
SUNDAY MARCH 30th
Our last day here was spent looking around the docks, mainly going aboard the very interesting HMAS Castlemaine Maritime Museum which is berthed at Gem Pier in Williamstown. Here's just a little history of the ship....
"HMAS Castlemaine is one of the sixty Australian-built Bathurst Class corvettes to serve throughout World War II, and is one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy. She is one of only two such vessel still afloat, the other being HMAS Whyalla and has been restored by volunteers over four decades."
Photo: HMAS Castlemaine
I could say a lot about this ship but instead, here's a heap of photos because I've been told that I'm writing too much. :)
Photos: Inside HMAS Castlemaine.
AND YET MORE......
AND ONE LAST ONE....
On the way back we just strolled through the Point Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park and along the esplanade and loved seeing just how many people were out and about enjoying the sunshine with picnics and barbecues with the whole scene against a backdrop of beautifully preserved heritage buildings and old fashioned, pastel hued shop fronts.
Tomorrow we leave for the other side of the bay.... to Sandringham