Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Hiking to the bottom of Tassie

We were delighted to meet up with Adam and Cindi from Bravo at the Cockle Creek campsite in Recherche Bay. They are travelling in Tojo, their Toyota Land Cruiser, with a roof-top tent and have covered many thousands of kilometres around the more interesting and deserted parts of Australia. Adam has posted some pretty spectacular photos on their blog http://svbravo.blogspot.com.au/ so with him and Kerry around, Graham felt seriously challenged on the photography front! Adam and Cindi joined us aboard Maunie for a pizza night and, after a long break from sailing their own boat, we could see that they are itching to be back afloat; hopefully we have persuaded them to spend 2017/18 cruising the east coast of Australia so that we can spend some more time with them.

We decided to tackle the 5 hour 'easy' South West Bay hike to the southern shore of Tasmania the following morning, in spite of a rather dubious forecast. Sure enough we were rained on pretty heavily and the light wasn't great for photos (Graham getting the excuses in early here) but here are some (with a few of Kerry's added, too).

The mid section of the hike had about 2km of duckboards to protect the fragile wetlands. Still some blue sky at this stage!

Di remains cheerful as the weather begins to change

South West Bay

Di and Cindi. Di less sure about how much fun she's having

Kerry at the cliff edge getting photos - a few of her shots follow

Cindi heading towards the cliffs, photo Kerry Lorimer

The Maunies in wet weather gear. Photo by Kerry

Graham gets some cliff-edge shots. Photo by Kerry
Dramatic coastline under leaden skies. Photo by Kerry

Seaweed treble clef on the rain-pocked sand
A break in the clouds at last, but there was more rain to come
Adam and Cindi in the beautiful woodland. Photo by Kerry

The hiking team at the end of a great day. The End of the Road is the furthest south vehicle access in Australia. Photos by a Passing Stranger
We said farewell to Adam and Cindi and sailed north to Bruny Island, with a very pleasant lunch stop at a winery - the most southerly winery in Australia (they are keen on these superlatives around here). The wine tasting was ok but the cold climate produces lighter wines than we prefer; lunch, however, was excellent!

We are now back in Hobart to restock the food lockers and, of course, to do a few more boat jobs whilst we have the luxury of shore power. We had a final rendezvous with Suzie and Roald before they flew on to Melbourne and they took us in their hire car up to the summit of Mount Wellington for a superb view over Hobart.

Looking East over Hobart
Kerry left us yesterday, too, to fly to Sydney, so it feels slightly strange to have the boat to ourselves again after some great company over the past few weeks. Ah, well, on with the work: 

Removing and re-bedding the fore hatch that was dripping sea water when subjected to big waves across it
Our plan now is to look for a decent weather window to cross the Bass Strait again, then head up the coast towards Sydney. We are hoping that there we'll be able to find a radio specialist to fix our usually-wonderful SSB radio; its speaker has fallen silent, though we have established that it still transmits. Graham took it apart (as much as he dared, at least) in the hope of spotting an obvious loose connection but without joy.

Looks pretty straightforward, eh?

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

As far south as it's possible to go

After a great week in Hobart we set off to find some more remote bits of Tasmania; it's not a difficult task. Having sailed south down the D'entrecasteaux Channel (named after the French Admiral Bruny D'entrecasteaux, who discovered the place, by accident, when a storm blew his two ships off course in 1792), we came to Recherche Bay (named after one of his ships) to find ourselves, literally, at the end of the road. This is the furthest south that you can drive on Australian soil and the shoreline around the anchorage was pretty dramatic under leaden skies - it's been a cold and rainy few days.

A brief walk to get these photos was followed by a longer hike to South East Cape, the very bottom corner of Tasmania. After that, Antarctica lies only 1100 miles away and made its presence felt by sending icy winds northwards towards us. Photos of that dramatic coastline to follow.....

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Big boats at the Wooden Boat Festival

This is the last of 3 posts on the Festival, you may be glad to hear! 

There were some larger and much-larger vessels on the water, with a couple of square-rigged sailing ships that welcomed visitors aboard.

The first was actually a iron-hulled ship (it must have got special dispensation to be part of the Wooden Boat Festival!) called the James Craig. She was built in Sunderland, in the north-east of England, in 1874 and sailed around the Horn 23 times in her heyday. In the early 1900's she was trading between NZ and Australia before a slow decline to become a storage hulk in Tasmania in 1911 then a coal lighter between 1925 and 1932. She was then sunk on a beach in Recherche Bay for 40 years before a long, slow battle to save her began in 1972; she was finally relaunched in 1997 and is based in Sydney at the Australian Maritime Museum and sailed by volunteers.

The James Craig is a three-masted barque, 70m in length 

Halyards and sheets coiled on belaying pins 

Huge wooden blocks (pulleys)

The second tall ship we visited was the 64m Tenacious and she is built of wood. Launched in 2000, she is operated as a training vessel by the Jubilee Sailing Trust for a crew of disabled and able-bodied people. We met a couple of the crew who'd sailed her down from Melbourne, one was blind and the other in a wheelchair and they were both pretty inspirational characters.

More modern sail-handling technology included roller-reefing foresails

Tenacious' belaying pins are stainless steel - a more modern version of the James Craig set-up but doing exactly the same job 

Kerry, Sue and Dianne chat to one of the crew (who came from Cleveleys, just a few miles from where Dianne grew up)

The mess deck, with the laminated wooden ribs and planks 

We are about to start sailing again, after a brilliant week in Hobart. We'll be heading down the Dentrecasteaux Channel towards the south-east tip of Tasmania for a week or so be fore we return, briefly, to Hobart and then start planning the return crossing of the Bass Strait inn early March.

Small boats at the Wooden Boat Festival

If you like varnished wood and traditional designs, the Wooden Boat Festival is a treat for the eyes. Here are some examples of our favourites:

None of your stick-on lettering for this boat

A recently built copy of a 1908 boat - 29 ft long, with a 29ft spinnaker pole!

She can set 1500 sq ft of sail - here with a 'ringtail' (the sail at the back of the mainsail) and a 'watersail' set under the boom.

Smaller boats having fun

There were lots of small motor and steam launches

The furry stuff is called 'baggywrinkle', made from frayed-our rope, to protect the sails from chafe on the rigging when sailing downwind

The pointy end

Lots of messing about in boats

There was a strong Dutch contingent at the festival (Abel Tasman, who first charted Tasmania, was Dutch). This is a little flat-bottomed dayboat with leeboards rather than a keel; note the leaden sky!

The weather wasn't great on the last day but the sun broke through at the end of a rain shower to deliver this perfect rainbow. The steam yacht is a local boat, rescued from a beach where she'd lain, rotting, for several years.