Friday, January 25, 2019

Sydney to Eden

The beach at East Boyd Bay, in Two-Fold Bay, across from Eden—one of the many beautiful beaches we’ve been combing
Just a few pics from our trip along the SE coast of Australia from Sydney to Eden. We did this passage in fairly short day hops, just to avoid unnecessary overnight passages. Total it’s about 200 miles to get to Eden, the typical jumping off point to cross the Bass Strait from the Australian continent to the island of Tasmania, alos know as Van Deiman’s Land, after the Dutch explorer who first laid Euro eyes on it. On our way south, we stopped at Port Hacking, Jervis Bay, Chain Bay in Bateman’s Bay and finally Eden.
Jervis Bay is interesting because it is a large, well protected, primarily empty bay. The bay itself is part of the Australian government territory (much like Washington DC is) even though it is surrounded by the state of New South Wales. The point of this was so that the capital at inland Canberra would have control of a potential seaport thus not letting New South Wales and Sydney have a too strong bargaining position.
JervisBayIMG_20190113_144805 Judy and the snake
   We had to wait out weather for a day and decided to head into the park area for a walk. As soon as we got on the trail leaving the beach we encountered this snake blocking the trail. That’s our friend Judy in the back ground keeping a safe distance. They say it is some sort of a constictor. But I’m not taking any chances in this deadly country.   
JervisBayIMG_20190113_155249 Then the trail lead us to a nice beach and we were greeted by this sign— ‘'Bronze Whaler’ does not sound good. I think I’ll skip the sea bath today.
Eden is an interesting small town. It started as a whaling port but more recently was home to a large fishing fleet before the stocks were so depleted. There are some fish farms and afew commercial fish boats still fishing the area, but nothing like the hay day. This is a family of Roos who stopped grazing while we walked by on our hike to the old whaling station.
The Eden Maritime museum is one of those funky little local museums that don’t always have a consistent story between the exhibits, generally more of an eclectic grouping of old stuff-- just the way a museum should be. This is the skeleton of Old Tom. He was a killer whale (Orca) that worked for the whaling fleet in the 1920’s. His pack would herd the blubber bearing baleen whales (Southern Right Whales and Humpbacks) into Twofold Bay (the outer bay where Eden is located). Then Old Tom would swim up to the whaling fleet boats, leaping out of the water to let everyone know that the whales were in the bay. The whalers would head out on their boats and quickly dispatch the whales. They’d drag the carcasses of the unfortunate whales to shore and remove the blubber. Then they’d take the carcass and anchor it in the bay to let the orcas eat the tongue as an up to 4 ton reward for their part in the slaughter. When Old Tom came back into the bay in September 1930 to die the grateful fishermen decided to preserve his bones – which are now the highlight of the maritime museum.
The museum has other interesting stories like the tale of James Bentley, a whaler, who was swallowd by a Sperm Whale. Only later to be freed when the whale was caught and rendered. You might have heard about the story of Jonah and the Whale – similar. It was dully reported in the 1891 English newspapers and in the 1928 Australian papers. Turns out it was an early incarnation of Fakenews.
EdenIMG_20190119_145807 I did get to see some rusty stuff. This is the Try-works at the Davidson Whaling Station. It’s on the bay opposite Eden and was in use till 1929. The Try-works is where the cooked down they blubber.
In walking around Eden we did run into the high-tech incubator section of town. I believe this is an Aussie networking startup company: Netmakers.

Compromise to End the Shutdown

Even though we are half way around the world we hear a lot of the BS that is the US goverenment shutdown. Compromise is the only way to end the government shutdown. I have a plan. Offer up a bi-partisan bill that builds the wall with matching grants. These will work much like the NPR pledge week matching grants where you call in and pledge $100. Your pledge is then matched by a corporate donor for a total of $200. The bill will offer the full 5.7 billion dollars for the wall in a kind of installment plan. For each billion dollars Trump gets Mexico to pay for the wall Congress will match it with a billion. This should really satisfy everyone and open up the government. Trump gets to meet two of his campaign promises at the same time: build a grand wall and Mexico will pay for it. The Democrats get to offer up a true comprise while being fiscally responsible by only potentially spending 50% of our money on the wall money. And the Republicans get to do what they like best, offer up legislation that doesn’t actually do anything.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Wineglass Bay

We made it to Tassie. 2 and 1/4 days with a mix of motoring and lightwind sailing. Got an enthuisastic greeting from the dolphins on entering Wineglass Bay. We’ll be here for a couple of days then continue on toward Hobart.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Enroute to Tasmania

We made it down the south east coast of Australia to Eden. (Blog with some pics coming). Eden is the typical jumping off point to cross the infamous Bass Strait to Tasmania. Popularly infamous due to the Sydney-Hobart Race disaster that occurred a few decades ago. The race starts each year on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. So the racers take what ever weather they get. For us and most cruisers you sit in Eden carefully watching the weather. This year the weather windows are short, changing every few days.
We left yesterday on the two day passage with our destination in Tasmania as Wineglass Bay, about halfway down the east coast.

Right now we are just about at the halfway point. Its been a mix of motor 6 hours, sail 4 hours for most of the trip. Hope to arrive tomorrow morning.

This evening we are now at about 40* south after a full day of sailing in light W to SW winds. That's the equivalent of being about 120 miles north of San Francisco but in the southern hemisphere.

current position can be seen here:

Sent via SailMail,

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Sydney, Just Like I Pictured It

Can you guess what city we’re in? The Sydney Opera House along with the Harbour Bridge pretty much defines the Sydney skyline.
We picked up a mooring at Davis Marina for a week. It is located in North Harbour, next to Manly. It’s a fairly easy ferry ride from Manly to Circular Key in downtown Sydney, or a few bus transfers to get in.
We motored down the coast from Pittwater to Sydney drifting in and out of fog on a fairly warm day. This is the fog bank flowing off the Sydney Heads at the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
This is Georgia’s home for the week surrounded by million dollar well kept houses.
There are a lot of salt water pools along the walks around the bays. They make it less likely that the swimmers will feed the sharks.
On our first ferry trip into Sydney we passsed the US Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star. I think they were in town for a New Year’s break. She’s a 399ft long ice breaker built and homeported in Seattle.
Real estate in the greater Sydney area is crazy expensive. You might even say it’s in a bubble, although the median price has dropped 11% in 2018. We can’t afford a place anywhere near here but were hoping we might get a cot in the old Sailors Home building above at the Circular Key.
We headed off to do some serious tourist sightseeing. Here’s Chris in front of an extinct giant wombat like marsupial at the Australian Museum.
In a cute, playful diorama in the museum they have a deadly Sydney Funnel Web spider coming out of a child’s boot on the back porch of a suburban home. The Aussies really come across as proud of their various deadly and maiming critters
This is the skeleton known as the Bone Ranger. It is actually the remains of Sir Hercules, an 1870’s sire of the thorough bred race horse line in Australia. He was Papa to 18 big-race winners including winners of the Melbourne Cup and Sydney Cup. He was more of a lover than a racer, and never actually raced himself. The skeleton rider is apparently of no positive repute.
Taking a break from being a hard pressing tourist we stopped at the oldest pub in Sydney for some cider and pub food (pretty much all pub food is brown).  Its the Fortune of War built in 1828. There are a couple more pubs that claim to be the oldest lurking around ‘the Sydney waterfront, but right now Fortune of War has the claim.
We grabbed a ferry over to the Maritime Museum. Nice set of displays and most of it is free. There was a large section that appeared to be dedicated to shaming Chinese visitors into not buying shark fins or shark fin soup.
SydneyIMG_9445 The Australian Magnificent Bower Bird.
We couldn’t leave out the Taronga Zoo from our touring itinerary. This owl was pretty cool in flight, although being non-deadly to humans I’m not sure it excited the Aussie visitors.
Walking around we saw this wedding going on at the cathedral. Or as it is properly named “The Cathedral Church and Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Mother of God, Help of Christians to give St Mary’s its full title is the Cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP.
It was built on land donated by Gov Macquarie in the 1820’s, but not completed for another century. Pretty much everything in New South Wales is either named Macquarie or Lachlan (his first name) or was from land controlled by Macquarie. Scottish Major General Macquarie was appointed governor of New South Wales 1810 to 1821. He was the architect of transitioning the New South Wales from a penal colony to a free settlement.
Outside the wedding were two old, gold Bentley cars waiting for the bridal party.
One more guess as to what city we are in?

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Blue Mountains

Since the weather was not cooperating for getting down to Sydney from Pittwater and we had a good deal on the mooring at Lovett Bay Boatshed we decided to take a train trip out to the Blue Mountains for New Years. Sharing New Years with 1 million other revelers in Sydney Harbour just seemed a bit too claustrophobic. We took the train to Katoomba, an easy few hours. Katoomba is in NW part of New South Wales. It is an old coal mining area that is now park land and tourist stops. They say the area is known as the Blue Mountains because when you look at it from a distance there is a blue haze. They tell the tourists that the blue haze is due to all the gum tress (eucalyptus) spouting oil mist into the air. I’m not sure I’m buying that one.
Except for being a little greener the landscape could be the US south west, lots of carved red sandstone.
We stayed at the Mountain Heritage Hotel in Katoomba. With its classic dining room and staff it could have easily been Faulty Towers, complete with John Cleese.
Strange smoking laws in NSW. This sign is on the entry to a nice outdoor cafe.
We took a gondola ride over the canyon canopy after carefully checking out the maintenance of the machinery.
It gives you a good view of the Three Sisters
A little closer view of the sisters. Not really all that impressive compared all the rest of the flora and fauna around.
We also took the rebuilt old coal train tracks up the side of the mountain. The tracks are way steep at a 52% incline.
This one is for Quinn. Gamma scaring the dinosaurs away.
We splurged for a fancy, and delicious, dinner at the Palette in Katoomba, including some complicated gin drinks.
We rode the train and then bus to get back up to Pittwater. Gotta love a bus that has a dedicated seating area for surfboards.