Miss Molly 4
Bob & Peggy Wilkerson/Geoff & Merel Pettifer
Sat 8 Jan 2011 02:26
42:53.88 S
147:20.22 E

Hello all,

We got a bit wrapped up the last couple of days with what Tasmania had to offer.

We did not get to see much of Schouten Island as we left early again the next morning to head for Safety Cove. We sailed past a seal colony and they were everywhere in the water! Then past Cape Pillar. Probably named for the rock formation: very high cliffs and vertical strips of rocks like massive organ pipes. On the other shore the rocks seemed to be the opposite: horizontal striping determining the layers. It was sunny by the time we arrived in Safety Cove or Port Canarvan. We took the dinghy ashore to explore Port Arthur, a grain mill transformed into a prison in the 18th century. If you would have stolen a counterpane or some other small stuff in England there was a chance that you would end up imprisoned at this other end of the world looking out over a land locked bay. The roof of the prison got lost in a fire and the whole area, including soldiers barracks, police station, churches, lovely gardens and dockyard, is now a historic site. We spent several hours walking the grounds and then discovered that in 1996 a maniac with a gun had killed more than 20 visitors at this venue. He got sentenced to life long imprisonment. Very sobering. A peaceful memorial was built to remember this event.

The next morning it was on to Hobart. We now had a Northerly wind and that made the weather a lot warmer. We sailed up the Derwent River, into Hobart. Not a long trip, but more than half an hour was spent on finding the allocated mooring ball. They were all supposed to be numbered but only 2 of them actually had a number, the rest of the numbers were overgrown with mussels or just not there. Luckily we found a strong one, as this morning we got an unexpected stress test. A gust of wind came up and it kept blowing and increasing. Luckily we were on board to witness the event and the mooring held alright. We think the dinghy would have tipped over if it would not have been pulled up in the davits. A dinghy race had just started and one of them tore his sail right next to Miss Molly. A bit further out to the river we saw that several of them had capsized. But they managed to either upright their boats themselves or climb on the overturned hulls, waiting to be rescued. There were multiple rescue boats out there. So even in port there is never a dull moment. And also we now know how fluky the weather is here. Had our first exploration ashore yesterday on a blazing hot and sunny afternoon and got home drenched. It seems that the weather here can change in half an hour - four seasons in one day.

It's now time to explore some of Hobart and as there won't be any distant sailing to do, we will probably decrease our posting frequency.

Till later,

Geoff & Merel