Circumnavigation of Bruny Island

November 2005

On a gloriously sunny first day of November, the good ship Lady Nelson set sail and ventured out to circumnavigate the land known as Bruny Island. The sun was shining and spirits were high for the eight crew and eight young passengers onboard. Our Lord and Master for the trip was Alan and the First Mate was Brian (Soon to be known as Brian the Brute by many of his overworked crew)

The first day was one of those perfect sailing days, the passengers were assigned crew member mentors and the morning was spent learning the basics of sailing. i.e. how to make up a line, where the various lines went, how to don a harness, how to climb the rigging etc. for the first part of the day we motored and then set sails when the wind freshened, at one stage in the afternoon we set sails and for the next three and one half hours without a single sail change, managed to skip along at a sprightly 6.5 knots, stupendous.

Our anchorage for the first night was Mickey's Bay in Great Taylor Bay a delightful sheltered bay on the Southern part of the island, Our original anchorage, Partridge Island  was ruled out due to the direction of the wind. Our passengers had carried fishing rods on board and set out to catch themselves some fish. Flatheads were plentiful although small but the highlight was catching an enormous skate after dusk, it was almost ghostlike seeing this large pure white fish breaking the water. Of cause it was far too big to be brought out of the water and eventually snapped the line and swam away.

The following day started as lovely as the previous day had been, and by 07:00 we were on our way to meet and greet a large cruise ship that was passing our way. Around about here Brian earned his new name, for in the space of half an hour we set every stitch of sail possible (with the exception of the little pocket handkerchief stored below decks.) and had also braced a few times. I must admit it was exhilarating and we were looking good, the dolphins came out to play, a pod of around six or seven dancing alongside us. At the appointed time we sailed majestically past the cruise ship all sails flying, before continuing on our way.

The weather changed later and we sailed with the wind and rain, real sailing weather. Some of our younger passengers were somewhat unwell and very few of them were seen for the next few hours, those that did surface would laze around on the Bowsprit or on the deck.

The highlights of this day was the beauty of the landscape, the cliffs were rugged and so varied with small caves and steeple life formations sometimes in full sunlight other times enveloped in mist and fog. Other highlights were sailing around the tip of the island and seeing the lighthouse, the lovely friars and the seals on their small island.

With the forecast of poor weather the next day it was decided to bypass Adventure Bay and to continue on to Killora Bay at Bligh Point before anchoring for the night. A very sleepy crew and passengers retired early once more.

The last day of our sailing commenced a little later than the previous day, giving crew and passengers time to eat a leisurely breakfast before washing the decks, cleaning-up and heading for home.

With the calmer conditions our passengers decided to once more tackle the rigging, even the more timid of them managed to go to at least the fore-course and one intrepid climber managed the top-gallant much to his delight and our admiration.

We arrived home just after lunch and after dropping of our passengers went for a well earned rest at T42. It was agreed that a great time had been had by all, even those members of the crew professing extreme exhaustion declared themselves happy and content.

By Fleur Malcolm