|s/y Nine of Cups
Tasmania ... Van Diemen's Land
February 2012 - January 2013
|Some Tasmanian Facts...
|The state is named after Dutch explorer
Abel Tasman, who made the first reported
European sighting of the island in
November 1642. Tasman named the island
"Anthony van Diemen's Land" after his
sponsor, the Governor of the Dutch East
Indies. The name was later
Land by the
British. It was
in honour of its
first European discoverer
on 1 January 1856.
|Sure enough, a seaplane landed later in the afternoon.
may we suggest more Australia
|The Bass Strait islands are part of Tasmania. Don't forget to visit the Kent
Group National Park, Deal Island, with us for great views, close
encounters with wallabies and little penguins, a tour of the lighthouse and a
meet-up with the island's caretakers.
|A greater percentage of land is allocated to national parks or reserves in
Tasmania than in any other Australian state. The Tasmanian Parks &
Wildlife Service manages 423 reserves including 19 national parks.
|Tasmania's West Coast - Back to the Roaring 40's
|Green Point, Ann Bay - 40S54.11 / 144E40.39 - 34'
|A Telstra tower atop Cape Grim had
us running for the 3G modem to see
if we had an internet connection...
hoorah, we did!
|Hundreds of sooty shearwaters dive
|A windmill farm on the hill near Ann
Bay and an albatross fly-by.
|Rolling hills and beautiful views from the boat.
|We left Deal Island to cross the other half
of the Bass Strait. With 3 days of easterly
winds forecast, we were hoping to making
it around the northwest cape of Tasmania
and down the coast to Strahan in
Macquarie Harbour. So much for forecasts
and plans. We made it as far as Green
Point before a strong wind warning from the
SE got our attention. Just a reminder that
we're back in the Roaring 40's!
|Sandy Cape - Kenneth Bay - 41S24.42 / 144E45.67 - 50'
|A daytrip and
stop at Sandy
Cape in the shelter
of Kenneth Bay
The night was rolly,
but tenable. At
right, a beautiful
west coast sunrise
and the Sandy
|Gaggles of gannets floated by us unconcerned with our
presence.They were obviously involved in a chinwag,
catching up with the local gannet news.
|Above, a panoramic shot shows the entrance to Macquarie Harbour. It looks wide and benign, but in actuality it was
probably one of the more challenging, tortuous entrances we've negotiated with breakwaters, rocks, islets, shoals,
eddies, current, reefs and training walls with which to contend. The Entrance Island Light is to port.
|Strahan - Risby Cove - 42S09.43 / 145E19.74
|Another pan shot of the Strahan foreshore viewed from Nine of Cups' deck.
|A view of the Esplanade, Strahan's main street, taken
from the top of the walk at View 42 Degrees Restaurant.
No dinner, just the view.
|The climate, the topography and even the local flowers remind us of Patagonia. Above from left, hydrangea, fuschia and
wild blackberry all grow wild and unattended.
|Our usual first stop in any new port is the Tourist Info Center and Strahan had a good one. It was a rustic construction and attached to it was a small, interesting, very different
museum called West Coast Reflections. The museum's focus was on Strahan and the Macquarie Harbour area from original Aborigine inhabitants, the infamous penal colony on
Sarah Island, the saga of the "piners", lumbermen who harvested the huge Huon pines in the area to the Franklin Blockade, a successful blockade by conservationists to forestall
the building of an hydroelectric dam on the Franklin River. This area is now a World Heritage Site since 1982 and referred to as the West Coast Wilderness.
|"The Ship That Never Was" is the longest continuously running production in Australia's history. It's offered daily in the amphitheater adjacent to the Info Center. It tells the story
of 10 Sarah Island convicts who highjacked a newly built ship and escaped to Chile. During the course of the 70-minute production, the two actors with the help of much audience
participation, actually construct a ship on stage. It was well done, fun and most informative.
|People's Park is the gateway to Hogarth Falls (right), one
of Tasmania 's 60 Great Short Walks. About 3km return,
the walk took us along the Botanic Creek inhabited
by platypus which we didn't see, but had fun looking for.
|Opposite Strahan town is Regatta Point and the West
Coast Wilderness Railway station which still runs daily
steam train service between Strahan and Queenstown.
At right, David picks (and eats) wild blackberries.
|Woodworkers and woodturners in town
offer beautiful handiwork at the shops.
|Strahan is still a working fishing port. Above, a
lobsterman unloads his day's catch at the wharf.
|The area is rich in bird
life as well as flora. We
enjoyed listening to the
call in the forest. We
tramped along rain
forest paths, amazed by
the size of the tree
ferns, gum trees and
Check out lots of
Australia birds here.
|Macquarie Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the southern hemisphere after Sydney.
|"Tasmania is the most thoroughly
mountainous island on the globe."
Pub 127 Australian Pilot
|Sarah Island - 42S23.37 / 145E27.12 - 10' (Stormbreaker's mooring)
|The Macquarie Harbour Penal Station was a notorious British penal settlement established on Sarah Island in what was
Van Diemen's Land in (Tasmania), Australia. Built in 1822, the prison housed mainly male convicts, although some
women were also sent to the island. The penal colony was closed in 1833. Sarah Island was established as a place of
banishment within the Australian colonies. It took the worst convicts and those who had escaped from other settlements.
The isolated land was ideally suited for its purpose. It was separated from the mainland by treacherous seas, surrounded
by a mountainous wilderness and was hundreds of miles away from the colony's other settled areas. As Sarah Island
could not produce food, malnutrition, dysentery, and scurvy were often rampant among the convict population. The penal
colony had to be supplied by sea. Living conditions were particularly bad in the early years of the settlement. Conditions
were so crowded, convicts were unable to sleep on their backs in the communal barracks. Punishment involved solitary
confinement and regular floggings; 9,100 lashes were given in 1823. (Wikipedia)
|Cups waited for us patiently on Stormbreaker's mooring
|Remains of the solitary cells, which were completely
dark inside and barely large enough to lie down in.
|Though it only operated for 11 years, Sarah Island achieved a reputation as one of harshest
penal settlements in the Australian colonies.
|Sarah Island is now Sarah Island Historic Site, part of the
larger Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
|The harsh conditions of the island were not reflected
in this scene.
|Hawk's Nest Cove/Birch's Inlet - 42S26.44 / 145E28.01 - 20'
|Birch's Inlet is a narrow inlet on the southwestern side of Macquarie Harbour named after Thomas William Birch (1774-1821), a surgeon, whaler, merchant and shipowner who
settled in Tasmania in 1808. Hawk's Nest Cove, our anchorage just inside the inlet, was tranquil and utterly beautiful.
|Further reading about Sarah Island...
Marcus Clarke's For the Term of His Natural Life
Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish
Robert Hughes's The Fatal Shore
|Gordon River - Warner's Landing - 42S34.10 / 145E41.44 - 14'
|Kelly Basin - 42S21.42 / 145E17.33 - 26'
|Port Davey/ Schooner Cove - 43S20.50 / 146E00.29 - 30'
Bathurst Harbour / Ila Bay - 43S20. 2/ 146E06.22 - 26'
Anchorages King's Point - 43S21.91/ 146E07.90 - 18'
Clytie Cove - 43S20.91/ 146E05.64 - 20'
Bramble Cove - 43S19.35/ 146E00.20 - 21'
|The Gordon River, one of Tasmania's major rivers, flows westward from Lake Richmond for about 193km (120 mi) where it empties into Macquarie Harbour. The entire course of
the river is uninhabited wilderness area. The Gordon Splits, impassable gorges, divide the Upper from the Lower Gordon. The Lower is part of a World Heritage area and contains a
cold-climate rain forest and rare trees. The water is fresh and drinkable, but has the color of weak tea due to the absorption of tannin from button grass growing in the area. River
rules apply here...stay to the outside, deeper, fast-flowing areas of the river bends. We obtained handdrawn "mud charts" and local knowledge from Trevor on Stormbreaker.
|Nine of Cups tied up at historic Warner's Landing.
That warning sign advises that sea planes take off
and land just upstream of this wharf.
|We explored Sir John's Falls as soon as the seaplane and its
guests left. Note the brownish tannic water.
|Climbing heath was common along the river
banks and is a species endemic to Tasmania. Its
closest relative is a species found in the rain
forests of Chile.
|The Franklin Dam was proposed just downstream of the
junction of the Gordon and Franklin Rivers and would have
flooded much of both rivers. It was a major political and
environmental issue in the 1980s and the plans were finally
abandoned due to public outcry and persistence.
|We had the pleasure of sharing a dinner with Bob. He's
a kayaker whose dream was to kayak the Franklin River
solo when he was 80. He succeeded on that very day
and celebrated his feat with us aboard Nine of Cups.
|Bob left on a rainy morning, but was well prepared for
the wet weather.
|Across the river from Warner's Landing is the Lower Gordon Falls Camp where Bob overnighted. He told us that
several tiger snakes lived in the area and invited us to take a look. We saw three in just a short period of time.
Tiger snakes are the most venomous of Tasmania's three endemic snakes.
|James Kelly wrote in his narrative "First Discovery of Port
Davey and Macquarie Harbour" how he sailed from Hobart
in a small, open, five-oared whaleboat to discover Macquarie
Harbour on 28 December 1815. Kelly Basin, on the
southeast side of Macquarie Harbour, was the location of the
terminus of the Lyell Railway and the abandoned town of
Pillinger which smelted and shipped zinc and copper ore.
When the mines closed, so did the town. We enjoyed
exploring this ghost town, but the overgrown tracks and
preponderance of snakes discouraged us from doing any
longer bushwalks. The ruins of the brickworks, extant
buildings and remnants of the town were very interesting.
|The remains of a wharf at West Pillinger.
|The bushwalker's hut at Kelly's Basin was pretty basic.
|The track was overgrown and took us
over little streams and old railroad ties.
|This dunny (outhouse) looks like it might
be difficult to use.
|The remains of the old brickworks had been reclaimed by the rainforest. Fern trees and
|As we wandered the paths amongst the tree ferns and heavy vegetation, we thought how difficult clearing this land more than 100 years ago
must have been. Interpretive signs along the paths provided significant insight into this ghosttown . Relics like the old boiler (far left) and the
dilapidated, but still recognizable railway car, reminded us that this was a working town, created to support the mining industry that thrived
here for awhile. A pleasant picnic area under huge fern trees provided a good spot for eating our apples and enjoying our surroundings.
|A land-sat image of Macquarie Harbour allows
you to see its nooks, crannies, inlets and the
snaking Gordon River.
|A quick trip back to Strahan had us all re-provisioned and heading back out through Hells
Gates. Having our own inbound track to follow, the exit wasn't nearly as challenging as the
entrance had been. We knew we'd have a good trip south as soon as the dolphins showed up
to wish us fair passage. Mount Sorrel Light stands tall on the promontory leaving Macquarie.
|Unpopulated, Port Davey is an inlet on the south
west coast of Tasmania that lies next to Bathurst
Harbour and is sheltered from the Roaring Forties
navigator Marion du Fresne was the first European
Davey in March 1772. It was James Kelly in 1815
lieutenant governor Thomas Davey (1813–17).
|by the Breaksea Islands.The French
to record the inlet now called Port
who named it after the Tasmanian
|The entrance into Port Davey looked ominous with a
|Heading behind the Breaksea Islands provides
protection from the battering winds and SW swell. It
was like a different world once we were inside.
|The Bathurst Channel offered even more protection
and lots of nooks and crannies for good anchorages.
|Mount Stokes passing by Bramble Cove (left). Panoramic view of Cups anchored in Schooner Cove (center). A sea eagle poses in Schooner Cove.
|Clayton's Corner was easily accessible from our anchorage in King's Point. The Claytons, Win & Clyde, were the ultimate self-reliant
couple. They lived at Clayton's Corner for most of their adult lives. Their house and property are now part of Tasmania's Southwest
Wilderness National Park. The long pier at Clayton's Corner afforded a tie-up for shallower draft boats than Cups (far left). A collapsed
building with a warning sign indicating the building was not stable and might collapse warranted a chuckle (left center) The Clayton's
cabin now accommodates bushwalkers (hikers) and was a comfortable, dry spot to wait out a rain shower and have a snack.
|We climbed the hill behind the cabin for a
great view of Cups.
|Buttongrass and wildflowers grew on the
path up the hill.
|Because we were not sure of depths with
our 7' draft, we dinghied the 4 miles up the
Melaleuca Inlet keeping the rudimentary
stakes to port.
|There are three ways to get here...by boat,
by plane or on foot. Above, the Par Avion
airlines terminal and first class lounge.
|This tin-mining complex was once
operated by the legendary Deny King
(another good read) and is still owned
by the family.
|The orange-bellied parrot is a small
broad-tailed parrot endemic to
southern Australia, and one of only
two species of parrot which migrate
|These delicate Tasmanian bladder-
worts aka blue fairy aprons, are really
tricky. They suck unsuspecting tiny
inverterbrates into their lower stem
'bladder' and digest them for nitrogen.
|The entire area was scenic...everywhere
we turned, there was something to see
|This area is sacred to the Needwonnee, one of four bands of Aborignals that comprise the
Southwest Nation and originally lived here. Left, a view of the Melaleuca lagoon and an
Aboriginal canoe. David looks at a hut along the well-marked pathway (center left) and a
native basket hangs from a tree. We were enchanted with the forest figures along the way
made of the same vines used to make their huts and baskets.
|Despite the tea brown, tannic water, the bright orange jellyfish (left) was definitely noticeable floating near the surface. A view of
Cups anchored in Clytie Cove with Mt. Rugby in the background (center). The Narrows looked even narrower from our vantage
point on the ridge above Clytie Cove.
|Exiting the Bathurst Channel back into Port Davey, the
Breaksea Islands looked less intimidating from this view.
|Maatsukyer Island Lighthouse...Australia's
|Rounding Southeast Cape, Tasmania...one
of the world's great southern capes.
|Rounding the Cape warranted a tot of rum to
Neptune. We don't take any chances when it
comes to keeping the god of the sea happy.
|A great view of three southern Tasmanian capes...
Southwest Cape, Southeast Cape and Whale Head.
|Whale Head Lighthouse sitting atop Whale
Head promontory signalled our turn north into
|A D'Entrecasteaux Channel view...simply beautiful
|D'Entrecasteaux Channel anchorages:
|The entrance to the Pigsties anchorage is
guarded by the shags of Shag Island. The
next overnight stop was in Southport...
convenient, but unremarkable.
|Several lobster boats aka crayfish boats
were tied up at the Port Esperance
wharf. Above, the distinctive crayfish
pots used throughout Tasmania.
|The King George III was a British penal transportation
convict ship that was shipwrecked with heavy loss of life
during its last voyage when she was transporting convicts
from England to the Australian Colonies. .
|Cygnet - 43S10.60 / 147E05.16 - 21'
|Cygnet was originally named Port de Cygne Noir (Black Swan Port) by the French
explorer Bruni D'Entrecasteaux on his voyage through the area in 1792.
|Tasmanian apples were in season and
we contributed to the "honesty box"
daily for the best apples ever.
|One innovative, imaginative local
transformed his sailboat into the
town's iconic black swan. The
wings were articulated and he said
he could make up to 3 kts going
|Nine of Cups is wintering in Tasmania
while the crew is enjoying a northern
spring/summer respite in the USA. Join
us on our American Odyssey 2012.
We'll return to Cups in September to
complete our exploration and
circumnavigation of Tasmania.