It has been a public holiday today in the south of Tasmania, so we visited the Australian Wooden Boat Festival again for its final day.
The festival has been a great success, celebrating local food and drinks, local wood crafts as well as the boats. There has been entertainment each day, a variety of musicians dotted around the waterfront and on Parliament House lawns. Also this delightful little Dutch music boat, with a mini organ and trumpet.
Kids have been building their own wooden boats during the four day festival. Today was the moment of truth as the boats were put in the water for the “Quick n Dirty” Challenge. Two laps of a small course, the first with sails, the second with just oars, attracted a large crowd. The boats were original and artistic, the last boat to sink was the winner!
There are more than 500 wooden boats in Hobart this weekend for the festival.
From the tall ships in yesterdays post, to yachts, down to the smallest kayaks, outriggers and rowing boats, with exquisite craftsmanship.
A cruise ship is in town, a startling contrast of maritime, old and new.
Hobart is hosting the bi-annual Australian Wooden Boats Festival this weekend.
There was a spectacular show on the River Derwent this afternoon as the Tall Ships arrived and were escorted into the city waterfront by a couple of hundred smaller crafts.
I’m so glad that I took the afternoon off work to join the spectators before enjoying the view from our balcony.
I then went to see the ships up close on the waterfront.
Some of these ships spent ten days sailing from Sydney or Melbourne. It’s hard to imagine the months that the first Europeans spent at sea, as they journeyed to the far side of the world. This year celebrates 375 years since Abel Tasman visited this island that now bears his name.
“The Taste” is an annual festival in Hobart.
Some people go for the 80 plus stalls celebrating and selling local food and drink.
Some people go to enjoy the free entertainment.
Some people go to enjoy the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and to cheer on each competitor after they’ve crossed the finish line and head to the waterfront moorings.
We went this afternoon for all of the above reasons.
One of the joys of living in Hobart is having front row seats to the finish of the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
88 yachts set off from Sydney harbour at 1pm on Boxing Day and the winning super maxi yacht “Perpetual Loyal” crossed the finish line at 2.31am this morning, setting a new race record. The second and third place yachts arrived just before 4.30am.
The next three yachts were close together and expected before 6am, well within the previous record.
They had travelled 627 nautical miles (1,170 km) in 40 hours. But then the wind dropped to nothing and it took another 4 hours to complete the final 1 nautical mile.
I saw them appear around the headland at 5.46am and they were going slowly. I went back to bed. I was astonished to see them still on the river three hours later. The slightest hint of breeze and they changed tack.
Here is a photo log of their incredibly slow progress before they disappeared into the rain. They finally crossed the finish line at 10.03am
Australia has a new cruise ship, “The Ovation of the Seas”. It is the fourth largest cruise ship in the world, and today, on it’s maiden voyage, it visited Hobart.
At 18 decks high, it looked impressive moored up on our waterfront, dwarfing the pier buildings. The city welcomed the 4,500 passengers and 1,500 crew and Tasmania will benefit from the tourist dollars that are spent while the ship is here. The number of cruise ship visits is increasing year on year as our tourism industry grows.
Bruny is one of my favourite places. An island, off an island, off the mainland of Australia. It has a resident population of 700 which grows to over 5,000 during the summer months. The local police force doubles for the tourists, from 1 to 2.
A narrow neck of land joins North Bruny and South Bruny with wooden steps leading up to fabulous views.
We’ve taken the car ferry across to the island on several occasions, but today we saw Bruny from a different perspective, from a tour boat.
The island has interesting geology and rock formations. Waves crashing into underwater caves created spectacular curtains of water.
We saw a variety of sea birds, gulls, cormorants, short tailed shearwaters (locally called mutton birds) and shy albatross.
We observed two seal colonies, the male only group of Australia fur seals and a breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals. They were slow and cumbersome on the rocks but sleek and agile as they swam near the boat.