Here is a more cheery post than I’ve done recently. Today is the first day of the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. It is only on once every two years so I didn’t want to miss it. As I was not sure if the bus would be running from Geeveston I opted to stay an extra day with Matt and Ally and go from their place leaving Matt to doggy sit Cindy.
I got a ride to town with Ally who had to work and arrived around 11:30am. Of course, as it was the first day, not all the boats had arrived and many were making their way into the harbour when I arrived. The tall ships that are usually on display were not due until the afternoon and unfortunately, I was not able to stay to see them.
There were still a lot of very nice ones to see though. Some were quite old but a lot of the ones that I saw were built in the last forty years. I’m sorry but I have a hard time thinking of something from the 1990s as old.
I walked around for a couple of hours taking photos of the ones that I liked best. It was already quite busy although still easy to get a seat in the food area where I stopped to get a baked potato for lunch. At this point, I thought I should check on Cindy and messaged Matt. He said that she had been howling a lot and of course I immediately felt guilty for leaving her and cut my visit short.
I did manage to take more than 50 photos though. Here are some of them.
Messing about in boats
MV Goolara built 1958
Pelican and Curlew two boats named for birds.
Brittania one of the older boats I saw.
Moored at Elizabeth St Pier
I thought that the man in this boat was called Gus but actually it is the name of the boat.
I spotted this caravan being used as a wine bar at the race village on the Hobart waterfront last week. It is made by the US company Airstream and while it looks very retro they are still being made today although this is the first one I have seen.
As I had some time before my bus went after photographing the yachts I decided to visit The Taste of Tasmania. The Taste as we usually call it is held in and around one of the old wharf sheds every year at this time. As the name implies it is a food festival. Admittance is free, they did toy with an entrance fee a few years back but it was very unpopular.
When I first visited the Taste in the early 2000’s it was contained in the old No. 1 shed and the adjacent waterfront area. Over the years it has grown so much that it has spread on to the adjacent Salamanca and Parliament lawns.
I was pleased to see that there was lots of seating in the shade in these areas as in fine weather they are a great alternative to the big shed. I don’t go to The Taste every year. I’m not what you would call a foodie and I don’t like queueing for food when it is busy although I like to support the local producers. The shed can be humid and noisy and the seating is at long communal tables. I really dislike eating with strangers. However, all the new seating options meant that it was not as crowded and I was even able to grab one of the coveted waterside tables and have it more or less to myself.
I was also pleased to see that the venue had plenty of recycling bins and that most of the plates and cutlery were the recyclable type. There was also free drinking water available so people could fill their water bottles.
The food, well there was a huge variety, locally made smallgoods, seafood Ethiopian, Korean, Indonesian, you name it and it was probably there. There were also locally made ice creams, individual Pavlovas, cakes, and of course beer, cider, wines etc. It was rather expensive for me though. I certainly can’t afford to stay all day trying different things when hardly anything was under $10 a serve. In the end, because I was hungry I had a Korean pork belly bun which was nice and a Raspberry Delight, local raspberries with locally made Valhalla ice cream and whipped cream on top. I love these ice creams with fresh fruit and usually treat myself to one in the summer.
There are stages set around the area where live entertainment is presented and there are things set up for kids to do so it is a good day out especially combined with the other activities on the waterfront, harbour cruises, motorcycle rides, horse and carriage rides and the yachts of course.
Today I made my second trip to Hobart to see the yachts that had completed the race. On Friday when I was there only the four super maxi’s had arrived so I knew I would have to do a second trip. The last yachts arrived this morning, New Year’s Eve, apart from half a dozen who had retired for mechanical reasons during the race.
The Line Honours winner this year was once again “Wild Oats XI” who survived not only a very tight battle with the other three super maxi’s but a protest after the finish. Never a dull moment with Wild Oats XI.
She was followed in by “Black Jack”, “Commanche” and “Infotrack”.
Handicap winner was “Alive” who was the fifth yacht over the line. “Alive” is a Tasmanian owned yacht, one of three Tasmanian yachts who started the race. Unfortunately, this was one of the yachts I was not able to find.
As everyone had arrived by the time I got to the wharf this morning there was not so much frantic activity. Some crews were doing maintenance or packing up gear for the return journey, others were entertaining friends on board their yachts. Other yachts were empty and sitting quietly waiting for the return trip. There were a few empty spaces so I supposed that some of those yachts might have been out sailing as there are a few local races on the Derwent or they might even have left for the return trip although most competitors like to celebrate the New Year in Hobart. I did not spot “Wild Oats XI” today, so if she was not out on the Derwent she had probably left for her next race. You don’t often see her after the official presentation.
Even so, there were a lot of people about looking at the yachts and a lot to photograph as I wandered about looking for my favourites and for any other interesting ones. Patrice is a regular competitor I’ve come to recognise because there is always a large teddy bear on board. I noticed several other teddies on deck and when I read up on her I found that the crew of Patrice have been supporting a kids cancer charity for the past ten years.
I thought a bit about names, it’s interesting what people name their yachts. The most boring ones are those who race under a sponsors name. Some like macho names like “Gunrunner”, “Smuggler” or “Daredevil”. Some names are traditional for their owners like “Helsal” and “Ragamuffin”. “St Jude” is probably a nod to the fates. Quetzalcoatl must have been named to annoy the race commentators who have to try and pronounce it. My favourite this year was the unfortunately named “Trumpcard”. Someone had put a piece of tape over the name and renamed it “Wild Oats XII”.
There were not many overseas entries this year but I did find a few, from the USA, China, and Germany.
I took a lot more photos of the race fleet today so I may post a few more of them another day.
Here is the line honours winner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race for this year. Yes, it is Wild Oats XI again. The four super maxi’s that finished the race arrived on Friday morning and this photo was taken just a few hours later on. I’ll have a full wrap up of the race in the next couple of days after I’ve been back to Hobart to take pictures of the rest of the fleet.
Hobart’s eastern and western shores are spanned by the Tasman Bridge which was completed in 1964. This bridge replaced an earlier floating bridge that had been built in 1943.
I was not living in Tasmania in 1975 when the bridge collapsed but of course, I saw it on the news. It was only much later when I moved here that I began to understand how it affected people’s lives.
The disaster occurred on the night of the 5th of January 1975. Lake Illawarra, a bulk ore carrier was making its way up the Derwent, as it was a Sunday night there was no pilot on board. The reports of the accident say that human error and tidal currents in the river were the main factors that caused the ship to smash into one of the bridge pylons. A section of the bridge came down sinking the ship and carrying with it four cars that had been unable to stop in time. The five occupants and seven crew members from the Lake Illawarra died that night. Two other cars were left teetering over the edge of the bridge but miraculously those people survived.
What I was unaware of until I moved to Tasmania was the social impact the loss of the bridge would have on Hobart. At that time there was only one other river crossing and it was several kilometres away at Bridgewater so getting to and from the CBD became a major problem for people on both sides of the river. Initially, ferries were brought in to deal with the commuters but later a temporary “Bailey Bridge” was constructed to replace the Tasman Bridge while repairs took place. It was nearly three years before the bridge was re-opened.
Apart from the delays that this caused for people trying to get to work or appointments it changed people’s lives in other ways. I spoke with workmates who were old enough to remember the disaster and one who was just a teenager at the time told me that she had to move because her job was on the opposite side of the river to her home. Her parents thought it was easier to set her and a friend up in a flat than for them to commute to their jobs. I am sure that she was not the only one who made the move because of work.
Probably as a result of the disaster services on the eastern shore were developed faster than they might have been otherwise. The population had been growing for some years but most people worked and shopped in the Hobart CBD. Eastlands shopping centre was enlarged and new shops, offices, medical facilities and entertainment venues started to appear.
Of course what I can never know is how people felt when they heard the news. In a small place like Tasmania. when something bad happens it’s personal because it’s very likely that someone you know has been affected in some way. When people saw the first pictures of the bridge it must have felt as if nothing would ever be the same.
Today a few things have changed. The bridge is repaired but the pylons are in slightly different positions as the Lake Illawarra, now a dive site, still lies on the river bed. There is always a pilot on board any ship that passes under the bridge and when one does the traffic is stopped. A third bridge has been built between Hobart and Bridgewater. The City of Clarence is now one of the fastest growing areas in Tasmania.
I have included a few links for those who would like to learn more about what happened. There are some historic pictures as well.
Whether we have it or we don’t have it rain plays an enormous part in our daily lives. We can’t live without it but too much of it at one time can cause havoc and not enough of it is devastating.
One of the things that attracted me to the Huon Valley is how green it is. I’d spent most of my life in South Australia, the driest state and the rivers and lakes, green grass and flowers here appealed to me. It does seem to rain more here than some other parts of the state. Naomi says that it always rains when she comes to visit me. She was here Saturday and it was dry until about 5pm and then as she started to think about going home down came the rain.
Not enough rain at the right time of year can be bad for farmers crops but unseasonal rain and hail in summer can ruin the cherry crop and growers lose a lot of money because damaged cherries are no good for export.
At times there are areas that are very prone to flooding. Launceston often suffers from floods in winter but the city has put in levees that they hope will protect the city from the worst of them. We had bad flooding in the north a couple of winters ago when several rivers rose dangerously high.
The Huon River sometimes floods in winter, usually, it is not too bad in Huonville, just water over the road in a couple of places. Two or three times since I’ve been here I’ve seen water in the main street and a couple of businesses have been affected but a couple of years ago there was a situation created by high tides in the estuary, melting snow and a lot of rain and there was a much worse flood. Homes were evacuated, businesses were flooded and livestock lost.
Tasmania isn’t always wet though, people don’t realise it but Hobart is the driest state capital after Adelaide and we have had serious droughts in Tasmania, especially in the eastern part of the state. The area where Naomi lives in the centre of the state is farming country and she often told me how distressed the local farmers were when they had to destroy sheep or sell them for very little because the land would not support them. Lake Dulverton at Oatlands where she lives dried up completely during a particularly bad drought.
I am fortunate enough that my house is connected to the town water supply but I have friends who rely on rainwater tanks and when the rain doesn’t come they have to buy water.
Mostly I don’t mind when it rains. Of course, it is a nuisance at times, at the Op Shop for example when it is too wet for us to put anything outside the shop and the bad weather keeps customers away. Or when I go to the cricket and the match is rained out. On the other hand, rain is nice to cool everything down after a hot day and I like the sound of rain on a metal roof. Without rain, there would be no rainbows.