Aussie Exercises

Aussie Exercises emailed 09/10/12

Darwin Exercises. Photo credit M.Jenner.

With solemn hearts we lift the anchor and head offshore into the warm tropical seas to assist and support two Australian Military Exercises.  Whale Song is a quiet ship and her task in the exercises is to track submarines.  This is another new job description added to her “Swiss army knife” tasking and qualifications!


The first exercise went well and concluded in a timely fashion, conducted under gorgeous tropical skies and glassy calm seas.  In the area nearby, blue whales belted out huge sounds and we are intrigued about where they are travelling from and to.  We toast to the Gary Ramsay Brydes’ whales, whom fill every sound corner!  Gary takes his leave, afraid of missing a friends’ wedding and Daffy is the octopus like DJ for the second exercise.  All activities are deemed a success and with a stunning the sunset for the exercise finish, all the vessels bolt for Darwin in a contingent of military and whale research prowess!


Tropical skies. Photo credit M.Jenner.











Tropical ocean

Intoxifying motion

Life-giving potion

Need sun-tan lotion


Heavy-laden cumulus

Can’t believe stormless

Bursting with moisture

Beautiful sky fixture


Clouds glistening on glassy seas

Just enjoying the zephyr breeze

In fact just our forward motion

Giving us this gorgeous potion


Flying fish skips

Over glass he trips

Wobbles tail from side to side

Up and away they glide


Circular patterns are the wake

Marking this oceanic lake

A fish that flies

Or a bird in the water plies?


Skip and I walk the deck

Trying with camera to detect

A burst of speed from a flying fish

Did fulfil my wish…


A painted sky

Within a painted sea

Or is it a painted sea

Within a painted sky?


(Written by Micheline Jenner)



Darwin Again!

Making our third entry to Darwin we anchor at 1352 on September 21st in the Small Boat Anchorage in Darwin Harbour after yet another successful foray.  We have got to know this area quite well with these visits and it feels good returning.  The water is an interesting cloudy turquoise, the skyline of old and new apartments jostle for your attention beneath an expansive blue and beautifully clouded sky.  There is much vessel traffic moving to and fro, and with the ramp-up of the INPEX gas facility in the port there are many oil/gas vessels and dredging is also going ahead.  Tugs tootle together around the harbour clustering to assist with movements at the jetty of cruise ships and military ships which swap positions alongside.  It’s all go and there is much to see, just while at anchor.  Ever interested in shipping we all gawk at any different vessel, checking on the AIS for their listed weight and length details.  I make a trip with Maria and Inday ashore that afternoon and have a chance meeting at a city cafe with the Manager of the MOU Box.  I am no longer a believer in “chance”, things happen but they have been carefully planned by some-one else.   Too many “chance” things happen to us…


On Saturday September 22nd Daffy prepares to fly back to cool Canberra after several weeks bobbing at sea in the tropics aboard Whale Song.  Skipper becomes sad as he sees Daffys’ packed bags and his favourite couch buddy getting ready to leave.  You can physically see Skippers’ countenance drop, although the silver-lining that he is happy about, is the ride to shore!  Sam and Skipper are our shore crew taking us to and from the floating jetty at Stokes Hill Wharf for any shore expeditions.  Skipper rides proudly on the bow of Orca, our 6m tender, looking around suitably attentive.  He moves quickly and deftly from place to place, sometimes perched on the seat beside Sam or even driving nonchalantly with both front paws on the steering wheel wearing a huge grin on his face!  If dogs can smile, we reckon he does when he is boating with Sam.  As Sam drives slowly past the lunchtime crowds under the umbrellas at the cafes and restaurants sipping on their lattes and chilled Chardonnay at the end of Stokes Hill Wharf, people put down their forks and mouths full of buttered baguette and exotic salads, to point and laugh at little Skipper perched atop the bow looking for the world like a figure-head!   Cameras click and videos whrrr, Sam and Skip fill holiday-makers’ holiday snaps as part of the uniqueness of Darwin!  They could easily have charged “ambience” money from the restaurant goers as they passed by several times each day, providing entertainment for the lunching throng!


Skipper taking the wheel with Sam onboard ‘Orca’.

Part of the project team: Sam, Dale, Daffy and Gary.
Photo credit M.Jenner.


On Saturday afternoon (September 23rd) we catch up with Grant from Megan M (whom bought the sister ship to Genesis which is now WhaleSong II, his vessel is called Exodus), he gives us some beautiful fresh whole fish and we plan for a fish dinner for Sunday, September 24th, with new-found Darwin acquaintances Jim and Debbie and Dales’ crazy friends Bo and Lyndsey.    We have a lovely evening with dinner for 8, despite me forgetting to thaw the fish… everyone is very forgiving and nice.  I just fulfilled every hostesses nightmare!  I think everyone else is glad that they haven’t done this!  We particularly enjoyed the mangoes from Jim and Debbies’ property and a good night full of fun and laughter was had!  Liz, Dales’ wife called in the middle of the blending of the dessert mangoes into a delicious thick smoothy, “That’s the mango margaritas!” I yelled and I am certain it must have sounded like we were having far too much fun under the warm Darwin sun!

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