Birthday Celebrations!

Birthday Celebrations – Port Lincoln Style!  (Written on March 04, 2013)

Friday March 1st 2013

Photo credit M.Jenner

With champagne the whole crew toasts “29 again!”
Thanks guys!
Photo credit M.Garcia

Upon completion of our Defence activity, we run for a calm anchorage.  We were originally aiming for Thistle Island but looking on the chart when I get out of bed, I can see that we are only about 5 nm from Port Lincoln.  Awaking (the boys split my watch as a birthday gift!)I can tell the run has been longer than expected due to wind direction and conditions influencing our anchorage choice.  At the elements mercy –this is boating life!  We are all happy, safe and sound and the smell of pancakes greets me on the stairs!  Resty and Inday are making tasty, whole pan-sized pancakes!  Yummm!  The table is set and maple syrup and yoghurt adorn some pancakes on plates or lemon and sugar on others.  A leather-bound dairy is a treat from Inday, (for special poems – I decide) and hand-drawn cards from Sacha-belle and Peta just gorgeous!  Curt and our girls have a plan for our return, I can’t wait!

Photo credit M.Jenner

Our “at sea” internet cafe!
Photo credit M.Jenner

While transiting back to Port Lincoln for a few days between activities, the main saloon closely resembles an internet cafe with much ticking away on the keys as data is processed, daily logs edited, sound bites collected and frequencies of calls compared.

Just at 1330 as I serve lunch of hot chicken pie, cheese/crackers, spinach & tomatoes and rustic baguette we arrive in Port Lincoln and immediately are given access to tie at the fuel wharf to re-fuel.  Lunch is slightly staggered with our marine crew tending the fuelling operation, but we leave them some food!   A group of seven people wearing orange hi-viz vests walk the wharf and the gentleman leading the jetty tour stops to say hi and we realise we met Freddy on a boating safety course 2 years ago! By 1530 we are settled back at the floating jetty and close to 1700 Sacha-belle completed the finishing touches on her homemade, exotic chocolate torte birthday cake, complete with rousing song, candles and a glass of bubbles all around!  What a treat!  Today is my birthday and 29-again (!) is just marvellous!  Thanks everyone!


Sacha-belle made me a gorgeous exotic fruit/chocolate cake – absolutely scrumdidlyicious!
Photo credit M.Jenner

Soon our five girls head ashore, winding their way through the neighbourhood to the marina restaurant.  Meanwhile Daffy, Curt and I greet Benny, Rodney and 2 AMWC personnel on board.  Drinks and light snacks are served and then we are kindly delivered to the restaurant by Rodney in his rental car.  Our whole crew is there and most of Port Lincoln as well.  It has been race day here today, the Port Lincoln Cup – so everyone is finely dressed.  Ladies sache in tight dresses, teetering in their high heels with fascinators perched stylishly to the side and the men wear suits and ties but since most people have been drinking for almost ten hours, the staggers get more staggery and the shirts more out than in… Port Lincoln is on a bender!…

I try the Atlantic salmon and Curt the steak, the meals are delicious and soon we are ready for the short walk back to Whale Song.  Inday, Sacha and Sam decide to adventure into town and see the sights!  Daffy ably kept the fort with Skipper very happy curled up at his side on the couch.   A fantastic day had by all, especially me!  Again thanks everyone!


Saturday March 2nd, 2013


Captain Curt and First Mate, Skipper, trialling an ocean rowboat in the canal of the Port Lincoln Marina! At least one of them is looking the right way!
Photo credit M.Jenner

After a good night’s sleep we catch up on paper-work, editing papers, reading scientific papers and general business, but not before a gorgeous ocean rowing boat slips by Curts’ office window and within minutes he knows all about the builder from the internet site advertised on the side of the skiff.  Freddy, from the wharf tour, visits and he takes Curt to see the afore-mentioned fabulous ocean rowing skiff and the builder, Graham, who happens to be his friend.  I love meeting people in country towns, they are always so willing to help and learn and the interconnections of boating across Australia are unbelievable.

At 5pm Freddy kindly delivers Maria and Peta to the airport for flights to Melbourne.  Maria is set for Graduation for her PhD at Deakin University and is very excited.  Peta has been a great help and is preparing for new diving adventures.

Low light and long shadows on Taylor Island - one of the islands named after the crew of Endeavour lost in this area in 1802. Photo credit M.Jenner

Low light and long shadows on Taylor Island – one of the islands named after the crew of ‘Endeavour’ lost in this area in 1802.
Photo credit M.Jenner

Skipper has a much-enjoyed walk with Sam while most of the crew venture on foot into town, Dale even catching a movie (“Quartet”, which he highly recommends, by the way!) and then everyone reconvenes back on board (some feeling a little stiff after their four hour walks) and dinner is served at 8pmish when Benny and Rodney join us after their ranging activities at Thistle Island.  Places are set for an intimate dinner of 12 around bowls of hot steaming Thai green chicken curry, beef with Hoisin sauce and chilie, steamed rice and fried rice which are beautifully complimented with another birthday treat, glasses of Moet & Chandon bought by Benny.  Thanks Benny, what a nice gift!  Let’s see, how many days will this continue?


Sunday March 3rd, 2013

Photo credit M.Jenner

Skipper and new friend, Cola, on the floating jetty.
Photo credit M.Jenner

More paper-work is attempted, and when Graham rowed by mid-morning with his little Jack Russell, Cola, perched on the bow, we ask him over for a coffee and chat, interested in the fishing stories he has from his youth in this area and happy for a break from the constant paper-work!

Inday and Sacha decide on a walk and a swim, which they achieve, to their surprise in a shark protective cage at the waters’ edge near the town centre.  On the way home they gather flowers for a posie and kindly present to me upon return.  The only hitch, the roses complete with huge thorns are surrounded by Oxalis (noxious weeds) and poisonous Oleander, what were my crew thinking?

Photo credit M.Jenner

Skipper and I with my “deadly” flower posie! My crew are clearly marine biologists not botanists!
Photo credit I.Ford

It’s a nice warm day, so cold meat, cheese and salad are suitable “summer fare” and later, I take Skipper for a jaunt at South Point Reserve (with camera of course!).  Even later on we are visited by some local interested yachties, Jonathon, Wendy, Erin and Ryan from SeXtant, a 34 foot X-Boat.  By 1805 we are off for Defence activities, leaving the floating jetty again and thoroughly enjoying the pink-clouded sunset as we go through the islands to the west of Thistle Island… wow, we are lucky!






Monday March 4th, 2013

Photo credit M.Jenner

Common dolphins are bouncy and crazy – the Jack Russell’s of the sea!
Photo credit M.Jenner

We conduct activities all day which are completed by 1600 and we make for Port Lincoln, this will be our third time here… We have a lovely drive towards the coast and while Curt is commenting on the barrenness of the deep open ocean, seven common dolphins came roaring towards us and bow-ride enthusiastically!  We are on the steep edge of the 200, 300, 400 500m contour line, at the shelf edge… this is where the action is!


Sunset hues over Grindal Island – also named in honour of Captain Matthew Flinder’s seven lost crew.
Photo credit M.Jenner




Lunch was salmon wraps with coz lettuce and the last bananas and pears, yumm!  Later dinner is well-received, being roast chickens, potato au gratin and red cabbage coleslaw with chocolate tart to finish.  We bolt for Port Lincoln for a final crew change in calm weather.  The forecast is good and we are excited for our Bight crossing and all the animals we could hear/see!

From calm, calm seas near Thistle Island,





Centre for Whale Research

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