Port Lincoln Pit-stop (Written on Feb 27, 2013)
Departing from the Thistle Island area at 1535 on Tuesday February 26, 2013 we head for Port Lincoln to rendez-vous with crew members at the Port Lincoln Marina. Crossing Boston Bay on a NNW course, well equipped fishing vessels come and go from the various waterfront wharves and marinas harbouring the towns many sea-faring craft. This is indeed the heart of the tuna fishing industry and a centre for aquaculture.
On our way across Boston Bay and passing uninhabited Boston Island we choose a track-line between areas designated for tuna farms. Long lines of yellow buoys with nearby floating tin-shed work platforms can be seen on the starboard side and to port – rafts of black buoys extend towards beaches south of Port Lincoln. A pod of common dolphins joins us at the bow for a few brief minutes to escort us into the harbour.
Curt had phoned ahead and we were assigned a space on a floating jetty near the entrance to a new marina at the south-western part of the townscape. Two-storey apartments and single-storey homes over-looking the waterway are expensive-looking, yet tasteful, with three or four cotton palms in every garden. Some homes are larger and more palatial than others. Tuna fish are clearly a precious commodity. Entering the waterway leading to the marina, residents return my waves and we share a moment of taking photos of each others homes. They are used to seeing many fine vessels, but we are just that little bit different…
At 1840 we secure our lines and Daffy, Benny, Rodney and Inday are there to greet us! Skipper is sooo excited and all come aboard with him variously leaping, licking and barking at Inday and Daffy our returning crew and visiting guests, Benny and Rodney. It is certainly beer o’clock and evening drinks and snacks are happily consumed in the main saloon. There is a certain frivolity in the air, so I decide it is a “Fancy Pants” night! We have a chance for a restaurant meal altogether at the pub adjacent to the marina, a mere stones’ throw away but a longer walk around the marina edge… Our party of 13 walk or ride in Rodney’s rental car to the restaurant and all are excited to order drinks and favoured food.
Seated at the table next to us, Curt and I recognise Simon Reeves from the BBC series “Tropic of Capricorn” in which he filmed humpback whales with us on board WhaleSong II. It was a treat to catch up and find out what he was doing which is filming a new special for the BC called “Australia”.
From the advertising on the charter boats as we took our position on the floating jetty it is evident you can swim with just about anything around here! In brightly coloured words one boat read “swim with tuna”, another merrily suggests “swim with the sea lions” and of course, this is the place to swim with the great whites! “What do you think Simon is swimming with?” I asked Curt before we spoke with him. Sure enough, he was going to get wet with the tuna in the morning!
A great evening was had by all and we variously make our way back to Whale Song, where Skipper has been on guard and is very happy to greet us all. Curt makes a good decision to keep our house generator running rather than plug into the marina shore power. We found out the next morning that a whole-of-town power outage in the middle of the night would have given us the unpleasant lights and alarms routine – good work Captain Curt!
Wednesday February 27, 2013
At 715 am, the sky is still dark and the sun not totally up yet. My grocery list has been prepared and we have a plan for re-supplying in town today with Rodney and Benny helping by pushing the two trolleys through the large, well-stocked store. It turns out that everything I bought Benny grows in his garden but much bigger and nicer(!) I think he should open a store called Benny’s, I would go there just to make the shopping experience interesting! We race around the store and return to the boat by 1030. Our cast of thousands all helped to carry our multitude of cloth grocery bags full of day-to-day supplies and treats, meaning we can travel back to Fremantle without any stops. It is great to be prepared. I am certainly a female Boy Scout as an adult!
At 1135 we dropped our lines and with the bow facing seaward, we make an easy exit. Benny and Rodney kindly are our dial-up farewell committee waving and calling good-byes from the jetty as we head out the water-way and across Boston Bay. Again a pod of three common dolphins (2 adults and a juvenile) only join us for a minute on the bow. Whale Song continues south through Thorny Passage passing various lumpy granite boulder islands named after the seven men lost in the tragedy associated with Investigator in 1802. The western side of Thistle Island is high in profile and the eroded cliffs are very interesting in form. With only 17 hours in Port Lincoln we have had a quick pit-stop with our great evening meal and an efficient shopping expedition.
Yahoo, we are underway again and on the high seas, for the next few days participating in activities with Defence.
Looking out at a lumpy ocean under partly cloudy skies,
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