Leg 13 Adelaide to Melbourne
THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE GOOD SHIP GUINEVERE
AND A NEW POETIC OFFER
FROM AMERICAN RIVER, KANGAROO ISLAND
26 OCT 2011-10-26
We finally left the comforts of the RSAYS for Kangaroo Island at the ungentlemanly hour of 0400hrs, seeking to arrive at an anchorage in daylight. This also meant that, in the early dawn light, we would more easily see the local undergroundwater railway line which had attacked us on entry.
The early wind was light but, as the sun rose higher, stiffened into a lively 20 – 25 knots from the southeast. Not what we would have wanted for the new team of Bill, Cameron and Ben but, being hardy men and true, an acceptable challenge. Guinevere ploughed her way doggedly to windward, leaving us only just shy of the ideal course as the wind stiffened, the seas rose and the sails were reduced.
All went well until, seeking some more protective kit down below, Ben leant gently on the saloon table and, in a direct repeat of an incident on Paul’s earlier yacht, the whole thing collapsed. Cap’n Pauly was in his cabin making up for lost sleep, but we hove to and calmed the boat as Ben took the wreckage into the forecabin and lashed it down. Resuming track, we continued bashing our way south as the log pages got wetter and wetter, reminding me of an earlier night in similar weather. The deck log in its plastic bag with pencil is taken below at the end of each shift (‘watch’ in sailor-speak) to copy the data into the formal (dry) log at the chart table, then handed back up to the new on-deck crew. Only this time it came back up without the essential pencil. Of course, the absence wasn’t spotted until one hour later at the next recording time, and by then the off-watch team were fast asleep. The struggle to get forward to the companionway, unclip the tether that we wore at night and in rough weather, clamber down the steep steps and reverse the journey as Guinevere bounced across the ocean was not exactly welcome. But such moments are treated with robust good humour and, in this case, inspired another piece of verse. Those old enough to recall Noel Cowerd’s plea to Mrs Worthington, not to put her daughter on the stage, will easily pick up the tune of the following lines:
We need a pencil for the log Captain Pauly sir,
We need a pencil for the log.
It’s a bit of a fag to do it, daily every hour
But if we failed the RYA would deem us a dreadful shower.
Its a neat log, and though the pages are all damp
And you might think us rather camp to sing of our dismay
On our knees Captain Pauly sir
Please Captain Pauly sir
We need a pencil for the log
Such trifling pieces all add to the merriment of man when facing fearful odds, and are particularly welcomed by those in peril on the sea.
Our journey to Kangaroo Island passed without further event but, to avoid needlessly prolonged exposure for our new crew, we decided to drop anchor in the first available haven for the night, and move on to a more desirable spot in American River next day. The anchorage gave us a first test of the new anchor which was very successful, and a quiet night. Next morning we called up the omniscient Carol, on VMR American River, to seek guidance on a suitable mooring in the river, and enjoyed an excellent short sail round the corner to the entrance. The very narrow channel was well marked with posts which did not accord with the indicated depths on the chart plotter. This led to a short session of mud-plugging before we recovered sufficient water to proceed. Naturally we had been wise enough to venture up river on a rising tide.
Arriving at the town jetty, we were lucky enough to find a deep water mooring just off the end of the jetty, a short ride by dinghy to the delights of Kangaroo Island, of which more later. Tune in tomorrow dear reader, for the next enthralling episode.