Voyage Log: A Yachtsman’s Cruise
Sydney to Hobart | 26 December 2022 – 1 January 2023
Master: Simon Buckeridge, Expedition Leader: Jamie Anderson
The following trip diary was written by Shane Pinner
We all met the Vibe Hotel in Sydney to have our bags checked and a RAT. Once we had completed the process, we hoped on the buses to travel to our pick-up point at Palm beach on the Hawkesbury estuary north of Sydney. There was a low fog all the way to the destination and some of us wondered whether we would be able to see the start of the race. After about an hours travel, we arrived at the jetty of Palm Beach to be picked up by the Xplorer to be transferred to Coral Discoverer. The fog continued to hang around and we were met by Captain Simon as we boarded Coral Discoverer while it lay at anchor in Broken Bay. Once our bags were loaded we weighed anchor and made our way to our next destination, the start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race!!
As we had the mandatory safety briefing and introduction to staff, we passed Barrenjoey lighthouse, we couldn’t really see it proper, well fleeting glimpses, due to the fog. This land mark is also where the TV program, Home and Away is filmed.
We reached our destination outside the entrance of Sydney Harbor and while lunch was served on the sundeck we waited for the start of the race.
Then suddenly the first of the supermaxi yachts came racing through the heads. Captain Simon skillfully maneuvered the Coral Discoverer into position so we could get amongst the fleet. Guest lecturer Sue, a veteran of 17 Sydney to Hobart yacht races provided excellent commentary on what tactics the yachts would use to take advantage of the winds and currents. We were moving along at speed in Coral Discoverer, however it looked as if were standing still as Andoo Comanche raced up behind.
We continued to follow the fleet down the coast as Sue continued to provide commentary.
At 15.30 Sue gave her first presentation ‘The Excitement of the start 2022 Sydney to Hobart & What to expect in Bass Strait’
Then at 1800 we all joined Captain Simon on the sundeck for Welcome aboard drinks. This followed by a fantastic evening dinner. looked as if it was going to ram us!! All very exciting.
(Taken off Channel 7’s live feed. Andoo Comanche passing down Coral Discoverer’s port side.)
We travelled through the night and woke to foggy conditions. We managed to catch fleeting glimpses of the yachts in the distance. It was great to see their positions however on the monitors in the bridge deck lounge. After a hearty breakfast guest lecturer Sue gave a great presentation ‘History of the Great Race’. It was a fantastic presentation and well attended. Immediately after Sue’s presentation, guest lecturer Shane, gave a presentation on an overview on the Geological, natural, and human history of Bass strait.
As we looked out to sea, we were now starting to see more Short-tail shearwaters and albatross. Lunch was served and then we had to make detour. Due to a medical emergency Captain Simon had to go to Eden to evacuate the guest, a 14-hour detour.
In the afternoon Sue gave another presentation on the weather and forecasting for the Sydney to Hobart race. Purser Bonita gave a presentation on Australian Wine Tasting which was well attended!!
As we enjoyed dinner service, we met by the pilot boat from Eden and the vessel escorted into the port where the guest was transferred ashore to waiting ambulance. Once completed we left the port to resume our journey south.
We continued across the Bass Strait and as we ventured further south the windier it became and the sea state deteriorated, it wasn’t unpleasant but we certainly knew we had entered Bass Strait. Sue continued to provide us with updates about the toll was taking on some of the yachts, with several yachts losing rudders including one that was abandon.
In the morning Sue gave a presentation, ‘Lighthouses of Tasmania’, it was very informative and well attended. The talk was followed with Shane’s presentation ‘Animal migration’.
Another fantastic lunch was enjoyed by all. After lunch two separate Bridge tours were on offer where we had the opportunity to learn how the ship navigated and steered its way through the journey. Afternoon tea was on offer where we enjoyed scrumptious upside-down peach cake.
Then once again Sue gave us another presentation ‘King Billy’, a story of the tree King Billy pine and Huon pine both excellent boatbuilding timbers and the yacht King Billy that was built from King Billy pine.
After the presentation we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks followed by dinner service.
After crossing Bass Strait and travelling down the east coast Tasmania, we awoke to our anchorage in Great Oyster Bay off the Freycinet peninsula. It was an early start. We broke into the three groups. The first group led by Sue, walked the isthmus track from Hazards beach and then climbed up the thousand steps to the Wineglass Bay lookout. It was well worth it !! the view was breathtaking. The other two groups led by Shane and Jamie also walked the isthmus track to Wineglass Bay.
Both groups stopped along the way and walked down to the Hazards lagoon, to admire the view of Mt Freycinet and Mt Graham. Although the track was very boggy under foot we were rewarded with the white sands of Wineglass Bay.
We stopped for a while and soaked in the view and some of us even went for a swim.
We returned the same way arriving back at the Hazards beach to be collected by the Xplorer to return to Coral Discoverer. On our return we stopped at Refuge Island to see an Australian Fur seal basking in the sun. Once back on board the ship weighed anchor and while we enjoyed lunch continued down Great Oyster Bay to our next destination, Maria Island.
After lunch we transferred to the Xplorer to land on Maria Island. Once again, we broke into three groups. The first group went with Jamie to Painted cliffs via the Oast house ruins. Jamie explained the history of the ruins and the geology behind the Painted cliffs.
The second group went with Sue to the historic settlement of Darlington where we had the opportunity to learn about the convict history and industrial history of the island. The final group went with Shane on the Fossil cliffs walk, which included walking past the Engine room. All the groups had fantastic encounters with the wildlife, Cape Barren geese, Forrester kangaroos and of course the cute flinders Island wombats. We all then met at the jetty to return to the ship in time to freshen up for pre-dinner drinks followed by dinner service.
We once again awoke to a new destination. This time we were anchored in Norfolk Bay, after breakfast we transferred to the Xplorer for a short ride across the bay to the Taranna boat ramp where we met by two buses to be transferred to the historic Port Arthur convict prison. When we arrived, we had time to ourselves to wander around the gardens, the gift shop, enjoy a snack and coffee. At 1200 we were met by resident historic guides for a private behind the scenes ‘Commandants tour’ The excellent guides told us about the history, about some of the more colorful characters that resided at Port Arthur and hardship that the convicts endured at Port Arthur.
We once again boarded the buses back to Taranna where we hopped on the Xplorer to return to Coral Discoverer for a late lunch. Immediately after lunch Sue gave another presentation of historical footage of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the Volvo around the world yacht race. We really appreciated the challenge the yachting athletes undertake in ocean yacht racing. Straight after Sue’s presentation we had pre-dinner drinks during which time the raffle draw and the auction of yacht souvenirs to raise money for SOLAS (Save our lives at sea). Much fun was had by all and over $4500 was raised. Thank you all. After pre-dinner drinks finished, we enjoyed another excellent dinner service.
We had anchored overnight of Bruny Island and after an early breakfast we cruised across to Alonnah where we met by the coaches to take us to Adventure Bay. At Adventure Bay two groups remained with Jamie and Shane while the third group of non-walkers went with Sue on a coach to the scenic lookout ‘The Neck’. The Neck is the isthmus that joins South and North Bruny Island. Here the guests learnt about Short-tail shearwaters and little penguins. The other two groups at Adventure Bay separated into two groups. One group went with Jamie on the Fluted Cape walk where they had a meandering walk through the eucalyptus forest to the top of Fluted Cape, the second highest sea cliffs in Australia.
The second group went with Shane on flat track to Grass Point, to the ruins of a bay whaling station. Along the way we stopped and looked interesting plants and the remains of two other bay whaling station. We made our way back to have a coffee before hopping onto the coaches for a short drive to the Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration.
Here we learnt more about maritime history of Adventure Bay. Once we had completed our visit, we returned to the boat ramp to be transferred to Coral Discoverer to our final destination of Hobart.
Once tied up at Macquarie Wharf, we had a short period of time to ourselves before joining Captain Simon farewell drinks. Followed by dinner service and the New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Coral Expeditions would like to sincerely thank you for travelling with us on 2022 Yachtsman cruise to Tasmania. On behalf of Captain Simon and the crew we wish you a happy New Year and look forward to seeing you again.