Acclaimed singer-songwriter Cam Tapp is turning his talents to TV. For this he’s recently been off discovering Flinders Island, shooting the first episodes of Famous Tasmanians. Refreshingly Cam’s show isn’t based on household names. It might focus on a local somewhere whose work and/or personality gives their community a bit of  a glow. “The show will highlight one beautiful feature that makes Tasmania and that’s community,” Cam says.

The first webisodes can be found on his ‘Famous Tasmanians’ YouTube Channel or visit  DiscoverTasmania on YouTube where we have the videos listed in our Favourites.
Tassie people … places … produce … everyone is famous for something!!

Intro Screen Shot

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Hobart. Yes, the round Tasmania cruise, at least for those of us aboard Emeritus 2 is at an end. We awoke to a perfect morning at Recherche, and I found myself wondering why on earth the French ever left Tasmania. Somebody said they had work to get back to as well, but I don’t think that’s right somehow….

Before heading up to Alexanders for our final night aboard we took a walk up Cockle Creek and then said our good-byes to other circumnavigators.

In the very calm waters of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, I began the lengthy but satisfying task of packing up and cleaning the boat. By the time we reached Alexanders – one of my favourite places in the whole world – it was time for all of us to spend the evening in quiet contemplation. We went to bed happily and slept soundly, even though the next day we knew our adventure would be over.

I really didn’t want to leave the boat – after all the places she had taken us, whenever we asked her to, and in any conditions. The only thing to do is plan the next cruise, but in the meantime here endeth the blog….

A final farewell to other circumnavigators

A quiet time, just writing up the log

A quiet time, just having a beer and a fish

The sun goes down at Alexanders and on our circumnavigation

Next day I found the vegie patch had given birth to giant twin zucchini!

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Family and work commitments drive us to pull the pin on the delights of Port Davey at the very first opportunity for a good passage back to the south-east. Heck, if not we could be waiting another week or two for a decent break. My boss has been terrific to give me the leave I’ve had, and I do want a job when I get back to Hobart. Don’t I?

About 10 vessels left Port Davey when we did, but they will continue to nosey their way up to Hobart from Recherche Bay, and await the rest of the fleet to arrive in time (hopefully) for the Cygnet Yacht Club barbeque on Sunday night. It seems an age since the entire fleet got together, and I’m sorry to be missing what will be a very convivial gathering up the Huon.

We love sky like this.....

... and water like this

... as we leave Port Davey at daybreak

But we don't like clouds like this....

...or water like this.....

... when we arrive at Recherche Bay

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Port Davey, Day 27, 14th March….. Having spent some time in search of, and in vain, for Critchley Parker’s grave when we visited Port Davey two years ago we vowed to make a second attempt. His story is tragic, but too long to tell in my blog. What I would recommend though, for Critchley’s tale and all information about Port Davey is the excellent guide, map and DVD provided by Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. The only thing a bit wrong in the guide is the exact location of Critchley’s grave, but we left some stones on the beach which we hope will indicate the path, and help reduce the number of people who step elsewhere on the slopes of Parker Bay.

In addition to the extraordinary landscape and marine life of Port Davey, with bay whaling, pining, fishing and mining all part of the European history, there are also wonderful stories of pioneering blokes and their amazing wives.

I will be sad to again leave this remarkable place.

Looking, looking, looking.....

Here it is, Critchley Parker's grave

A cuppa with the Dineens after successful foray

A very short walk from Clayton's Jetty....

... is Win and Clyde Clayton's house. One of the crew aboard the Holger Danske, who has a long association with the house spent time on maintenance during our stay

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Only 35 miles from Hobart, and I’ve just been handed a cup of tea with the solemn words that this signifies the end of the ocean-going part of our journey. We are entering the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

But the joy of being away on the water continues. With ‘civilisation’ comes internet access again, and a chance to update my blog with further tales from Port Davey. The days are getting a bit mixed up, both in my mind and with what activities are posted when. In reality it’s Day 29 of our voyage, but let’s go back to Sunday 13 March … Day 26

Others may not agree, but in my view there cannot be many other cruising areas in the world that match the remote splendor of Port Davey. Apart from one vessel, after which I think the cruise radio operator might soon re-name Clayton’s Jetty, all the VDLC boats are making the most of visiting the large variety of bays, rivers, hideaways and inlets presided over by Mount Rugby. Part of the Southwest National Park, the only way in here is to walk, get a small plane, or by boat.

After a semi-serious walk with the Dana Felicia crew in the morning, we were joined for lunch and the afternoon by our friends on Masterpiece. Many stories were told around the table, along with the ever-important sharing of vital cruise information.

The day-old Mercury they bequeathed is likely to be our last news from the outside world for as long as we stay here. What will be interesting to monitor are the trembling fingers and nervous glances of one particular crew-member aboard Masterpiece – let’s call him Mr Twitchy – as he goes through mobile phone cold turkey. No calls, no text, no internet. Ooohhwee, is he going to find the next few days tough …

Somewhere around here there should be another 30 boats...

Ah, these and more tucked away at Clayton's Corner

Enjoy the good weather while you can boys

Tannin from buttongrass makes the water the colour of tea and impossible to see through except in very shallow patches

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Schooner Cove, Port Davey. The Pilot Bay mossies were a hungry mob, and with around 6 boats at anchor at any one time during the night they had plenty of fast food outlets from which to choose. I set to with my craft box, scissors, mossie netting and tape to secure a further two entry points. Just going on deck to position one of these, however, was enough to attract 3 new squadrons, and I went back inside cursing and slapping myself. I scratched into my log that night ‘Getting low on Stingose, but don’t mention to the crew.’

At daybreak we were ready to get on the move and the passage to Port Davey was a reasonably uneventful 11 hours and 20 minutes. For the first time on this trip I opened a book and read a couple of chapters. As anticipated, there were crayboats out, which was a big clue to all vessels to start looking out for pots. Later we heard that unfortunately, even the most experienced of yachtspersons did manage to snag a line, but were able to winch the pot aboard, and with help from another boat cut the line from the prop. The fisho was already heading round Southwest Cape, but was generous enough of spirit to thank the offending skipper for the return of his pot to Kettering at a later date.

Our only bit of bother was a massive knot in the anchor chain which required Mr B and myself to get into the anchor locker. With only a torch and our bare hands it was soon fixed, and we anchored in Schooner Cove under a busy-looking north/north-west sky with more boats than you might normally expect to find in the entire Port Davey area.

The lovely Lemaris in the warm glow of sunrise

More sky-watching

OK, I just held the torch. Mr B was the one whose hands got a bit grubby untangling the knot in the anchor chain

Make mine a Schooner Cove

Mount Rugby at dusk from Schooner Cove

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Pilot Bay (Dad, the nearest you will find on the map is Strahan). After a crew change yesterday, we had a leisurely evening and caught up with most of the other VLDC boats as they arrived in town for the farewell barbeque today. For all crews it was laundry, water, and fuel – some for the boat and some for our tummies.

Having Mr B on board is great fun. He got off the bus with a suitcase of all things – I couldn’t believe he would come with so many clothes, but soon discovered that a wheelie bin is the best way to transport a carton of beer!

Given Mr B’s interest in wooden boats, we toddled off together this morning in search of an old piner’s punt he had heard about. Mrs B, the man in the photo is not your husband giving said punt a close inspection and wondering how he can get it back to Hobart. Oh, and the man in the next photo doing a bit of polishing also isn’t Mr B. He said to tell you that in case you thought he should do more of the same at home!

The Strahan barbeque was fantastic. An ideal day, and I think we raised quite a bit of cash for the junior sailing. It was also a great chance to thank Mayor Gerrity for his support for the VDLC cruise.

Tomorrow morning at first light we will leave on the next leg of the journey, to Port Davey. Once again we may be out of phone and internet range, perhaps for 3 or 4 days depending on the weather and how long we stay in the magnificent south-west. So, for the time being, this is Emeritus 2 out.

Inside E2 in the late Strahan sunshine

Looking out to Regatta Point

Not Mr B, uncovering the piner's punt

Not Mr B, doing a bit of cut and polish

The boisterous Gitana crew

... and the Fordplay dad and daughter duo - and uh oh, is that Matina the Tassie Devil I see?

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Beyond Strahan, by water this time. An amazing couple of days – the history, the scenery, the calm, the air, the water. Again I felt very blessed to see it all, with friends, and in our own time.

The Gordon must have looked like Pitt Street on a Friday night to the people who usually work this neck of the world – an extra 40 or so boats in town certainly makes a difference. But, hey, we’ve added some colour and movement during what has apparently been one of the sunniest and best few days this summer in Strahan.

There have been a couple of incidents reported on the sked of boats, shall we say, coming into closer than required contact with the mud or rocks in Strahan Harbour and surrounds….. but that’s another story.

Rather than try and put it into words, I hope the photos tell the story of our two wonderful days.

Matching hats turn the Bobsie Twins into the Stavros Brothers

Remains of an old jetty at Kelly Basin

Shack at Kelly Basin

The remains of brick kilns at Pillinger were an eerie sight in the middle of the trees

Seeing this old boiler (from a timber mill) in the forest was even stranger!

Morning at Kelly Basin - there must be hundreds of photos like this

Following Dana Felicia up The Gordon, quite surreal

The green green banks of the Gordon

Chart plotter says 'no'.... you are on land... lucky we had the mud maps

Boats in Hawks Nest Cove as I scouted for a bbq spot on my kayak

Read the instructions? Nope, let's just all have a go....

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Strahan. Being tied up alongside the beaut fishing boat ‘Elizabeth’ has provided us a box seat for all the comings and goings of cruise participants anchored in Strahan Harbour. Once again it’s been great to say g’day to fellow circumnavigators and hear about their exploits between The Tamar and the west coast. It also gave us the perfect opportunity to entertain the charming owner and crew of the Holger Danske, having enjoyed their hospitality some days earlier in Stanley. My worst cruising fear, however – at least in the hospitality department – was realised when I could not provide an item requested by her skipper. Such horror, no Angostura Bitters! I suppose we won’t be awarded ‘best boat in the fleet’ now… ho hum.

But all of this is unimportant when we look back at some unexpected experiences. While in Stanley and in Strahan we have been fortunate enough to catch up with a few people to whom we, or our boat has been connected. Welcoming aboard the man who provided much of the special timbers for E2, along with his wife, was a great pleasure. The owner of ‘Elizabeth’ was also interested in coming aboard when he found out that E2 was previously the Kemway Star. The same evening, one of the Holger Danske crew sat having a beer on the back deck, and it took me a while to convince him he was on the old Kemway Star.

And now we’ve got the mud maps for the Gordon River, we’re off to explore one of the reasons why Strahan attracts so many visitors. As we do, we will thank Senator Brown and all the other campaigners who put so much effort into preserving this magnificent wilderness. Thank you.

E2 tied up alongside FV Elizabeth

Mrs Cruise Commodore returns from the shops

More cruisers tie up to spend money in Strahan

The dinghies have their own get-together and don’t want to go home

The Taratibu crew set off back to their vessel

Oh, and another fish – no need to know the identity of either man or fish

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Strahan – heading for Kelly Basin (the same person after whom Kelly’s Steps are named in Salamanca, Hobart – clearly he got around a bit…but no time for history lessons now). Due to our boating schedule, and our social commitments (that sharing of vital cruise information I have mentioned a couple of times previously), I have not yet posted anything about our brief but very pleasurable sojourn at Three Hummock Island. Get out your maps again, or Google it and you will find exceptional images on the website. My photos do not do it justice.

The ‘homestead’ accommodation is managed by Beverley and John O’Brien who are the only other residents on the island. It must be a wonderful life, although Bev did tell me that many of her friends just can’t understand how they do it. Fortunately they have internet access and Bev makes the most of social networking sites, and has her own blog to keep her occupied if there is no laundry to do.

John is mad keen about the island, and although the idea is that guests can feel as though they have the place to themselves, Bev and John are so warm and welcoming that it would be a disgrace not to catch up with them while staying.

A few of the VDLC boats were around at Coulomb Bay, and we anchored with about ten others at Spiers Nook. In the time they have been on the island Bev said they had never seen so many boats. Perky called an impromptu barbeque on the beach and it was terrific to have John and Bev as ‘our guests’ on ‘their island’. Mind you, Bev brought along some zucchini slice, made freshly from her vegie garden that I had been enviously eyeing up on her blog on our way to the island. I wish I’d taken her up on the offer to have some fresh greens – the shopping for fresh produce at Strahan has again been a bit disappointing.

Well, I could clearly blather on a lot about Three Hummock, but will finish with the perhaps overly-expressive words of one Giuseppe Garibaldi, the famous uniter of Italy, who landed on the island in 1852: “O desert island of the Hunter Group – how many times have you pleasantly excited my imagination. When tired of this civilized society, so full of tyrants and gendarmes, I have often transported myself in my imagination into your gracious bosom.” I bet he would be a keen blogger if he were alive today….

Three Hummock Island hosts, Bev and John O’Brien

VDLC boats at Spiers Nook

Real men row ashore

Catching up on the cruise gossip

John investigates a cave on the beach

Me with Cap’n Roger

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