and Back In

Mon 19 Jan
Crew: Derek and I
Course: DSS to Bellerive!

This morning we arrived at the DSS at 8.30am ready to take Ariadne’s Clew back home to the Bellerive Yacht Club. As we arrived I spotted my friend Helen, who was walking from the city to Kingston as part of her project Walking the Derwent (to walk the banks of the Derwent River from mouth to source – see her amazing blog here). I invited her to watch this little episode of the working banks of the river, however her itinerary was fairly tight if she wanted to make Kingston in time to catch a bus home, so she continued on. And just as well, for we had to wait quite a while for our turn on the slip.

There was a small yacht – probably a 20-footer – just being lowered into the water as we arrived. The elderly gentleman owner spoke with such a strong regional English accent we struggled to understand anything he said. However, the upshot of his conversation with the Bosun was that no, he wouldn’t climb aboard and start his engine, but would hop in his wooden dinghy, tie it to the yacht and row! This gentleman was definitely on the other side of seventy, and we held our breath as he climbed awkwardly into his dinghy and the process began. As the yacht slid out of the cradle and the breeze coming off Mt Wellington caught it and began blowing it out towards Bellerive, he casually asked the Bosun: ‘if you see me blowing out to sea could you send someone to rescue me?’

Well off he went, valiantly rowing and towing his yacht. The Bosun then pulled a cabin cruiser out of the water and we waited once again. Whilst watching these proceedings from the comfort of a nearby bench we conversed with a couple in a Jeanneau 50DS – a big sister to Ariadne’s Clew – who were about to head off to Recherche Bay for a few days. We lamented that just as the weather was turning good (after a horrid week of rain and wind) we, of course would be going to work and our next window of opportunity for cruising on the weekend will be just when the next front is due to cross the state. Murphy’s Law of course.

We kept half an eye on our elderly friend. Just as we saw him disappearing around the marinas in the wrong direction, rowing for all he was worth against the wind, another yacht, just leaving the marina came to his rescue and gave him a tow back to his mooring, which was only 200 metres or so from where he began. He’d definitely taken the scenic route this morning and had plenty of exercise in the process!

Well our turn on the slip finally came, and the freshly painted and polished hull of Ariadne’s Clew slipped sleekly into the water. We motored across the calm water of the river, far from the hustle and hurry of the roads, and enjoyed the perspective of the city from the water. We tied her up in her home berth and began planning for our next trip…

PS. I returned later in the day to collect the car and pay Scrubber only to find that the slip’s cable had broken during the day whilst pulling another boat out of the water. A bunch of boaties had gathered to contemplate the damage – luckily no-one was injured and the boat in question seems ok apart from being grounded in the slipway. I thanked the gods that we had made it back into the water safely.

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