An Embarrassing Tangle

After a tranquil night at anchor in Deep Bay we putted over to Cygnet and went ashore at the jetty just south of the Cygnet Sailing Club and walked into the town. The famous Cygnet Folk Festival was just days away and the town was buzzing in anticipation. We watched as ladies added the finishing touches to their ‘yarn-bombing’ of the town – fences, signposts, rubbish bins and store fronts were adorned with cleverly crafted woolen embellishments, all to welcome the crowds.

We found the Red Velvet Lounge packed, but managed to grab enough chairs at the big communal table to seat us and our anticipated guests – Derek’s sister Sarah, our French exchange student Martin and his friend Mathilde. Here we met and welcomed Mathilde to Tasmania. She is also on exchange from France, but being hosted in Perth, and has traveled across the continent visit us for two weeks and experience another part of the country. We enjoyed some breakfast and coffee in the lively surroundings, then stocked up on some wonderful fresh produce, including a bag of apple-sized organic cherries from a roadside stand, before heading back to the boat.

Our first coup in the display of boating skills to our new sailing companions, was to inadvertently and comprehensively tangle the dinghy line around the propeller! That meant no engine to manoeuvre our way out of the tightly packed anchorage at Cygnet. Derek, in a very commendable attempt at not panicking, called me back to the cockpit from the bow, where I’d been hoisting the anchor, and we put ‘operation untangle the propeller’ into action.

We unfurled a small head-sail, which harnessed enough wind to thread our way between the surrounding boats and into the lea of a headland on the eastern side of the harbour. Dodging an oyster farm, an anchored boat and the shallows we dropped anchor, and the questions was asked, who would volunteer to dive below the boat and see what could be done.

Naturally, the only volunteer was my own good self!

I decided that with no weight-belt my wetsuit would make me too buoyant. So I donned my bathers and a mask. Derek thrust a knife and torch into my hands and I wondered how I would hold these and untangle the rope at the same time… Anyway, down I went. With the first breath I discovered it was a simple case of unwedging the D-ring on the end of the rope and unwinding it. I got it half unwound then went up for air, handing back the useless torch and knife. On the second breath I completed the task, and noticed that despite having been in the water for almost ten months since the last scrub and anti-foul, the hull was surprisingly smooth and barnacle-free. Not that I did more than a cursory survey of the bits I came in contact with – and returned to the surface with some anti-foul smeared on my body and hair. I can also report that the water was very refreshing and not that cold.

After that mishap the rest of the day was splendid. A brisk sail down to Charlotte Cove for lunch, then a leisurely sail back to Cygnet with the wind behind us. Before we left Martin and Mathilde jumped into the dingy and were towed all the way. Us adults broke out the delicious cherries and Derek, sacreligiously, lobbed cherries at the kids. Most they caught and enjoyed, but one hit Martin on the eyebrow spraying bright cherry juice down the side of his face.

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Back in Cygnet we dropped Sarah ashore and anchored for the night in Copper Alley Bay.

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