Ken takes Nichola off the marina and we begin our adventure

We slept on the boat tied up to the York Cove Marina in George Town so that we could get away on the early tide.

Sea Eagles witnessed our departure

We woke to an amazing day, but with no wind. Sunrise was beautiful and even a few Sea Eagles were there to witness the start of our adventure.

Pellicans

The pelicans were unmoved by our imenent departure and continued to go about their business unaware of the excitment on board SV Nichola, ony a few meters away from them

We experienced a rush of adrenaline when we pulled up against Size Matters so that we could say goodbye to our old boat. Size Matters is a wooden boat (Huon Pine) and Nichola is made of steel, however – Size Matters has two pieces of metal that stick out at the back onto which we could attach a drouge in the event of being caught in a huge storm at sea.  These threatened to gouge Nichola as we endeavoured to pull up close in minimal water. Things got a bit exciting but I managed to hold the boats apart with my feet on Size Matters and bum on the deck of Nichola.

Our new 12v TV

Ken enjoyed being able to set up our new TV with the special ‘multi-directional’ aerial within about ten minutes of setting the anchor.  Our first station was a New Zealand weather station – which was rather a surprise.

Fish & Chips may not be on the menu when it is rough on the water

We enjoyed a feed of fish and chips (fish caught and cooked by Ken!) Decided that perhaps frying chips would not be practical once we are underway with rougher seas – so the photos are to remind us later.

Sailing from Bridport we enjoyed great weather and the Fleming behaved beautifully – when there was wind.

Flathead fish caught by Bron
Bron with the flathead she caught

We stopped over at Badger Island overnight and had a bit of fun fishing. I, Bron, was most impressed with the flathead I caught. I have still not got ‘brave’ enough to do the killing and cleaning of the fish, so

Fishing fun - beautiful flathead is cleaned
Ken cleaning the flathead that Bron caught

Ken sorted that out for us – learning how to cleaning fish is on my ‘to do list’ (not at the top – yet, although I have progressed to being able actually to hold them without pliers…) I love catching and eating them – need to upskill as soon as possible!

There are so many faces to Flinders Island that on my first trip there I took over 700 photographs!

Flinders Island is a special place for us. Ken lived there for over 40 years and I have been lucky enough to visit a few times. The place is stunningly beautiful and has some rather special people who live there which make each visit special.

Dog Island, only mutton birds and tiger snakes live here

We timed the start of our cruising to coincide with the opening of the Mutton Bird season. Ken has been ‘birdin’ for over 50 years.

Mutton bird burrows by the thousand

Mutton Birds are sometimes a contentious issue. However, I have found out that there are about 26 million birds harvested each year is 60,000. (less than a third of 1% of the population) It is well monitored by the Parks and Wildlife Services and seems to me that it is definitely a sustainable activity. It is a pity that the wild fishing and other similar industry do not take a similar percentage of fish, crayfish, abalone etc.

The birds are cut in half and ‘butterflied’ when cooked

The birds have a distinct flavour and aroma when cooking. I find them delicious. The smell can be somewhat overpowering if cooked indoors and has a tendency to ‘linger’ on your clothes! Understandably, we did not want to cook them inside Nichola and so made use of the public BBQ facilities on Whitemark beach. The facilities are beautiful stainless steel and have cleaning supplies provided so that we were able to leave them in pristine condition after we had finished. The local butcher will vacuum pack them for us and we have space in the freezer.

We love ‘living off the land’ whenever we can and in case any of my friends and family are wondering if I caught any – yes indeed, I did put my hand down one of the holes and pulled a bird out – of course I then handed it to Ken to do the humane killing, but then I do the same when fishing too, so nothing has changed! I did help with the cleaning of the birds afterwards.

Bengt & Stephen ~ we love you guys!

We are fortunate indeed to have some special friends in our life – two in particular, who encouraged our sailing dream. whilst at the same time offering great practical advice and support not to mention some fun times shared as we prepared.