Did you know that Tasmanians own more boats per head of population than any other Australians?
Our watercraft range from cruising yachts to cray boats, from tinnies to trimarans, from ketches to kayaks. And in the south of the island, the waterways we love include the broad estuary of the River Derwent, the calm reaches of the Huon River and the wonderful sheltered cruising waters of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
From the very early days of settlement, these waterways were the lifeblood of the growing colony – and well into the 20th century, southern Tasmanians relied on sailing ships and steam ferries to transport goods and people between Hobart and the waterside settlements in the Derwent, Huon and Channel region.
String of Pearls
Closer to the city is the home marina of the Derwent Sailing Squadron. The DSS is developing the innovative concept ‘String of Pearls’, which is aimed at enhancing sailing tourism in southern waterways.
The ‘pearls’ are strategically-placed moorings at key locations in the superlative cruising waters southward from Hobart. Sailing or cruising in privately-owned or chartered vessels, skippers plan their voyage along the ‘string’, identify their preferred overnight spots and pre-book moorings.
Some of the ‘pearls’ and their nearby points of interest include Sykes Cove, a quiet corner of Barnes Bay; Saltwater River, within walking distance of the fascinating Coal Mines Historic Site; Nubeena, a Tasman Peninsula fishing port; and Recherche Bay, gateway to World Heritage wilderness and a site of historic significance as a safe haven for early French and English navigators and explorers.
The project is still under development, so keep an eye on the DSS website for more news.
Olive May and The Kermandie
One of those historic vessels is still sailing – the beautiful old Olive May, a gaff-rigged cutter that dates from the 1880s. Recently restored to her former glory, she takes visitors on scenic voyages on the Huon River from her marina berth at The Kermandie, blue-water sailor Sean Langman’s wonderfully-restored hotel near Geeveston, just 45 minutes south of Hobart.
Highlights of an Olive May cruise might include a visit to a local vineyard, orchard and salmon farm; an on-board sampling of fine regional produce; and of course, scenic views of the region’s spectacular scenery from the best possible location – the Huon River itself.
Chris Viney is a writer and Independent Marketing & Advertising Professional