The team flew into the South West on Saturday to bring Odalisque back from Port Davey to her winter mooring in Hobart town. We set off from Par Avion’s airport in Hobart on a beautiful, clear & crisp morning. Flying over Federation Peak & Mt Picton, we were spoilt with spectacular views of snow-covered peaks, rocky outcrops and glacial lakes. We landed 1 hour later on the snow-white gravel runway at Melaleuca. Before jumping into the tender for the short ride to Odalisque, we explored some of the sites around Melaleuca, including the Needwonnee Aboriginal Walk & the Orange-Bellied Parrot viewing hide (although all the parrots have now migrated for the winter to the coastal fringes of Victoria & South Australia.)
After a hearty ploughman’s lunch aboard Odalisque, we headed ashore to check out Clyde Clayton’s hut. Clyde Clayton was a local cray fisherman who lived in this remote corner of the world with his wife Winsome King. Quirks of the old house include a stick poking out of the bath whose purpose is to help any fallen marsupials and snakes climb their way back out again. We took a short hike up the hill behind Clayton’s hut and were rewarded with amazing views over the Bathurst Narrows, Celery Top Islands and Odalisque on her mooring. We could even see Federation Peak poking it’s nose up through the clouds, far, far away in the distance.
Before the sun set, we jumped back into the tender and ventured out to Breaksea Island, a natural wall of rock which guard the entrance to Bathurst Channel which is responsible for protecting the harbour from the wild, battering swell of the Southern Ocean. Good news! The seas were looking calm for our trip back to Hobart the next day. We replenished our drinking water supplies with fresh water from a waterfall running down a sea cliff, directly into the ocean. It doesn’t get fresher than this! The water here is a special colour, it looks like iced tea. This is thanks to the button grass and the soft peat beneath, which stains the water a a soft brown as it trickles through.
Back aboard Odalisque, we sat outside on the deck and watched a stunning sun set. Our energy stores were replenished with a platter of delicious local Tasmanian fare plus a glass of freshly poured beer from our Moo Brew keg.
At dawn the next morning, the journey back to Hobart began. The weather gods were smiling upon us, and we had a fantastic, smooth trip back. We were joined along the way by lots of curious creatures, including two pairs of sea eagles, a pod of dolphins and several groups of seals lazing about. We arrived back into the River Derwent late afternoon.
What a fantastic trip! We look forward to taking the boat back to Port Davey & Bathurst Hobart in January 2017 for the kick off of our next season in the amazing South West World Heritage Area. In the meantime, we are available for day charters from Hobart & overnight charters to Bruny Island, Tasman Peninsula and the East Coast.