DAY 1: A motley and fresh faced group of land lubbers arrived to our majestic sea taxi around midday. Much excitement and many nerves were felt as we gazed upon the lovely Tenacious, our home for better or worse during the next 21 days of voyaging. Hands are shaken and names are given, which most of us promptly forget; fortunately our crew are prepared with name tags!
Bunks are found, bags are stowed, and then the intrepid adventurers awkwardly navigate the lower corridors to the main mess for crew introductions and the oh-so-necessary safety lectures, made enjoyable thanks to the wonderful Fliss. Evacuation procedures are practiced before dinner is served, and then we are free for the evening.
The Tenacious gleams brightly against the night sky, a beacon of adventure; Melbourne sparkles distantly across the water. Tomorrow our voyage to Tasmania begins, with fair winds ahead (we hope!).
DAY 2: Salty sea dogs are all cheerfully awoken at 0620 and stumble on deck as quickly as possible for the setting of the engines. There is not a scrap of wind available, so today we make our way out of Port Phillip Bay under modern means. The sun is shining and the sea is clear; perfect conditions for our introduction to climbing. Up the fore and main mast we scuttled, packing onto the first platform like penguins. Then we daringly leap (inch) onto the lower topsail yard, shimmying across with bellies squashed firmly against the folded sails, alternating between feelings of triumph and terror.
Afternoon sees us learning some sail theory on bracing, hauling and easing on ropes, and the general handling of lines. The watches team together to practice some bracing manoeuvres from port to starboard and back again.
Lo! A cry of dolphins is heard from the bow! A swarm of voyagers gallop carefully up to the ship’s front and lean precariously over edges to watch dolphins racing in from all directions. They dance in the bow waves of Tenacious, chattering and singing to each other merrily, generally porpoising about the ship.
The swell has swelled slightly, enough to send our ship plunging in and out of the sea. A few stoic individuals make their way to the handrails and look greenly out at the horizon. Sea sickness has made its presence known…
Another fine dinner (for those that show up to eat it) and the watches settle down for our first rotation at sea. The moon and stars gild the ship silver and the soft crash of the waves sends those of us in our bunks fast to sleep.
DAY 3: A few queasy faces arrive to breakfast this morning but for the most part the crew are chipper and ready to greet another calm and sunny day. At last we are able to turn off the engines and move ourselves along purely through wind power! We manage to set the outer jib, inner-jib, fore-course, fore upper topsail, main lower sail, main upper topsail, mizzen mast staysail and the main mast staysail. If you feel overwhelmed by all these nautical terms, rest easy in the knowledge that we intrepid adventurers have clearly mastered it all (this writer definitely did not ask for help on naming sails).
Our evening is fairly relaxed. A few explorers climb to the top of our masts, a few gather below decks to craft magnificent pipe cleaner crowns, and a few sleep soundly in their bunks! Tonight the action begins, for we are to attempt our first “wearing” of the ship for our approach into Burnie.
Wish us luck!