Sun and sails

The new sailing ships.

Monday, the Austraya Day public holiday, I was press ganged for a ride on the STS Leeuwin II from Fremantle Harbour out to Gage Roads for a 3hr sail. Very nice it was, too, being a sparkling clear day, warm sun and soft breezes. I think we got up to 3 knots at one stage. 🙂

The Leeuwin is a three masted barquentine, named after the Leeuwin galleon that blundered along the West Australian coast starting in 1622. Australia was discovered by the Dutch, although they didn’t recognise its size or that it’s a vast continent, and didn’t “claim” it for Holland, otherwise we could have been speaking Dutch, or French for that matter.

There were about 60 of us, nearly all geriatrics, but a few were young enough to attempt the mast climb. It was a beautiful day, light breeze so most of our progress was made under diesel engine power. The crew of volunteers moved around, some doing crew tasks but others serving very nice party pies and pizza slices etc, as the 18th century crew ate, and chatting to us, answering our questions. The captain of the ship is a woman! That would have been very bad luck in the old days, I’m sure, but it was fine. She was obviously in command.

So we stooged around getting sunburnt at three knots, then headed back fully under power so as to do the sharp turns required in the harbour. All in all, a very good experience. There’s a week long cruise in June from Exmouth to Geraldton and someone (not me) is very tempted. It would be good, but it’s expensive!


When we got back we visited the Maritime Museum to see the Ningaloo Experience, an immersive 360deg audio-visual show. Unfortunately we missed the 3.45pm show and had to wait until 4.45pm. We saw the show, came out with aching necks and went to the car to find a parking ticket. We’d forgotten to feed the meter. On a public holiday while there were plenty of empty bays. Grrrrr! I’ve paid the fine, but an email will follow, pointing out all their faults.

The Ningaloo show was good, but sitting so close to the huge screens we could see all the noise and grain in the video. In the front row, I found I had to tilt my head so far back it hurt. The program was quite good, but not the mind-blowing experience we’d been told to expect. Oh well, what do you expect for $35?


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