Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Port Fairy

Port Fairy is one of the oldest fishing ports in Australia, and still has an active fleet of fisherman that use the town's river-front wharf as their base. It is also one of the prettiest and welcoming little villages Ive ever been to. Seriously, its almost too cute! It reminds me bit of Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula - all coffee shops and designer gift shops/boutiques - except even cuter and more family-oriented with colourful riverside holiday homes and kids running around everywhere taking surfing lessons and riding their bikes.

Port Fairy Wharf

We secured our lines to the wharf on January 2nd, and would you believe it, stumbled right into the town's annual Moyneyana festival! 6 weeks of community based events all over town. This has meant a plethora of free and cheap activities, live music, a nightly carnival, fairs and markets... the list goes on. We even took ukulele lessons!

We've really loved our stay here, and as far as facilities for sailors go, it really cant be beaten except that it costs to moor at the wharf - there are no free anchorages. For your $26 per night you get a prime position in easy walk from the centre of town and free electricity, water, a fully equipped (free!) laundry, shower and kitchen facilities. Certainly a small price to pay if you're just passing by for a night or two. Its getting a bit pricey now that we've been here over a week, but there is not much choice given the weather out in Bass Strait right now. And we're forgiving the expense by making the most of the free facilities and activities around town including the unbelievably evil Scottish Malt Bread from the local bakery (so full of golden syrup that they cant use the bakery bread slicer to cut it for you!) We also took a day trip by bus into Warrnambool, which didn't have the same appeal but did give us the opportunity to buy a few things we'd been looking out for - good quality headphones so we can listen to music on night-watch without waking the other person etc...

Bass Voyager dock-side, surrounded by fishing and charter boats

Beautiful Moyne River at sunset

Markets in the park adjacent the wharf

Being right in the centre of town definitely has its advantages, but it does mean very little privacy - we are constantly on display to the hundreds of tourists that walk past each day.  Kitty has become the star attraction - particularly for little kids... "Daddy! Look - there's a cat on that boat!!"
The other morning Michael and I could hardly contain our giggles as we awoke to a lady squealing "ooooh! look at the pretty little kitty!!!!" People don't seem to make the connection that if there is a cat on the boat, there are quite possibly people on it too!

Kitty in her regular spot

Its been fun meeting people and the location is great, but we're definitely in need of a more secluded anchorage. Its time to leave. We would have left this past weekend, except that there are some ferocious winds and swell and waves in the Strait at the moment - up to 14 metres at the extreme! I can't even imagine that... we had 30+ kt winds this morning and it's impact on the seas in the bay was dramatic.

South Beach Port Fairy

Thankfully the winds have already dropped, and the swell will follow of over the next few days which will give us the perfect opportunity for an overnight sail across to King Island, and then Tassie. This wasn't our original plan, but it was hard to resist when we realised that it was less than half the distance that we've already travelled, and the winds will be easier to sail (touch wood!) Less traffic and oil rigs down this end of the Strait too.

So today and tomorrow we are preparing the boat, consoling Kitty (who was convinced we had finally decided to stay somewhere forever!) and checking the charts in readiness for an AM Friday departure. I'll keep you posted!

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