Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hobart: Constitution Dock and Sandy Bay anchorage

A few pictures of Hobart.  We spent some time here over the summer, from January until April in fact.  Fortunately we chose the best summer ever, one local described it as 'the summer we will talk about in twenty years time' and for sure we were spoilt with only a handful of rainy days in the whole of our stay.

It is also described as 'Australia's best kept secret' although that is a term coined for just about everywhere in Australia where tourism is needed.  After four months here though I tend to agree it is an amazing place to visit and stay.  We kept bumping into people with the same story. they came for a short visit, bit of work or sailing or visiting friends and twenty years later they had never got around to leaving.  I can easily understand why as there is just something about it, the scenery maybe reminds me of the UK, the buildings are reminiscent of English towns not surprisingly.  The people I sense are living with less energy on themselves and with more interest in others, relaxed and happy.  Of course with only 300,000 people in Hobart  the pressures of life are less than a big city and the whole feel is one of a town rather than a city. 

Of course to yachties arriving by boat then the main port of focus is Hobart.  On arrival we headed here and spent a week in the Constitution Dock relaxing, drinking coffee and going to the various pubs and cafes in Salamanca.  The market at the weekend is also worth a visit.  The port authority charge by the week only and you need to call several hours ahead and ask for the bridge to be opened into the dock.  We used VHF and they also are on the phone. 

It is obvious that the walls to the port and starboard as you go in are going to be the quietest as the far side is next to a busy main road. 

It was strange as when we called the office originally they said that living aboard was not allowed in the dock anymore.  We went in anyway, preparing to explain we were cruisers visiting the island for some weeks.  On chatting to the various local boats it felt as if there was some effort to restrict live aboard boats who stay forever, work in the town and are not too interested in cruising.  We also asked a few boats if there was water and all replied no. We were grumbling about the lack for several days when we happened to look right underneath the wall and found hidden away from view was a fresh water pipe with many taps  running around the whole dock.  This is taken from the lifting bridge that gives access to the dock, it is quite a small entrance and we needed to be careful not to catch the mast on the raised bridge as we went in.                                                                                    
As you enter from the outer harbour then you have Elizabeth pier on your port side.  This picture was taken from the inner constitution dock side and looking out to the entrance. We were happy to hear that MAST had built this new public wharf for short stays, three hours, which is handy to shop and wait for the constitution dock to open.  As always various boats stretched the rules and arrived late to stay for a free overnight.  
Outside of the dock there is no close anchorage for Hobart.  As a next stop we went to the south just a few miles into Sandy Bay and anchored outside the marina in between the various club moorings.  We had thought to use a mooring as there were plenty empty.  The marina have some available which were not easy to find so we dropped the anchor after waiting an hour.   We are more nervous picking up unknown moorings than being on anchor - at least we know that when we are dug in well and have consistent weather forecast then we are pretty secure.  In fact, touch wood, we have yet to drag on anchor once we have dug ourselves in and we have sat through some pretty blowy conditions to date.  The marina is a twenty minute walk to the town although there are shops nearby in any case and we enjoyed several days here.
The sunsets were often stunning in this part of the world.  Its what sundowners were made for!