We sailed, we rowed, we putted! The weather was initially kind to us, with a warm, sunny morning and light winds suitable for a variety of boating activities. Jim and I arrived early to find the Carroll's crabber Rufus tied up at the jetty, with Geoff Carroll and Chris Macdonald ready for breakfast. They had sailed across from St Kilda the previous day, along with Geoff Divko, their trip enlivened by a sudden squall near Williamstown.
Talisman headed out of the Werribee River into Port Phillip, where we enjoyed watching a pod of 6 dolphins hunting and feeding on a school of fish. We pulled up on the beach near the settlement ponds of the Western Treatment Plant and were amazed by the number of waterbirds to be seen, including a pair of endangered pink-eared ducks. Seven banjo sharks lazed in the shallows, barely noticing us wading past them back to the anchored boat. Peter Batchelor in Kirsty Ann joined us and we sailed in company back towards lunch, where Jill Carroll and Jan Gibson had established a WBA presence near the BBQ.
The rest of the contingent had headed upriver and now returned for food and conversation - David Gibson and Mick Beltvenzen sailing Lindsay Symons, Jimmy and Judith Baillie rowing Hunca Munca, with David and Marg O’Dempsey (Slithy Tove), David Ayers and Peter Taylor (Maggie D) and David Stott (Penguin) in their respective putt-putts.
In the afternoon, as the weather became less benign and strengthening winds made conditions unpleasant out on the bay, there was a run on the ramps as motor boaties rushed to get out of the water. Geoff and Chris set off for the trip back to St Kilda, after some co-ordinated shoving to get Rufus off the jetty where she was held by the wind. As they departed, we were delighted by an elegant craft that swept in with a cry of "Is this the Werribee River?" Stewart McGarvie from Colac and friend George had sailed across from Swan Bay in Speewa Jack, Stewart's Caledonia Yawl, stretched by 15% in all dimensions (with the blessing of designer Iain Oughtred) to create a beautiful and practical sleep-aboard boat. Great job, Stewart, hope you had a comfortable night and we look forward to seeing her again!
Meanwhile, a couple with a young baby set off from the beach paddling an inflatable and were carried rapidly upstream by wind and tide, not visibly in control of the craft. David Stott and Penguin kindly rescued them before they could come to grief, towing them back to their friends and saving them a potentially dangerous return paddle.
Many helping hands assisted with hauling members’ boats out of the water quickly and safely, and we headed for home. In hindsight, we were very fortunate with the “window” we had, as the weather both before and after Sunday was not at all conducive to boating or relaxing outdoors with friends!