I am temporarily editing ‘Watercraft’ the quarterly journal of the Wooden Boat Association of Vic (although it goes all up the east coast) and would love to include your poem
on the Bass Strait Islands – I’m trying to add something different for both editions I’m doing.
Would be gratefully if you could reply by email
Jenny Stott 22/2/2006
I love it in a kayak, out upon the sea
Rivers are OK, but the coast’s the place for me
To go out to the islands, I really cannot wait
These islands are so beautiful, the ones out in Bass Strait.
There’s Clarke and Swan and Goose, and Preservation too
But you have to cross Banks Strait, and that makes people stew
It has a reputation, it sometimes can be rough
But if you pick your weather, it needn’t be too tough.
The beautiful white beaches, always squeaky clean
Miles and miles of sand where a footprint’s rarely seen
And camping under She-Oaks, it really makes my day
The islands in Bass Strait are where I love to play.
A trip out to the Furneaux really needs two weeks
A day or two at Trousers, to have time to climb the peaks
And the Tiger snakes on Chappell, they’re a sight to see
As I walk down through the rookery, stepping gingerly.
And don’t forget Three Hummock, and Hunter Island too
And Kangaroo, and Albatross, where once I went with Sue
The currents can be strong, the overfalls can roar
And Dangerous Banks is best seen, standing on the shore.
Shepherds Bay’s a place to go, with a great campsite
Where even in a gale I’ll have a peaceful night
There’s Steep, and Bird, and Trefoil, and Walker Island too
The Dough Boys, Penguin, Robbins, just so much to do.
I love it in a kayak, rising on a swell
The islands in Bass Strait, to the world I’ll tell
You can keep your lakes and rivers, and the arctic waste
The islands in Bass Strait, they are MY favourite place.
Most paddlers are too timid, to come to my playground
They like to stay in estuaries, or NW Bay go round
They don’t know what they’re missing, it really is so nice
The islands in Bass Strait, they’re close to paradise.
Today I walked along the seashore
And I’ll tell you now of things that I saw
A pelican with his great big beak
Swimming slowly along a shallow creek
There were foamy breakers stirring up the sand
And a warm summer breeze blowing ‘cross the land.
I watched pure white gannets dive from a height
With folded wings, in the bright sunlight
There were Fairy Terns fluttering overhead
To shoo me away from their nest of eggs
Hooded Plovers scurrying out of reach
As I studied their eggs in a scrape on the beach.
I stood aside as a horse galloped by
Then watched it wade in the shallows nearby
I saw water-skiers skimming ‘cross the bay
Making the most of their summer holiday
And families out fishing for flathead and brim
While others splashed about, or went in for a swim.
There were pieces of driftwood, distorted and grey
And clumps of kelp, washed from far far away
There were shells in their hundreds, all different shapes
And Pied Oyster Catchers, there with their mates
Big gulls and small gulls flew overhead
And hard-to-see Stints, the ‘Little’ and ‘Red’.
There were very large rocks at the end of the run
Daubed with orange lichen, glowing bright in the sun
And little rock pools left behind by the tide
With tentacled anemones, and crabs trying to hide
I found small bits of stone polished smooth as can be
After thousands of years being caressed by the sea.
To paddle through the blowhole when the swell is low
To see the Devils Kitchen in a south east blow
To drift through Patersons Arch is a mighty thrill
These are places I will go as long as my body will.
I’ve seen whales and dolphins, swimming in Fortescue Bay
If you want a lovely campsite, this is the place to stay
Paddling through the Candlestick can give you quite a fright
And the seals down at Cape Pillar are a worthwhile sight.
To land on Tasman Island is not everyone’s cup of tea
To ride a swell onto a shelf requires a moderate sea
Then hang on to the kelp, while the wave goes out
And quickly move your kayak so it won’t get dashed about
Tasmanians are so lucky to have a coast like this
Those paddlers on the mainland don’t know what they miss
Cape Raoul, Lime Bay, Wedge Island, are places where I go
In my trusty kayak, built so long ago.
Twenty five years old, it’s still the perfect boat
To slip along this coastline, keeping me afloat
The Peninsula called Tasman is the place to be
And it’s surely best seen, from a kayak on the sea.
Tribute to Andrew McAuley back to top
So Bloody Close and Yet so Bloody Far!
Wow! Did ya see that Andrew McAuley, Adventurer of the Year
Raise your glasses you kayakers, and give the man a cheer
To paddle across the Tasman, to the land of the long white cloud
A successful ending would have made us all feel proud.
He left from Tasmania’s east coast, early in the New Year
His long-suffering wife Vicki barely holding back a tear
‘Don’t you worry about that’ he said, sounding like old Jo
I have this urge inside me, saying ‘come on, give it a go.’
Wow! Did ya see that Andrew McAuley, Adventurer of the Year
Next time I think about him, I’ll surely wipe a tear
He survived the low-pressure systems, as they swept across his path
Straight from the southern ocean, delivering their icy blast.
But he slipped inside his cockpit, snug as a bug in a rug
Protected from the weather by 'Casper' up above
Then up again and paddle on, a bloody boring day
And that damn New Zealand, still so far away.
On and on he paddled, riding the monstrous swells
In that southern ocean, a place he now will dwell
And so close to Milford Sound where he knew his wife would be
Come hell or high water, after thirty days at sea.
Bass Strait (back to top)
The Greedy Goose, though she
Thought maybe perhaps Bass Strait she could try
In her sea kayak, long and sleek
And visit many islands where one could sleep.
But on her own? That would
Perhaps she could go with her good ole mate
The legendary one who has done it before
He’s gone back and forth to the score of four.
One more time might be a bit
of a giggle
But we’ll surely have to be as fit as a fiddle
So together they talked and came up with a plan
And paddled on the Derwent as training began.
“This is going to be hard” the
Old Man thought
But off they both went and food they bought
And torches and clothing, this won’t be a lark
And fitted their hats to take flashers in the dark.
Port Welshpool to Erith we
paddled four days
And Suzie May and Refuge were two of the bays
Where we camped on the Prom before heading to sea
Then over the horizon went she and me.
Three nights on Erith was a
But the Old Man managed to hurt one of his feet
And the Girl went to Deal to visit the folk there
While we waited for the weather to start to turn fair.
Then off in the dark for the
big one at last
But without any wind so we didn’t go fast
Eleven hours to Killiecrankie where the Old Man was beat
The Girl could see he was almost dead on his feet.
No rest day because the
weather was right
And we left the beach at the sign of first light
And the sailing was great, oh what a lark
As we headed for the pub at the town of Whitemark.
Real beds and hot showers,
pies and good food
A place to stay longer if only we could
Two nights was enough and we left the good joint
And had a good night down at Ned’s Point.
Preservation was next, a
great place to stay
Particularly when bad weather is on its way
A four night rest and a start in the dark
And survived the big seas but it was no lark.
Just one more big effort, the
end was in sight,
And away we went feeling as high as a kite
Nothing would stop us as we closed the far coast
A successful crossing and now we could boast.
She’s one of the few who
dared do Bass Strait
Another trip to remember with her best paddling mate
One more trip to remember that I’ve done with The Girl
We may yet paddle again and sails unfurl.
My latest - November 2016: (back to top)
Down in the Southern Ocean
Down in the Southern Ocean there’s a land that’s clean and
The lovely isle Tasmania is the one I mean
With mountains high and beaches white and rivers everywhere
In all the world you’ll never find a place with cleaner air.
It used to be Van Diemen’s Land back in sixteen forty two
When Dutch explorer Abel, and his ships were passing through
He is remembered to this day by Mt Heemskerk and Mt Zeehaen
And Tasman Peninsula and Storm Bay are places he has been.
If you have a love of kayaking Tassie surely can’t be beat
With over three hundred islands the coast is such a treat
The Furneaux Group, the Hunter Group, and of course Maria too
Maatsuyker, Albatross, Bruny – there is just so much to do.
I’ve climbed the highest mountain, and the wild rivers run
But paddling on the sea is where I have most fun
To get new paddlers out there, to safely cross Banks Strait
Is a thing I like to do, Flinders Island is so great.
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