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Captain’s Log: Adelaide and Kangaroo Island


20th February, Adelaide and 21st February, Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island

No photos of Adelaide, I’m afraid. The port lies on an outlying promontory and Adelaide itself is a 45-minute bus, (or train) ride from the Amsterdam. Having transited the shallow and winding channel and then swinging in the turning basin, we berthed port-side to at the terminal. On the balcony of the building were a group of ladies and a small band, playing Australian songs, while the ladies danced in unison. They were representatives of the Tourist Board and later in the morning were at hand to help our guests.

I had to smile, the terminal had a ‘jetway’, similar to those you see at airports when you board an aircraft. Only this one was being moved by hand; although new, the designers had neglected to build-in a ‘slewing’ motor, so some poor man was busy pumping away on a long lever attached to a hydraulic pump! Once it was swung sufficiently, the up and down movement had been thought of by the designers, so it was promptly attached to the ship.

I had a plaque exchange while we were here, it is customary, when a ship arrives at a port for the first time, that a small token of appreciation, usually an engraved plaque, is given to the ship. In return, the ship will give gifts back, in our case a Royal Delft “Amsterdam” plate. This particular exchange was for Kangaroo Island, the next day’s call and is without doubt, the most informal exchange I have ever experienced.

There was a Kangaroo Island Visitor’s stand in the terminal, manned by one gentlemen who was involved with guests most of the time. I interrupted him and inquired as to where the exchange was and who would be conducting it, “that would be me, mate” (all Aussies call you ‘mate’), “o, great, where shall we exchange”? “Give me a mo’ and I’ll be with you, I’ll just answer these folks questions”, 1 minute later… “Great, let’s do it”…. “Welcome to Kangaroo Island and here’s a plaque to mark the occasion”.

In the meantime, some more guests arrived and were waiting at the stand, I turn and tell them we’ll be finished very shortly, my turn “thank you and here is a Royal Delft plate, please accept it with our grateful thanks”. He then went back to his stand to deal with the guests, if only they could all be like that!

I have come to the conclusion that this area of South Australia is permanently windy. We were fortunate that when we docked at 5:30 in the morning, the night’s winds of 40 knots had died down; however it wasn’t long before it kicked in again and while alongside it was a regular 25 knots. We did not sail until 11 p.m., once again the wind dropped, however as we negotiated the channel once more, again it came up. I am thinking that it must be a local anomaly, a combination of the heat over the land and sea-breezes.

It was a mere 60 miles from Adelaide to Penneshaw, on Kangaroo Island. It is a small, picturesque town with a population of around 1,500 and is on the north-east coast of the Dudley peninsular. The mainland is only 9 miles away and there’s a regular fast-ferry service to the mainland. The island is Australia’s 3rd largest, after Tasmania and Melville. It has sandy beaches and pounding surf and offers opportunities for nature lovers, the main purpose of our call; seals, sea lions, penguins and koalas and some kangaroos are still there, although their numbers have diminished. Everywhere we have traveled in Australia has concerns about fires; the country is tinder-dry, Hobart had one just after we departed and Kangaroo Island has had some this week.

We anchor ½ a mile from the small harbour and tender in. Once again, it’s windy, up to 30 knots, so I lay out our port anchor with 6 shackles, (540 feet or 165m) of chain into the soft sand. We then use a computerised system which will hold a specific heading, using our azipods. This allows us, once we chosen the correct heading, to put the wind and sea on the port side and therefore provides a lee, (or shelter) on our starboard side, where our tenders operate from platforms, to take our guests ashore and back.

We are about to sail for Albany, Western Australia, its history started with the whaling days and is now a commercial port. We have a 980 mile journey ahead of us for our arrival on (our) Sunday morning. Although I stayed on board today, here are some photos, (my camera went without me ;))




Jonathan Mercer is Amsterdam’s captain.

1 Comment
  • Leslee & Bob

    We love seeng your blog. We follow you alot. We were on the 2012 World and met alot of wonderful staff and people. We hope to see you on the 2013 Grand Pacific

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