The Easter weekend saw a perfect Tasmanian autumn day for messing about in boats at Dover Seafest. I joined a group of other local Instagrammers as guests of Destination Southern Tasmania, the Southern Trove and Dover Seafest. The day began with a cruise on lovely Esperance Bay as guests of Peninsula Cruising.
According to the knowledgeable guides, Hope Island comprises very fertile soil and during the early convict era when there was a probation station at Dover, its market gardens provided plenty of fresh food.
We paused over the site of the Katherine Sharer, which was shipwrecked in 1855, having almost reached Hobart from London. Apparently she was carrying (among other things) a load of illegal gunpowder, and caught fire late in her journey, less than a day’s sailing from her destination. All passengers and crew were quickly transferred to shore before she blew up, the force allegedly propelling her huge masts several hundred metres across the water and on into the forest nearby. Amazingly, no lives were lost.
Apparently this is also known as ‘the plate wreck’, due to the large quantities of ceramics among her cargo. Later in the day I visited the Dover Museum and Gallery, where a lady showed me a small example of this material from their collection.
After hearing stories of colonial era market gardens and explosive shipwrecks, we took a closeup look at one of the salmon farms in the Channel. A number of well-fed seals were on hand to make sure we didn’t make off with any fish.
It was perfect weather for messing about in boats, and that is just what many were doing. Apparently the Dover Regatta, also being held over the long weekend, is one of the longest running in Australia, this year marking its 160th anniversary.
After returning to shore, it was time to experience the amazing fresh sushi prepared to order by the legendary Masaaki Koyama. The long queue had to wait while he prepared our special order, including platters of sushi, cups of miso soup and served on lovely Japanese china with real fresh Tasmanian wasabi.
After lunch it was time to check out the customary seaside entertainments at Seafest. The treasure was all around, and some fine sandcastles adorned the shoreline.
All in all, a delightful day and a lovely place to celebrate the simple pleasures of messing about in boats.
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