Pi­lot lights

NAV­I­GAT­ING PORT PHILLIP BAY’S NO­TO­RI­OUS RIP

Australian Geographic - - Walk About -

WJes­sica Wat­son HEN WRITER joined the in­trepid sea pilots who help make Port Phillip Bay’s no­to­ri­ous en­trance, known as The Rip, a safer place, she was dis­ap­pointed by the calm weather: “The pilots are renowned for their abil­ity to keep the en­trance open to ship­ping, al­most con­stantly, 365 days a year, op­er­at­ing in of­ten dan­ger­ous con­di­tions. So I was hop­ing to see the pi­lot launches in their el­e­ment, push­ing through steep waves to de­liver the pilots to the ships they are charged with guid­ing. But pleas­ant con­di­tions didn’t stop me gain­ing an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the pilots’ com­pe­tence and pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Ma­noeu­vring along­side huge ships while they are un­der­way is nerve-rack­ing. The coxswain has to hold the launch in place as it rises and falls with the swell so the pi­lot can scram­ble up a rope lad­der onto the ship. There’s no doubt Port Phillip’s pi­lot launches are among the world’s most sea­wor­thy boats.”

An­swer to Then and Now: Pic­tured on page 27 is York Town Hall, WA.

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