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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AFLOAT - KA­T­RINA LOB­LEY

The dou­ble bed that’s port and aft aboard Lady Eu­ge­nie, the 23m yacht that’s home base for a Tas­ma­nian sail walk, is no dif­fer­ent to the bed on the star­board side, apart from one thing. Sting slept here.

Oh yes, the mind bog­gles. Sting vis­ited Tassie with wife Trudie Styler and is fa­mous not only for his mu­sic but for once quip­ping that he and Trudie in­dulged in seven-hour Tantric sex ses­sions (he later said those seven hours in­cluded din­ner and a movie). So as I’m rocked to sleep ever so gen­tly, I’m pon­der­ing what those lit­tle devils got up to in Tas­ma­nia.

You don’t have to be rock roy­alty to step aboard this two-masted lux­ury ves­sel, one of 15 Scorpio 75s from the renowned US-based yacht de­signer Robert Perry (who at­tended the same Syd­ney school as the guys from AC/DC). The yacht, built for com­fort­able and care­free cruis­ing, once shut­tled guests to Kan­ga­roo Is­land for an­other ven­ture but today it’s the base for the Tas­ma­nian Walk­ing Com­pany’s Wine­glass Bay Sail Walk.

Eu­ge­nie fer­ries guests from one pho­to­genic east-coast hike to an­other, in­clud­ing a chal­leng­ing as­cent of Maria Is­land’s twin peaks, Bishop and Clerk.

I can breathe easy. I’m here to sam­ple a snip­pet of the full itin­er­ar­ies. From Ho­bart, we zip 80km up to Or­ford to board a ten­der that takes us to Lady Eu­ge­nie, bob­bing in the wa­ter with Maria Is­land in the back­ground. The au­tumn sun is sparkling with such in­ten­sity that an­other layer of sun­screen has to be slapped on.

After scram­bling on to Lady Eu­ge­nie’s teak decks I’m as­signed to Nep­tune, a snug hidey-hole lined with golden tim­bers and dec­o­rated with pho­to­graphs of the Tas­ma­nian land­scape. The win­dows and drapes are doll­hous­escale; I poke around the cup­boards and bed­side nooks, ad­mir­ing how the clever de­sign keeps things in their place even if it gets wild out­side.

Be­fore tak­ing a fly­ing leap up on to the bed, pas­sen­gers must step through a vestibule that’s one of the world’s most com­pact bath­rooms (the show­er­head hangs above the loo and the toi­let pa­per lurks be­hind the van­ity door). In­stead of reg­u­lar toi­letries, there are hand­made, chemi- The Tas­ma­nian Walk­ing Com­pany’s Guided Wine­glass Bay Sail Walk, which starts and ends in Ho­bart, runs ev­ery sea­son ex­cept win­ter. Next sea­son, the four-day itin­er­ary starts from $2850 a per­son twin­share; the six-day itin­er­ary starts from $3850 a per­son twin­share. The sail walk is one of three itin­er­ar­ies of­fered by the com­pany, which plans to launch a fourth, the Three Capes Lodge Walk, around the Tas­man Penin­sula, next sum­mer. Vir­gin Aus­tralia co-founders Brett God­frey and Rob Sher­rard bought the Tas­ma­nian Walk­ing Com­pany in 2013. Their im­prove­ments in­clude adding Lady Eu­ge­nie and re­fresh­ing the lodges fea­tured in the high-end guided walks. More: taswalk­ingco.com.au; qan­tas.com. cal-free ameni­ties such as a soap-sham­poo from Tas­ma­nian out­fit Beauty and the Bees.

Skip­per Stephen Reid and off­sider Mitch Ant­tilla get us on our way, toss­ing in­struc­tions into the breeze as Lady Eu­ge­nie makes for a tiny speck be­tween Maria and Schouten is­lands. “Ease her out a bit, mate,” Reid in­structs from be­hind the wheel as Ant­tilla fine­tunes the rig­ging. As he slows, Reid asks what’s wrong. “I’ve gone soft,” the strap­ping Ant­tilla says. “You’re weak!” Reid bats back. Who doesn’t love a bit of high-seas ca­ma­raderie?

The 8ha gran­ite rock named Ile des Pho­ques (Is­land of Seals) heaves into view. It is ge­o­log­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant for sea caves and the phos­phatic flow­stone cre­ated over the ages from seal ex­cre­ment. As we float closer, the stench reaches our nos­trils and the sun­bathing Aus­tralian fur seals slip-slide into the sea.

Lunch is served al­fresco near the wheel be­fore we cruise to Schouten Is­land, which dan­gles from the tip of Fr­eycinet Penin­sula. As the boat bobs harder; I head to bed to ride out the rough patch (Reid says guests are also wel­come to take the wheel, which helps ease nau­sea).

The lie-down cures my queasi­ness but I miss a pod of dol­phins shad­ow­ing Lady Eu­ge­nie.

Crock­etts Bay, on Schouten’s north coast, is call­ing. The wa­ter here is an un­ex­pected shade of South Pa­cific blue and so clear you can count sand rip­ples on the ocean floor. Stand and lis­ten to the wa­ter rolling tiny quartz and feldspar peb­bles along the shore­line; the sound is as al­lur­ing as a gush of ex­pen­sive cham­pagne.

We rock-hop and scram­ble up Bear Hill (my wa­ter bot­tle is stashed in a bush when I re­alise I need both hands) and re­turn to the beach to find a ta­ble loaded with Ninth Is­land fizz and fresh oys­ters. The crew is skilled at spring­ing sur­prises and after the beach treat, we re­pair to

Lady Eu­ge­nie, Wine­glass Bay

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