Yet another early morning as we approached the outer roads of Fremantle port. It was earlier than scheduled, the annual Rottness Island Swim was taking that place that morning; the shipping channel was closed from 5 a.m. until around 2 p.m., thus I brought our ETA forward to compensate.
We had been experiencing strong south-west winds for the previous 12 hours and there was no let-up for our arrival. We were due to embark our pilot at the Inner pilot station, this involved passing the approach deep-water channel and entering the bay, passing anchored ships and embarking him 2 miles or so from the entrance channel.
A sharp turn to starboard was involved, to give the pilot-boat a good lee in the strong wind and then an equally sharp turn to port, to get her back on track and ready for the approach to the entrance channel. Because of the wind, we had to keep the speed up and despite the speed, we still ‘crabbed in’, beings set 8° off course and having to compensate. Once through the entrance and behind the buildings of ‘Freo’ as Fremantle is called by the locals, we saw a reduction in wind-speed to a more manageable 15 knots. Another ‘wheelie’ was called for, having to turn through 180° before docking at the Passenger terminal.
A glorious sunny day beckoned, temperatures in the mid-80sF, around 30C. Container ships were on the berths opposite, as was a Livestock carrier. This unusual vessel transports anything from sheep and cattle, to camels and goats. (Did you know that Australia has more camels than any other country put together)? I certainly didn’t.
Freo is the gateway port for the city of Perth, the 4th largest city in terms of population at 2 million. It was founded in the early 1800’s and has quaint streets, lots of Victoriana and, as in similar encounters, some very friendly people. I would quite happily live here, were it not for the eye-boggling property prices and the cost of living. One presumes that salaries compensate, however I have never asked.
A complimentary Tram ride into town and a trek around the city, seeing the sights, the women browsing shops and markets while I and Colin enjoyed great coffee in one of the many street-side cafes.
It was then time to catch a train to Perth, a 30-minute ride away, the cost? $4 Australian, about $3 U.S.
Perth is totally different to Freo, it is a large, busy metropolis with towering skyscrapers, intermingled with its past.
After a delicious lunch, we made our way back towards Freo. There are ferries, however they only run about 4-times per day, so we took the train back and enjoyed a nice glass of wine, before returning to the Amsterdam. The wonders of modern communications, I even managed to FaceTime Sam and Liz, being able to watch Violet while she ate breakfast, wonderful! 🙂
This afternoon (22nd), we are bound for Geraldton, a small city 200 miles to our north. We have to anchor and use our tenders here, however the forecast is not good, 30-knot winds and rough seas, I have my reservations and will only see when we get there. Already, here in Fremantle, the wind is up to 30 and there is white-water in the harbour; it’s going to be another departure requiring speed to get out of here.