28-Dec-2002 -- Flushed with the success at 43°S 147°E the day before, we today set our sights on an as yet unvisited confluence, this one in the ocean 55 kilometres east of Hobart. We drove northeast on the A3, past the airport to Sorell, then turned southeast on the A9, across the Forestier Peninsula to Eaglehawk Neck. Eaglehawk Neck is a narrow isthmus connecting Forestier Peninsular to Tasman Peninsular, home of the (in)famous Port Arthur, where convicts were held during the early days of colonisation, and which was more recently the scene of Australia's worst ever mass homicide.
On the approach to Eaglehawk Neck, we stopped at a good lookout a short distance off the main highway that provides an excellent view of Pirates Bay to the south. The confluence is 5.4 kilometres due east of this lookout. We then continued on to Blowhole Jetty at the southeast end of Pirates Bay, where we met Stuart Nichols of Personalised Sea Charters, whose self-built 26-foot boat the "Big Pig" we had chartered to take us out to the confluence. Stuart had been in the news recently; when out with another charter group a whale had surfaced directly beneath the Big Pig, lifting it completely clear of the water and spinning it around 180 degrees before depositing it back onto the sea! We hoped that this day's voyage would be a little less dramatic.
As we made our way out towards the confluence point 5.7 kilometres to the northeast, we didn't come across any whales, however we passed through an armada of giant poisonous jellyfish - thousands of them - some as large as a metre in diameter, with nasty stinging tendrils extending up to 10 metres.
The Big Pig averaged a little over 20 kilometres per hour over the choppy seas, whipped up by a stiff breeze. Reaching the general area of the confluence proved no problem at all, but getting a perfect reading was not so simple. We circled several times; however the best we could manage was 0.1 of a second off. The Big Pig's instrumentation gave the depth as 85 metres, and the sea temperature as 16°C.
The nearest land was to the northwest, and in the view to the north, Deep Glen Bluff and Sisters Rocks are just visible on the left. Well to the south was the east coast of Tasman Peninsular. To the east, although we knew Alfa Romeo was sailing by under spinnaker, taking advantage of the strong nor'easter as she powered her way to line honours in the 2002 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, she was unfortunately too far out to sea to be visible. The south coast of Forestier Peninsular dominated the view to the west. Stuart helped us take a group photo at the confluence point.
As we headed back to shore, playful schools of dolphins joined us on two occasions, swimming and jumping in front of the boat, while Jennifer and Sasha hung over the bow enjoying the spectacle.