The high rise buildings of the CBD (Commercial Business District) of Melbourne rose like misaligned teeth in the middle distance as we walked, clutching our obligatory bottles of water, along the sea front of St Kilda.
The weather was sunny and extremely warm and the beach this weekend was covered in scantily clad bodies of both sexes taking full advantage of the sunshine. None seemed worried about the hole in the ozone layer! St Kilda was obviously the playground of the young of Melbourne. We noticed the litter bins on the shore were full to overflowing but, unlike English beaches, there was not a scrap to be seen on the beach.
In the distance could be seen the main docks and a container ship edging its way towards them through the huge expanse of Port Phillip Bay, where white sails dotted the water.
The Royal Melbourne yacht club on the foreshore beckoned people in for coffee as it was open day for all the clubs in Australia but we plodded on with an ultimate goal, some three miles away, of Brighton.
At Royal Brighton Yacht Club we took advantage of their offer of coffee and walked in to be confronted by a lady asking if we would like to go for a sail. “Well … er …”
“Just go through that door,” she urged, as she ushered us through another door, “and see the presentation. Then make up your minds.”
Within fifteen minutes we were being escorted down a long jetty towards a collection of moored yachts, some very expensive looking, and being introduced to a grizzled looking character who bade us welcome and to follow him.
Together with a young family consisting of father, mother and young boy, we boarded a yacht and were introduced to the man’s equally grizzled looking wife. They had both spent a lot of time on the sea in the sun. Soon we were motoring out of the Marina and into the open waters of Port Phillip to see the beaches from a different perspective. We had only gone into the club for a coffee!
The skipper gave up the helm to the young boy, the motor was cut and only the sounds of the water slapping against the hull could be heard as the sails attempted to find the wind. Unfortunately, there was very little, so after some time the motor was re-started and we motored slowly along, chatting.
The family were Swiss, working in Australia and the boy, with a beaming smile, navigated the yacht across the bay. He was obviously enjoying himself.
The skipper and his wife had sailed a great deal as suspected, once travelling up the coast as far as Cairns, not a journey to be taken lightly.
After an hour or so, we returned to the Marina and had a delicious meal in the restaurant there. My wife, who had never sailed on a small boat before, remarked that it had been a wonderful afternoon and asked how we managed to get into these situations.
by Terry Took © 2013
Terry Took was born in Yorkshire but has lived in Tynemouth for over 50 years. He spent 45 years in the Merchant Navy which included 27 years as North Sea Pilot. He then spent five years as a lecturer at the Marine Department of South Tyneside College.
He is now an Elder Brother in Trinity House and Marine Director.
If you have any comments or would like to contact Terry then please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.