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Auckland - Fremantle / Perth

Leg details

October 25 - November 9, 2005
Auckland (NZ) - Numea (NC) - Sydney (AU) - Melbourne (AU) - Adelaide (AU) - Fremantle / Perth (AU)


Leg map (click to enlarge in separate window)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Departure from Auckland and sailing north on the Pacific Ocean (S 35, E 174 - S 31 O 172)

Around 1 PM we leave Auckland in sunny weather towards Numea in New Caledonia.
We have a new passenger on board: Chris, a professor from New Zealand, returning to Great Britain.

During the day the waves get slightly bigger, from approx. 0.5 m after Auckland to up to 2.5 m towards the evening.
The Matisse rolls heavily.
Even though Chris has already travelled around the globe in a ship once he is feeling sick today. As rolling does not affect us we feel fine and work on our web-page for the whole day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cruising the Pacific Ocean (N 25, E167)

The clocks are moved back to GMT - 12.

We don't sleet well this night .... at 3 o'clock in the morning the ship rolls so heavily that we as a safety precaution clear away all our belongings into the cabinets.

During the day the sea gets calmer but the sky is overcast and it even rains in the afternoon.

Again we work on the web-page and Ruedi develops our new travel-database we will use to administrate our future waypoints.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Arrival in Numea, New Caledonia

The clock is adjusted once more and we are now at GMT -13.

We arrive in Numea at 5:30 AM. A beautiful day welcomes us.

We are not the only ship in the harbour, a passenger liner will be here for the next few hours too.

Every port has its own way of dealing with the containers.
Here they work much more efficient as in Tahiti, but the job looks very dangerous.
Like in Tahiti the cranes of the Matisse are used to unload and load. Due to this we will stay in Numea for 1 1/2 days.

Most likely the authorities mobilised one crew too many for the job, so their members watch their colleagues for the whole time of the shift.

A test of the life-raft is performed and also some maintenance work done.
There are still a few traces visible on the hull of the Matisse of the beating it had taken in the Panama Channel.

Here we met the Spring Tiger one last time.
The ship arrives directly from Tahiti, while we were in New Zealand for one more stop during the same period of time.
Amazing how much faster the Matisse is.

We leave the ship and visit the local zoo.

Yes, you are such a beautiful, proud bird.

We also stroll through the local cultural centre which it is well worth a visit.
It has some excellent displays of the local history and also the buildings are quite interesting.
They also display some of the local plants.

Even though in the morning the weather had been sunny and warm as we leave the cultural centre it starts pouring .... and because we stand under the roof to avoid getting soaked we miss the last bus into town .... but luckily the lady at the reception is still there and can order a taxi for us.

In the evening we go back into town.
There is a festival every evening at the "Place de Coco" which is visited by a huge local crowd including a few tourists and part of the Matisse crew.
Every day another country represents itself with its typical music, dance and food.
Today Tahiti is present its culture. It is a very peaceful atmosphere.
At 10 PM in the evening all is over and the crowd goes back home.
Amazingly the day after, the whole area is absolutely clean. One would not believe that such a large event had been held there the night before.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Departure from Numea sailing south on the Pacific Ocean (S23 E 165)

It is sunny but muggy and the wind increases in the afternoon.

In the harbour we see a very interesting boat.
It lays cable into the ocean.

Numea also has a yacht harbour.

We visit the town with its shops. They look like tourist shops but that's where the locals buy their clothes.

The local market with its nicely displayed fish, shellfish, meets ...

.... vegetables, fruits ...

... finger food, sweets, souvenirs ...

.... and lots of fresh flowers.

We are a bit surprised to see artificial flowers for sale everywhere.
We wonder why with all the beautiful natural flowers ....

The local bus station.

We stroll once more through the city park where the festival was held yesterday night.

The local population is a melting pot of different cultures, but it seems that no particular group is dominating the other ones; white skinned ones serves dark skinned ones, no problem.
Looking at the locals one feels like being in Jamaica ...

One last walk along the harbour bay and we are due to board again.

The departure is delayed as the crane motor re-ordered in Rotterdam arrives at the very last moment and has to be lifted on board and fitted.

Then we leave this lovely place sailing out of the harbour .....

.... along the bauxite mines (at least we think it is bauxite and not copper), some nice tourist resorts ...

.... and the many islands.

The exit through the bay is very tricky and dangerous due the many shallow spots (light blue on the map) and coral reefs.
The course of the boat has to be closely monitored and recorded manually to a paper map, just in case the electronic navigation systems would fail.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Cruising the Pacific Ocean (S27, E 159)

Today it is unpleasantly cool and slightly cloudy so we stay inside.

We have decided to hand out a CD with our pictures to the crew members before we disembark.
As that means handing out 30 DVD with 4 GB of data we start burning DVDs with as much data as we already can.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cruising Pacific Ocean on the latitude of Newcastle (S32, E 152)

Today the weather has not improved much, it's still cloudy but at least a bit warmer.

In the morning we cruise along the Gold Coast in Queensland.
As Susi and Hans Peter's brother Bruno lives there we head to the bow of the Matisse to call him on the satellite-phone.
It is a funny feeling to pass the Gold Coast and being so close to Bruno and yet, only Hans Peter will see him soon.
For us it will be another year or so until we visit the Gold Coast.
Once the OKA has been finished and we intend to take it to Queensland and show it to Brunos family and our friends.

Since we are at sea the crew also get's some relaxing moments.
From left to right one can see the Captain Mr. Deruy, the Second Captain Mr. Barbey, the Apprentice Tangie and the Officer Adrian.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Arrival in Botany Bay near Sydney

After midnight we arrive at Botany Bay near Sydney.
Unfortunately they moved the container port out of Sydney.
Three month ago on the last trip the Matisse still had sailed into the city passing the Sydney Opera as well as the well known Harbour Bridge.

Translating English to German was not meant to be easy ......
On the other hand it looks as if Australia is well aware of the problems the international tourists have, one of them being used to drive on the right (correct?) side of the road.

We take the bus and drive into Sydney. It is a hot and muggy day.
We are desperately searching for an Internet Cafe. We have to upload data for our web page. The last update had been done in Auckland, New Zealand.
In Australia almost all Starbucks Coffees have a hot-spot for Internet access, but it took us 2 hours to find out, as we first got misleading information.

....... And what's on the menu today?

As in previous years we like the architecture of the Australians skyscrapers.
Compared with other places in the world they are built so elegant.

Australian architects have a good feeling to integrate the old with the modern.
Some skyscrapers are actually built around the old building ....

At the Centre Cove we pass the wonderful Tank Stream fountain with the sculptures from Stephen Walker.
A plate at the fountain states:
1788: A stream flows into Sydney Cove. The European settlement of Australia begins along its sandstone banks.
Soon drought strikes and storage tanks are caved from the stone. Hence the name, Tank Stream. The seasons pass.
1981: The Tank Stream Fountain recalls mankind's past dependence on this flowing stream and our links with life around this region.

Along the promenade of Sydney Harbour various musicians are playing on their different instruments.
The didgeridoo player above uses a microphone so he can be heard better. He performances sounds like Techno - very modern - very good.

Of course you know this view ... the Sydney Opera House

The famous bridge over the bay, called "clothe hanger".
One can climb on top of it but it is very, very expensive experience, unfortunately totally out of our budget.

"The Rocks" is the area around the old harbour, between the opera house and the bridge.
Once a very rough and run down area it is today beautifully restored, very picturesque and holds a wide variety of shops, restaurants and expensive hotels.

Before we leave Sydney Harbour again we take a tour on the ordinary ferry boat around the harbour.
It is still a very pretty city ....

We catch the last bus out to Botany Bay.
It seems like the lady driver is in a real hurry to get home. She races the articulated bus through Sydney lake a mad woman; we have never experienced anything like this before.
At the final stop we are still in the bus. We hadn't notice that the last bus doesn't drive all the way down to the freight-boat terminals but goes straight to the bus garage.
After asking us where we would have liked to go to, the lady driver makes a special detour and brings us to our intended destination.
Thanks a lot - this is Australia!

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Departure from Sydney to the Tasman sea (S 37, E 149)

It is a sunny and calm day, no wind and temperatures around 20°C.

At 6:30 in the morning we leave Botany Bay and pass the old defence buildings.
We will be at see for just a bit over one day before reaching Melbourne.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Arrival at Melbourne

It is sunny and up to 27°C hot as we reach the entry into Port Phillip Bay shortly after lunch.

The Matisse will have to travel up the bay and the Yarra River for some 4 hours before reaching Melbourne Harbour.

Tangy the apprentice gets some hands on training in navigation.

Before entering the bay the control system of the Matisse is tested to ensure motor and steering work properly.
Failing to do so could leave the ship running aground on the sides of the channel leading to Melbourne.

The entry to Melbourne is quite demanding, it is narrow and shallow so everybody is alert ....

.... except the officers with no duties :-)

In Melbourne the Australian Ford vehicles are manufactured.
Huge lots of car wait to be loaded onto ferries and shipped to the local and Asian markets.

The trip up the Yarra River into Melbourne's harbour is very interesting and there is much to be seen.

Of course the last part to the peer can not be travelled under Matisse's own power. The ship needs the help of tugs under the command of a local pilot.

Seeing that the tugs are registered in Panama we ask the captain and the pilot.
Reason for this is that they had lots of trouble with the local unions and the endless strikes.
So today all work on the harbour is outsourced to two companies. It is much more effective and cheaper too.

We realise that efficiency a bit later on: Melbourne is the second best organised port we have seen on our trip so far.
Unloading / loading are done very fast and efficient.
(The fastest harbour was Hamburg with 1 minute and 8 seconds per container).

We like the yellow "spiders" speeding around.

We head into town to get a glimpse of the city.

First stop is the Rialto Tower the tallest building in the southern hemisphere (so far) built in 1986.
Its total height is 253 meters, the observation deck is at 236 meters.
Some building statistics:
38 lifts with over 700 doors
95 km lift cable
70 km sprinkler hose for fire protection
1.8 hectares glass windows
228'000 tonnes of weight .....

The views are stunning as one can see.

But also other buildings are worth to have a look at.

For diner we head to Melbourne's Restaurant mile at the Yarra River and then it's already time again to say good bye.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Melbourne and Departure from Melbourne towards Adelaide (N 3, W 93)

We wake up to a rainy morning, so we stay on the Matisse and make some technical photos. Towards the afternoon the weather improves a bit but the wind get's stronger.

We seem to have a quite thirsty crew .... additional wine, beer, etc. is brought on board.

Tangy get his training in water analysis. They measure the salinity of the water.
This analysis is done in each harbour. The value is then used to calculate the amount of water they have to put into the ballast tanks after cargo loading, so the ship optimally floats once back on the open sea.
If the salinity in the harbour is high the ship floats higher due to the density of the water - if the salinity is low, because the harbour is in a freshwater stream, the ship sinks more.

It is amazing to see this small vessel that once travelled great distances between the continents, in front of one of today's container vessels.
Wasn't that a bit more of an adventure then what we do today?

We watch the crew stowing away the gangway before sailing ...

The working area at bow and stern is closed for us while they are working and also while the Matisse is in a harbour.
The ropes holding the ship to the quay are under a lot of tension. Should one snap it would be a deadly projectile.
But we can still catch a glimpse of the heavy ropes being hauled out of the water back on board.

Then we leave Melbourne and sail down the Yarra River.

Small ships - big ships. The Matisse's chimney doesn't leave miss the bridge by much.

As we sail through the official waterway for the commercial boats the pilot gets nervous.
A small vessel is inside of the prohibited area, two guys happily fishing in it and waving at us as we pass them.
The pilot tells us that this boat owner will get fined when the pilot returns to shore.
He asks us for a copy of the picture with the boats registration number on it.
Apparently the week before another small boat was run over by a freighter and caused some casualties ...

As we leave the protection of the bay the sea gets rougher.
The pilot's boat can't get close enough to the Matisse as the waves are too high.
So the Matisse has to change its course creating a protected area thus enabling the pilot boat to approach and pick up the pilot.
As the pilot boat leaves and accelerates it sometimes bounces over the waves sometimes disappearing in a white bowl of spray.
What a sight!

We expect a storm over night - yes we like that.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Great Australian Bight (S35, O 137)

During the night the waves get up to 4 m high with a swell of 2 m and they hit us sideways.
The ship rolls.
Our professor is in bed again for the whole day and doesn't eat anything.
Not that he is sick already, but if he would walk around, it could easily be that he would get sick. So he decides to better take proactive action .....

We get the company of some dolphins. It is a rare sight these days.
Susi remembers that when they travelled from Peru to Europe in 1969 they had had the company of dolphins almost ever day.
The dolphins used to play with the bow wave and race the vessel.

In the evening we reach the protection of the bay in front of Adelaide and our professor returns back to the living.
The sun reflects on the sea. It is so intense, that one cannot see the real horizon near the sun.

Saturday, November 5, 2005


A perfect, hot day with temperatures in the high twenties welcomes us in Adelaide.

As usual we take a Taxi and head to town.
We have to get Crocodile and Kangaroo recipes for Xavier, our cook. He wants to cook that stuff for us before we leave the Matisse in Fremantle.

Adelaide's CBD = (Central Business Centre) still has many nicely maintained old buildings.
Because of the proximity of the airport to the city and plains fly over the city they cannot build skyscrapers.

That's typical Aussie humour - we love it.

With only 4 hours shore leave we are back at the harbour soon.
Being a Saturday there is nobody there except the guard.
As due to security reasons we are not allowed to walk around in the harbour area he locks the gate and gives us a free ride to the ship.
(Maybe he is just glad that we have gone and he can now have a relaxed weekend ....)

Soon the Matisse is ready to go. That was our last stop :-(

The channel out of the harbour and to the open sea is very small and shallow again.

We pass a sheep cargo ship ready for the Arabic market. It is a depressing view.
They carry some 80'000 sheep and have 40 full-time staff taking care of the animals during the trip.
Still, seeing the sheep in this confined space makes one a bit sick .... and we wonder how many of the poor things will have died by the time they reach the Arabic states.

Watch the many birds on the mole.

Until Fremantle we expect some very nasty weather.
We will most probably pass through the centre of a strong low.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Great Australian Bight (S 35, O 129)

The clock is turned back to GMT - 14.5 and later on to GMT -15.

We hand the recipes to Xavier the cook. Look what he prepared for lunch!
Salade de gésiers et magret de canard.
Fricassée de crocodile à l'australien, Riz - Garniture.
Gratin de fruits frais au Sabayon de Grand Marnier.

Does anybody want to ask about our weight after this journey - please don't!

Between 8 and 10 AM the barometer drops by 4 to 1000 hPa.
In the afternoon we get hit by a severe storm from the front and the speed of the Matisse must be reduced from 20 to 16 knots to avoid too much stress on the ship.
The height of the waves is 4 - 6 meter and the swell is 3 meters.
We feel great and enjoy the storm outside and on the bridge - the professor is in bed.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Great Australian Bight (S 35, O 119)


Today we work on our pictures taken during the last few weeks.
We have to finish all the work before noon since we also have all the CD's for the crew burned until tonight.
Fortunately the storm has eased quite a bit else we would get sick working on the PC while the ship is heavily pitching.

Tonight is our last night at sea and we invite for a bye-bye apero in the passengers lounge.
The invitation is even printed on today's menu!

The whole crew follows our invitation, except of course Adrian, who is running the shift on the bridge.
We have placed one of the photo-DVDs they will all get in the TV-set. Soon everybody is watching. Especially the crossing-the-line ceremony generates lots of laughter.
The crew was very pleased about getting the DVDs.

Some of the crew express that they would like us to stay on longer and don't like seeing us leaving the Matisse.
But every party has its end!
We really had a good time with all of them.
Thanks guys for your good friendship and for the way you accepted us on board.
This 52 days on board were a great experience for us we will always remember it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Arrival in Fremantle (Perth)

The watches are adjusted to GMT -16.

Around 3 AM, while sailing around Cape Leeuwin (the south-west corner of Australia) the storm hits us sideways.
The ship is heavily rolling.
We hear strange noises from the passenger lounge, like if something is dragged around on the floor and then hits a wall.
When we walk over to investigate we see the chairs slide from one wall to the other one in the same pace as the ship rolls.
We secure all the furniture and go back to bed.

But the rolling gets so bad that the risk falling out of bed is imminent, so we decide that the only good place to be is the bridge.
Getting up there is another story.
We have to adjust to the rolling and get the moments when the angle is good to climb a few steps. Then we hold on the rails and wait for the next good moment to proceed.
On the bridge the officers are busy securing what ever they can. The bin is sliding from one side of the bridge to the other one .... swish .... bang .... swish ... bang ...
Spellbound we watch the clinometer on the bridge, it shows up to 23° side roll. That's a lot.
We stay until daybreak and watch the breaker hitting the ship. If one considers the weight of the water hitting the ship, it is amazing.
We love it.

During the morning the sea starts calming down.

We sail towards Fremantle, the port of Perth. The skyline of Western Australia's Capital can be seen from out at sea.

Then for the last time for us the pilot boat arrives, the pilot gets on board .....

.... guiding us into the harbour ...... the French flag has been hoisted to welcome the Matisse ....

small boats assist the Matisse by picking up the ropes to be fixed at the peer.

The container port is exactly opposite the passenger terminal.

The futuristic building of Fremantle's Maritime Museum also exhibits a huge Oberon class submarine one can visit from inside.

Xavier presents one last special lunch for us:

Carottes râpées, Saucisson à l'ail.
Filet de kangourou aux baies rouges, Garnitures.
Gâteau poire - chocolat.

We notice, that the image on the upper left corner on the menu differs on the menu for the crew and on the one for the passengers :-))

We visit Fremantle.

Many old, beautiful buildings in good condition can be found in the harbour area.

We eat diner at the Pizzeria Sandrino in the main entertainment district.
[2007: This is meanwhile one of our favourite spots for diner].
The right picture shows the painted wall opposite the Pizzeria.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Disembarkation in Fremantle

Even after having been 52 days on board we never got bored.
We can only encourage everyone to go for such an experience once in life.
It's worth doing it.

Customs is a bit shocked when they see the amount of luggage we have, but we must look very trustworthy, they do not even have a closer look at it.
Also shocked is the taxi driver but he can just fit all in his station-wagon.
But when we see our rented car we decide to send Hans Peter with some of the luggage to the hotel by taxi, the luggage simply doesn't fit together with us 3 adults ....

One last look to the Matisse that was our home for nearly 2 month - a save and good home .... and off we go heading to Perth.



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Last updated: Thursday, 10.01.2019 5:04 PM

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