We’ve had visitors across Murray Pass, on Erith Island, since Wednesday. There are two sets of kayakers passing in the night, I so to speak. One group is heading north, the other south. We had two days of gale winds and squalls and, in the morning, we saw the sailboat anchored in a different spot from where we left them at night.
Today they crossed the Pass to get internet weather forecasts. When we saw them getting tossed around in the sailboat, as they plowed through standing waves, we knew they would pay us a visit. So I defrosted a batch of Anzac cookies and put on a pot of tea.
It turns out the sailors did drag anchor in the night at the height of the storm, when the wind was 50 knots or so. They held by about 0100 in the north end of the bay. We had tried to hail them on the radio, to no avail, but they learned of the only good holding ground when they visited the kayakers ashore. They had trouble hauling their anchor and think they were caught on part of the railing of the Bulli, a steam driven coal ship which sunk there in 1877.
Bulli had 450 tons of coal on board, anchored during a gale, thought the weather improved and set off again, it hadn’t, and they returned to the cove where it hit a rock and sunk. All crew got off the ship before it sank and were rescued the next day. Salvage efforts were not successful.
This is a drawing of the Bulli I found in a book of Tasmanian shipwrecks.
Here is the piece of railing they recovered. I can’t be sure what ship it is really from because when I tried to find information from the diary of the keeper during the Bulli’s sinking, I found accounts of at least one other boat in the same location. The wreck of the Bulli is a “popular” dive site.