Flinders Island Trips 1990 - 1995


Mick next to the Farsund

This time we were luckier. The wind abated and the sea remained very calm as we circled the wreck. Mick was interested in getting on board to take photographs. To begin with it didn't look very hopeful as the steep sides of the vessel offered little in the way of landing spots.

Close up Farsund bow

It's hard to give some impression of just how massive the wreck is. It must have been quite a smart looking ship with smoothly curving bow and graceful lines. The figure head has been salvaged and is now in a maritime museum in Hobart. A series of holes in the hull, down near the wareline looked promising as a way of getting on board.

Mick climbing aboard the Farsund

We held on to Micks' kayak as he gingerly tested out the footholds. With so much rust it was difficult to know what was safe to stand on. Mick told us that it was a must to come aboard. I decided to go next, leaving Grant to stay in the double and stop the kayaks grinding against the side of the ship.

Inside the Farsund, Vansittart Is.

The Farsund was in ballast as it approached Flinders Island from Buenos Aires in a south easterly gale in 1912. She was driven on to the Vansittart Shoals. Captain Abrahamson and crew left her to get assistance. The steamer SS Warrentinna was contacted at Cape Barren Island but was too short of coal to render asssistance. Not much of the ship has survived the pounding and incessant corrosion of salt water but you can still appreciate the grandeur of her design.

On the deck of the Farsund

Some idea of size can be gained by looking at Mick on the right hand side of the deck. The thick deck planking was rotten and we had to be careful to only stand in places where the iron ribs were giving support. It was best to stay close to the side of the vessel even though there were no hand rails left to hang on to.

Rusty relics, Farsund

Still on deck were hundreds of metres of steel cable, last used in the salvage efforts. The Warretinna returned to salvage the vessel but was underpowered. The tug Wybia from Launceston arrived too late as continuing south easterlies had pushed the barque further onto the shoals.

Hawser pipe, Farsund

The ship is a photographers dream, rusting relics of a bygone era cried out to be photographed and preserved for posterity. Mick used up rolls of film and I had the video camera recording as much as I dare. In the main cabin on deck, slate tiles were one of the few items that had weathered the elements. I was tempted to take one as a souvenir but somehow this seemed wrong. better to let nature gradually do her work.

Mast, Farsund

One of the three iron masts was still partially standing. It was blistered with rust and leaning at a crazy angle up into the bright blue sky. I wonder what storms and tempests it had endured before ending up in this lonely place 40 south of the equator.

Under sail, East coast Cape Barren Is.

I went back to the double and clambered aboard to let Grant have a turn at searching for hidden treasures. Then we set off to find Laurie who for some reason had not stayed to explore the wreck. It was late morning and the westerly gradually freshened allowing us to raise sails and make good progress down the coast of cape Barren Island.

 Christmas Beach, Cape Barren Is.

Laurie had been waiting for us on a nearby beach and sailed out to join us. After a brief lunch stop we carried on down and around Cape Barren to Christmas Beach, our camping spot for the night. There was no apparent place to set up our tents from the beach but a quick investigation revealed a nice sheltered spot behind the coastal boobyallas, right under the slopes of Mt Kerford.

Campsite, Christmas Beach

A very peaceful night was spent here. Chatting about past adventures, sipping Baileys Irish Cream Whiskey and gradually nodding of to sleep. There was plenty of firewood and the mild evening, clear skies and companionship made for an enjoyable night.

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