Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Robe

Most of us, I suppose, are a little nervous of the sea. No matter what its smiles may be, we doubt its friendship. ~H.M. Tomlinson

On days when the wind is blowing a gale, the sky is cloud-filled and you have to "coat-up" every time you get out of the car, you realise what a dangerous job fisherman of the Southern Ocean are committed to.

The Obelisk

The Cape Dombey Obelisk was built in 1853 as a navigational guide to assist entry to Guichen Bay. However powerful storms have claimed a number of vessels over the years. They'll claim this Obelisk too soon as this point is washed away.

Every year before the commencement of the cray season local fishing communities each hold a Blessing of the Fleet. This consists of a small service where prayers on behalf of the fishers, for the fleet, for family and friends and for those who mourn are offered. Afterwards a cross is thrown into the sea and retrieved by one of the fishermen, then the boats leave the safe haven of the marina, receiving a blessing as they move into the sometimes treacherous waters of the Southern Ocean. We were fortunate to participate in this by enjoying some fish and chips with the locals and other visitors, standing in the rain under our umbrella for the service, and watching a crazy young fisherman freeze to retrieve the cross from the sea. We were then invited on board a boat and headed out to see for a few spins. It was a great experience, one which is very memorable. We feel very fortunate because we were simply in the right place at the right time. How many people get the opportunity to ride the waves of the ocean on a working fishing boat?

Our boat, the 'Nihilator', leaving the harbour.

The town of Robe is quite a historic seaside community and we enjoyed wandering the streets stumbling upon gems such as this very old little cottage with its very pretty spring garden blossoming to delight our senses.

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