On 11 November 2017 Eight paddlers from the Tasmanian Sea Canoe Club did a day paddle north to Deep Glen Bay on the Forestier Peninsula launching from Doo Town (George R and I did a little paddle south of Doo Town when he was down here a few years back). The paddle was coordinated by Tony Gaiswinkler. We crossed Pirates Bay, heading north along the coast past some magnificent sea caves set in the steep cliffs. It was too dangerous to enter too far because of the swell. The landing at Deep Glen Bay is tricky as there is no beach but we managed to get all of the kayaks ashore without much incident (I realised then why Tony had brought his well-used plastic boat instead of his usual smarter machine!). The bay is backed by steep cliffs which appeared to be unclimbable. After lunch we continued north around Sisters Rocks before heading directly back to Doo Town where we had fish and chips from the local caravan before heading back to Hobart.

The sinking of the Blythe Star was an event which had significant ramifications both nationally and internationally. On October the 12th 1973 the cargo ship was bound for King Island carrying a cargo of kegged  beer which was stowed in the hold and lashed on deck. There were 10 crew. The ship capsized suddenly. The reason for this is unknown. The crew dived into an inflatable rubber life raft and watched in disbelief as the ship’s bow lifted high in the air before sinking quickly. There was no time to send a distress message. For eight days they drifted more than 400km down the coast, enduring a huge storm during this time. One crewman died on the raft on the fourth day and two more later. Eventually they drifted into Deep Glen Bay and, despite two men being badly hurt in trying to climb the cliffs, three men managed to reach the top and raise the alarm.

After the inquiry into the incident and the botched search, the Australian Reporting system (AusRep) for vessels was introduced and the carrying of radio beacons was made compulsory. Nowadays the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is in force which ensures that 2 independent means of raising an alarm are used which includes the use of float-free EPIRBs which automatically start transmitting the GPS position once they hit the water.

Dave Edwards

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