Customs House Wharf Brisbane
The news reports on the radio are all talking about people doing their Christmas shopping, how much is being spent and where the best places are to get "those last minute gifts" I dare say that some of the Duyfken souvenirs that Tina has been selling in the shop will be used for Christmas presents. We have been doing some Christmas shopping for the ship, getting her some presents that I am sure she will appreciate. 20 litres of tallow and 20 litres of linseed oil where the first to go under the tree, (or at least in the bilge up forward), some new charts for the next stages of our voyages (although I am sure Graeme would rather I be like Willem Jansz and draw my own as we go, cheaper that way!) and all sorts of other bits and pieces that any ship seems to demand as soon as she gets into port. I managed to get a few days off last week and got down to Sydney to catch up with friends and family. While I was there I called in to Vexillographer (look it up) John Vaughan to pick up my Christmas present for the ship. When I got back I had to give it to her a bit early and she is now proudly wearing a 4 yard Aussie Red Ensign at the ensign staff aft. Up until now we have always worn the blue but I am a but of a traditionalist (I suppose you have to be to sail in a ship like this) and I prefer the red as we are a part of the Australian Merchant Navy. I also got an enormous 6 yard red ensign as well, but that is for special occasions - I fear the ensign staff will carry away if I try and set it there and we will most likely have to set it from the peak of the mizzen yard. At least it will now match the size of the big Dutch flag and the big VOC flag that we have aboard - if you ever read about Duyfken carrying away spars it will not be because of carrying too much sail, it will be because the flags have pulled the sticks out of her. I did pick up one more flag from John but that will be the subject of a journal entry on the 1st January. Our stay here in Brisbane is drawing to a close soon, we have done very well here with a lot of people coming to have a look at the ship. The revenue has brought smiles to the people that count the beans, hopefully it will continue for the rest of the vists in the Brisbane area - Mooloolaba, Redcliffe and the Gold Coast. For a seaman though it will be a relief to get back to sea, even if it is only a short hop back up the coast. The bright lights of a city pall after a while, I seem to recall a quote from a book (Masefield perhaps or Villiers?) "ports are the ruin of ships and men" As I sit here in the shade of a tree typing this, I watch the Duyfken tug at her moorings, rolling and pitching a little to the wash of passing ferries. She wants to go too.