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Published: August 5th 2014
PIRATE FOR A LITTLEWING DAY...The "Duyfken".
I only knew one pirate until the other day.
Denise and I met her for Travelblog's 2013 Sydney Get-together with Jo Trouble, RJT, John & Sylvia and JetSet.
We knew of her in the ether as Littlewing...but got to know her as Cindy...travelled from Perth to join us.
We went on a tall ship in Sydney Harbour...a photo exhibition...chocolate indulgence...to Camelot for Gypsy swing...our place for boules and feasting...down in the gorge...then diving with sharks.
She wasn't a pirate then.
Then she returned to Perth.
Started getting strange messages after that.
She'd joined the crew of a tall ship out of Fremantle in Western Australia...sentry duty at night...piratey sorts of things...living the dream.
So when I planned to visit Perth a few weeks ago...I gave her a hoy's hoy.
Cindy collected me in her fire engine red Holden SS...that's the car you don't drag off at the lights as you'll lose...perfect car for a tour as it turned out...easy to find in a crowded carpark.
Delighted to see each other again.
She told me blogs about Perth she'd seen
describe it as "boring". It did not take long to see why that annoyed her.
I found Perth a lovely city...full of open spaces...on the substantial Swan River...overlooked by the expansive Kings Park full of gardens, lawns and trees. It is also a city of wealth prospering from the mining boom in Western Australia. At night it sparkles and glimmers over waterways with light.
But Cindy was heading for Fremantle...that coastal port city north of Perth...where we let the Americans win back the Americas Cup...'cause in gloating when we beat them in Newport, Long Island we showed them Australia II's revolutionary winged keel designed by Ben Lexcen...which allowed them to copy it and improve on it thanks to NASA's computers...yep we're heading for Cindy territory...Fremantle.
Through heritage preserved streets...heaps of beautiful old buildings...showing me where her parent's met...where they were married...then to Fremantle's oldest building...the round sandstone gaol overlooking the Indian Ocean...with it's cannon that her father still fires every Friday.
An attendant grabs her...drags her to a pillory...captured and in captivity.
"Gotcha...the pirate known as Littlewing."
So it's true! (My opening picture).
Views of the funky building where Cindy works as an
Engineering lecturer during the day...wondering where the piratey sorts of things fit in...too polite to ask though.
Took me to the dock areas...Fishermans Harbour...ships of all shapes and sizes on one side...the statue of Bon Scott...the former lead singer from AC/DC on the other.
Cindy caressing Bon Scott's statue...venerated out here...statues of fishermen coming to life on the dock...with a memorial to lost fishermen...reminders the sea is not always so serene.
Cindy leaves to score coffees...leaves me to wander the docks...past restaurants and nightspots...bustling vibrant area.
Then I saw it.
****** The Duyfken...Little Dove
In Fisherman's Harbour...behind the Little Creatures Brewery...the pearl of Fremantle...smiling at me from the end of the dock walkway...was the reason for Cindy's delight.
The replica sailing ship that made the first European discovery of Australia in 1606...the Duyfken.
Their website describes it as such: "In 1606, the small Dutch ship Duyfken sailed from the Indonesian island of Banda in search of gold and trade opportunities on the fabled island of Nova Guinea. Under the command of Willem Janszoon, Duyfken and her crew ventured south-east. They sailed beyond Os Papuas (Papua New Guinea)and
explored and chartered part of the coast of Nova Guinea. They did not find gold - but they did find the northern coast of a huge continent: Australia. Captain Janszoon was the first European to map and record Australia in history so Duyfken's voyage marks the beginning of Australia's recorded history."
And walking along the dock...coffees in each hand...was Cindy...biggest smile on her face...about to take me to heaven.
I suddenly felt naked.
In front of me was a tiny ocean-going vessel reproduced to the finest detail...a replica so exquisite...constructed with skills from ages past...ancient ropework...aged panelling...every detail as authentic as can be...craftsmanship that made me swoon with awe.
Yet I was not dressed for the occasion...Jo Trouble had warned me to bring an eye patch...this is what happens when you don't listen...I suddenly felt naked.
Padlock on the gate...not then open to the public...only accessible to crew.
Cindy touches like with wand a'waving...padlock and chain a'clicking...gate a'opening...come a'board.
The "Friends of the Duyfken" are a hearty bunch of salties that crew the ship at port and sea and show tourists
the delights on board.
Emerging from the forecastle were a bunch of them embracing Cindy...then cooing like pigeons...the friendliest bunch of hearties you could meet.
And among them...Bob who has done restoration work on the vessel so held in esteem by Cindy.
Yet when the hearties left the vessel for a spot of shore-leave...there remained on board Andrew and Miriam...and they deserve a big mention.
Andrew Bibby...Boatswain by profession...Master craftsman...Genius in my reckoning...my honour to have met him.
Andrew is responsible for much of the restoration and rope-work.
The ropework is from a different time and place...but authentically reproduced with ancient methods and painstaking patience...exquisite.
Cindy shows me below deck...the innovative steering system...wisdom from the ancients...where she sleeps when on night sentry duty...ancient reproduced charts...carved chests...Dutch brick lower floor...kitchen or is it galley...wow.
Let the pictures show the story...this vessel is a must visit on any trip to Freemantle or Perth...check it out.
Yet I was not Andrew's "Number One" admirer...there was another on board...his fiance Miriam...and what a story how she got her man (hope I've got it right).
On a visit from Holland to
ANDREW & MIRIAM
Andrew is the Boatswain and they live on the Duyfken
Oz...spent some time as a volunteer on the Duyfken...returned to Holland when her money ran out...working away in a good job...drawn to return by the spirit of mariners haunting her at night...returning...falling in love with the rugged boatswain...now living on board together...a place to call home like no other.
Giving this humble dancer a couple of hours of their life with Cindy.
Thanks guys...next time I come...I want to head out under sail...and I gotta bring Denise.
Cindy takes me to Ciccerello's on the dock for Fish & Chips to take away...then to Little Creatures brewery for me to score a beer to wash it down.
Had a beer tasting...about 6 to try...by Handlbars as Cindy knows him.
Pale Ale, Bright Ale well known in Sydney.
But the one that took my fancy was the India Pale Ale...pack of 4 please...Little Creatures IPA...mmmm.
Cindy took me to the old Freemantle Gaol...I think it's now closed...to eat our dinner in peace and quiet...overlooking part of the city...no chatter from errant diners up there...no txting and mobile phones disturbing the peace up there.
Only the melifluous
sounds of Cindy and I chatting into the night...stories of adventures of the road...stories told and not told...those special yarns you won't hear on Travelblog...only when you meet in person.
I'll be back...eye-patch in hand...thank you Cindy for a fabulous reunion...the pirate known as Littlewing...until next we meet.
Relax & Enjoy,
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