Spirit of Mystery reaches Melbourne
A flotilla of small boats and hundreds of onlookers welcomed the 37ft wooden lugger into Williamstown, Melbourne at 1.30 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Monday 9 March (0230 hours GMT).
The crew had an emotional reunion with Mark Maidment, the 44 year-old crew member who had to be taken to hospital with a broken leg after the vessel was knocked down by a freak wave in the Southern Ocean last week.
Friends, family and the public flocked to the quay side to cheer in the little craft as she slipped into the marina with Cornish flags flying in the bright sunshine and gentle breeze - a far cry from the events of last week. After hugs and kisses were exchanged, the crew were welcomed to Australia by the Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Peter Hemphill, and the President of the Cornish Association of Victoria, Derek Trewarne, who was waiting ashore with a cold pint of beer and a Cornish Pasty for all the crew.
The crew, with Mark in a wheelchair after his operation to insert pins in his leg to hold together his shattered tibia and fibula, stood together on the deck of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria 155 years after the original crew of the fishing vessel Mystery set foot in Williamstown.
After toasting their arrival with a glass of Talisker whisky, Pete and the crew enthralled the gathered crowd with tales of their adventures, including the moment the little wooden boat was turned over. But he said that the journey had been about much more than that.
Pete said: “It is just fantastic to be here and meet descendents of the original crew of Mystery. After what we have been through, I am even more in awe of what those seven brave Cornishmen achieved. We have had such a great reception here at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria and there are just so many people to thank. You can’t do these projects alone and there are a huge number of people who have supported us.”
Pete thanked the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Victorian Water Police for their assistance and spoke of the warm welcome they had all received in Australia.
Mark Maidment said that it had been tough sailing for several days with a shattered leg, but added: “The most important thing is that we reached Australia together.” He added that his leg had ‘snapped like a twig’ when the wave struck, but that he realised it could have been much worse and he was grateful to be able to welcome his crewmates ashore.
14 year old Eliot is Pete’s youngest son. He said that the highlight had been seeing a pod of whales around the boat. When asked if it was difficult to sail so far with his father he just replied: “We actually got on ok.”
Pete’s younger brother Andy (40) described in typical understated style that the trip had been ‘interesting’.
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