Despite inclement weather on the train ride to Flinders Street, we were mostly dry if not a little chilly as we arrived at Berth Two on Southbank for our ferry ride across the bay to Williamstown. There were no mishaps and we didn’t misplace any Members. We had two members who were unable to join us and were able to secure a refund for their tickets, so no money was wasted. In all, 25 of us went. We stopped part way across Princes Bridge to take a group photo and mostly, there were smiles. It only took about ten minutes to walk across to Southbank and some took shelter from the cold in the food court there while we waited for the ferry.
Interest was added to the sailing knowing that the river is flowing higher than usual and we took it very slowly cruising under the three lower bridges, sometimes with only 15cm to spare, as indicated by the pilot to the captain, using his hands.
The group enjoyed a drink while they waited for their lunch. We had pre-ordered using “survey monkey” online and it was a very simple procedure. Almost all the members placed their own orders ahead of today. Most folks were satisfied with their meals though some said theirs could have been warmer. Generally, the response was good though.
After lunch, with the instruction to be at Gem Pier at 2.30pm, we headed in all directions to take in the sights, buy ice creams and to do a little shopping. I will visit “Back To Basics”, a curiosity shop of sorts, again next time I’m in Williamstown.
After a phone call from the ferry service, the expected departure time was adjusted to 15 minutes later. The reason? “A ship held the ferry up.” We hoped it might have been one of the tall ships which are due in today or tomorrow for this festive weekend; but, we only sighted one tall ship, tied up on a distant pier – The Endeavour.
Once back at Southbank, there was an exodus to Flinders Street Station, this time via the Evan Walker Bridge, (also known as Southbank Pedestrian Bridge) which conveys approximately 20,000 people per day and leads travellers down into the underground tunnel to the platforms. Rather like stepping back one hundred years.
The carriage was three quarters full when we got in, but soon filled to standing, squeezing and squashing room only. We were very fortunate to each have seats. The trip home was made more enjoyable as Dawn Knighton told us about her bees. She has three hives and a good understanding of their occupants. Dawn belongs to a Bee Club and helps other members and would be apiarists find their feet. For a fleeting moment, I had a little daydream about keeping a hive in my tiny back yard where bees are always welcome. But, it passed.