2007 - Gippsland Lakes

'Inaugural' Tour

Captain - Baz
Vessel - Tanjil

It started as an idea few years ago and after a few suggestions Bazza took matters into his own hands, a situation in which he is well accustomed and decided to embark on a plan for a Bulls Cruiser trip on the Gippsland Lakes. The invites went out for a crew of hearties to man the vessel, a magnificent clipper named Tanjil – an aboriginal word meaning ‘drink lots, catch fuck all'.

Captain Ironguts chose the worthy crew with the aim of a team with skills, knowledge and seamanship. However the googly eyed one could only manage a bunch of scurvy, seadogs with little hope of reading a compass let alone discovering new worlds. Well we did discover the new world of Tofu much to the disgust of many.

With half the crew the mighty Tanjil cast off on Friday from Paynesville dock destined for good times and fair weather. It wasn't long till trouble set in with Captain Ironguts attempting to either sink the Tanjil or any other vessel nearby by practicing ramming tactics. The captain & crew partied that evening in Duck Arm vicinity putting a large dent in supplies, however the cans of beans stayed intact.

The rest of the crew was picked up at Port Paynesville and we headed at a blistering eight knots to the barrier. But not before stopping to assist a stranded vessel stuck on the sand. Having done our good deed for the day (almost ripping off a bollard from their boat) and not even a carton for our troubles it was time to come about and throw out the pick for the evening. We were joined by the Clav Clan, with the young fella catching more fish in a couple of hours than all of us.

Seaman Pickles provided some mirth for the lads with his confusion and attempt to put on a simple floatation device. He handles multi million dollar acquisitions every second day but give him a life jacket and he's fucked. His persistence with the plastics was inspiring but put bugger all in the esky. A couple of beers and Bush drifted back to the old days of abuse, slurring and falling asleep – it's good that things don't change.

Tofu Cabin Boy Huggy had the unfortunate sentence of sharing wardrobe sleeping arrangements with the Bush. He probably wished he could be flogged with a lamb chop or move back to the Valley than sleep in that wardrobe of dastardly smells.

The noise that evening was enough to alert the greenies of several acres of forest being destroyed. Magic was throwing punches left right and centre at anything that might resemble a snoring entity; me being one and the nearest cabin wall accompanied by a couple of grizzlies.

Boatswain Joffa provided much assistance in the running on the Tanjil, exhibiting roping and general skills under the watchful eyes of the Captain. Gilligan comes to mind regarding the Joffa, or more perhaps that he ate Gilligan, he also demonstrated navigational and skippering prowess by dredging a new channel in Reeve Channel.

The prawning teams were arranged in two shifts, the first shift can go bag em, the second shift can get fucked. It is a simple, clear & easy to understand philosophy again from the great orator Bush. The boys did come through with the goods and tasted great. Hilly is still talking about jumping in the tinny and going prawning up the Tambo. “come on guys, lets go up the Tambo in the tinny” Off you go Hilly and take your fucking tins of baked beans.

Evening time entertainment included stories, cards (Texas Poker & Arsehole) and balancing tricks, the Bushman won this game hands down, such an accomplished competitor.

Hilly was on top of his game in the flatulence department, we never new it was coming but when the Hill let rip it was ‘fire in the hole', every man for himself. The great orator Bush came out with the classic statement of the trip ‘Turn the fan off Baz it's whipping the fart into shit!'

At the helm one afternoon was Johnno who demonstrated his seamanship in successfully surfing the big waves of Lake King, a feat probably never to be equaled. Not content with shaking all the beers up in the eskies he proceeded to empty the galley's cupboards of all contents and create general havoc. However, much to the delight of Hilly, none of the cans of baked beans were affected.

Many stories were reminisced and memories revisited over an ale and wine, laughter was contagious and all was good in the world on the Tanjil. Old times, good times, funny times and one thing is for sure – whilst there are memories that tend to fade and some you wish did, there is someone else most proud to refresh the story eliminating the possibility of it ever being forgotten. Baz was particularly amused with an old tale relating to David Sapier at the Astradome.

Tofu Cabin Boy certainly caught up on some well deserved sleep and managed to read more on the Tanjil than during his entire time in high school (but was this such a hard feat). What the Cabin Boy could do with Tofu (sausage, bacon, ham, steak, pavalova) simply amazed the crew, well actually eating the stuff certainly had most of us baffled. And yet whilst we feasted the baked bean cans remained inexplicably intact.

Pickles commandeered a barkadeer for fishing and the like and it was on this tender that a couple of tragedies occurred, one was the revelation of Hilly's knot tying abilities (or should we say inabilities), the other was the departure of Hilly's much cherished leatherman at the hands of Planet, who felt like the lowest bilge rat.

Captain Ironguts not only lead the crew with an iron beer belly he also manned the galley like a man possessed and cooked up some good tucker, including taking the unprecedented risk of serving a vegetarian meal on a boys trip! And by Jesus you'd better eat your tucker quick or the cleaning nazi would have your plate washed up and put away before you could say ‘Fuck off Baz you googly eyed murray cod'. And still the baked bean cans (did I mention fifteen tins) remained unopened.

A successful voyage was had by all and this inaugural trip has the potential to be the precursor to many more. The Planet will host the next venture in the great northern state of QLD. I'll keep you posted.