Time came to leave Newcastle in New South Wales and sail with our remaining cargo of rock phosphate for our second destination, Geelong.
The pilot was aboard, 2 tugs were sitting close by with our crew on alert fore and aft on our vessel , our engines turning over gently, all awaiting the pilot’s instructions from the bridge. Then the pilot gave the signal, and the tugs moved us slowly away from the wharf, into mid stream and paused, the tugs then just as slowly moved us 360 degrees round.
First, before sailing we needed to go to the coaling wharf to load bunkers for our journey. Arriving at the wharf, our 2 tugs at the pilot’s instructions manoeuvred us smartly round, pointed us seaward, to be able to sail without the tugs assistance on our completion of coaling.
On completion of coaling we left the wharf under the pilot’s command, his instructions came quickly, to the engine room. Slowly forward then stop, slowly aft then pause, then forward again, then stop. Between these instructions other instructions went to the coaling crew on the wharf waiting fore and aft to loosen the ropes holding us to the wharf. Slowly, we drifted from the coaling wharf.
At the correct moment the pilot gave the order slow ahead and the Tynebank moved into the river channel. We moved down the twisty channel, then past Nobby’s Head and out of the harbour. The pilot was not ready to leave us yet, a number of ships were anchored, waiting for berths in the harbour. We cleared the vessels swung onto a southerly course and then our pilot decided to leave us.
Our journey would take us about 4.5 days. Past Sydney, round the “corner” and into Bass Strait separating Australia from Tasmania. We didn’t have radar so the officer of the watch needed keep a sharp lookout for there are many small islands in Bass Strait, strong currents and many fishing boats.
We were now approaching Port Phillip Bay and about 2.5 nautical miles from the entrance into the bay itself, we were met by the pilot boat. Our destination was of course not the port of Melbourne sitting at the northern head of the bay but the port of Geelong on the western side in its own separate bay.
Port Philip Bay is large, covering 1930 square kilometres and the shoreline is 264 kilometres in length.