It was early last Saturday I launched from a small beach (if that is not to grand a description) on Mort Bay in Sydney Harbour. My vessel of choice was the famed Swift Dory by the boat builder John Murray. (www.gacooarlocks.com). The Dory is 5.5 metres (17 feet) and only 51kg (112 lbs) so it is ideal for long journeys and is able to be rowed at speed. The Swift Dory is also the main boat featured in the Dangar Island Dory Derby which deserves a whole post of its own.
In 1839, two American warships entered the harbour at night and circled Pinchgut Island. Concern with the threat of foreign attack caused the government to review the harbour's inner defences and establish a fort on the Island to help protect Sydney Harbour from attack by foreign vessels. Fortification of the island began in 1841 but was not completed. Construction resumed in 1855 because of fear of a Russian naval attack during the Crimean War, and was completed on 14 November 1857. (source Wikipedia)
After rounding Goat Island I put in the hard yards to make it to Cockatoo Island, another former convict site [Is there a theme developing here??] and subsequently Australia's biggest shipyard last century. I was particularly motivated to land at Cockatoo as the island now caters to day tourists and campers and has a cafe with knockout views were I can sit mid-trip and get my cappuccino fix. Arriving at the Island is easy as a slipway has been dedicated for kayaks and rowboats to land at. It has become even easier since after a request was made they cleaned off the slime that had made it rather slippery.
Arriving back at Mort Bay I felt like I had had a workout especially since I did a big trip on Newcastle Harbour only 2 days before - but that is another story.