Passengers of the Caledonian Sky disembarked at the Ampol Wharf (Starfish Deli), Batemans Bay, this morning to be greeted by members of Eurobodalla Tourism and various operators.
They were to have disembarked their Zodiacs at the Hanging Rock boat ramp, however it is understood that 'a last minute directive' saw them arrive and negotiate the more precarious wharf, one Zodiac at a time, while other craft waited in the channel to take their turn.
It is understood that the crew were not happy with the last minute directive that overturned their preference of the closer, safer and protected Hanging Rock facility which able to decamp more passengers at a time. It is more than evident that the average age of the cruise ship passengers coming to Batemans Bay is on the 'older side' and therefore there is a higher risk when climbing in or out of a Zodiac buffetted by waves. This has come into play in the past with passengers of other cruises choosing to stay aboard. Zodiacs are the vessel of choice as transfer vessels for cruise ships as the more formalised tenders/lifeboats have too much draught, are slower and are also restricted in the distance they can go from their vessel while Zodiacs are unrestricted.
With the extremely low tide predicted for this afternoon and the wind picking up today Hanging Rock will most likely be the facility used to re-board. It is understood that Council will be pursuing a $20,000 Better Boating Grant to improve the Hanging Rock boatramp pontoons so passengers might one day find a safer place to alight with a red carpet to greet them.
The Caledonian Sky passengers will spend the day in the region staying around Batemans Bay CBD or going on tours of Canberra and of the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden and Mogo Village.
Did you meet any of the passengers?
Photos: The Terrier