I’ve been asked by a few friends about our return Bass Strait crossing, on the Spirit of Tasmania, from Devonport to Melbourne.
HUGE disclaimer: everything went smoothly for us; this is no guarantee your experience will be the same.
Way back I rang and enquired about getting two kayaks onto the ferry. The friendly lady assumed we had a car and wanted to know its length. Finally I convinced her there would be no car; just us, our luggage, and two sea kayaks. Off she went to consult. On return she explained that the kayaks would be classed as “extra luggage”. Walk-on passengers are entitled to two pieces of checked-in luggage. Anything over that limit is charged at $10 per piece. $10 per sea kayak. Later, on booking the tickets, I reconfirmed that the kayaks would be “extra luggage” and asked to have them noted in our booking.
We took tie-down straps across Bass Strait, buried deep inside Harry’s Mirage 580. In Launceston we purchased two pool noodles. Our new-found Devonport friends, Dave and Jennie, are angels. On the day of departure, Dave drops us, two kayaks and six Ikea bags to the ferry terminal in Devonport. We discover that a trailer, towed by a ute, is parked dockside, and walk-on passengers are asked to load their luggage onto this trailer, which will be driven onto the ferry, and then off at the other end (Melbourne).
I’m waiting just outside the building, the ute gets parked inside, just behind where I stand. The kayaks have been tagged.
So here’s the trailer, our trusty Ikea bags stashed, not many other walk-on passengers with luggage.
Here you can see the detail of how the kayaks were positioned and lashed down.
The ute is driven onto the ferry, we walk on, cheered that we’ve succeeded, and bid Tasmania fond farewell as the daylight dwindles.
At the other end, early in the morning, things continue smoothly for us. The ute drives the trailer off the ferry, our family drive our car (which had been in Melbourne all the while we were kayaking) right up beside the ferry, we unload from the trailer and reload onto the car. Simple.
More words of caution: we knew we would have a calm crossing of Bass Strait. Had it been a rough crossing, our tying down may not have been secure enough. While dockside in Melbourne we saw the trailer that was used for the second Spirit of Tasmania. It had extra rods along the four edges of the top – which could have made the positioning of the kayaks trickier. Also, it is almost two years since we did this, things change.