Singing a song of Sixpence. 💛 During a major decluttering, some dusty life vests turned up at our Blue Mountains Home. Dear me, they were very bulky compared to modern ones.

And as I was ripping up old diaries I found this gem from the early 1980s.

Details of our boat Sixpence.

Sixpence was a little half cabin cruiser my partner and I bought at a Sydney boat show. The name Sixpence was because she was small and shiny. Now boating was a completely new experience for me. I had only ever floated around a farm dam on an innertube, whereas Captain Rob had grown up sailing in Tasmania. Later, his Dad Alan became well known in Sydney yachting circles.

I look rather pleased with myself in the following photo….out on the open sea for the first time with a double hook-up of bream.

A good catch on Sixpence.

Unfortunately the situation deteriorated shortly afterwards. To my horror I began to experience waves of nausea. Admitting such a thing was unthinkable, Rob would be so disappointed in me. I quietly went below for a drink of water from the cute little sink, hoping that might help. OMG! It tasted like liquid plastic and I felt even worse. There was simply no option; I climbed back up and blurted out, ‘ I feel really sick.

Rob looked up from baiting a hook and I noticed a greenish hue to his face. To my utter relief he said, ‘So do I!’

Of course we did have some great days after that, having learned not to gaze down for too long while anchored in a swell. We fished all around the harbour. and sometimes off Sydney Heads, in search of Snapper (We only ever managed to catch Morwong for some reason)

Morwong, a fish we often caught on Sixpence.

However, my favourite times were spent crabbing at the boat’s mooring in Mosman Bay, where we were living.


The lady pictured above is my mother-in-law Jean. Soon after the photo was taken she went on a world trip and brought us back a wooden ship’s wheel. The only trouble was that she had lost all perspective of size and the wheel was large enough to fit a Manly ferry! Well, it’s the thought that counts.😎 In the end I gave it to my friend Gloria, who used it as a mini room divider.

My own mother gave Rob a book called Survival at Sea. I’m amazed she summoned the confidence to come out with us, but just look at that smile

Fishing in Sydney Harbour

Naturally our tender was called Threepence. It was tied up in the dinghy pool below our apartment, Once I had a day off work and summoned the courage to row (well splash) out to Sixpence for some solo crabbing. It was very scary, because I had to time my flailing run between ferries.

I’d brought along some prawns as bait, which I put in the foot of an old stocking. The idea was to wait until a crab latched on, then slowly, slowly pull it up. Well, I simply could not believe my luck. I ended up with five blue swimmers, plus a flathead caught on a handline. I rowed home, cooked the crabs, cleaned the fish (first time in my life) and set them out on the kitchen bench. The expression on Rob’s face when he walked in was unforgettable.

Before I close I must mention a little miracle that occurred. We had a small brass set of scales on board and one day someone managed to drop them into the Bay at the mooring,

I decided to do some fishing a bit later, hoping for flathead or bream. To my delight I felt something straight away. When I reeled the line in there was my catch…the scales! 😍

Sixpence in Mosman Bay.

We sold Sixpence after a few years, when we moved from Mosman Bay. Such happy memories though.


1 Comment
  1. This made me smile. How like your mum you are! Loved the present of the Wheel too.

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