Shipping News with IAN MENZIES

Shipping News with IAN MENZIES


Ian Menzies is known for his beautifully made cycle caps he makes under the name of
No16 Cycle Caps.
Ian's caps are lightweight cotton caps that fit under your bike helmet with a visor that flips to keep the sun out of your eyes while cycling. He makes each cap from start to finish and when we found some great vintage printed cotton with a ship wheel pattern we asked Ian if he could use it. 

You can find the W.P.S.C x No16 cycle cap here.

Ian is a man of many talents and he runs numerous social media accounts which focus on his particular interests.

No16 Cycle Caps is where you'll find his caps.

River to Rip is where you can follow his paddle boarding from the Yarra river to the rip at the end of Port Phillip Bay.

And then there is his instagram featuring cargo ships, Supercargo59!

We wanted to know more so set out to talk to Ian about cargo ships and his experience on Warn Marin/Western Port Bay.


W.P.S.C:  Hello Ian welcome to the W.P.S.C Journal! Tell us what role you play onboard a Cargo vessel ?

I.M: I first went to sea on my Christmas holidays as a ‘boy’, I was 16 years old, on a BHP bulker called the Iron Cavalier (see image below). 
Once I finished with school I started a cadetship with BHP
and sailed on various ships/ lines up to First Mate.
I gained my Captain’s license in 1988 at RMIT
I spent the next 25 years sailing on bulk carriers- container ships – roll on roll off and also 4 years with the CSIRO on the research vessel ‘Franklin’.




I now work as a cargo superintendent (supercargo) for a Norwegian / Swedish Company called Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

Attached is a photo of the last Australian built tanker ‘Robert Miller’ departing the western port channel. Flinders West Head can be seen in the distance.



W.P.S.C: How did being in Western Port Bay make you feel?  

I.M: Great ~especially if I was going home to Flinders. Even better if the bombies in the middle of the bay were breaking as it meant good surf. 

I wonder if anyone has ever surfed them? 


W.P.S.C: Is Western Port Bay difficult to navigate? 

I.M: Not really. It’s a long, wide and deep channel.  Geelong is much more tricky as is the Rip. 



W.P.S.C: Can it be a dangerous place to sail?

I.M: The southern end off the channel, to the west of Philip Island can be quite scary in a small boat due to the strong currents.

If sailing a yacht from Flinders to Hastings, you need to depart on a flood tide or you’re pushing a 2~3 knot ebb tide all the way.


W.P.S.C: What is unique about the Bay from a maritime perspective?

I.M: The mud flats and mangroves and also the sea grass. I’ve never seen a shark but plenty of Fairy Penguins/ dolphins / seals


W.P.S.C: What was a reason to journey into the Port of Hastings?

I.M: I only did a couple of trips on the old Lysaght Enterprise with steel slab, that was Port Kembla to Hastings on a 7 day turn around.



W.P.S.C: What are some of the common routes to and from Western Port Bay ?

I.M: Hastings to Japan : gas from Bass Strait and also steel coil. 
Crude oil ex Bass Strait but this may have stopped now. 
The last mile of channel to Hastings general purpose wharf is too shallow at 8.5m for larger ships. The main channel is 14+m hence the big tankers


W.P.S.C: Once you arrive at Port of Hastings, do you stay on ship or head into Hastings ? What happens?

I.M: Most crew don’t bother these days. Tanker work is too involved to leave the ship.




W.P.S.C: Did you ever carry passengers on your journeys to Western Port Bay ? 


I.M: Never to WPB but we did take passengers on P&O Nedlloyd’s Ariake and Arafura, East coast Aust to Japan and Korea.


W.P.S.C: Did you make any Whale sightings, or sight any other significant sea life as you rounded Phillip Island and headed up the Bay?


 I.M: No whales but plenty of seals and dolphins. Whale sightings in Bass Straight are quite common. 


 W.P.S.C: And lastly Ian, do you have a favourite memory of being on Western Port Bay or a favourite journey to The Port of Hastings?

I.M: Yes, sailing our sloop with my Dad from Flinders to Hastings boat harbour for winter lay up.


Thank you so much Ian for sharing images and insight into a part of Western Port Bay most of us don't experience. Wonderful! 

Click on the links to find Ians website : No16 cycle caps 

and instagram accounts:  Supercargo and River to Rip