LIKE some vision from the past emerging through the drizzle, vessels from two different ages of seafaring cruised along Newcastle Harbour on Monday.
The replica of the 16th century Dutch ship, the Duyfken, was leaving after nearly a week in port, preparing to sail south to Sydney.
The age of sail was accompanied by a reminder of the steam era, with the replica of the 19th century William the Fourth vessel escorting the Duyfken to Nobbys.
For the eight crew members on board the paddle steamer, it was a joy to be a part of history.
"It was the experience of a lifetime, in a way," said William the Fourth crewman Kevin Parsons.
"It's not often you get a chance like that."
"To my knowledge, it's the first time the William the Fourth has escorted a wooden ship out of the harbour."
The steamer escort was appreciated by those attached to the sailing ship.
"It was pretty neat," said Peter Bowman, the CEO of the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation. "In my time, I don't think there's been such an interesting vessel accompany us."
The Duyfken had arrived in Newcastle on Tuesday on the deck of a modern-day Dutch vessel, the cargo ship Marsgracht, having been transported from Fremantle in Western Australia.
The Duyfken replica was built and launched in the WA port more than 20 years ago, as a mobile reminder of the Dutch maritime connections to Australia.
The original Duyfken, which means "Little Dove" in Dutch, is recorded as being the first European ship to reach Australia, when it tracked the Cape York coastline in 1606.
After being rerigged at the Thales shipyard in Carrington, the Duyfken replica is now off to a new home, and a new chapter in its history, becoming part of the Australian National Maritime Museum's fleet at Darling Harbour.
The WA government's funding for the ship's operation ended, so the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation is handing the vessel to the museum. Contending with south-easterly winds and rain as it left Newcastle just after 9am, the Duyfken is expected to reach Sydney about midnight.
The replica will be moored in Watsons Bay until Wednesday, then it will move to the museum at Darling Harbour.
Peter Bowman said many of the 15 crew on board for the journey south to Sydney had not been sailing for a while, due to COVID-related restrictions, so they were "pretty chuffed" to be back on the Duyfken and out to sea.
"It's exciting; the last sail was in the Indian Ocean, and now here we are in the Tasman Sea - named after a Dutchman [17th century explorer Abel Tasman]," said Mr Bowman.
While the Duyfken was bound for Sydney, Mr Bowman said he hoped the museum would bring the ship back to Newcastle.
"This would be a great port to bring it to for an outreach program," he said.
"Newcastle's a great place. We felt really at home."