Friday, March 14, 2014

17 February - More Tasmania

My first trip to Mackay for 2014 wasn't very eventful unless you count catching up with family which is always a major bonus.
There were meetings, a trip to Rocky and Yeppoon to see Tracy and Tony, Joe, Nicky and the boys and Nana.
Another cyclone visited our shore while I was there again this year (same thing happened last year while I was home) but didn't bring with it too much damage.  A few trees down around, a small number of houses evacuated in the low areas of Mackay and a large pot knocked over and smashed in Kylies front yard.  It crossed the coast up closer to Bowen and Ayr and we were all hoping that the following rain reached inland to help out the farmers.  Fortunately a few lows some weeks later gave the north and inland some much needed rain, but for some it was a case of too little too late.
A stop over in Brisbane to have a Corneal Transplant in my right eye and then back to Hobart where I resumed our trip around Tasmania before returning to the mainland mid April.

I think the only reason I cope being on the road full time is being able to come home and see family.  Emma is getting to be such a young lady, and told me so.  And Corbin is getting taller every day, while Mikynlee's got the cutest smile that I miss when I am away.  The three older ones it goes with out saying are young adults to be proud of.  I so wish I could see more of the two young men in Yeppoon and the young lady and cute gentleman in Ipswich.

We got 2014 school year up and running with a new staff member who is working out great and Ricki Lee starts a new job with Hastings Deering in a few weeks.

I finally had my right eye down (corneal transplant) and although still a bit sore and very little sight in it yet, about 30 days out so I will be pleased when it is all over with some stitches coming out in May and the final ones next year in February.

The upside of the eye surgery is Pat babysat me on the night following the surgery and we had such a great time reminiscing both reminding each other about stuff from our past that we had forgotten about.  Isn't family great.....

With only about 5 weeks left in Tasmania we headed south east to Port Arthur where we planned to do a Tasman Island cruise.  We booked for Monday as the weather wasn't the best and looked forward to seeing towering cliffs drop down to the sea, sea caves and natural archways and also hoped to see seals, dolphins and other sea life.  In the mean time there was a lot to see and explore in the Port Arthur.
Port Arthur, the site where convicts were sent for 47 years from 1830 til 1877 named in honour of Lt-Governor George Arthur.

Also a very sad place where 34 people lost their lives in the cafĂ© when a gunman opened fire on them in April 2000.  This plaque is set up in the memorial garden as a quiet reminder.

What remains of the church which is supposed to be the most haunted place in Port Arthur

Inside the most haunted place in Port Arthur (the Church)


In the chapel, prisoners were bought in in chains with their heads hooded so that they couldn't see each other and into individual cells.  they could only see the minister and the guards.

The minister in action, and yes Mikynlee Stu Stu was conducting the music.  Lol


While in the area, we went to a little town called DOO TOWN. This was established when one enterprising person named their home and had the word "doo" in it.  Then numerous people followed suite and called their homes names with doo in it as well and so we have DOO TOWN which is just out of Eagle Hawke Neck.  There was Da Doo Run Run, Doo For Now, Doo-ing it Easy, Doo Us, Yabba Dabba Doo, Gunnadoo, This will Doo, Humpty Doo and so on on nearly all of the houses.

This statue is at the narrowest point of Eagle Hawke Neck which divides Port Arthur from the rest of Tasmania  As a deterrent to stop convicts escaping up into the rest of Tasmania the guards had a row of savage dogs chained across the small space of only about 30 mitres 
Down near the blow hole it was recommended that we go to the caravan selling cooked food.  Their cooked fish, prawns scallops etc were to die for.
Even the Sea Gull thought the food smelled great and lined up.

Monday we did a cruise from Eagle Hawk neck out around the south eastern point of Tasmania into the Great Southern Ocean where we saw the most amazing cliff and rock formations.  We were in a small boat that held about 30 people all rugged up in red head to toes spray jackets which were needed as we dida lot of bucking and wave jumping and was as close to white water rafting as I want to get.

Me in my pretty red waterproof jacket

                    These pictures are many but too rugged and beautiful to leave any out.


This Blow Hole was incredible and then on the cruise, we saw it from the other end below.

However the magnificent cliff faces hundreds of feet high and even going into the cave openings where we got within about a mitre and a half of the walls of the cave with waves smashing up against the rocky walls. I got this great shot of the other boat that was traveling with us just after we came out of the hole.







Then we came across dozens of seals sunning themselves (what sun there was) on the rocks.  Heading back out to sea a bit we came across a large school of baby fish which were being herded into a group by dolphins who were then joined by seals, albatross and numerous other sea birds to dive and swim amongst them and have lunch.


When we came back to shore we were all frozen but in awe of how rugged our coastline can be in comparison to the soft waves and rolling surf and sandy beaches we have in Queensland.

Unfortunately as I was only about a week and a half out of my corneal transplant my eye was subjected to a bit of wind and I paid for it that night and next day.

Monday night we stayed at a free camp at Dunalley.  The camp is on a huge block near the pub and the night we were there there were over 30 vans.

Dunalley is a town that in early Last year was nearly totally destroyed by fire.  It is now up and running with a new school and many new homes on the original sites.  Unfortunately, it reminded me of Maryville in Victoria with blocks of land with only a driveway and cement water tank as proof that someone's home once stood there.

We were very keen to get over to Bruny Island for a few days but we opted to leave the van at Gordon, a little village not far from Kettering where the ferry leaves from.

We had been told and shown how prolific and large the oysters were just for the taking at a few spots on Bruny so hoped that the tide was out at the right times for us to do some harvesting.
Unfortunately, it was raining when we went there and found a lovely Oyster farm that sold us 2 dozen.  Not as much fun as prying them off the rocks ourselves but just as nice.

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