Monday, April 12, 2010

Tassie Part 4

Fri 5th, Day 3: We drive the windy road along the coast. Stop at Penguin to buy me a hat. Stop near Burnie at lookout over sea. We watched a raptor beat the air til it caught an updraft. Tight spirals up to the required height, then slid back over the hills and out of view.
Stop in Wynyard for info and to eat at another bakery. Bought some sour dough that turned out to be sour faux.
Fossil bluffs are where Errol Flynn's dad found an important skeleton of a baleen whale. The sediments of the bluffs are rich with ancient seashells. The waters are obviously pristine - tons of live shellfish including the segmented-shell molluscs called chiton.

Table Cape just north of Wynyard is georgeous. Rich red soil from a volcanic core - extremely fertile. Tulips and other flowers during the right season. Currently alium, onion, iris, opium poppy and pyrethrum and barley. The road goes through the fields to a lighthouse. On the way back we stop at the flower-farm display/shop thing but it was shut. This turned out to be serendipitous because we got to see a pair of wedgetail eagles saoring effortless surveying their territory. (later we find out there are only 800 pairs left in the whole of Tassie due to shooting and poisoning, so we feel quite priveledged.)
The air is clean, the water is clear and the farmland is perfection.

Lunch at Boat Harbour after trying unsuccessfully to find the Birdland Native Gardens. We watch a fantail feed its tiny fledgingly half her size.
Black backed gulls (about twice the size of Sydney seagulls) confidently bathe in tidal pools.

Drive to Stanley. Stanley is a small town in the shadow of a flat-top volcanic core called The Nut. It stands 146metres at the end of a very thin peninsular. From a distance it looks like a surfaced submarine with the Nut as the conning tower.
The town is tiny and gorgeous with a main street of very pretty stone buildings and smaller doll-house pretty wooden shops. The Caravan park is on the eastern side, on Tallows Beach of Sawyer Bay. The beach is compact fine limestone sand. I find scallop and pipi shells. The water is very shallow and the next morning we see how far the tide has retreated.

We drink Notley Gorge Pinot Grigio - crisp, clear, perhaps a little sweet.
The fish came from the fisherman's co-op down at the wharf run by a man with an impressive collection of melanomas on his arms. They specialised in live lobster, but we were more interested in fish. Blue Grenadier the first night and something else the next. I can't remember, I'll have to ask the Aunt.

We stayed two nights; we should have stayed longer.
There's a penguin colony on the other side of the peninsular - about 500metres away. I went to say 'hi' very quietly to them. The national parks service run tours that meet at the dog fence, but we were told there were penguins on this side of the fence too. I walked up to where seven people were milling. A couple were watching an unconcerned pademelon.
I said 'You saw the penguins back there, yeah?' They hadn't and were English. (What a poorly written, yet informative, sentence.)
I had noticed the entrances to a dozen burrows on the way to the fence, so I took this couple back and showed where two full sized little penguins were carefully looking out one of them. This illicited oohs and ahhs, as penguins do. The only thing cuter is a hiccupping baby wombat. You can see the telepathy between them as they expose the minimum of themselves to look at you.
'A human! Oh, he's seen us. Shuffle back, shuffle back!'
'We'll just wait back here for a bit.'
'Yeah. Just, just for a while. Then we'll stand just at the front of the burrow, looking cute, as before'.
Animal spotting while tipsy is a excellent past-time. I also found two brown chicks hungrily waiting for mum or dad to return, and showed them to the whole group this time.
It occurred to me again, at that point, how awesome and generous I am.
I would beckon to unobservant tourists and show them the richness of nature they'd missed. I think the government could pay me to proivide such a service to make visitor's experiences of Australia that much more rewarding.

I walked back via the head of the track up the Nut. In the darkness I sent pademelons scattering. I drunkenly apologised to them as I went and eventually managed to take one shot of a pademelon skylined against the very last of the sunset.



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