Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bruny Island from the water

It's been on the list of "things to do when friends or family visit" for years, but this year David gave me a Bruny Island Cruise for my birthday. Awesome gift! One of the multi award-winning Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, this one takes you around the towering dolerite cliffs of southern Bruny Island.

We were collected by bus at Kettering just near the ferry terminal, and taken across on the Mirambeena to Bruny Island. Our guide (we were soon to discover they are all masters of the truly dreadful 'dad joke') told stories of the island and its characters past and present on the 45 minute drive south. On the way to Adventure Bay we stopped at The Neck to climb the stairs to the lookout and that fantastic view of the isthmus and South Bruny.

Once we'd checked in at Bruny Island Cruises HQ in Adventure Bay, there was time for a muffin and a coffee before walking to the wharf to board one of the famous yellow boats. There were people from all around the world in our group - Minnesota, Belgium, China, Malaysia - and we all donned huge red capes the covered me from head to toe to keep out water and wind.

We cruised past beautiful headlands, rugged cliffs and caves, including the magical Breathing Rock that appears to suck air and water in before blowing it out in spectacular fashion. Some cray fishermen checking their cray pots kindly entertained the boatload of tourists by holding up a fresh cray along with a young Port Jackson shark that was released back into the water.

Next came a thrilling spin around The Monument, a 30-odd metre high dolerite stack, before heading to the southern tip on the island where the Tasman Sea meets the Southern Ocean. The swell made for some interesting rises and falls on the boat and the odd exciting drenching by sea spray and rain!

We saw male Australian fur seals basking on The Friars, a group of islands at the southern tip of Bruny Island, then a group of New Zealand fur seals, before the high-speed, wet and windy ride back to Adventure Bay for our pre-ordered lunch and a hot chocolate. On the way back to the ferry, our guide stopped the bus at Get Shucked oysters where I picked up a dozen for Christmas Day, then at the Black Devil Cherries shed near the ferry terminal where I bought a kilo of these huge, juicy beauties. Such a brilliant day out, highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The traditional Christmas Eve cruise on the Huon

For the third year in a row, we spent Christmas Eve with lovely friends on The Nancy, a 100 year old motor launch now owned and run by Franklin's Living Boat Trust. We cruised through the Egg Island Canal and around the top of the islands before heading back down the Huon River towards Franklin. It's great to see the other side of properties we normally see driving past on the highway. The weather was very 'Tasmanian' - a bit of sun, a bit of rain - but it didn't matter one bit. Our skipper Martin definitely got a bit damp at the helm, while the rest of us were able to retreat under cover with snacks and a beverage. Plus, we were rewarded with a stunning rainbow, the pot of gold somewhere at the bottom of the river between Franklin and Huonville. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cherries and berries

The Green Shed in Grove opened last Saturday, a much-anticipated event in the Huon Valley. It's your one stop shop for cherries, pink eye potatoes, raspberries and other Christmas-time delights. David visited a customer in the same road today, so on the way back he picked up a big bag of new season cherries. Delish!

Meanwhile in my own garden, the strawberries are ripening and the blueberry bushes are laden with clumps of green berries waiting to ripen. And aside from the berries, there are green cherries and plums, tiny apples and pears. And before you ask - all are under nets this year so hopefully the birds won't get them. The possums still might though.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Can we borrow your ark, please?

It's not quite forty days and forty nights but it's starting to feel like it. On Thursday evening a storm hit, with hail, thunder and lightning (all rare where we live). Since then, it has rained solidly without pause. Throw in some gusts of wind and it's pretty unpleasant out there. No gardening for me this weekend. I've been awake since 3am, listening to rain pelt against the house, worrying how my chickens are faring out in their house where I've left them locked in for the past two days. And the tiny chicks with mother hen out in the chook tractor in the orchard. I've put in some protective shields so they seem OK, although it is very soggy out there.

Our water tank is overflowing, dirt and gravel are washing down the driveway and a large pond has appeared at the corner of our property where there isn't one normally.

We live at 450m above sea level and our neighbours have a boat sitting in the middle of their front yard which always seemed a little optimistic, but it now looks like its in a flowing river. If the water keeps rising, maybe we'll need to borrow it. Do you think they'll mind if we take the dogs?