31 May 2008

dispatch from the arctic south

Our crossing of the much-maligned Bass Strait proved smooth and almost painfully uneventful.

First landfall was Bicheno, where we lost first mate to the real world but gained a very large cray from a local greenie friend of Pelican. Further south we did two schmooze cruises and generally impressed. Other landfalls were at Brian’s Corner, Schouten Island and Triabunna, a cute little fishing town opposite Maria Island where I scored a pair of leather driving gloves and assorted woollies from the co-op and opp shop respectively.

Brian's is an impossibly intact, unpeopled sweep of bay north of the Freycinet Peninsula. During a sliver of blue sky we dinghy ashore through shallows a-sway with mussel shell and sunlight glimmer. Rusty rocks and bottle-brown weed sit in clumps and curls on wet sand. Like winter woollies discarded by the shining bay. Wallaby tracks ply the sand. Stones and shells in marshmallow creams reveal the tide’s limit like a milk moustache. Dunes flecked with pale grass like whispering fingers beckon into the tea tree where it’s still and quiet. Shell-strewn understory. Needles and petal-leaved fungi. A billy missing it’s bottom hangs from a log. Gums grasp skyward to ribbons of cloud. Up the beach, there's an estuary and all is thick with bristle-yellow banksias.

We began our return early this morning with an all-girl crew. Am feeling mighty chuffed to remember my knots and other boat-y things after a four-month dry spell.

As for whales... they probably went north early given how bloody arctic it is. Yes, it's as cold as recalled and stupid me left my beanie behind somehwere during repacking. Thank gawd for the stunning views and Tassie pinot!


lucie said...

your pictures are beautiful, specially the skies!!

the cook said...

Thanks! I can't take credit for the amazing scenery though ;)