Tasmania 3

I was tidying up my tank bag, throwing old newspaper clippings (my source of stuff ahead, often), food wrapping, etc out. Tank bags are like handbags: they go where you go, and have all the essential stuff in them. For the curious rider, here’s mine:

Top row, left to right: Map of the day’s ride, folded to fit precisely in the tankbag window (an anal skill you learn quickly and normally would be out-of-character, but you know, the ride). Stack of current documents: insurance, inspection, and general to-do notes. A small stack of instructions for new stuff or stuff I can’t remember, like the Aussie dongle, the epirb, etc.

Middle row: TP, Lumix DMC TS5, Sony RX100 (this picture was taken with my iPad), wicked new usb-chargable LED lensor (should have taken it out for the shot), epirb, disposable local phone, iPhone. (Sat phone and Delorme in panniers for ‘safe’ Australia).

Bottom row: Chapstick, Visine, Opinel knife, lucky charm from one of my daughters, huge pile of pens (have to stop stealing them now I have enough), two tire pressure gauges plus spare valve cap, disc lock, mystery spare keys, lighter.

Missing are ball cap, back-up sunglasses and snacks. And the GPS lives here when I walk away from the bike.

Back to the ride. First day, Hobart to Port Arthur
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Second, Port Arthur to Bicheno
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It looks like rain again as we head southwest

Staying close to the ocean

Part of a hundred-year-old officers shed near one of Australia’s countless historic prisons

It was kept original inside

Past the town of Doo Town

Where it’s tradition that each house has a name that includes ‘doo’. You can imagine

To cliffs at the edge of Tasmania, facing Antarctica. But many miles north of the same view in Ushuaia. Looking a bit west

And east

Heather in bloom on the cliff tops

A ocean tunnel that creates a famous blowhole

But without much result

A huge arch

Then back on the road to our destination for the day

A big prison. Well, there are many big prisons all over the place here, as everyone knows

Port Arthur was mostly for reoffenders


Those impressions on the ground show cell locations and size, about 5 feet by 8. Outside windows were in the corridor, not the cells

Borders of Acanthus mollis

A great view from the prison to the bay

It wasn’t a patch on huge Freemantle Prison which was fabulous, but the situation was the thing.

That evening, at about 7, the skies opened.

How hard did it rain, right here south of Hobart? The hardest in 100 years, and it rains a lot and hard here. Once again, right time, right place

Beyond description. Overnight it rained right here 4.9 inches, 125mm’s. A few miles away, on a hill above the town it rained 5.7 inches, 145mm’s. Like an idiot I didn’t take many pictures, but it looked like this. Heavy water, visibility about 500 feet

The next morning this poor wallaby looked even more freaked out than they usually do
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Two days later we set off north again

In the field at the above view-point, this little bird

Possibly a better shot

His wife

Further north, this extraordinary sight, if you look carefully

Tessellated pavement. The short form is that a huge basin of sedimentary rock formed 160 million years ago under special circumstances. Now here’s the interesting part: the basin fractured under normal surface tension into this geometry

It’s good

Closer to the hill behind the beach it breaks evenly

Nice diagonals through the parallels

Back on the road

The narrower valleys looks almost filled up with the runoff from the storm

We were riding up the coast again. The landscape changed dramatically. It looked arid

A typical hill to the west of the road

Nothing to indicate why

Then finally, over a ridge to this

And down to the village of Bicheno, against the hills in the below pic

Windswept islets

That night we went to a spot where the fairy penguins come out of the sea, at night, to their nests about 200′ above the shoreline in the undergrowth below the trees.

They’re the smallest of the 17 species of penguin. They look timid and vulnerable and it’s hard not to worry about their nightly trip through the threats of dogs, cats and foxes. They take a few steps and freeze, look around, look at each other, and then one of the group makes a slow dash to the next cover.

They left the nest (there are 1 or 2 babies on the nest right now) before dawn and went as far as 20km out to sea to fish, diving as deep as 80′ to hunt. Then they return after dark to feed the chicks for a few hours before starting again. It’s serious hard work being a fairy penguin and watching them struggle from beach to nest was moving.

This is the best shot I got because it was on max telephoto and about a week exposure time, in near dark. The Sony RX100 does very well but sorry

This is the spot they cross

Gin-clear water. The Tasmanian coastline is as beautiful as we’ve ever seen

Very small mussels, no more than 1 cm

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