This morning Barry and I took his sister Pam’s car over to Port Arthur to get on a steel bottomed Zodiac type boat for a cruise down the coastline of the Tasman Peninsula and out to visit the lighthouse on Tasman Island. The boat had 36 seats, all but 6 were weather protected by by an overhead cover. There were about 10 unoccupied seats which made it nice to move around for different photos opportunities. We started out by motoring past the famous ruins of the Port Arthur Penal Colony. Tasmania was originally established as a place for England to house its convict population and well known for the cruelty and Inhumane treatment of these individuals.
Moving out of the harbor and down the coastline it didn’t take long to approach the first of the incredible rock formations that dominate the seacoast of these highlands. Craggy rock cliffs towering up to over 300 meters high soar above us. Our guide describes this black rock as Jurassic basalt which erosion has left behind towers and cave dented coves. Limestone pipes and eroded limestone cliffs provide another color and form in this environment. We bob below the highest rock cliffs in the Southern ocean. Black-backed gulls, black and white commorants, and the occasional albatross
move through the air and Australian and New Zealand fur seals lay on the rocky ledges of cliff bottoms, sliding in and out of the lightly chopped waters to feed. We have a sunny clear sky and no lack of entertainment on this ride.
Whales and dolphins are commonly seen along this coastline, and Rod had reported a Great White Shark killing a local fisherman just two months earlier but we didn’t spot any of these residents today. What an incredible boat adventure this was for us. There is a trail now established along the top of the headlands on the three capes where we are now boating below. The boat will drop you off at one point and pick you up at the end of the 46K five day hike. Several huts provide shelter for camping along the way. No time for us bikers on this trip but maybe another day.
Departing from the boat, Barry and I take advantage of having the car by exploring some more of the bottom of this beautiful hilly peninsula. We took a short hike down below a wonderful viewpoint where we were watching surfers in a sandy bay between two large rock cliffs. This trail led us to a remarkable cave through the rock leading to the surfer’s beach. The blue opening in the black rock was picture perfect. I will try to add a photo when I reach Hobart and the Internet.
As I write this early on the morning of the third, rain is once again pounding on the rooftop. Barry will not be happy with a wet ride to the city and quite honestly neither will I. But what a great day yesterday.
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