White Beach

Feb 1

We left Eaglehawk Neck with the sun trying its best to break through a portion of the persistent misty foggy overcast. The forecast was for more showers. We had a short trip of only 37k today through hilly, partially forested pastoral countryside. Idyllic. Small farms with a few cattle then open fields of sheep and orchards everywhere. The wind blew showers into our faces for a short time but then the sun won out. We are working our way down the Tasman Peninsula to White Beach to visit Barry’s sister Pam and husband Rod, who moved here 14 years ago to retire. White Beach is just 10k from historic Port Arthur and sits on the opposite side of this narrow land.

We stopped at a little country store and gas station that was straight out of the 50’s. I bought two plums and Barry and I had a nice visit with the owner sitting outside on rustic stools. I expected Andy from Mayberry to stop by any minute. We had taken the smaller road to get here – the main road took you to Port Arthur and the relatively large crowds that the former convict prison attracts. There are beautiful beaches here but almost no one on them. Barry took me to the main dock at White Beach – the water was amazingly clear. There are no manufacturing or processing plants here. 6k long beach and no resorts.

Barry’s sister Pam is a warm, friendly and kind person. I instantly felt at home. Her husband of 30 years, Rod, is a retired fireman from Wallongong and they have lived on White Beach for 14 years. Rod is a quirky old hippy type with a quick wit. The two of them have found their perfect home – just a few feet from a beautiful ocean beach, fish in a river just across a quiet country lane, an orchard full of a variety of fruits, vegetable garden and no full time neighbors. What’s not to like. They are very content and live a quiet life here.

The community itself consists of a lot of who are called “shackies”. Where I come from these people are known as second home owners.

We walked down to the ocean for a refreshing swim. Rod is entertaining us with stories, mostly examples of the imperfections of his fellow man. Government also faced tough scrutiny from Rod. However, he is a very kind man at heart and his generosity has drawn birds and animals of all types to his little Eden. They used to feed the parrots until there became too many and they were killing his trees. So they quit feeding them. The parrots all found greener pastures except one who still came into the yard. They have a fence all around and over the top of the orchard. It is supported by upright poles. Rod calls this his coliseum. Rod cut a small circular hole in the fence for the single parrot to get in. Rod “made him promise not to tell his friends.” I saw the bird sitting happily in the yard. They have a cat named Tom who used to be feral but now slips in and out of the house through his cat door. Rod feeds him prawns and wallaby meat. They have also rescued a young Joey after the mother Kangaroo died.

Rod took us across the lane to the creek where we proceeded to catch a few Brim. They looked a lot like the bass I’m used to at home. Nice way to spend an evening.

I was sleeping in the man cave next to the house. It had no bathroom facilities. When I stepped outside that night I looked up to an amazingly bright display of stars above. They seemed so much closer overhead here. The Southern Cross was so bright it couldn’t be missed.

Rod has promised me Kookaburras in the morning. Barry and I are going on a boat cruise around the Peninsula tomorrow.

Sent from my iPad

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