Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rediscovering Tasmania - Bruny Island 2

Our second day on Bruny was also full of happy experiences. Our main activity for the day was to venture on an Adventure Boat trip that would take us from Adventure Bay down to The Friars. We were very much hoping for a beautiful day, like the one the day before. And indeed, we woke up to a gorgeous day with the morning views enticing us to get on the road and make the best of every minute.
'Morning has broken'

Getting down to the jetty set the scene for plenty more photography.Allonah Jetty

We were soon on the road to the island's main settlement, Adventure Bay, which has a bit of history of its own that is worth passing on. My research tells me that while Adventure Bay was first discovered in 1773 by Tobias Furneaux, Abel Tasman tried to land in the vicinity of Adventure Bay in November 1642. It was Furneaux however, who named the bay after his ship, HMS Adventure. Four years after Furneaux's visit, James Cook's two ships, the Resolution and Discovery visited the Bay on 26 January 1777 and stayed for two days. Apparently, Cook carved his initials in a tree that was destroyed in a 1905 bushfire.

In 1788 and again in 1792 William Bligh anchored in Adventure Bay. The island itself however is named after the French explorer Bruni d'Entrecastreau who explored the Channel region in 1792. It was known as Bruni Island until 1918, when the spelling was changed to Bruny. Ref Wikpedia

A visit to the Bligh Museum is most worthwhile and is full of information. We also visited Resolution Creek (named after one of Cook's ships).......... ..........................and found the following information on the tourist info board:
"Known as the 'Watering Place' on the charts of Captain Tobias Furneaux (Adventure 1773) and Captain James Cook (Resolution 1777), this waterway, from which early explorers replenished their supplies of fresh water, was later named Resolution River by Captain William Bligh during his visit on the Bounty in 1788. Bligh had been Sail Master on Cook's ship in 1773.

Accompanying Bligh on his next visit in 1792 was Lieutenant George Tobin, the expedition's Principal Artist. Of the seven paintings executed by Tobin in Adventure Bay, one depicted the area known as 'Two Tree Point'. It is thought that these trees depicted by Tobin are still standing today, making them at least 250 years of age."

This wonderful painting by George Tobias in 1792 of where Resolution Creek (River) enters Adventure Bay was displayed on the information board.
Nearby, we found a model of a ship that gives information about the sailings of early explorers. calling in at Adventure Bay. It was a place we first visited as a family back in 1969 and I was glad Jan and I found it again. So, a photo of me, followed by the 1969 photo of the children at the same place:

Mark, Brenda & Ann. (Don't remember where Vicki was)

Our boat trip was due to leave Adventure Bay at 10 am and we had to be available from 9.30 to be geared up for our trip. We were the only ones that took the trip from Adventure Bay. A busload of people arrived a little late. They had come from Hobart on the catamaran Peppermint Bay II and disembarked at Barnes Bay in order to go on this adventure trip. The guide told us that they were late because as they travelled to Bruny Island, they encountered a pod of dolphins and the captain decided it was too good for his passengers not to enjoy them. That is the spirit of Peppermint Bay II and I like them because of it.

Above: the fast coastal expedition vessel Adventure. It seats up to 48 passengers and travels at a most enjoyable speed, powered by four 350 HP outboard motors!

Whilst it delayed our departure from AB a little, it wasn't a real problem and we were looking forward to a great day. The boat was about 70% full and we had a great guide who loved the geological formations around Bruny and enjoyed telling us about them:

Mighty rock formations - so old!!
The sea was just as we hoped for. We had good views allowing for great photography, including the following:
The 'Totem Pole' through which we sailed.'Nooks & Crannies'
Action at a blow hole.And nature at its best with this small colony of comorants.

Finally, we arrived at the southern most point of our journey at The Friars, the home of a colony of seals:
The seal colony on the left and the far background is where we were yesterday at the lighthouse. Wonderful scenery, calm seas, colourful weather, and an enjoyable travel companion by my side. Can't ask for anything more!Above and below, the seals both sunbaking and frolicking in the water.
If looks could kill!! They are certainly a haughty variety, but looked perfectly at ease with our company. I do wonder however, whether the increased frequency of these boats loaded with tourists will affect them and their habitat in the future. But what a privilege it was for us to see these babies in their natural habitat and content and............very well fed by the looks of them!

A final look before we set off to find other marine wonders.Gorgeous place. We were so glad we went on such a perfect day!

As we headed back to Adventure Bay, the crew thought it would be nice if we could find some dolphins and other marine life. We sailed further east and finally there was the call 'DOLPHIN!' Not only dolphins. We saw effectively a feeding frenzie before our eyes with albatross, gannets, seagulls, seals and dolphins all having, what must have been , an early lunch. Click on the image to give a better appreciation of the number of birds feeding on the fish below that apparently had been herded by the dolphins for a feed:But dolphins there were aplenty. They are such a graceful and beautiful creature and we all delighted in their accompanying us:You have to be quick to catch them at the right moment. It's a bit of a problem with digital cameras as there is just that extra delay in recording the image. But, I am sure you get the idea that it was a pretty special experience - dolphins always are!
This blog chapter is about at its end. It will also be my last offering for 2009. I will leave you with just a couple of photos taken at Adventure Bay that will hopefully entice you to make a point of visiting Bruny Island:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rediscovering Tasmania - Bruny Island

Early this year (2009), my dear friends from Sydney, Geoff & Heather, came down to Tasmania to visit both Geoff's Tasmanian family and me. They invited their friend Jan, to whom I was introduced twelve months previously, to accompany them and suggested that it would be nice for Siebrand to join the party for a visit to the Tasmanian north-east. As this was an area I had not been to for many long years and, indeed, there were some areas that I never been to, it sounded very inviting and I agreed most happily to join the party. The itinerary was also to include visits to Ross and Coles Bay. I hope to cover these places on another blog chapter.

On our return to Hobart, Geoff & Heather were occupied with special family occasions, and Jan indicated to me that she would love to visit Bruny Island. This was another on the 'to-do' list for me. The result was that we decided to visit Bruny together. It is truly a remarkable island. I had not been there since 1970!

As it turned out, the weather was perfect and we thoroughly enjoyed the many attractions on Bruny. This is the story of rediscovering Bruny Island!

Despite it being such a small place, we chose to do it over two days and even then did not allow sufficient time to do it all. But what we did, was fantastic. An early start saw as at the Kettering ferry terminal for the 20 minute trip across to Barnes Bay. We were no sooner off the ferry and on the road when our cameras got busy and clicked almost non-stop, beginning at the Isthmus that divides the north from the south of Bruny. This narrow strip is a breeding ground for Penguins. Have a look:
At this same place, there is a special memorial to one of the last Tasmanian Aboriginals who was born on Bruny Island. Let the memorial tell its own story (Please click on the image for an enlargement. It's worth it!):It is not a pretty story. Truganini died in Hobart, in 1876. aged 64.
Our journey continued on to the southern part of Bruny and then crossed from Adventure Bay to Cloudy Bay. Once again, the views were quite outstanding:And a telephoto view of the lighthouse from the same position:

I'll take you to the lighthouse in a little while. From near this lookout we found the location of an old sawmill. Relics of the past is right:The Tramway in the above pic, I presume, is the one that is shown on the board that tells the story of this site. The old photo on the left of the board was of the LOCO that was used to transport the timber to the jetty at Lunawanna with the photo on the right showing the tramway from 1927 to 1949. The rail tracks look like timber ones!I was very interested to see on the same board a photo of the old ship Lenena, which also plied between Burnie and Melbourne in the 1950s when I worked there. All rather interesting and fits in well with how important rail was in the early development of this State (see my last blog chapter about Ida BayRailway.

And the following pic shows clearly the kind of terrain these sawmillers had to contend with!Having enjoyed this bit of history, we made our way down to Cloudy Bay. It really was magic. A gorgeous beach on a lovely day, but not warm enough to swim.Lunch in such an idyllic location tasted all the better, though I could have done without the bee stings!
Our ongoing journey was along breathtaking scenery to the most southern part of Bruny Island where the lighthouse is located. Please forgive me about raving on about the beauty of Bruny, but I am sure most people would enjoy scenes like the following:

And then this outstanding view of the Bruny Island Lighthouse:
"Colonial architect John Lee Archer designed the 13 metre high Cape Bruny lighthouse. it was built from lical stone and cost 2,500 pounds (approx $4,800) to build even though it was constructed using free convict labour. The lighthouse was lit in 1838 and is the oldest continuously-manned lighthouse in Australia. It was decommissioned in 1996, when it was replaced by a solar-powered tower. The original parabolic reflectors used approximately half a litre of sperm (whale) oil every hour of use."
What a treat was in store for us. Before going to Bruny, I had rung up the lighthouse keeper and requested the opportunity to go up the lighthouse. It is 40 years since we took our children up there and it seemed like a good idea to do it again.

1969 with from left Brenda, Vicki, Ann & Mark on top of the lighthouse.

Lighthouse keeper Andy kindly gave us his time and led us up the spiral staircase:
Jan wasn't so sure at first but was soon comfortable. Once on top, Andy gave us a colourful account of the lighthouse and explained how the light worked in the past and how it is used these days. We loved his passion for this facility and for his work.

The solar-powered lights.

Andy had a store of info and had a most attentive audience:Being such a perfect day with only a slight breeze, he took us outside on the balcony to allow us to enjoy the unlimited spectacular views to all points of the compass, beginning with a view of the lighthouse keepers' cottages and the car park:Once outside, we continued to enjoy this fascinating man and his deep interest in his work. What a guy!Our eyes must have been sparkling, not only with Andy's fascinating story telling, but also with the most magnificent views. Our cameras worked non stop and the enjoyment is certainly evident on Jan's face:The above view looking East, gives also a good indication of the rugged coastline along Bruny Island.The above: looking West. Below: looking south towards the southern ocean. I suspect it must be good cray fishing down there!
There were many more excellent photos that I am tempted to show, but perhaps, the above will give you a fair idea of what an extraordinary day we had. But...............the day was not finished yet!!

I realise this is a rather long blog chapter, but I do need to share the end of the day with you and then do a further chapter about our second day on Bruny Island.

Our accommodation was on top of a hill at Allonah, overlooking the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. With a glass of wine and some cheese and nibbles, we were absorbed in the wonderful sunset to which we were treated. Have a look:

Wow!! What a day! What an awesome Creation! What an awesome God!!!