ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS on a NATURE excursion
We wanted to send a cheerio to you on Christmas Day and let you know that we reached our journey’s end and are now on board Banyandah.
Changing Hats 2020
For more than a decade, we’ve been changing hats twice a year and do you know what? It’s always much the same. Wide-eyed amazement as we re-acclimatise in a new location. But this year has been different. Changing from house to boat inter-state has proven far more challenging and worrisome. Starting with being contained within a closed capsule, flying at thousands of feet with hundreds of other humans with an unknown history. Scary, even though everyone was wearing a mask as required.
True friends look after you even though it may endanger their health and we are so fortunate with true-friends like Barry and Wendy who entertained us from the moment we landed at Hobart airport. Bless you.
For three days and nights, we lived like royalty at their beachside villa, getting exceedingly tipsy, telling stories and laughing loudly just like before Covid. After that much needed blow-out, we skedaddled to their mountain retreat for walks with Mount Wellington dominating the view and prepared for Tuesday’s bus across the island to Queenstown.
Difficult travel day ends happily
In Hobart, we expected a normal size bus like previous years, but a twelve-seat minibus towing a luggage trailer greeted us. Pleased we had booked, putting on masks, we took the last seats at the rear.
First hiccup happened twenty minutes along the Brooker Highway when the bus suddenly turned back to pick up a tardy passenger who had stowed his luggage in the trailer then wandered off. After that, as we sped to make up time, the mid-island roads tossed that heavily loaded vehicle right down onto its stops with a thud.
Changing to a bigger minibus at Derwent Bridge, we eased into Queenstown for a special treat of lunch at the Empire Hotel circa 1901. We had a four hour wait before the bus from Burnie passed through to Strahan. The first hour we shopped, then we gave our lucky thumbs a whirl.
Hitchhiking Seventies Style
Shifting fifty kilos of rucksacks and shoulder bags got us only a short distance to a convenient turnoff into a parking lot. That’s where we piled up the luggage, put on our friendliest smile and extended our lucky thumbs, not used for years.
Plenty of traffic rocketed past. A few drivers waved, others had a carload of kids. Most just drove past. That went on for an hour and a half.
After a while, I ran forays across the street to the public library to look through their books and DVDs. After my third run, I came out to see Jude chatting to someone in an overworked 4WD ranger. The man had been telling Jude that it would be better to hitch a kilometre up the road where it splits to Strahan or Burnie, and I heard Jude reply that we had a backup plan of taking the six o’clock bus in two-and-a-half hours.
Funny how you strike up a friendship. My joining the conversation triggered introductions, and we met Pete, a rough diamond who owned a pip-squeak craft called Peanut, twelve foot long and six wide, made from Huon Pine.
Both names triggered a memory of my neighbour Rob helping this man when he was drifting about on a borrowed mooring close by. Mentioning this to Pete sent us gabbing a mile a minute comparing notes. Next Jude and I knew, he told us he wanted to give his buggy a run because he’d just replaced its radiator, and enthusiastically suggested he drive us to Strahan.
Of course we talked non-stop the whole twisty but beautiful forested 45 minute journey that delivered us right at our friend’s jetty where we hoped to find the rubber-duckie promised by our neighbour Rob who was up the Gordon River bringing rafters back on the charter vessel Stormbreaker.
His rubber-ducky was there, but a twenty-knot southerly blowing onshore brought a big dose of reality. Could I row my lady out to Banyandah to help launch our tinny and retrieve our 50 kilos of luggage?
Presto chango, suddenly we didn’t have to row. Alongside the jetty, Deek was cleaning his lovely power catamaran and offered us a lift in a big tinny that looked perfect to shift our gear.
That’s life afloat. Everyone helps because we all know just how hard it can be… And being Christmas, it’s a special time to help those in need.