Tasmania is full of wide open spaces filled with rolling hills, pasture for sheep, deep forest, and miles of untouched coastline. The drive from Hobart to Bruny Island was gorgeous in the early morning sun. Bruny Island is in fact an island and has no bridge; therefore, we had to take a ferry over to the island. An old vintage International was behind us in line for the ferry. The driver, like many Tasmanians, had a great deal of rugged, scruffy individuality, completely in character with his vehicle.
The beaches on the island are pristine and empty. Stupendously gorgeous! The blues of the water are breathtaking. Sea shells abound. I just can’t adequately describe how beautiful this place is. In several places rocks are covered in lichen, indicating no pollution here at all.
We took the Bruny Island Adventure Cruise, which goes along the coast of the South Bruny National Park. I was determined to be warm and thought I had significantly over dressed: t-shirt, heavy shirt, wind-proof vest, coat, scarf, beanie, and rain jacket with my sunglasses.
The guy in charge told everyone we had plenty of time to get get ready, and that we could feel free to take our time, but that the boat was leaving in 5 minutes. They had a great sense of humor. He also suggested we use the 5 star bathroom on shore as they had a 1.5. star bathroom on the boat.
When we were all (the open air boat holds 20 people) on the boat, the captain gave us each a very heavy, floor-length parka on steroids. I’ve never seen a parka quite like this. I don’t know what it was made of, but it was incredibly heavy and had a built in hood, everything in one piece. I was all but convinced the thing was bulletproof. I thought this went way, way beyond overkill, but, whatever. I dutifully put mine on as did everyone else.
We were all offered ginger tablets for sea sickness. I took one. Some took three.
We sped out of the bay, whoa, this is going to be intense!, and alternately sped along and chugged along the coast, often within just a few feet of the sheer vertical rock face of the coast. At times I was concerned we might be thrust into the jagged rocks by the tremendous undulations of the ocean waters. Apparently the vertical rock face continues straight down into the deep, deep ocean water, actually called the Tasman Sea.
We went through tiny openings between jagged cliffs, saw caves, moved within feet of explosive blow holes that shot ocean spray 30 to 40 feet into the air. The ocean water was gorgeous and churning and broiling and blasting up along the face of the cliffs. At times the ocean waves easily ranged from 20 to 30 feet. This was one hell of a roller coaster ride. We would speed along the top of a wave and then suddenly just drop into the bottom of it with propellors whining in open air for a bit.
At one point we were so close to the rocks, and the water was so astoundingly turbulent, I was afraid we would come cracking down into pieces on the jagged rocks that alternately appeared and disappeared beneath the violent water’s surface. This was scary. Once we were speeding along the huge waves, dropping and bouncing up into the air, when suddenly the ship’s mate turned the boat at a 90° angle into a head on wave. I literally felt reasonably confident we would capsize! Amazingly, we didn’t.
A few moments later, in a very similar area, I was facing the direction away from the jagged cliffs and rocky area looking at the Friar rocks, trying to take pictures without my camera getting soaked when I heard, “Lift your feet!”. I just did as I was told when a huge wave crashed into the boat, soaking the captain and a couple of passengers. I only got partially covered but remained dry as the heavy-duty parka completely repelled the water. Now this is winter time. This is ocean water. It was freezing. The water filled the bottom of the boat for a while. I don’t know where it eventually went, but after a while there was no more water on the floor.
The speed of the boat in the ocean was bracing, almost blistering, in the wind. The spray from the sides would sting the hell out of your face. I gave up trying to clean my sunglasses. If I had not had the mega-parka on, I would have been drenched and frozen. As it was, I was merely frozen.
The experience was electrifying and utterly exhausting. Everyone simply must put this on your list of things to do. The freezing cold air was the freshest air I’ve ever breathed into my lungs. On the way back, we just zipped atop the ocean waves at full speed. I had the little face opening on the parka barely opened–just my soaked sunglasses peeking out. It was raining. I was spent. A woman behind me was throwing up. The wind! The cold! The exhilaration!
Fantastic! I have never. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
On the way back to Hobart, we stopped several times to take pictures. Penguin Walk was spectacular—breathtaking panoramic views. I had left the pano head at the hotel. I was so disappointed. Of all the places I’ve been, this was one of the most ideal places for a pano as every angle, every view, was spectacular!
This morning I had to get up early, as in 3:00am Tasmanian time for early flights to Ayers Rock. Tasmania is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I would come back any time!
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