Overnight on the Stormbreaker

Trip Start Feb 04, 2010
Trip End Feb 12, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

After leaving the laid-back harbour of Hobart, we made our way north along the Lyell Highway towards Strahan, taking a break at 'The Wall in the Wilderness'.  The Wall is an impressive, 10-year under-taking to carve a series of wood panels totaling 100 metres in length, depicting scenes of Tasmanian history in the highlands, including its deep rooted lumber and mining history.  The artist, Greg Duncan, is five years into his vision and the life to which he gives his carvings is astonishing.  The wooden panels include meticulous images of the workers' themselves complete with fine muscle definition in their arms and legs, throbbing veins underneath their skin and soft curves/creases in their clothing.  When wandering through the gallery of images, you can sense the strain of the labourers in their facial expressions as they work the land.

Navigating onwards through the windy roads, we passed Derwent Bridge into Strahan (pronounced 'Straun') and found an isolated small fishing village which had thrived on the tourist industry for the past 100 years or more.  With all accommodation options being booked out, we landed a bed on the Stormbreaker sailboat which rents out its beds when docked.  We shared it with 4 others, and we had a cosy (i.e. tiny) triangular shaped room in the front end hull of the boat.  The best part was enjoying a glass of wine on deck with dinner while watching the water views from the boat.

The next day, we were also on the Stormbreaker as we had planned to charter an overnight cruise out to Sarah Island and the World Heritage Gordon River.  That afternoon, we made our voyage on Stormbreaker across calm, tannin stained waters with two other couples from the Australian mainland and our captain, Trevor.  Enroute, we passed a number of fish farms - one company has numerous netted areas for ocean trout and other varieties, with each netted area holding approximately 18,000 fish.  Interestingly, the ocean trout are fed carotene making their flesh a red colour similar to salmon.  We stopped on Sarah Island and learnt of an infamous convict named Pearce, who escaped from the island on a few occasions.  His first attempt was unsuccessful and resulted in his return to Sarah Is., while the second attempt landed him a hanging sentence in Hobart.  Given the isolation and harsh environment/climate, he turned to cannibalism of his fellow escapees during both escape attempts (extreme bush-tucker).  There is currently a movie called Van Diemen's Land documenting his tale. 

Following on into the Gordon River, we passed the ancient Huon Pine forests which only grow in Tasmania.  Some of these trees are 800 - 1,000 years old; a 60 yr old tree would only be a few inches thick.  Back in the day, they were logged for their outstanding wood quality for boat-making, as their wood is impervious to rotting.  These trees are now protected due to their slow growing/regeneration time.  The Gordon River was incredibly calm and the mirror-like reflections were brilliant, perfect to enjoy with a glass of vino while chilling out on the boat.  Because the forest has very few flowers or seeds, there are very few birds in the area, so a very quiet and calm place.  We got out kayaking the next morning and had a paddle along the rivers edge before doing a short walk through the temperate rainforest and returning to Strahan.
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Colin on

Ah, smell the fresh salt air, feel the aches of swollen feet after a long days hike over rocky terain, and rest to the soft methodical sound of the waves against the rocky shores...another enjoyable read. Keep them coming as it truely sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Pictures, we need some pictures when you have a chance.

Have a good Easter.

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