Nights Are Fair Drawin' In
08 April 2018 | Chinaman'S Bay, Maria Island
We went to Maria Island the other day. In the mid 1800's it was of course a kind of early day Butlins where about four hundred convicts appear to have been employed to move stones from one pile to another pile a few hundred metres away and next day they moved them back.
Maria is one of Tasmania's many protected wildlife national parks. We were keen to go as we were promised all kinds of interesting indigenous wildlife and, as the only wildlife we'd seen in the last five months has been doing a fair impression of a furry hearth rug, strewn along the road side, the prospect of wildLIFE as opposed to wildDEAD was quite appealing.
Chinaman's Bay, or, in another example of politically correction gone nuts, now called Shoal Bay. Although, shoal was certainly more accurate than Chinaman. The bay was all of two to three metres for a long way out but, trusting the echo sounder we nosed in fairly close, through out a bunch of chain, launched the dink and headed ashore.
Four soggy sea kayakers greeted us, their tiny one man tents surrounding the fire pit where presumably they planned to keep warm that night. While the days are chust sublime with not a cloud in the sky, blazing sun and air so clear you could put it in a nice wee gin, the flip side is that the nights are getting a bit chilly. While we are still getting into the twenties during the day, overnight, there's a chill and we wake to a fresh eight, maybe nine degrees. That's when the fighting starts. First, like Mongolian goat herders living in a yurt out on the steppe, we have to fight our way out from under two duvets, two fleece blankets and the pillow you've had over your head all night to stop from catching your death. The next fight is who is going to make the five yard dash to switch on the Webasto. The flip side of this scenario is that after lights out, we climb under our pile of bedclothes having forgotten to switch off the heating and wake at one o'clock like we're in a sauna.
Back ashore, we headed over the hill, and far away, to have a look at the convict settlement, or at least, the remains of it. We were a bit disappointed that the only wildlife so far had been the kayakers when, we all but tripped over our first wombat. And then, like waiting hours for a bus then three come at once, a Jumparoo went by. And then another, and another. The place was teeming with mangy marsupials. The wombats didn't really care. They were grazing, as thick as sheep. Meaning lots of them. Not to imply they're stupid. You could get right up close for a selfie and they'd just keep scratching and munching away. Maybe they are stupid.
Wombats are bigger than I expected. When my pal Arthur took his wombat to the Scottish Series many years ago and, for a week took it for walks, into the pubs and even on board for drinks, we never realised they are the size of badgers. But that's another era and another story. (Arthur has since had treatment for his condition and is doing quite well these days).