I woke up this morning and watched a wallaby hop across a sandy white beach while I sipped my tea. Another two hopped along in his tracks, causing the Caspian terns to screech when they had to move. We were anchored in East Cove off Deal Island in Kent Group National Park, Tasmania's northern most national park. Six other boats had been anchored here last night, but had all departed for the Hobart Wooden Boat Show save one. We'd visited Deal last year right around this time. There's no other word for it … it's magic!
Part of the magic of Deal Island is its location in the middle of the notorious Bass Strait. It is only accessible by boat although helicopters can land on top if there is an emergency. That's rare. The park is manned by volunteer caretakers who spend three month terms here, welcoming guests and generally taking care of the island and its buildings during their watch.
We beached the dinghy and walked halfway up the steep hill to the “Telstra bench”, strategically located in order manage a signal to the mainland through the notch that separates Erith Island and Dover Island across the Channel.
At the top of the steep, switchbacked hill, lies the fenced “Compound”. Most of the island's buildings are located here including the Caretaker's Residence. We tried to avoid upsetting wallabies and Cape Barren geese along the way, but it's nearly impossible. They're everywhere. Marie, Tom and 7-year old, Floyd, were waiting for us and welcomed us warmly.
Though we'd visited before, we checked out the tiny museum once again. It's full of information about the island and memorabilia from lighthouse keepers past. Antique bottles, shards of china, interesting shells collected on the beach, bits of machinery and sepia photos, all found their place in the old lighthouse keepers home.
David was interested in the huge solar panel display … 56 panels at 210 watts each. They rely on solar as their only means of power on the island and it seems to do the trick.
The garden was thriving. Covered with netting and fenced to protect it from the island's other inhabitants, the garden is planted and harvested in turn by each set of caretakers that live on the island, providing freshies during their stay. Lettuce, beets, tomatoes, chard and herbs all seemed to be doing well at the moment.
The animals hold the most allure for me. Flame robins and firetails, welcome swallows and silver eyes flit about. Cape Barren geese roam everywhere. Ducks swim along the shore and mingle with terns, gulls and oystercatchers. We've watched the little blue penguins coming home to their nests at dusk after a long day at sea. Wallabies, like half-pint kangaroos, are everywhere. They lounge under trees, munch on the tussock grass along the path, play on the beach and generally have the run of the island.
They tend to startle you as you're walking and jump out in the path beside you, usually startling themselves as well. They sometimes hide their heads in the tussock grass, but their long tails and bums stick out. I guess they reason that if they can't see us, we probably can't see them.
Tomorrow, the Deal Island Lighthouse and gravestones on the island
|Days and Ways to Celebrate|
|A daily list of mostly obscure holidays and fun ways to celebrate them.|
|International Pancake Day|
|Free pancakes at IHOP today in their 7th International Pancake Day for charity. No IHOP in your neighborhood (or country?), make some up yourself and don't forget the maple syrup or maybe some Nutella?|
|World Nutella Day|
|Never tried Nutella? It's a chocolate-hazelnut spread. Good day to try it!|