We are poised to leave Deal island on the 15th of March. The Parks manager arrived with the new caretakers today and we are officially off duty. And the weather couldn’t be better. It’s warm, like summer. It was calm this morning for their trip out. We’ll see how we fare in two days. We’ve spent the past couple of days cleaning and getting everything in order. Now we’ve moved over to the visitor’s house and are visitors. Yesterday we walked to the lighthouse and had fun looking at our shadows.
At the end of the day, I had a home brewed stout, which had a creamy foam.
Today, I put the work gloves away. It’s official.
We saw Deal Island from a new perspective yesterday. A luxury yacht anchored in the cove the night before and called us and said they wanted to see a little of the island. They didn’t have a lot of time but checked out the museum and Barn Hill, which has some spectacular views of Murray Passage. Then they asked us if we wanted to come with them to Erith Island before they left. You betcha!
It was strange because it was our first time off the island for three months. Sort of a practice run for this weekend. The passage between Erith and Deal Islands is much more open then it seems from up at the caretaker cottage. We got to look back at the island and the compound from the water and then from Erith.
While we were anchoring, we saw our first sea eagle on the rocks of Erith.
We walked the tracks to explore the shack and campsites we knew were there. Then on the way back, we were joined by dolphins.
When we got back we walked to the lighthouse which was shrouded in fog. Quite a day.
We awakened yesterday to the smell of smoke. Not a good thing when you are trying to protect an island. There wasn’t lightening the night before so we thought if it was here, it would be from an open fire on one of the beaches. So we hopped in the ute and checked Winter Cove, where the campground is (and our recent sign, “No Open Fires”). No smoke or flames. We returned home but then as the day progressed, it got smokier and smokier. We went to the north beach, Garden Cove, where we doubted any boats were anchored because of the wind direction, no smoke or flames. Then we heard on the radio, there was a bush fire in Victoria. The smoke kept getting thicker and thicker here until our view of Erith island was obscured. The fire was 100 miles away but with a wind from the north and the pure air here, we smelled it like it was in our own backyard.
Next we were involved in a search and rescue. There was a boat here, which left a few days ago, who asked us to report their position to the local coast guard. They never checked in at their home port. The coast guard called us and asked if we knew anything more. We could only add that they were headed home since we knew they had run out of food and only hope they forget to check in when they arrived.
Then we saw a tinny (metal dinghy) with lines out fishing in Murray Passage. We radioed them and informed them they were in a no take zone and they headed out.
After dinner, we walked down to the new bench to get internet reception, view the stars, which were finally visible again and watch and listen to the fairy penguins come home.
It has been a good caretaking day.
Seasons are strictly by the calendar in Australia. None of this equinox, solstice stuff. Summer ended on February 28 and Fall began today. I’ve made a silent vow to walk a track a day until we leave. These photos are along the creek to Little Squally Cove on the south eastern side of the island.
The view from the lighthouse overlooking the compound and Erith Island.
Returning home on the lighthouse track with a mother and joey wallaby.
Yesterday, I submitted the monthly totals of rainfall to the Bureau of Meteorology. We had 121.6 mm of rain for the month, which is the most rainfall on Deal Island since 1939. We experienced one of the wettest summers in 72 years! And it was wonderful.
Since it’s the first day of Fall, we have cold gale winds. The garden is looking so good. I hope it survives. When the sun comes up, I’ll check and consider setting up barriers around the smaller plants again. Then rinse the sea salt and keep my fingers crossed. We’ll see if I take a walk today.
I’m not dreaming. This morning, while we were finishing up breakfast, we heard a low flying plane buzz the house. We ran outside and saw it circling and coming back. Then a package fell from the sky…and the package had chocolate. And it was good.
I don’t know if I like nice or bad weather better. Nice weather is nice. Bad weather is dramatic. We are enjoying nice weather and a group of kayakers arrived in the early afternoon. They are on a fundraiser to clean up the beaches of the islands in the Bass Strait and the event is called Clean Across Bass Strait. They spend time at each of the islands cleaning debris off the beach. They have mostly found debris off ships, recreational visitors are pretty tidy. I saw them pull in and then they walked up to the house and even walked up to the lighthouse before picking up a bag of debris along the rocks of east cove.
I was in the middle of my encounter with the giant sea creature. I boiled water in a very tall stock pot and put him in. There was some thrashing about and I had to hold the lid on. Pretty horrible. Tim had already vacated the premises. Things settled down and it cooked up beautifully. I chilled it then got a ton of meat from the tail and claws and we ate it with a dipping sauce of tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, red pepper and milk taken from the Lighthouse Cookbook.
We had a nice dinner on the jetty with the kayakers with stimulating conversation. Several had spent some time either visiting or living in the United States or Canada, in beautiful places: Vermont; Whistler, BC; Aspen, CO and Marin County.
We are all moved by the beauty of Deal Island and the Kent Group. It is awe inspiring to approach from the sea with the soaring cliffs, bright orange lichen covered rocks and aquamarine water. It was also heartwarming to see everyone individually walk up the hill to the new bench to get a good phone signal and call family and friends.
Since there are gianormous spiders and man-eating ants here, I have developed the habit of turning my shoes upside down and tapping them before I slide my foot in. I usually wear my hiking boots but today I only planned to do a little work in the garden so was putting on my sneakers, which I haven’t worn for a while. I noticed a small dead beetle in the heel and was getting ready to dump it out when I realized it was dinner for my sneaker’s inhabitant who was lurking up by the toe. There was a small skink curled up in there. I think it’s the one I see walking around in the sun room, where the shoe rack is. I decided to wear my boots.
So off I went to the garden to finish my clean up. I tested a rat trap by putting my pinky in it (by accident). Luckily I was wearing leather gloves and only have a slightly purple finger to show for it. I sort of knew something like that was going to happen when I got the traps out. I was weeding and saw the Tasmanian version of a Praying Mantis or some sort of twig insect.
And for dinner tomorrow, we have this insect like creature from a local fisherman. I’m sure there will fun afoot in the kitchen ala Annie Hall. It’s huge! It must weigh about five pounds.