Island and house guests

I only need to look around at the rocks to find all sorts of interesting things. I met a GP from Sydney the other day who was happy to learn she wasn’t the only one seeing things.

How did I miss this duck?
I am not the only one who sees a duck here, am I?

I wish I was imagining things instead of seeing the spiders I have found around the house. Apparently they are relatively harmless but I wouldn’t do well if I found one on me when I was sleeping.
A visitor told me they would probably only bite if provoked. I asked, “what if I screamed loudly?” He said you could try that. Actually, there would be no thought behind screaming if I found this on me. Chelsea had one inside a bus. I bet there was some screaming there.
Oddly enough, Australians almost uniformly fear ticks. I can handle ticks. It must be something about the devil you know…

I run with kangaroos

But they are faster than me. It’s surreal. I take my iPod when I go for a run. The other day I was listening to a live concert in Central Park, while I ran halfway around the world from Central Park. Today I was listening to Elton John singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and the magical nature in the song is much like here. We see wallabies all the time. When we walk by them, they are slow to do anything and usually cross the track in front of us and hop away into the tussock grass. Well when I run by, they fly. Their pace picks up considerably. It’s as if they are showing off. I’m not sure if it is because I am running or because I am singing out loud at full volume.

.Joey trying to go home

This kangaroo wouldn’t be a fast runner because it has the youngest joey I have seen.

While I was running downhill into a valley by a creek, I heard the whoosh of huge wings and the flock of Cape Barren Geese which has decamped to Garden Cove, soared by. All the while, I am surrounded by rocky hills and turquoise seas. I hope I never forget this experience.



I’ve been knitting and spinning like a mad woman. I have designed a pair of socks I am knitting with wool I spun on the drop spindle. I have also been spinning mohair and merino together. I am going to try dyeing with onion skins and lichen. The benefit of lichen is you don’t need a mordant ( a chemical that causes the dye to stick to the fiber) to make a permanent dye. Just like my singing, this has effects on the wildlife. Today I saw a lizard wandering around in the sun room with some mohair fuzz stuck to its back leg, sort of like toilet paper on your shoe.

The ocean racers have arrived

There are several big races in this area right after Christmas. Our first visitors, who will go unnamed, stopped by after they dropped out of the Sydney Hobart race due to problems with their sails in the gale force winds. They walked up the hill to the compound, looked around a little, took a few pictures and walked back down to the boat. A quiet group.

The boat below was a winner.


Yesterday, the winner (I think) of the Melbourne Hobart race and two other boats, who finished, arrived and the party began. There were 20 people ashore for the barbecue. Toasts were made, pictures were taken. It was a clubby group and everyone seemed to know one another. They had the air of people who had come through an ordeal together and survived and even won. Every one of them was in awe of Deal Island and were sorry they were in a rush to go home and couldn’t spend more time to explore the island. Most have been on the boats since Boxing Day and one boat’s head wasn’t working. They were especially eager to get back home and off the boat. When the boat left under the cover of night, a bugler played taps.


The barbecue area is at the land end of the pier with a huge grill tables and benches.

Some things are universal though. At least two of the boats had female crew. I talked to several and they had withstood huge seas and knockdowns of their boats. Well a group of women were going out to one of the boats in a dinghy but they were having engine trouble. All the men stood at the beach and snickered. i know they were thinking, “female drivers” yet these women sailed the Southern Ocean in a gale!

Our grid


We don’t have one. We depend on no utility companies, only the wind and rain. (Except for Telstra internet and phone and we haven’t had internet for two days). We are well stocked with power and water. We get our energy to run a freezer, refrigerator, lights and computers from a solar array which generates about 7.5 kwh daily, and the energy is stored in a bank of batteries. We seem to use about 3.5 kwh daily.

There’s a backup generator if the sun should stop shining. This replaced a diesel based generator system. Not much fun getting the diesel up the hill or paying for it.P1030114.JPG


We get our water off the roofs of the houses. Our drinking water is collected in a new fiberglass tank and we filter it through a ceramic filter. The rest of the water comes from two concrete tanks, from which Tim occasionally scoops out dead bats. The next major project is to cover the tanks and keep out the bats and other wildlife.

We run a little honda engine, which pumps the water (but not the bats) up a hill to a tank about 1/4 mile from the house. It takes about 20 minutes to top it off. Then when we want water in the house, we just open the tap and it runs down the hill. Lots of engineering came before us. We just turn on the light switch and flush the toilet.

PC260089.JPG PC280087.JPG   P1010080.JPG


We speak the same language, but just use different words


We all speak English here. First of all I still can’t believe the US has not adopted the metric system when the whole world uses it. So I have to translate all measurements and weights, kms, grams and cms. But there are words here I haven’t heard before and we often have to ask what someone is talking about. Before we arrived, we were advised to bring a doona for the bed. When I was trying to figure out how to get internet service here and corresponded with Bigpond, the largest provider. They told me I couldn’t get a prepaid or month to month contract. Apparently they told me a porkey because I was able to get it through their parent company. I bought tomato paste squeeze and sachets. We eat sultana and bran cereal. Instant coffee is simply Nescafe. Milk is full cream or skinny. The other day someone asked us if we have chooks on the island because it would be hard for them to get used to the wind. We are greeted with, ” how are you going?” and aren’t sure how to respond. Yesterday we picked up some dunnage from one of the coves to build a bench.

There are also unlimited ways to convey a carefree life. “No worries, mate”, ” too easy” and “sweet”.

doona; light blanket or duvet

porkey: lie, not true

squeeze: packet or tube (i think)

sachets: packets

sultana; large like a raisin but not a raisin

chooks: chickens

dunnage: driftwood

Uh oh, I’m seeing things again

I spent a good part of the morning spinning yarn and looking out the windows. I think I was hiding from the flies for a while. Later in the day I walked to Garden Cove to look for a grave there and then to the Lighthouse with Tim to close it up for the day. On the lighthouse tower, I saw a monkey I haven’t seen before. Or it might be a mouse in a dress.


Then I found a pac man rock.

Pac man rock

But I was really on a quest to find more about some of the history here on Deal Island. I was looking for a grave of a sailor near Garden Cove. He was on a ship sailing by in 1849 when he died. His shipmates came ashore and buried him near the beach. His marker was replaced in the 1930’s by a lighthouse keeper who used wood from a boat that sank in one of the coves. After a little hunt, I found it.

JS Sept 30 1849
I cleared some of the weeds around it. It was strange pulling weeds from over a grave. I thought twice when there was a little resistance. It’s in a beautiful location near Garden Cove. The marker says, “JS Sept 30 1849”.
Garden Cove
There was a sealer’s settlement near Garden Cover around the same time. A cave has been found on Erith Island, just next door, which was inhabited about 7,000 years ago but nothing that old has been found here…yet.

We saw the Clouds of Magellen and a satellite on New Year’s Eve

We had a number of people visit from boats anchored in the cove closest to our house. PC310088.JPG I was doubtful a barbecue would take place because the wind was “fresh”. The sky was the clearest it has been and the weather was mild, it was 100f in Melbourne during the day. But the party happened and we went down to the cove. While we were looking at the stars, we saw a satellite pass overhead. We have seen the Southern Cross and the Milky Way but Tim mentioned that there were clouds in the same place over a couple of nights. They looked like another galaxy. It turns out they are. We saw the clouds of Magellen, which are galaxies orbiting our galaxy. The mind boggles.

.Joey trying to go home

  Then today, when I left the compound to walk to Winter Cove, I saw the smallest wallaby Joey yet. it was tiny and gangly. I watched for a while but needed to pass and it clambered into its pouch. At Winter Cove, I found a small skull, seagull or tern is my best guess. The day went from seeing objects at the limit of the naked eye’s visibility to small creatures along the tracks

We’ve become Wallaby wranglers and we are getting pretty good at it. We had about four wallabies in the outer circle of gates and over a few days, we managed to get all but two out. Wallaby near the water tank

Then, I went to get drinking water and found one in the inner compound, right next to the house. They chew on the grass, which is good, but leave wallaby poop around, which isn’t so good. We used some amazing teamwork and got it out the front gate.

It was a beautiful day to take a walk and I went to Winter Cove, about 4 kms from house. The only problem was these new little flies have arrived. They don’t bite or anything but are “in your face”.

I got to the beach and saw the catamaran anchored nicely and found a small bird skull.

P1010109.JPG Smallest skull