Home sweet home

We have internet! A big change from Deal Island.

After 45 hours of solid travel, we made it home. Our flight off the island was rough. It was windy and the pilot warned me my head might hit the ceiling. It didn’t and Tim managed to get a beautiful parting shot. One of my favorites. It shows the magnitude of the cliffs, the sea and the beautiful lighthouse, now partly painted.

We spent a day on lovely Flinders Island. It really is as beautiful as Deal Island, only with a few more people.

Next stop Launceston, Tasmania, where we visited old haunts: the Cataract Gorge, The Aquatic Center, Museum and the best hamburger joint around (twice). I also had my first flat white not made by me! So pretty.

Then our journey began. We flew to Sydney where we had a nine hour layover. We made good use of our time. We visited my favorite dumpling place and then we toured the Harbor. Never fails to delight.

Then 20 hours of flying…Followed by a six hour drive home. And we made it. After a week, I am beginning to adjust. And home is pretty sweet too.

Ihave hundreds of photos from Deal I was never able to upload. I will gradually get them online, until our next adventure.

Pink contrails?


Could it be the contrails are pink in Tasmania. I think not since no planes fly overhead. Our time here is quickly winding down. Roofing is almost complete and there should be another adventure with the barge, boats and ATV’s next week. In the meantime, we continue to relish our final days.


Fool me once

I’ve learned to double check any adventure plans Tim makes for us. It happened again at beautiful Freycinet Park in Tasmania. We went there to stretch our legs before driving to Launceston for our flight to Flinders Island.

We’ve been there before, it’s a beautiful spot, and he suggested we hike up Mt Amos for the views. I was dubious. He wanted to bypass the ranger’s station and head straight to the trailhead. I said, “no thanks, I want to talk to the ranger”.

I mentioned Tim’s plans and he pulled out this photo, which they show as a quick overview of the hike.

It only represents about 40% of the walk. I hate having to use my hands when I walk. And I would have really hated the return trip. So we walked an 11 km loop instead. It was beautiful.

This bench was designed as part of a student design project. I think I rested here in 2011. It is holding up well.

Every hotel should stock the mini fridge with Tim Tams with the full cream milk.

Freycinet offered a lot of the same views, rocks, lichen, and cliffs as Deal Island. Soon.

Let it roll

My preliminary work is officially done. The last tasks were to buy Tasmanian seeds for the garden and patch some form of internet together. The seeds were easy but the internet almost led to tears. But it’s done.

My old mobile wifi device turned on but didn’t connect until I took the battery out? We tried to get a new battery but that ain’t happening. So we bought an external power pack, which was much cheaper than a new device, and it works. The Telstra site was a nightmare; the only page of the website that consistently loads is the one that accepts money.

I’m driving a ginormous rental SUV on the wrong side of the narrow roads. Closing my eyes to oncoming traffic helps. When I picked it up at the Hobart airport, I promptly climbed into the passenger side and couldn’t figure out how to reach the steering wheel from there. I’ve finally stopped turning on the windshield wipers when I want the turn signal.

After a lovely time spent with old friends, and a visit to the Bothwell fiber show, we are poised for the the fifth, but not final, leg of our journey to Flinders Island. For now, we’re headed to the beach.


We’ve had visitors across Murray Pass, on Erith Island, since Wednesday. There are two sets of kayakers passing in the night, I so to speak. One group is heading north, the other south. We had two days of gale winds and squalls and, in the morning, we saw the sailboat anchored in a different spot from where we left them at night.

Today they crossed the Pass to get internet weather forecasts. When we saw them getting tossed around in the sailboat, as they plowed through standing waves, we knew they would pay us a visit. So I defrosted a batch of Anzac cookies and put on a pot of tea.

It turns out the sailors did drag anchor in the night at the height of the storm, when the wind was 50 knots or so. They held by about 0100 in the north end of the bay. We had tried to hail them on the radio, to no avail, but they learned of the only good holding ground when they visited the kayakers ashore. They had trouble hauling their anchor and think they were caught on part of the railing of the Bulli, a steam driven coal ship which sunk there in 1877.

Bulli had 450 tons of coal on board, anchored during a gale, thought the weather improved and set off again, it hadn’t, and they returned to the cove where it hit a rock and sunk. All crew got off the ship before it sank and were rescued the next day. Salvage efforts were not successful.

This is a drawing of the Bulli I found in a book of Tasmanian shipwrecks.
Here is the piece of railing they recovered. I can’t be sure what ship it is really from because when I tried to find information from the diary of the keeper during the Bulli’s sinking, I found accounts of at least one other boat in the same location. The wreck of the Bulli is a “popular” dive site.



I’m on the Knitpicks podcast!

One of the first podcasts I listened to was Kelley Petkun from Knitpicks describing what knitting she would do on a deserted island. I still have that podcast on my iPod. She introduced me to the idea of a Pi shawl as great island knitting and I cast my first one during a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon when I couldn’t possibly take another step. . Since then, I’ve listened to episodes about the creative process, knitting, designers, yarn lines, football, spinning and life in general and I am hooked. I began listening during my hour long commute into Manhattan to work.

I remember trying to describe why I listened to knitting podcasts to my stepson. He couldn’t imagine what would possibly capture my (or his) attention for 30 minutes. But it’s so much more than knitting. And now it brings me back to the Knitpicks podcast because on their 200th celebratory episode, Kelley revisits deserted island knitting and refers to MY BLOG as an example. Because I knit on deserted islands! And love it. And hope to continue doing it because, after the first time, it keeps getting better and easier. Food planning and packing gets simplified.

Some of my best projects were envisioned and completed in remote settings. Like Tim’s Christmas penguin! knit while on Deal Island Tasmania with some beautiful organic merino roving gifted to me by a new friend in Tasmania, which I spun and knit during my three months there. Or the four pairs of socks I have knit for myself on Seguin Island. Or the warm vest I modified and knit on Deal Island. This podcast makes me appreciate and remember what a wonderful life I live.

Today, in the mountains, I worked on three projects: a pair of socks for my daughter’s friend

A double weave wall hanging with pockets to hold at least some of my weaving tools

And I continue to work on the overshot sampler

To think, I was working and commuting when I began listening and now I have given most of it up am living the life I never dreamed of!

Our last night in Tasmania

We’ve said a lot of goodbyes lately. Goodbye to the islands of the Bass Strait-Deal, Dover, Erith and Flinders; goodbye to the people we met; and now goodbye to Tasmania after four wonderful months. We loved how people here know how to embrace life with clean air, wonderful food, beautiful water and islands.

We spent a few days outside Hobart and I got to visit a fiber guild and then a day of dyeing. I needed a fiber fix with ladies. I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with guys this summer doing manly things.

The wildlife is different from Deal Island, but interesting nonetheless. I never got any good photos of the Black Swans in Hobart.

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These ladies laid some glorious eggs for breakfast.


We spent a morning in the brand new MONA in Hobart, the Museum of Old and New Art, which displays an interesting private collection. Tim’s favorite was the poo machine, which mimic’s the human digestive tract. It’s fed twice daily and produces once a day like clockwork, with the aroma to prove it.


Mine was the goldfish juxtaposed with a huge knife. P3170130.JPG  

Dunno about dunnies

We spent our final day in the Kent Group demolishing a dunnie on Erith Island. We went over on the Strait Lady with a boatload of tools. Naturally, we had a lot of laughs because of the risk we were taking working around poo. I think a dunnie is only an outhouse. I don’t think I could ask for a dunnie in a restaurant but I dunno. (oop)s See what I mean?


When we got back to Deal, Kim had made a delicious stew and later in the day, we had a lovely barbecue on the jetty and I had a chance to sample muttonbird, abalone and wallaby schnitzle. All were delicious and I can appreciate being able to live off the land and sea. I took my last walk along Barn Hill.


We had almost as much fun as the night before when we ate outside in the rain. We finally gave in and went back up the hill, the rain stopped the moment we got there. But then the skies blazed red and orange during the sunset.


The weather cooperated and we had a fairly smooth ride on the boat back to Flinders. We enjoyed our first meal in a restaurant and then, after an interview with ABC radio, flew out the next morning to Launceston.


We were reminded there are some good things about city life.


A beautiful ending

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. P3120147.JPG

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.

Another bush bash

Today we headed up a hill in the middle of the island to look for a cairn reportedly there.. It literally was a bush bash. We walked through shrubs, trees and tussocks. We got to the height of land and couldn’t find a cairn. I kept thinking it might have blown down because we found open spaces with rocks but no pile. We had a nice lunch but were a little discouraged. Before heading back down, I looked around and saw an area a little higher than where we were. There was a panoramic view and we were able to see the lighthouse and both the south and north entrances to Murray Passage. Tim went over there to explore and sure enough, there was another cairn!! Our day was complete.

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This is how the grass was. You can just about make out Tim. We follow wallaby tracks but they hop and we have to plod through the clumps of grass.

P3100215.JPG Cairn off winter cove track