Posts Tagged ‘Tasmania’

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.



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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!

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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  

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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.


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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.

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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

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I’ve heard the temperature has been 8 degrees celsius colder than the average summer temperature. I believe it. I only went in the water once and that was when a dinghy dropped us off in water up to our chests. All this beautiful turquoise water and I haven’t been swimming! I’ve worn wool on almost every day of my Tasmanian summer and often several layers. And now it’s fall.


Last night, there was loud scratching at all the windows. It sounded like a B horror film. I thought I heard someone whispering, “red rum, red rum”. This morning I found dragonflies attached to the house. Naturally, they are huge. The insects and spiders are all supersized here. The bull ants, huntsmen, beetles and dragonflies.

Mild rain was predicted last night. It poured and poured. Tim set buckets around the house while I slept. We recorded 62 mm this morning, which is the most we have had in one day during our stay. Actually it’s more than is recorded for entire months, even the winter ones.

Now we only hope that the sands haven’t washed down onto the jetty road. We thought we would spend our last few days here walking the walks. Instead we may be shoveling the sand, again. Where’s the ibuprofen…and my mittens?

I think I’ll wait until later to look.

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