Monday, September 12, 2011

3 days on the island - 3

The lads rugged up for cruising. Nicest pic I have taken of them in years!
The main action on Friday was our 3-hour "cruise" with Bruny Island Cruises. I put that in quotes because it was far from your relaxing Sunday lunch cruise on a big boat with a seafood buffet, lovely view out the windows and a stroll on the deck if you feel like it.

We went out on a 12.5m Naiad, a sort of semi-inflatable thing. The guides said "it will be roughest up front, a fair amount of bouncing over waves, so if you have any back or neck issues please move further back". The boys yelled "Up front! Up front!" We sat up front. We were all issued with raincoats that came down to our ankles. The smallest ones were vast on the boys.

Pics above and below from Bruny Island Cruises
It was really wonderful! The staff were very relaxed and considerate, and seemed to be enjoying themselves. The whole thing seems very professional, which is a great comfort when you are being thumped about by the Southern Ocean.

Once out of Adventure Bay the water got rougher, the boat sped up and we got our first spine-bashing. The boys were squealing with delight, although they were at the very front with nothing ahead of them to hang onto. The front few rows all have seatbelts, but I found I needed to do a lot of hanging on with my hands, forcing myself back down into my seat. It's when your bum leaves the seat as you go over the top of a wave, that you know you are going to be in big trouble at the bottom of the trough.
Seals never come out in these pictures, but there are about 40 of them. Also not visible: stink of dead squid.

Mighty sea cliffs on the south coast of Bruny. The water is intensely green thanks to phytoplankton. Scale hint: the tiny plants on top are in fact large trees.
I was relating all this to workmates today and I think the fairest description is that I enjoyed 90% of the boat trip, the boys about 75% and Elf about 50%. We would all happily do it again but preferably on a calmer day. There is one stretch where you go around a point and leave the Tasman Sea, entering the Southern Ocean. Here you get whacked by a swell that has come almost uninterrupted from Africa - and that was really nasty. Once we got to The Friars (the rocks pictured above strewn with fur seals) things calmed down a bit - nature's way of helping tourists take thousands of seal photos.

The ride home was rough as the crew were trying to find some whales, dolphins or at least an albatross for us to gawp at. This entailed some zigzagging, more spine-bashing and a great deal of spray in the face. By now all our feet were wet and Elf's pants were pretty much saturated, and Michael was huddled down inside an oversized coat, seething (as only he can) about the cold. The crew handed out Shapes and Tim Tams, and one stood between Michael and the worst of the weather.

Soon enough we were in sight of the dock, then onto dry land and cheering up. We had pre-ordered lunch like most of the passengers. Everyone was feeling similarly breathless, battered and wet I think. The rolls were nice and fresh but assembled in that inside-out way that assumes you want to see everything that's in it, and then poke it all in to place yourself. I call this the Pre-Zeps Campbell Town method of serving a salad roll - it has not died out.

Then we drove home, and I think the rest of the day was spent drying by the fire. My feet were solid purple and I treated myself to an old-fashioned footbath to warm up. The weather stayed bad, and we started to think that one more night might do us. However it was resolved that rain or hail notwithstanding, in the morning we would visit Lorraine, and go fishing, before we pulled the plug.

The AFL finals started that night, and I sat up to 11.00 listening to the radio by the fire, as Geelong 14.14 (98) d. Hawthorn 9.13 (67)


Wendy said...

That third picture reminds me of Jason and the Argonauts passing through the Symplegades.

I'm glad you made it through without getting squished!

chris.dadness said...

You have impressed me with the classical knowledge there Wends. We had to soap up the rocks a bit first but did it easy in the end.