Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Beach Week part one

We just spent a week at Swansea, 2 hours up the east coast from Hobart. We four went with Imp, Ed, Karri & Miah, and stayed at this big stretched-out beach house at Coswell Beach, not far from town. It was fantastic! Halfway through the second day I realised I was getting some deep relaxation that just isn't possible at home, where there is so much to do. And Elf was relaxed, the boys were enjoying being with their cousins and having their own space; it all worked really well.

The block is very big, with the house at the top and a gradual slope down towards the beach. After a 4-minute walk you pop out of the bush and the beach is right there. The beach was very quiet; we only ever saw the odd dog walker. No-one else was in the water.

We had dawn swims, morning swims, afternoon swims and evening swims, and we each had a paddle on the wave ski. We mostly look for still water to paddle (despite the name), but Michael took it out through the churning surf, and Elf and I both successfully got it out through much calmer waves. The stakes are higher, and getting tipped out is at least 50% probability, so you are swapping some of the relaxation for a touch of excitement.

We also took the wave skis to Bagot Point, which sticks out from the mainland opposite the more famous Coles Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula. This is a great spot where you can park on the beach, which always gives me a buzz. You could easily paddle or even swim over to the other side here.

We got there more conventionally when Ed suggested a walk up The Hazards, which are five peaks that overlook the famous Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park. Specifically he wanted to climb Mt Amos, the 2nd tallest. Michael and Marcus were keen, and Miah would have come except for a sore toe that she is supposed to be resting. I said I would come along, but after watching this video I thought there was a good chance I wouldn't get to the top.

But I did! We four all did.

It was pretty hard climbing for me. Ed and Michael had good boots but Marcus and I had Blundstones and mine are pretty old and low on grip. This is a VERY slippery walk and is absolutely not to be attempted in wet conditions. The Hazards are granite, and there is both very scratchy grippy red granite and very slick and smooth grey granite. Here and there are little runnels of fresh water coming from I don't know where; little springs I guess. When you step on a smooth section with a wet boot, you really know it! It was just rock climbing at times; just looking for foot- and hand-holds. Sometimes there was nothing for your hands at all; just a crack to jam your feet in. I am not a rock-climber (fat with puny arms and stiff joints) so I didn't enjoy this much, in the doing.

At the top I wasn't exhausted like I might be from walking a steep track with lots of steps. It was more brain work than leg work, maybe. But I was exhilirated to have made it and LOOK at the view! Wineglass Bay is often depicted on Tasmanian tourism posters and so on; its so stunning. There are easier ways to than this to get a look at it; despite this I have never seen it with my own eyes despite living here nearly all my life.

The climb down was scarier than going up. Upwards you are able to lean into the slope; downwards I just found I had to slide on my butt a lot. Which of course took me back to this misadventure in India. Walking the Lost World with Michael was also a climb/scramble but not remotely slippery. 

When we reached the bottom we chatted to a ranger; who told us how Wineglass Bay got its name. I am surprised I had never heard this before; in whaling days they would trap southern right whales in the bay, slaughter them, and then the bay had the appearance of a glass of red wine. Ugh.

We met up with Elf and Imp and the girls at Honeymoon Bay and rewarded ourselves with a swim.

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