|Macquarie Harbor - heading toward Hells Gates|
We dropped from the highlands into Strahan mid-afternoon. High energy enveloped the town which was positioned between saltwater and rainforest. I don't know what I expected of Strahan. As one of the few towns located on the wild western coast, I anticipated something beautiful and raw. It leaned more toward cutesy, but the impressive historic architecture showed through.
It was January 30th, the eve of the full super moon eclipse. Edgy energy was on the uptick as we made our way to the harbor where the rainforest cruises departed. We purchased tickets for the next day, choosing the cruise that departed and returned the earliest. Next up was finding a camp away from the RV-park throngs. We followed our noses to a dry camp location adjacent to the small, empty golf course. There were only a few RVs; this was our spot. Daylight waning, we circled back to People's Park and the trailhead for a rainforest walk to Hogarth Falls. A beautiful little hike with interpretive signs, it was the perfect introduction to the Eucalyptus rainforest, and my first meeting with the incredible tree ferns.
|Alas, no platypus.|
|The brown rainforest water is common, the breakdown of natural elements, not pollution.|
|Hello again to my White Cockatoo buds!|
|Greg and Tree Ferns ... Rubber Fern and Hard Water Fern in foreground. |
We returned to camp as sheets of rain moved in. Dry camp turned to wet camp. No worries, we were in the van, right? Then, plop, plop, plop in the middle of the night, onto the middle of my forehead. What the ... ??? I switched on the light: water was leaking through the air conditioning/heater unit. Greg pulled a tarp out of his elephantine suitcase and covered the bed. The next morning we realized that the tarp, taken from his work tools at home, had dried paint on it. The bedding was covered in tiny paint chips. No time to deal with it; we had to get to the cruise. Yes, it was now the morning of the full moon eclipse. The first boat I saw in the harbor was the Climax. I smiled. Pretty sure it didn't refer to the Capt's great sex. On the other hand, aren't boats named after women? I tucked the omen away.
Scenes along the way:
|Expecting the African Queen|
|Tas Cormorant |
Rainforest walk - one cannot fathom the millions of lifeforms in the layers and layers of plant and soil.
The trip back to town included a hearty buffet lunch. I celebrated with a glass of champagne; toasted the Huan spirits as Greg struck up a conversation with folks on the boat. I attempted to join but words were still hard to find.
We stopped at Sarah Island, site of Van Diemen's Land's infamous penal colony, and were treated to a lively interpretive walking tour and dramatic stories of the cruel, and yes, creative, personalities that met their fates in the inhospitable place.
|White-bellied Sea Eagle|
Seen from boat as I thumbed through bird book!
We stepped ashore. I headed to the van to offload trip packs and coat; told Greg I'd meet him in a bit for a snack. By the time I got to the cafe he had finished and I ordered, as he did a last bit of sight-seeing. I sipped my iced coffee as I collected myself and made notes of memories. A big part of me wanted one more night in Strahan to hike and observe the mutton bird rookery. We stepped into the van instead, not sure where we'd stop, wanting to cut the distance to the old growth forest the next day. As the moored boat had portended, the climax was yet to come. We were a few hours from the full moon rise.
|Feet back on the ground,iced coffee time!|
More miscellaneous shots:
|Terns tucked away|
|A Hells Gates Lighthouse|