February 24th, 2018


Field Report: My Parents Visit 2018 Part I

Presently driving along (well, dad is driving) through central Tasmania, here looking like open parkland on gently undulating hills, on yet another beautiful sunny day. Every day I plan to update my blog before my infamously terrible memory gets too far behind, but we're just too busy and I'm diving too tired by the time we call it a day or.. the Olympics are on. Normally we don't watch much television but the Olympics have always been an exception, so my usually wide open evenings are taken up with cheering for Norwegians or Swedes or Americans or more obscure countries I have some connection to.

Anyway my parents arrived on Friday, February 9th, about two weeks ago now. We were going to come to Tasmania halfway through that first week but discovered the ferry over was booked out entirely until over a week later -- Sunday night of the following weekend. And even then we'd have to be in separate cabins

But in the mean time, on Day 2, Saturday, February 10th, we walked a segment of the rail trail from nearby Colac town that heads ultimately into the deep forests down near the coast, where the narrow guage rail used to be used to extract timber. This was a lovely walk of about 5k through the middle of forested land. We also tried to eat at the Botanical Garden Cafe in Colac, which I'd heard was one of the few places worth visiting in said town.I was shocked to find that even though it was the middle of the day on a Saturday afternoon in summer the cafe was closed. It's hours are 10-4 Monday through Friday ?!?! This despite being located on a promontory within the botanical garden just beside and overlooking the large Lake Colac. Seems like weekend afternoons in summer would be their best time!! I've noticed some other places around here with similarly bizarre hours.

Saturday evening we went down to my friend Udis billabong and threw some chicken on his "grillabong." Sadly the weather turned await cold just as we were starting that but it was still enjoyable. I believe we saw around 30-40 kangaroos this day.

At the grillabong today!

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Day 3, Sunday - mom and dad both swam in a race at Indented Head, about an hour and a half from my place out on the Bellarine Peninsula. Mom swam the 500m race and dad 1200m, from the beach, out and back. I was perfectly satisfied to stay ashore

Monday through Friday I worked and they seemed perfectly happy to occupy themselves removing my cobwebs, removing mold from my bathroom ceiling I hadn't even noticed, getting my knives sharpened (I had noticed my main kitchen knife had become more likely to bludgeon soft fruit to death than cut them), and other such things.

On Thursday I met them for lunch at my favorite cafe near work, the Black Pearl Cafe, run by my friend and neighbor (block over neighbor anyway) Joe, who happened to be in. Mentioning to him my lawn needed mowing (and I still have no mower) he readily volunteered to come over after I got off work. Sure enough he came over and we blasted through my yard with0his complete set of lawn care tools, Just after I'd mowed over a small depression in the ground I saw a scaly black back that looked to belong to a thick snake, causing me to jump back in alarm since we do have mostly very deadly snakes here. Then I saw an arm on it which meant it was a blue tongue lizard, which looks very much like a short snake w legs. I was now very concerned it may have been mangled by the mower but that didn't seem to be the case after examination. I coaxed it into a cardboard box and put it on the veranda to be out of harms way for the remaining mowing.

Worked till four on Friday and then my parents came by and headed from there to go to the east side of the bay for the weekend prior to the Sunday night ferry departure. There we saw penguins and things but I'm gonna save that for another entry because I'm missing the views here!!


Field Report: My Parents Visit 2018 Part II

Waiting for the ferry off Tasmania now. We made the mistake of arriving an hour and a half before boarding and can do nothing but wait in the car till then now. So the perfect time to write another update on my phone!

Friday, February 16th - since my work is half an hour in the direction we planned to go and we were pressed for time, my parents picked me up right from work at 4pm, leaving my car there for the week. It was about an hour and a half drive to Queenscliff at the far end of the Bellarine Peninsula, through country roads. We drove on to the second-to-last ferry of the day at six. My parents reckoned they hadn't actually driven on to beers before, which I was shocked to hear. They enjoyed the novel experience. Kind of glossing through this part of the trip since I described this leg in detail in last travelog. This ferry crosses the mouth of the huge bay Melbourne is at the end of. Last time I saw the larger ferry Spirit of Tasmania crossing our path on its way out the bay to Tasmania, which I note because we later rode it here and am about to board it again. Didn't see it on this occasion but instead we saw a cruise ship of the P&O line which I believe may be the exact same cruise ship that was at historic Port Arthur on the south coast of Tasmania at the same time as us a week later.

Arrived in Sorrento, had noodles, marveled that at 7pm on a Friday this beachfront town with a lot of restaurants already seemed dead. Drove around the next big bay to the east, West Port Bay, which again I described last entry, but continued further around into territory that was new to me finally. By this point in was dark but we found our way to a little town called Coronet Bay on a point in Western Port Bay. This airbnb was a dedicated rental house. To hear the little things my mom pointed out as potentially complaint worthy made me anxious about all the little things in my house but maybe she was pointing them out for my edification. One thing that was definitely a bit weird though was while the beds had comforters and pillows on them there were no sheets on them at all, Just comforter over bare mattress. Weird.

Saturday, February 17th - woke up to find people across the street also looked like they were packing their car to leave a bnb, and the only activity visible in town appeared to be other tourists who had just been there the night. Being as its just a small community of vacation-home looking houses on sandy soil with no industries or obvious forms of employment around. It has no marina though it fronts the big bay.

We headed south to the sea coast and then east along the coast through beautiful seaside countryside. Our goal, Wilson's Promontory, known throughout Australia as "the Prom." The Prom is the southernmost point on mainland Australia. Unfortunately I found when we arrived that the actual point is a two day hike from the nearest road. Bummed I couldn't just hop over to it but kinda excited at the same time since I AM a big fan of hiking and if I can hike there amd all the 4×4heads are gonna have to hoof it themselves to do the same. And in fact there's a bunch of hiking only trails around "the Prom," so I'm definitely looking forward to coming back and camping!

We did a short day hike around the area of the main visitor center (at "Tidal River") and then went to the nearby beautiful white sand beach of "squeaky beach" (pictured), where of course dad went swimming. While eating fish and chips at the visitor center, a kookaburra swooped in and snatched away half dad's fish just as he was bringing it to his mouth! Right out of his hands. Interesting fact: a kookaburra is in fact a kind of kingfisher. And THEN! As mom was holding out her burger towards dad and saying "here have some of mine" a SECOND kookaburra swooped in and took a significant portion of her burger!!

Also we talked to a couple who said they had come here on their first date thirty years ago. To which I immediately realized the obvious American-centric joke which hadn't occurred to them --they met at the prom! They were prom dates!

Anyway we spent way too little time there but it was enough to give me an idea how to plan a future trip there (camping!), and then we had to beat feet back the way we came so we could see the penguins that night

But since we just boarded the ferry I'll save that for another entry!