Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Last days at sea - arriving in Tasmania...................


In case you haven't been there, and perhaps won't get there, it is a long way, thought I'd share my brief November visit to Tasmania, which was delightful.


On the way to Tasmania our captain took us sightseeing.  Although very rough water often makes this impossible, our visit was perfectly timed and, way out in the rough Tasman Sea, we viewed Pedra Branca, home to thousands of breeding sea birds. With not a single sighting of another ship during almost two weeks at sea, you can imagine the feeling..........a rock, a small island, and resembling a ship no less. We grabbed jackets, rushed to the deck, hung on to whatever to steady ourselves, and cameras clicked nonstop. Another special treat on board Orion.

Tasmania at dawn from our balcony.

Next morning, as the sun came up and the waters calmed, we glimpsed Tasmania. Still another island, but one with the vibrant city of Hobart, lovely towns, many people, shops, restaurants, maybe even a Starbucks. (Later I discovered Starbucks is no longer in Australia - their coffee was not strong enough!). Somehow, all those things were not hugely exciting or even felt necessary any longer. I just loved everything about being on Orion and didn't want to disembark. The remote and tranquil islands, only Chatham being populated by its tiny community, made such a lasting impression. I felt sad knowing I will probably never visit those distant islands and their wildlife again - it was the trip of a lifetime.

Leaving the many friends, both passengers and crew made on Orion, we had just one day to enjoy Hobart.  After checking in here - harbor view from our hotel window above - we hopped aboard the 'Red Decker' for a morning city tour to learn more about Tasmania's somewhat tarnished past as a British penal colony in the 1800's, then named Van Diemen's Land


Being a Brit myself, I'm shocked at what I'm now reading (I picked up two books while in Hobart) as to how the British government acted regarding convict transportation to Australia. Men, along with many women, who had done nothing more than perhaps stolen a loaf of bread, a few eggs, or a goose, to feed their children who were starving due to the potato famine in Ireland and the industrial revolution in England, were give seven year sentences and a 3-4 month horrific sea journey to the other side of the world. Most never returned or saw their British families again. Fortunately many survived and made better lives for themselves, eventually starting new families once they gained a 'ticket of leave' and freedom. Many were the ancestors of the stalwart and charming Australians we know today. 


............From the top deck of the bus, I loved viewing the buildings.........


.....the homes and gardens with abundant roses......


..........and schoolgirls wearing uniforms and boater hats, reminding me of my very formal school attire in England many moons ago!

Later, while enjoying a tasty waterside lunch here.................

...........we were thrilled to be joined for a chat by the talented Kathy and Terry - members of Orion's topnotch crew, our musical entertainers and just a great fun couple - taking a quick break onshore before leaving for sea again later.

Colorful fishing boats around the harbor, and many waterfront places to buy/eat great seafood.....



.............all fun to see.  However, at 5 PM I rushed back to the hotel room to get a last look at Orion. With her horn sounding, she slipped her mooring, and sailed slowly back toward the sea in the early evening sunlight.  That was such a strange feeling, knowing she was leaving without us......I really wanted to be on board.


I watched for a long time at the window until she disappeared from view, envying the passengers who had boarded in Hobart for an around the island week's wine tour.

Last glimpse of Orion sailing toward the sea.

Instead, Paula and I drowned our sorrows here.....

.......two old friends, surrounded by maritime paraphernalia, sitting in a rowboat.......


.....it wasn't Orion's elegant dining room, but we enjoyed a great fresh seafood dinner and a bottle of wine, as we only had a few steps walk back to the hotel!

Next stop will be....yes there's more....a quick visit to the exciting city of Sydney.


10 comments:

  1. Mary...this was such a great rip, I am not wanting to see it end! Your pictures in this post are so vibrant! It was sad to see the Orion sail away, I can see how you get attached to your home away from home. As always, I'm looking forward to the next post!

    Enjoy your warm weather there in North Carolina. It sounds heavenly. We are in for a warm up but there will be no gardening. 27 degrees as I write!

    XO,
    Jane

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  2. Wow! What an adventure. Your pics are beautiful!

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  3. I can only imagine with the help of your lovely blog posts and pictures how wonderful this trip was.

    I am looking forward to your next post.
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  4. Wonderful! You are so blessed to be able to make this trip and now you have beautiful photos and memories. Hugs, Pamela

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  5. Mary - your blog was suggested by Paula and I've totally enjoyed perusing :)
    Thailand looks beautiful! - it is on the travel list for me. Also, I appreciate your juxtaposition/reflections in a Girl named Marie. Very nice.
    Heather Gipson

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  6. I never made it to Tasmania but it's been on my list. I feel the same you way you do about our countries when I read about the American Indians.

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  7. Hi Mary
    Thank you for visiting my blog and inviting me to yours.
    How wonderful you b
    Have been to our Island.
    We live in the North of Tasmania.
    Great to meet you.
    Chris

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  8. Tasmania looks lovely too. How fun to see roses blooming when everything is in winter here. I can only imagine how wonderful a fresh seafood dinner would be there too.

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  9. Great intro to Hobart Mary, didn't imagine it to be like that.

    Sft x

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