Tag Archives: cruise

Tasmanian Farewell – Friday Fictioneers.

The Spirit of Tasmania was boarding. With two cats perched on the back window of the Ford Laser, their Border Collie in the back, two lifetimes packed in the boot like a Chinese puzzle box, Jane and Dave were economic refugees moving to the Mainland.

Jane popped a couple of sea sickness pills. It was her first time, crossing treacherous Bass Strait. She was sick, before they’d even set sail. Even this massive North Sea Ferry, could become another Titanic.

Yet, with barely a whitecap, they had a perfect sail.

“It’s a sign, she smiled. “We’re making the right move.

…..

This has been another contribution for Friday Fictioneers. PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

In January this year, our family caught the Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne to Tasmania return. We were taking the kids down to Tasmania for them to see and experience where Daddy is from. You can read abut our trip here.

My husband is Tasmanian and his family have lived there since as early as 1828. During the late 80s early 90s during a nasty economic recession, Geoff and his then girlfriend left Tasmania bound for the Australian mainland in search of work. The rest of his immediate family had already left.

It’s a bold move to leave everything and everyone you’ve ever known, to move way. Pack everything up, and throw your stability into the wind.

I’ve done the same thing myself a couple of times in my lifetime. It didn’t seem such a big deal at the time, because I always had my parents to go back to. They were my anchor…my foundation and they’ve always called me home. I can’t imagine what it would be like going one way, with no prospect of return, especially moving to an unknown country on the other side of the world like my ancestors have done. I would love to know how they felt. Were there any regrets and where was truly home?

Best wishes,

Rowena

Harbour Cruise, Port Arthur, Tasmania.

In hindsight, I don’t know how we could’ve allowed so little time to explore Port Arthur. Once we’d arrived and seen that our entry passes were valid for two days, it became immediately obvious that we’d seriously under-estimated the time to do it properly. Now that we’re home and goodness knows when we’ll get back, I have my regrets. Yet, at the same time, you can only absorb so much history in three weeks. Indeed, you can’t absorb all of Tasmania in 3 weeks either, especially when you’re scratching beneath the surface. Moreover, with Geoff being Tasmanian, we also had a lot of friends and family to catch up with …and there was so much catching up to do!

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So, when it came to doing the harbour cruise at Port Arthur, we had to stay on board without getting off to explore the Isle of the Dead of Point Puer. I don’t like missing out. However, we missed out on so much in the end that we’ll be back sooner rather than later.

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So, this is but a very brief photographic tour accompanied by a very simple footnote.

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This photo was taken about 15 years after James Newton arrived, giving a fairly good idea of what it looked like when he arrived.

As we pulled out of Port Arthur on the ferry and the expanse of water between use and the prison ruins expanded, I thought about how Geoff’s 3rd Great Grandfather, James Newton, would’ve felt as his ship sailed into Port Arthur. Coming from notorious Norfolk Island, he’d been initiated into the cruel hardship of the convict system. Yet, was there still that sense of dread? Or, was the relief or even hope that it might be better there? I don’t know. He obviously didn’t send us a postcard: “Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!”

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Like so much of Port Arthur, the harbour cruise was very scenic, relaxing and you really had to remind yourself that this place was hell on earth. Not only for the convicts, but also for the victims of the Port Arthur Massacre, their families, service personnel and locals. It has such stunning natural beauty, that it’s too easy to forget.

So, we hope you’ll be able to get down to Port Arthur sometime and experience the cruise yourself (along with everything else!!)

xx Rowena

Sydney Harbour Ferry…Not A Cloud in the Sky.

Yesterday, we went on an epic adventure to Sydney’s Mosman Bay…a journey taking 2.5 hours, two trains and a ferry across Sydney Harbour.

Of course, I wanted to share our ferry trip with you…especially as many of you have not been Down Under and experienced the magic first hand and like me, make the most of “vicarious experience”.

I love catching the ferry around Sydney Harbour and was also looking forward to catching up with my extended family.

Meanwhile, I should also point out that Geoff was working which left me playing Sargeant-Major getting the troops to the station, changing trains and onto the ferry on time. Move over Gomer Pyle, it was time for me to become Sargent Carter of “Move it! Move it! Move it!” and “You knucklehead” fame.

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Live “Statue” at Circular Quay. How does he do it???

However, when it comes to losing this plot, the kids weren’t the only antagonists in the cast. I also had to factor in the biggest question mark of the lot…the Rowie Factor.

When it comes to the Rowie Factor, there is no explanation. No rhyme or reason. The Rowie factor is like that spooky relative you keep locked up in the closet well away from the public gaze, but always seems to find their way out. Right at the very worst possible moment, they appear giving a huge, enthusiastic wave. OMG!!!! Your spirit sinks like a stone.

WHY????? WHAT THE?????

However, yesterday the Rowie Factor was in a benevolent mood and actually did good…Alleluia!

The Rowie Factor is pretty good at that too. There’s no middle ground. Only extremely good or crushingly bad.

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Sydney Ferry Supply

So, there we are finally onboard our ferry…Supply.  Acquired in 1984, Supply is one of 9 single-ended First Fleet Class catamarans, which mainly operate in the inner harbour.

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After moving out of Circular Quay, our ferry heads due East past Sydney Opera House, leaving the Sydney Harbour Bridge behind. Being the weekend with good winds and a cloudless sunny sky, we spot quite a few good sized yachts and a flotilla of smaller craft as we pass other ferries. The kids lean right up against the bow with their hair blowing in the wind and I thank God this isn’t The Titanic and they can recreate that famous scene without the ferry hitting a very, very lost iceberg and sinking to the very depths of Sydney Harbour.

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A Yacht on Sydney Harbour.

The ferry pulls into Cremorne Point and I must admit I’m feeling a little anxious because I’ve only been on this ferry route once before and my doubts start to inflate, getting larger and larger as I second guess everything turning the details into question marks and I am in full reassurance mode. Besides, if I do get lost in typical Rowie fashion, I have my phone and can ring for assistance. After all, it’s not like we’re the first Europeans visiting this place and there’s no one to call. Mind you, I question whether you can really get lost if you haven’t found where you’re going yet…

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Anyway, as we pull into Cremorne Point I hear someone calling my name and waving out to me. It’s my cousin from interstate. At first, I thought she must’ve been coming to lunch but it was all pure coincidence. She was returning to her old stomping ground and also happened to have the afternoon free so came and joined us for lunch. Call it serendipity, meant to be, whatever. This had to be more than coincidence and I think you’d need a supercomputer to calculate the odds of us meeting up.

Meeting my cousin was such an unexpected surprise. I was stoked! (That said, I had to marvel at how the unexpected synchronised so well when the planned can go so horribly wrong!!)

Anyway, we had a fabulous afternoon meeting up with family and Geoff met us there after work and later drove us home.

These are a few night shots of Mosman Bay, which Geoff took just before leaving.

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Mosman Bay by Night. Photo Geoff Newton. Note Sydney Tower on the left.

Have you ever been to Sydney? Do you have any special memories and I’d love you to add links to your posts.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Birthday #WeekendCoffeeShare!

Welcome to Weekend Coffee Share with a difference. It was my birthday on Saturday and we took our celebrations outdoors enjoying a history-themed cruise around our local waterways, followed by a bush walk. Although many consider Everest a challenge, for me this mountainous “hill” was challenging enough. While it was great starting off with a down hill trajectory, what goes down must walk up unless you get a piggyback. Or, in the case of the kids, Dad picks you up.

 

You can read more about our birthday celebrations Here. We had a great day!

Sorry that I can’t quite offer you a piece of birthday cake with your beverage of choice. We didn’t have one. The cake is waiting until we catch up with my parents. Makes the party last longer.

How was your week? What did you get up to?

I’m currently beavering away on a short story for a local competition. It’s probably what you’d call historical fiction and it’s seen through the eyes of a little girl whose father becomes delusional and cuts her mother’s throat and then his own. He survives. The little girl and her baby sister in my version are adopted out and she remembers nothing until her husband’s death opens Pandora’s Box and fragments of memory started flashing back. To establish the historical framework, I’ve set the short story in Sydney’s Balmain and the entire neighbourhood is seemingly jammed into the tiny terrace to watch the moon landing on TV. I was supposed to be born on the day man landed on the moon. So, it’s always been a big part of my own story, even though I ran ten days late.

Stay tuned. Although I can’t post the short story, I intend to post a write up about the case. What makes it even more tragic, is that it’s not about about a bad or evil man and it wasn’t what I’d consider domestic violence in the traditional sense. This was a  happy couple living an ordinary life with their two daughters. However, in the aftermath of the depression of the 1890s, debtors weren’t paying up and he was facing bankruptcy…at least in his mind. He literally lost his mind with depression and a week beforehand said he wanted to jump of Sydney’s famous suicide spot The Gap but wasn’t taken seriously. This was a guy who loved his wife, his daughters, went fishing and read the paper…a tailor running what appeared to be a thriving business.

Who would have thought?

I am wondering how far I can take this story and feel it really has legs.

So, I’ve been head down doing research, writing the story and crossing my fingers . It’s due 5th August.

By the way, if you remember watching the moon landing, I’d love to hear from you and find out where you were and what it was like.  It was such a phenomenal moment of our time, and yet as time’s gone by, it’s easy to forget what an achievement it was.

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Lady contemplating her next escape attempt.

On the home front, our naughty little black dog Lady, has been tunneling to freedom mimicking the Great Escape. With her black coat, Lady becomes completely invisible in the dark and having come from a farm where she went hunting with the other dogs, she knows how to hide herself well. Too many times lately, she’s been waiting for me out the front of the house when I’ve arrived home wagging her tail…the fiend! Given her black coat and camouflaging capabilities, blending in with the road and getting run over is a major concern. So, all of this means that last weekend, Geoff banged in more wooden slats and this weekend, he laid pavers over the side path… hopefully bringing an end to her excavations!

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I hope Lady didn’t make it as far as the beach on her travels.

Not that Geoff had nothing else to do!

The rest of last week, has been a blur.

How was your week? I hope you had a good one!

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster. You can click the  linky to read the other posts.

xx Rowena