The end point of the southern journey was a collection of rocky outcrops off the southern tip of South Bruny, known as The Friars. These were situated well into the Southern Ocean. The sea swell increased, the land seemed more rugged, and the loss of any man-made markers spelt remoteness and isolation. We were in the wild.Looking back to the mainland of South Bruny, the land seemed far away.Why were we at The Friars? What was there to see? We saw Australian male fur seals had colonised the rocky edges of many of the islets, and the whiteness of their excrement poured over the edges. They had hauled themselves out and up. Great brown lumps rested, turned, re-positioned, settled.
During our cruise the staff explained that Tasmanian salmon fish farm businesses had suffered great losses to these seals. The result was that thousands of seals were caught and relocated to Bass Strait, then fishermen in the north of the State were similarly frustrated by the seals. Read more here.
If we want to eat salmon in increasing volumes then there is no alternative but to have fish farms. However, this is obviously not without consequence to the environment; that delicate balance of natural systems which ultimately keep the human race alive. In the short term, with the fish farms corralling portions of our seas, we have a food supply. However, in the long term will these (as one example of human practices in the wild) reduce the food resources? That is, we need to accept that our actions are causing other creatures to suffer without remembering each of them links together to create the ecosystem the human race needs to survive. Everything we do to feed ourselves has consequences for native life on land or at sea, and then in turn it has consequences for the human race. So, at The Friars, I was faced with the plight of the seals and glad that I was no longer buying or eating salmon. But that sounds pious. I blocked that thought and revelled in appreciating what I could see. I was glad for the solitude the seals were lucky to have for the moment – except for the cruises with their peering tourists two or three times a day.
I loved the wildness, the remoteness, and the isolation. The environment of The Friars was dramatic.