“I didn’t get to sleep until 2am-ish and eventually got up at 7.30 to find the other passengers downstairs eating breakfast and being waited on. I thought I should join them despite not being hungry, not liking the saloon experience (a space edged with piles of books and sea related paraphernalia and more, and with no windows and therefore no vista), and desperately wanting to get off the ship.” But plans were afoot for an onshore excursion.
“It is raining torrentially on and off. I expect mud on land. I now remember gaiters would have been a good idea – how could I have forgotten them! Anyway the crew are still finishing their breakfast and downloading the zodiac is a long way off. The rain might stop.” Later, while waiting to disembark, we sat and stood enjoying the idea of leaving the boat and walking on land. Ralph took a photo at that time.
Two of the stalwarts of south west Tasmanian social history in the 20th century, Win and Clyde Clayton, built their final home off a small bay at one edge of the expansive Bathurst Harbour. From the Windeward Bound we travelled in two groups on a small zodiac to land at what is now marked on maps as ‘Claytons Corner’.
As he looked back at our magnificent ‘home’ for the eight days – the Windeward Bound – Ralph took the following photo.
Passing by the Clayton’s home are tracks leading to Mt Beattie and to TV Hill. Those who I mentally referred to as the ‘greyhounds’ for their leanness, agility and speed walked to the top of the Mt Beattie. I have endurance not speed so chose not to slow the others down and opted for the short stroll to TV Hill. Both vantage points offered panoramic views of the waterways and the mountains.
At the jetty, the water was a glassy tannin-tainted black. A short distance up the hill, interpretation boards set the scene for understanding the environment of the south west. Scattered through the undergrowth metal remnants from old machinery were disintegrating year by year.
Laurel trees and their seedlings grew in the shade, their bright lime green leaves adding light to the undergrowth. Sun filtered through the dense stand of trees. Age-old colourful lichens coated trunks and branches.
Thanks to my fellow passengers who walked to the top of Mt Beattie, I can show you a selection of their photos from the trek. In Ralph’s photos we can see some of the view as they climbed. Seen from higher up, the collection of Celery Top Islands give scale to the landscape showing a dwarf sized Windeward Bound. From the mountain top a new perspective on the scope of the land and waters is clearer.
Serena’s photos illustrating the Melaleuca Inlet, and Mt Rugby, were most instructive. These clearly disclosed the nature of the water ways on which we travelled.
Her photo of the others reaching the top of Mt Beattie also presents a colourful picture of the spread of native flowers across the hills.
And Rob took a great photo showing the floral display high on Mt Beattie.
It was distressing and concerning when one of the mountain party slipped slightly on wet leaves and down she went, only 50 metres from the jetty. One of the crew, a professional paramedic in her normal day to day life, zipped across from the ship and strapped up what was deemed to be a badly sprained ankle. With hopping and some supportive carrying, she made it down the remainder of the track and was loaded onto the zodiac and onto the ship.
Below, Rob’s then Ralph’s photo offer a couple of record shots of part of the situation. It was a wonderfully supportive and nurturing approach that all made, as a team – without a flustering fuss.
I was impressed. At no time did my injured fellow passenger moan, whine, whinge or in any way become a drama queen. This was a measure of her quality; in fact none of the passengers nor crew sniped or expressed grievances or created atmospheres of negativity at any time throughout the voyage. Humour and laughter were always the way our thoughts were managed. How refreshing an approach in this day and age of negative sensationalism.
Before I departed for the ship, I and others took time to look around Win and Clyde’s house and the garden surrounds. Massive rhododendrons flourished around the house, as did a crab apple tree and a Tasmanian native pepper – all plants which presumably like an acid soil.
Win and Clyde’s home remains open and accessible for visitors. Inside the two bedroom property, information panels had been installed on the walls throughout to give insights into their lives.
In tomorrow’s blog posting, I will show you the trail to TV Hill.