Warned we would have a beach landing at Bramble Cove, we removed our boots and socks and rolled up our trousers in the hope our gear wouldn’t get too wet. The first zodiac deposited those who expected to reach the summit of Mt Stokes. I joined the second group with the intention of going as far as the group wanted to walk. While the track was craggy and slippery all the way, I knew we would have panoramic views spread before us regardless of how high we went so that every step uphill would be worth taking.
I giggled with pleasure when I stepped out of the zodiac into knee-deep water which surprised me by not being cold. “Refreshing to have toes in the water. Feet on the sand. Wonderful to be walking free.” After crossing a tiny creek and with the tide swirling in and out, we dried our feet and soon had donned our boots again ready for the walk.
The first section was steep. “Sometimes gravelled with the white/grey quartzite, other times peaty mud held together strongly to the ground so very stable to walk on. Overall excellent track. A few sections where I needed to knee up or bottom down, but generally very comfortably good.”
At this point the day was dry and comfortable so when another passenger threw a jumper aside to be collected on the way down, I also threw my rain jacket over a bush. After days of clambering over the mini walls throughout the ship when I wanted to go downstairs or outside, my muscles and tendons were now stretched and familiar with lifting and raising my legs so, for the first time in a long while, stepping up steep hills sections wasn’t the chore it had been in the past and I felt I could have walked faster. At this point I regretted not having joined the faster walkers. Having said that, the regret didn’t last long because I was completely satisfied with the floral landscape and the distant views of Port Davey and the ocean beyond. “Gradually we saw more and more of the wild seas beyond Port Davey and enjoyed the comparison with the calm waters of Bramble Cove.”
In the distance, on Mt Milner, we watched a conga line of 3 walkers visible only as tiny moving matchsticks of silhouettes on top of the ridge ; eventually they dropped down to the beach and dinghied back to the yachts moored not far from our ship.
Then it started to rain; “spitting rain. Eventually it was constantly raining, not torrentially, not driving but constantly so that my T-shirt was sopping wet. Hair totally wet! Trousers wet, underpants and bra wet. But it was all so comfortable.” What persuaded me to disregard my jacket way below? What a moment for a lapse of judgement! But it wasn’t cold rain so we continued upwards forever saying ‘we will go to the next ridge’. Undeterred, we climbed higher and higher. There came a point when satisfaction with the view slipped out of balance with dissatisfaction with the rain.
I had my old mojo back and came down speedily, leaving the others behind, but never out of eyeshot. Naughty I know but … I felt as free as a bird and kept laughing at the insanity of leaving my rain jacket behind. Even more ridiculous was the fact I had left it lying with the inside out! At the beach, everyone looked like drowned rats, and naturally I felt it all the way through to my skin. But none of this dampened our spirits.
Meanwhile others had walked to the top of Mt Stokes. Ralph watched our zodiac arrive and took the following photos.
Then, as they rose higher, his ocean view was clearer and broader. Stupendous photos – thanks Ralph.
Wonderful walks. And there are many more in the region – for the next visit.