Port Arthur, Tasmania: Straight up, on the rocks

Back to another clunky map; one made even clunkier by my correction: the earlier version made South Australia a continuation of Western Australia. (It’s the schoolmarm in me.) Sorry, but I need to (literally) draw the distinction between Hobart, the Tasmanian city by the bay, with Port Arthur, about 90 minutes southeast, which is right on the ocean. Meaning it’s more open and wild. And the boat ride launched from there puts you that much closer to Antarctica.

In picture terms, the Hobart area looks like this. This shot was taken from Mt. Wellington, waay up above Hobart.

4,167 feet up? Well, that’s what the Internet said, and it sure felt like being in a plane.

And incredibly cold on this June winter day. (Southern Hemisphere, remember?) With another Australian mate-turned tour guide Barry Ziegler, whom I met in Bali, Indonesia, a million years ago, on my way to Australia to write about American ex-pats there.  To find out what Bali was like pre-terror bombing, check out the song I’ve Been to Bali Too.

 

Snow atop the rugged Mt. Wellington moonscape.

Anyway, I’m mentioning all this to give you a sense of the landscape and climate in this part of the world.

The day we left Hobart for Port Arthur was a nice fall day — like this Memorial Day.

It was calm and relatively warm at Port Arthur, as we boarded a boat like this one (didn’t get pic of our boat) provided by a company recommended by Barry and Oprah. (Though Barry’s say-so would have been good enough for me.) These eco-friendly boats are designed to explore without greatly upsetting the marine life. And we were given ginger pills to help with seasickness. (I liked that they opted for something natural.)

As the sunlight and terrain changed, so did the incredible view.

This rock resembles which breed of dog? If you guessed Saint Bernard, you’re right. Note: This tidbit was even more charming when told by our Australian guide, because of the way he said Saint Bernard in that Aussie accent.  Actually, on this boat, I was the only one with the accent.

Birds. I missed what kind, but did hear the guide say something about albatrosses, which are found in Antarctica, and apparently around here.

Thrilling water-and-rock spectacle. And then …

The spectacle that got everyone’s seal of approval.

It’s the closest I’ve gotten to a seal since my dachshund co-opted my toy seal.

Remarkable how well they blend in.

Looking pretty well-fed. And I oughta know.

Up next: Devilishly cute.

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