|Enjoying a traditional Devonshire Tea on the veranda of the Visiting Magistrates House in Port Arthur.|
We arrived at the marina with a few minutes to spare which gave us about 15 minutes to say hello to two of the RPAYC club boats that had arrived over the past couple of days. As usual it was a genuine delight to catch up with boating friends and listen to their stories of crossing Bass Strait. It's these shared experiences that act like glue gradually binding long lasting friendships. Plus it's good to laugh about the challenges of sailing - we've all been through shit times, and magic times, at one point or another!
It turns out the 'Mixed Nuts' crew were planning a drive down to Huonville that morning anyway so they offered to give us a lift. Then when the 'My Way 2' crew joined morning tea we decided to make the trip together and catch lunch on the way. Lunch ended up at the Kermandie Pub next to our little Port Huon Marina. Afterwards the people at the Pub gave us all a tour of their B & B facilities - which were terrific and perfect for visiting family members - and then everyone came down to check out the marina. Turns out they all liked the area so much we just may try to work out a group rendezvous there while we're all in Tassie.
|The Kermandie Pub lunch crew. That's the little Port Huon marina behind everyone.|
From Kettering we planned to travel the 35 or so nautical miles to Port Arthur at the bottom of the Tasman Peninsular meaning we had to cross Storm Bay - another infamous body of water down here. The Bay was pretty calm but, due to the preceding days of strong westerlies, there was a fair amount of rolling wave action .. which I wasn't prepared for! Living on the boat while down the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, in Port Cygnet and Port Huon - with no waves at all - had not prepared me for the movement of the ocean again. I became nauseous pretty quickly which increased to that horrible feeling of impending violent "pukesville" and stayed at that extreme level for the whole of the crossing. I. HATE. THAT. FEELING. If I had thought about it I could have started some medication the previous evening but I didn't consider needing it. So I endured the sickness all the way around the cliffs of Cape Raoul which I had wanted to see so badly. I did manage to sit up long enough to take some OK photos of the dramatic cliffs.
|The dolomite cliffs as you approach Cape Raoul.|
|The "organ pipe" pillars of the Cape. You can see the size of the rolling waves as we approached. Pukesville!|
|Rounding the Cape ... what a sight!|
And here we are in the beautiful and solitary Port Arthur .. as I write this we've been here 4 days. The next day after our Storm Bay crossing I was really knocked out. After being that seasick I think it takes a day for the body to get over it. George and I just stayed on the boat reading, doing chores and napping. Then yesterday and today we spent walking over the penal site of Port Arthur. As we learned ...
"The Port Arthur penal station was established in 1830 as a timber-getting camp, using convict labour to produce sawn logs for government projects. From 1833 Port Arthur was used as a punishment station for repeat offenders from all the Australian colonies."
While beautiful and quiet today, this place was one of punishment and cruelty for so many men. Many of those sent here were barely teenagers originally convicted of something as minor as stealing a hanky. Then transported to Australia where they re-offended in some way thus ending up in Port Arthur. In contrast to the virtual slave labour and mistreatment of the convicts, the overseers and military hierarchy enjoy a normal - even great for some - life on this site. As George and I sailed past the cliffs of Cape Raoul and into Port Arthur we reflected on how those convicted men would have thought they were entering Hell itself .. many never to return.
|The familiar view of the penitentiary building ruin from the water.|
We were anchored just around the corner from this view.
|The view from the hospital ruins on the hill of the main area.|
Tomorrow we head back north a bit to the town of Nubeena.