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Cape Barren East walk 15th October – 25th October 2016

 

Walkers-Garry, Revel, Wolfgang, Ross and Alex

 

  

 

L-R Ross, Callum, Revel, Wolfgang, Alex and Garry and Marra-Wunna Golf Course

 

Tuesday 18th October- I was picked up by Revel about 0945 and met the others at the St Helens airport. Our chartered plane was already there and the pilot was Callum. An uneventful flight to Cape Barren Island; there was a head wind and lots of cloud. As well reflections on the windows did not make for good images. Callum did a circuit of the golf course and Thunder and Lightning Bay before we landed. We were followed in by the regular Tuesday commercial flight.

   Kim turned up not long after but it took two trips in her small car to deliver all of us and our gear to the base camp at Thunder and Lightning Bay. I was on the second trip and when we arrived the camp was opened up and work was well on the way to get the two vehicles stationed there going. When they were going we had lunch; sorted out what first aid gear we were going to carry and spread the gas canisters around. It was then a walk down to the beach and inspected the damage done by the huge seas earlier in the year.

   Revel, Ross and Alex then went into the Corner visiting and Wolfgang and I went photographing in the strong wind and sleet around to Cape St John. When we had enough of that we drove back to base another way and the track proved wet in one place, a sign of things to come.

 

  

 

Wolfgang photographing on Cape St John and a wet patch on the drive back

 

   Back at base the others were back and had the BBQ going. Before dinner Revel and Wolfgang decided the chainsaw needed some exercise and cut up a few ti-trees that had been blown over and made a bon fire. When that was done a few more were cut down and the bon fire enlarged between showers. Kim then turned up so the meat was put on the BBQ and everything was shared six ways as well as a few glasses of red. After dinner we organised where we were going to sleep and then did the washing up; into the sleeping bag around 2200.

 

Wednesday 19th October-Everyone up relatively early; breakfasted, packed up, locked up and on the road to the east of the island. The road!!!! was fairly rough and wet once we were off the formed and gravelled section. One place looked extremely wet so we alighted and had the cameras ready for the mud flying. But it was a bit of a letdown, it was quite solid. We found the new track heading south across the island and drove in around one kilometre before we stopped before a boggy area. We unloaded the packs and Alex and I stayed behind as only the Suzuki was coming back from Fulsangs and there was not enough room for all of us. The weather was fine and sunny but there was a cold wind blowing. The vehicles left us around 0850 and Alex and I sat in the lee of some bushes in the sun out of the wind. The others arrived back around 1100 so we had an early lunch before we commenced walking at 1120.

 

 

 

Lunch at the Suzuki and the walk south along the track

 

  

 

Nautilus Cove and the three sided hut

 

We had wet feet after the first 100 metres and they stayed that way until we reached Nautilus Cove where we arrived at 1420 after walking 11km; a reasonably quick trip with a few rest and photo stops.

   There is a fairly large three sided hut at Nautilus Cove and the scenery is magic. Dropped our packs and wandered around taking photos before sweeping the floor and gathering fire wood. Ross lit the fire in the fire place; we then fitted a griddle to put the billy on and boiled water for hot drinks and also for our dried food we had for tea. Our dried food was supposed to be covered in boiling water, stirred and left for 20 minutes. Ten minutes was about the longest anyone waited and some not that long. After tea three of us set up in the shelter and Wolfgang and Revel set up their tents. After that Wolfgang went looking for abalone but came back empty handed; soon after we were in bed with the occasional mosquito tormenting us. Grid references along the track where Alex collected plant samples-Way point (WP) 239  060-271; WP 238  058-271; WP 237  049-279.

 

Thursday 20th October-I was up before the sunrise and was able to get a few good shots along with the others. Soon after Revel showed us a Sooty Oystercatchers nest that only had one egg in it last night and had two this morning.

 

 

Pre-dawn light at Nautilus Cove

 

  

 

Sooty Oyster Catchers nest and the coastline looking west from Nautilus Cove

 

We then breakfasted, packed up and were ready to start walking at 0800. There was a fresh northerly wind blowing and I had most of my clothes on for the early images. Walked steadily all morning along beaches with hard sand, soft sand and in-between sand; around rocky headlands (saw a couple of abalone) and across a few major streams which we were able to cross at their deltas and only ended up with damp feet. We stopped eventually where we thought we had to walk into Crystal Lagoon (GR 134-182) and after a council of war; we could not find the track marker, headed into the thick scrub in the direction of the lagoon. The scrub was very thick in places and slow going; I led for a while and drew a bit of blood before needing a rest and letting Wolfgang take over.

 

  

 

Crossing the delta at Rices River and the rocky coastline a bit further along

 

      

 

Common Hover Fly on a Golden Head Daisy and the coastline not far from where we went inland to Crystal Lagoon

 

  

 

Some of the shorter scrub going into Crystal Lagoon and wading around Crystal Lagoon

 

   We eventually reached the lagoon at around 1330 and sat on the edge and had lunch. I lost my large water bottle in the scrub somewhere. The lagoon was very full and we took our boots off to walk the first part but ended up with wet feet later when we were looking for the camp site. Revel, Alex and Ross went looking for the site as they had used it before but due to a fire going through the area around 2006 the whole area had grown up so much the site was unusable so we camped on the beach with the jack jumpers and inchmen. One consolation was the lagoon water was good enough to drink. I set up my new tent which took a while and then hung around the camp. Revel, Ross and Alex went wandering off to find a track to the coast for the morning. During this exploration they saw three snakes.

   I lit the billy fire in a hole in the sand when I saw them walking back up the beach and we had tea around 1800; dried meals with some instant potato mixed with them or cous cous for those that had it. After dinner stood around the fire waiting for the sun to go down; it is still windy and it is starting to get cold standing around in wet boots with no sox.

 

  

 

Crystal Lagoon and our camp on the beach

 

   We have been walking past a rare daisy for most of the afternoon and there were billions of Common Hover Flies (Melangyna viridiceps) around. The daisy is called Golden Head-chrysocephalum baxteri (Alex’s way point ending in 0). Around 13km for the day.

   Into bed at 2000 and tossed and turned till 2230 with indigestion, got up for a pee and had a drink and slept well after that.

 

Friday 21st October-The wind blew steadily all night and I made a move when Ross wandered past. Packed up and had breakfast (muesli slice) in the tent; an occasional spit of rain falling. Packed up the tent and pack and we were on the move at 0710. We walked along Crystal Lagoon beach and then up and over a steep dune and down through the scrub the boys marked yesterday.

 

  

 

Into the scrub and Crows Beach

 

As we neared Crows Beach the scrub became shorter. The beach was very soft so we had a couple of rests and photo stops before arriving at the rocky headland on the northern end.

 

  

 

Petticoat Bay and our campsite

 

Around the rocky headland we came to a she oak copse where we decided to camp at Petticoat Bay. We were supposed to climb Mt Kerford but the weather was not up to it. We only walked around four kilometres and arrived at 0920. It was still windy and overcast and trying to rain. The sort of weather Wolfgang likes, so after setting up his tent he spent the afternoon around Cone Point.  Later in the afternoon Revel and Ross also headed that way and Alex and I stayed in camp.

 

 

Sunset

 

I had an early tea and later on a sunset appeared that needed its photo taken. Into bed around 2000 again with rain splattering on the roof of the tent.

 

Saturday 22nd October-It stopped raining during the night but the tent was still damp when it was packed. I was up around 0600 but there was no sunrise to photograph, only dark clouds and wind coming in from the south. Wolfgang was out again around the point, his sort of weather. I had breakfast and packed up and sat around the fire Revel stoked up. Revel and I headed off at 0750 as there was phone reception at the next little point. After the phone call we walked along further before heading up to the ridge on Cone Point through thick scrub again; the scrub was wet from the recent rain so it was not long before we were fairly wet from the waist down. We waited on the ridge until Alex caught up; Wolfgang went ahead to photograph before there were too many footprints on the sand. Another bush bash off Cone Point Ridge and then it was walking along the rocky headland; Alex and I at the top mostly and Revel and Ross down in the rocks. Christmas Beach was next and the wind was really getting up by this time, bringing rain and sleet; too wet for photography.

 

  

 

Stormy morning and Petticoat Beach with Cone Point in the distance

 

  

 

Christmas Beach with Wolfgang’s footsteps and Revel coming around the rocks from Cone Point

 

   We were blown up Christmas Beach and scrambled up and over Jamieson’s Point; scrub not too bad. It was still raining and I was wet right through now; pack not too bad as it had its rain coat on. Quite a scramble along the rocky coastline north of Jameson’s Point and a bit of a climb down onto Jamieson’s Beach. The wind was that strong that my hat and glasses blew off and only saved with the help of Ross. The beach was a bit soft and when we reached the headland in the middle Revel, Ross and I headed inland through short scrub to start with to a small lagoon; Alex and Wolfgang were in front of us. We waited at the northern end of the lagoon for them and then noticed they had lit a fire at the southern end of the lagoon in the shelter of a large sand dune.

 

  

 

Revel walking through the short scrub and Garry’s tent at the campsite next to the lagoon below Hogan’s Hill

 

   We stood around the fire for a while; I could not stop shivering; before the three of us decided to have a look at the campsite that Revel initially wanted to go to. More scrub bashing through wet scrub over our heads and found a good site on the edge of a large lagoon below Hogan’s Hill. We went back for our packs marking the track as best we could on the way. The other two decided to stay where they were.

   As soon as we arrived back at the camp site I set up my tent and took off all my wet gear; put dry clothes on; had something to eat and drink and hopped into my sleeping bag for two hours to warm up. Meanwhile Ross and Revel went another 30 metres and lit a nice fire and set up Ross’s tent; too wet for Revel’s bivvy bag. Around 1700 I joined the others and had tea and commenced drying clothes. The wind was still strong; blowing over the top of us; and the occasional small shower coming through. Stood around the fire for quite a while and dried most things before heading to bed around 2000 again. Hung the few things that were still damp in the trees around the tent for the wind to finish off and crawled into bed again; took a while to get to sleep, so I expect I had a Poppy nap earlier in the afternoon. 10kms for the day.

 

Sunday 23rd October-Woke at 0550 for a pee and back into bed for a while and had breakfast in bed; still very windy. I dressed and as I was getting up I saw the sun shining on Hogan’s Hill; so it was a quick dash down to the beach for some photos; Revel had the same idea.

 

  

 

Sunrise on Hogan’s Hill and our camp fire

 

After that I packed up and went up to the fire and waited until Revel and Ross packed, after which we went back to the other camp; luckily the wind, which was still blowing a gale, had dried the scrub.

 

  

 

Some of the scrub we walked through, happier now it is dry and the lagoon where Alex and Wolfgang camped

 

  

 

Heavy swell in Jamieson’s Bay and a council of war

 

Wolfgang had already left; he had a badly cut thumb which he bandaged with some of his shirt and a bit later electrical tape which he left on until we arrived back at base.

 

  

 

The sand blow

 

 

  

 

More sand blow and the lunch spot on Burgess Bay Beach

 

  A short walk through the scrub onto the northern end of Jamieson’s Beach and then we cut up onto a huge sand blow that we wandered through, photographing all the way, to Burgess Bay Beach. From here we dropped packs; Wolfgang kept going; and the rest of us walked around Cape Barren (the eastern most point in Tasmania) to Tinkers Gut. From there it was a short walk back onto the sand blow and back to our packs where we had lunch. The wind had dropped a bit and Revel’s thermometer said it was 20º.

 

  

 

Gull Island from Cape Barren and the Cape Barren lighthouse

 

  

 

Tinkers Gut and Burgess Bay Beach

 

   After lunch it was packs on for a hard slog up Burgess Beach; soft sand wherever you tried. The walk around Thirsty Point was the easiest so far; big flat granite rocks and a huge sea running. Lots of images taken at the north end of these rocks where the sea was breaking over a large rock and creating quite a spectacle; kept us amused for quite a while; the wind had dropped and the sun was shining.

 

  

 

Thirsty Point

 

Wolfgang was waiting for us around the corner at the start of the next beach. It was a bit awkward walking up this beach as the tide was high and the huge seas breaking did not give us much room to walk to start with. Saw a seal here but it bolted for the water when it saw us. Not far up this beach we cut in the second sand blow to Little Thirsty Lagoon as our next camp site was at Thirsty Lagoon which was a bit further north.

 

  

 

Walking into Little Thirsty Lagoon and walking along the eastern side

 

  

 

Walking along the western side of Thirsty Lagoon and a Pied Oyster Catchers nest

 

Walked north along the eastern shore of Little Thirsty before crossing the small channel (wet feet again) between Little Thirsty and Thirsty Lagoon as our camp site was on the west side of Thirsty Lagoon near a good creek. The tide was coming in so it was a rush across the flats and had two more creeks to cross before we arrived at our camp site that Revel remembered from nearly 30 years ago; it had grown up a bit since then. We managed to clear enough space for our tents before lighting the fire in the middle of a large rock that gave us a view across Thirsty Lagoon. There were quite a few mosquitoes about and we had tea while we were waiting for the sunset. The sunset and rainbow arrived together, one to the east and the other to the west. Soon after the rain arrived and there was a scatter for out tents at 1930.

 

  

 

Camp site fire and the sunset

 

  

 

The rainbow before the rain

 

   The tent site was not as flat as I had thought but after an anti-inflammatory tablet and Panamax for my gouty toe that had just started playing up I settled in for the night with the rain pattering on the roof. Around 10kms with packs on and four without.

 

Monday 24th October-Ross had the fire going by the time I had breakfasted and packed up a very wet tent; so we stood around waiting for the sunrise. It took a while as there was a big bank of cloud out to the east.

 

  

 

Early morning fire and the belated sunrise

 

On our way around 0700 along the west side of Thirsty Lagoon to the outlet to the sea. Photographed a Pied Oyster Catcher’s nest along the way. Once past the entrance to the lagoon it was north along the beaches trying to find the hardest sand and avoiding the waves that were still pounding in. Eventually we came to the dune that marked the sand blow into the area where what looks like Pilot Whales were stranded thousands? of years ago. A whales graveyard and a photographers paradise; the cameras were clicking away.

 

  

 

Whale’s graveyard

 

  

 

Alex after a seal photo and Revel crossing one of the streams that kept our feet wet; Mt Kerford centre right

 

 

 

Revel and Ross walked around the beach and came in from the northern end. Back on the beach again and soon after it was wet feet again crossing the outlet for an unnamed lagoon. From here on the tide was going out so we had hard sand for the remainder of the walk up this long beach; we did stop now and again but the pace was relentless.

 

  

 

Having a rest and crossing Little Creek

 

We crossed Little Creek and around the next headland we joined onto the track where the Pajero had been left. After a bit more than a kilometre we arrived at the Pajero at 1215; around 12km for the morning.

 

  

 

On the track to the Pajero

 

  

 

Finska and Vanishing Wist

 

   The Pajero started easily so we drove along the track and through a gate onto Fulsangs property who we dropped in on so Revel could catch up. After stopping the Pajero it did not want to start again and it took ages for those mechanically minded, not me, to work out that the battery had died.; luckily (or good preparation) Revel was carrying a spare battery; it was a bit smaller than the one it replaced so Wolfgang tied it in with some rope. After a cup of tea, a long chat and Alex signing a book of theirs that he had co-authored, we headed down a very muddy wet track to the Suzuki. When we arrived there the front tyre on the Pajero went flat so that had to be changed. There were no more dramas and we arrived back at base (the Ritz) at 1600 to find a snake in the bus that had to be removed.

   We washed the mud off the two vehicles, filled up the tank for the toilet, Alex started scraping down the roof and after all that we all had a hot shower. Revel then set up the drinks and nibbles and Wolfgang was introduced to Finska, island style. He did not hang around for a second game but took the Suzuki photographing. We then scraped together some dinner and had a game of that Cape Barren Island special; vanishing whist; which Revel, the local champion, only just won.

 Tuesday 25th October-Everyone up and around at 0630, breakfasted, washed up and marked our route on the big map. Whilst the roof was drying we drove into the Corner to the shop; had an ice-cream and purchased a tin of sardines for lunch. Then around to Kim’s for a cup of tea and a chat. Next stop the cemetery where Alex needed to check something for his data base and dropped our rubbish at the tip.

 

  

 

The Corner graveyard and painting the roof

 

Alex and Ross then painted the roof while Revel did odd jobs about the place like repairing a flat tyre and sorting out diesel lines on the tractor. After lunch we packed up, cleaned up and the first load were taken to the airport at 1400. Kim brought the others around about 1445. The plane was on time and apart from a detour around a Forestry fuel reduction burn north of Frasers Road an uneventful trip back to St Helens.

 

 

Fuel reduction burn



©Garry Richardson 2017

grichard@tassie.net.au