Monday, February 21, 2011

We Made it to Tasmania!

We wanted to take him home!
I need to make a point of clarification on yesterday’s blog – we were actually experiencing 30+ foot waves (I’m still working on my metric conversion). I think I finally managed to get to sleep around 3 am or so after the “crashing noises” ceased. This morning we had to go through Australian Immigration at 8 AM. I’m not sure I remember much about it since I was still under the heavy influence of Dramamine (should have only taken one pill). After finishing the immigration procedures I ended up having to go back to bed and try to sleep it off. Mom had to drag me out a little after 11 so we could get ready for today’s tour. We were able to use Skype to call and check on Dad and to let him know how Mom was doing. We grabbed a very quick lunch before having to meet down on the pier. It was so cold out today with very high winds. The first thing our guide commented on was how unusually cold it is for this time of year. As we departed we saw a live protest going on regarding the foresting practices that was blocking the street. On the way up to the wildlife preserve we learned more about Tasmania and the fact that it was basically settled by convicts from mainland Australia. The island is the same size as Sri Lanka, but only has a population of 500,000 people whereas Sri Lanka has 22 million inhabiting the same amount of space. Needless to say, there is still a lot of open land. As we were driving we could see the snow coming down on the mountain ahead of us, and its summer!
Snow in summer!
We arrived at Bonorong Wildlife Park, which is a wonderful open style reserve. They also help rescue animals that are sick or have been injured. Our guide looked like someone straight out of the outback, but was most informative.  Our fist stop was to see a baby wombat, but since he is nocturnal, he didn’t want to come out. Kangaroos were wandering free throughout, but they all seemed a little lazy as they were just lying around sunning themselves. 

We were given food and were able to have them come up and eat out of our hands. This was short lived because it was so cold and windy. We also saw the famed Tasmanian Devil which is small and has fierce teeth. They are actually on the endangered species list due to a cancer that has come about in the last 10 years. As probably everyone knows, Tasmania is the only place where these creatures are found in nature.

The highlight for me was the koala. I think he is the cutest creature I have ever seen. We were able to go up and pet him. Mom and I both wanted to take him home, but we’re not sure what US Customs would say about that.
We also saw some unusual birds (I need to look up the name since I forgot to get a photo of the type) and some wallabies, which are sort of a smaller type kangaroo, but with a different style tail. We even saw one with a baby in her pouch, though I wasn’t fast enough to catch it in a photo.
Sweet wallabie
After spending some time at the park we were all happy to get out of the cold wind and back in the coach. We took a short drive down to the town of Richmond. It is a quaint little town where the oldest Catholic Church in Australia is located. 
We had a very limited amount of time to walk around and since Mom is still under the weather we opted to have a latte and split an éclair in the local bakery (that’s for you Dad)! It was then time to head back to the ship as we were sailing at 5 PM. Mom and I both had spa appointments that we had to get back to – our nails were in need of help! Mom did go back to the doctor for a follow up and it seems that she is doing well, but still has a lot of infection to get rid of before she feels better. 
Rainbow as we departed.
Dinner tonight was supposed to be at Hot Rocks, but the ship was again moving considerably and the winds were howling, so we had to cancel that idea and eat in the restaurant. We dined with a number of wonderful people, but then instead of going to the show, we opted to go and listen to our favorite pianist who we’ve missed seeing for the past several evenings. I think Mom had enough for the day so we called it an “early” night. The ship has calmed down since earlier this evening so hopefully we’ll have a good night’s sleep!

1 comment:

Laura Thompson said...

(1) Love the dress!
(2) Wallabies are adorable - I had no idea.
(3) I can tell you are loving the new camera - no learning curve for you!
(4) I'm completely jealous! ;-)
That's all.