s/y Nine of Cups
Back to Tasmania
Sept - Dec 2012
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November 27, 2012
Finally...all the boat work is done (at least for the moment) and we're
heading out of the marina. Come along with us to
Tasmania's capital city
of Hobart to spend a festive holiday season.

Check out our new
daily blog for an inside look at what's
Check out places we've already visited in Tasmania like Deal Island - Tasmania's most
northern national park and
Tasmania's Wild West Coast
We returned to Cups on 24 September
2012. After six months of abandonment,
she was a sight for sore eyes, but in
pretty good shape after months of
Oyster Cove Marina when viewed from
the hilltop behind. All the trees are
beginning to blossom.
It's Spring here in Tasmania. Daffodils are in bloom and Tasmanian native
hens wander around looking for tasty treats.
A Trip to the Midlands
Here's a Tassie map so you can get an idea of where we
are (just south of Kingston/Hobart) and where we're
traveling. Thank you, Lonely Planet.
We took a road trip to Launceston ostensibly to
visit the "best" chandlery in Tasmania, but really just
because we wanted to. The Tasmanian countryside
is not much different than a New England
countryside...except more sheep.
Newly born spring lambs nestled close
to their mums in the pastures.
A flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos enjoy a chin
waggle and some lunch.
We stopped for a picnic lunch and a short hike at Tamar Wetlands Reserve in
north Launceston. It was a brisk, windy day and the birds were mostly hunkered
down in the marsh and reeds. The view from atop the hill on Tamar island shows
the 1.5km  boardwalk across the wetlands. At left, legend has it that a local
farmer embedded this plough in the old English oak tree upon the death of his
wife where it remains today.
The Tamar River is a 70 kilometre estuarine. Despite
its name, it is an estuary, not a river since it is saline
and tidal its entire length.
Australia has its share of oddities to observe like the windmill house above with a armored knight standing on the ramparts. His eyes glow red!
Yellow wattle, the national flowering tree of Australia, was blooming along the Midlands Highway as we passed. The small town of Oatlands
boasts the largest extant collection of sandstone Georgian buildings in Australia. The Callington Mill (1837) has recently been restored and is the
only working example of a Lincolnshire style windmill in the Southern Hemisphere. Flour from the gristmill was for sale in the gift shop.
A chimney sculpture in Oatlands caught our attention. The well-known sandstone bridge was constructed by convict labour in 1836 is the third oldest bridge still in use in Australia.
The architect and workers were freed from prison when the work was completed. The best part of the whole trip...meeting an echidna on the highway trying to get to the other side of
the road. Several cars and trucks narrowly missed him until he found respite underneath our parked car on the side of the road. He could not be coaxed out. Instead he dug in with
only his quills exposed and blended in with the surroundings. We were able to inch the car around him to make our departure.
Up Mount Wellington
The city of Hobart is built on the foothills of Mount Wellington. Rising to 4,170' (1,271m) above the city, the locals refer to it simply as 'the
Mountain'. Hobart sits on the Derwent Estuary and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. The views from the top were stupendous. A small
observation hut protected us from the wind and cold. Broadcast Tower Australia is placed strategically on the top of the mountain. Though
an eyesore, it does provide telecommunications for the city. There was still remnants of snow on the mountain top.
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I guarantee heading to Hobart
will be much more fun than just
heading back to the Home
Page...unless of course, you'll
sticking around and checking
out other places we've visited!
In our own backyard...the Oyster Cove Inn
The Oyster Cove Inn sits high on the hill above
the marina and proved to offer quite of bit of
fun discovery.
As you can see, there's lots of grassy lawns on which birds can peck and young chicks can play. Above a masked lapwing and
its chicks. A Tasmanian native hen and her two chicks were close by as well.
The history of the Oyster
Cove Inn is quite interesting.
Originally built c. 1890 as a
family vacation home by
British plantation owner,
Alfred Cotton, it was called
Mintoburn. Cotton's son,
Sydney Cotton, was the
archetype for the Ian Fleming
James Bond characater.
Sydney is credited as being the
world's first triple agent (MI5,
French Security and German
intelligence). He was also a
personal friend of Ian Fleming.
Roland Garbatel designed and carved the Alice in Wonderland wood sculptures that are found around the grounds. The Cheshire cat must have
been his favorite character because he and his smile seem to be ubiquitous.
The Annual Haul-Out & Lots of Projects
This is probably the tenth or eleventh time we've hauled Cups out of the water and it's never happened at the same location. Oyster Cove Marina  has just acquired a 50-ton TraveLift which
will eventually replace their slipway. Funny, but we felt uncomfortable thinking about using the slipway and the locals were uncomfortable with the thoughts of the TraveLift hauling them out of
the water. It's all what you're used to. We hauled and then David borrowed the marina's power wash to get off the accumulation of slime that Cups had on her bottom. Nothing more than
slime though...not many barnacles, no seaweed forest, no reef formations. I guess the last anti-fouling paint job was a good one. We sanded the hull the same afternoon we were hauled and
David masked in preparation for three coats of anti-fouling paint. David does all the hard stuff and Marcie paints the bottom, though in her Pillsbury Dough Girl Tyvec suit and respirator, you
really can't tell who's doing the painting.
Marcie replaced the side windows in the dodger as well as some other repairs. David washed and waxed and polished Cups. He repainted her bootstripes. The prop got an application
of PropSpeed to keep it barnacle free till our next haulout. After four days on the hard, we were boarding Cups to sail her back to her berth, but the projects continued.
The batteries had been a problem for quite some time. We had an old bank on the port side that didn't charge well and a newer bank of Lifelines that we'd had shipped to us when we were
in Tahiti a couple of years ago. We had a problem equalizing them for one thing and we had no idea if that was the problem or if they were all shot. David designed and built a battery
checking and equalizing system with existing parts on the boat. He determined that the port side bank was indeed shot and we removed them from the boat. He then decided that the four
on the starboard side should be moved to the port side to put the boat in trim. We bought one new starter battery which resides on the starboard side. The boat was pulled apart for a few
days, but we think the battery problem is solved.
Lots of minor repairs have been handled. An hydraulic hose for the steering was replaced after many trips to Hobart for the proper adapters. A stopcock was replaced while we were on
the hard as well as new tranducer. Leaking hatches were repaired. A couple of other leaks were identified and repaired. The windlass chain counter was repaired. The list goes on and on.
We'd noted for a long time that the portlights were beginning to craze and each time we mentioned it to each other, they seemed to be getting worse. David located a place in Hobart to
buy acrylic replacements and thus began a major boat project. Because...once he started replacing the portlights, he noticed that the screens really needed replacing. A few mozzies had
visited the night before and upon checking the screens, it appeared they were only a minor deterrent. So the screening would be replaced. But wait...the bronze portholes on which the
screens resided were all cloudy and the bronze had verdigrised to a ugly shade of green and corrosion. Nothing's ever easy on a boat, BUT we now have new portlight acrylic, new
porthole acrylic and new screens and they're all shiny and beautiful. Wait a minute...was this even on the list???
We'd been sleeping on the same old lumpy, saggy mattress for as long as we'd been aboard
Cups and our aching bones attested to the fact it was time for a change. We evaluated several
options and came up with a pocket spring type that would allow us to modify it to fit our berth
because nothing's ever easy on a boat. We toted it back to the boat in the marina courtesy van
and waited for a sunny day to begin multiple surgical procedures.
After three days of work and stressing, we
finally encapsulated the whole works in a
heavy-duty mattress cover that had also been
modified. Good sleeping again.
Bonorong Wildlife Center and Sanctuary
Our friends on "Active Transport" had highly recommended the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary as "must see". Tasmanian devils really do exist, but they're highly endangered, priimarily due
to a contagious cancerous disease that has spread throughout their population. We figured this might be our only chance to see them other than a zoo. Bonorong is a special place
designed for helping and protecting sick and injured animals until they're ready, if ever, to be released into the wild again. It's not ritzy, but the animals seem to be healthy and thriving.
Above, our first and probably only look at Tasmanian devils. They're ferocious little beasts to which the claws and teeth can attest.
We'd also not seen a wombat up close and this was our chance. "Digger" was young and quite docile in the staff woman's arms. Once he reached maturity, however, he would be
impossible to snuggle to. They refer to them as "teenage wombats" for a reason! Though we'd seen many koalas at Raymond Island, we never had the chance to pet one. I got my
chance...they're just as soft and fluffy as they look.
Above from left... This odd-looking bird is a tawny frogmouth.  There was a large terrarium of blue-tongued lizards all intertwined and crawling
around on top of each other. You couldn't tell where one began and one left off ... except when they opened their mouths. To the far right are  
spotted quolls. We'd never heard of a quoll before, so learning about Australian animals like quolls, potoroos and bettongs that we'd never
known existed was quite the education.
MONA - Museum of Old and New Art
MONA was also recommended by John on "Active Transport". It's the most bizarre, evocative, provocative museum we've ever visited. We entered
through a vineyard, past a brewery and over a full size tennis court to get to the unassuming front entrance. The view from the water side is supposedly
outstanding, but we had the marina courtesy van instead of taking the ferry and besides it was pouring, so inside was preferred to admiring the outside.
Upon entrance, we were given iPods and headphones. The "O" program allowed us to click a button and locate every piece of art near us with
commentary and description. It was phenomenal. The Death Gallery caution is the only sign within the museum.
The Death Gallery allowed only two people
to enter at a time. It was very dark except for
white paving stones surrounded by water
which led to the coffin and mummy of Pausiris.
MONA is the largest privately owned museum
in Australia. Built by native Tasmanian David
Walsh, gambler-extraordinaire and
businessman, MONA was  intended to house
his enormous and eclectic art collection. He
opened it to the public in January 2011 to
mixed reviews. The first year charged no
admission. Though there is an admission charge
now ($20/pp), Tasmanians still get in for free.
There is a vineyard, brewery, restaurant and
hotel on the premises as well.

As our friend John said..."If this museum was in
New York City, it would be considered world
class." Right up there with the Guggenheim.
The collection is so eclectic, it's hard to know where to begin or end. Everything from Egyptian mummies (coffin of Anklh-Pefy-Hery), to caged
ballerinas (The Mice and Me), to the Fat Car and a 3-story digital waterfall called bit.fall.
We spent an entire day looking, admiring, disliking, contemplating. It wasn't like any place we'd been before. From left, beadwork from Papua New Guinea; The Snake which filled an entire
room was the reason David Walsh decided to build MONA in the first place...he bought this work of art and had no place large enough to display it. The Artifact was very interesting. The
huge head has view holes to peek inside where a mechanical action figures continually moved under a strobe light. Weird, but cool.
Above, a whole room dedicated to the fine art of decorated  mulberry bark known as tapa in the South Pacific; A Self-Portrait, the biggest worm in the world; Spirogyra; and When My
Heart Stops Beating, a whole wall of drawers, which when pulled out, said "I love you" in many different voices.  Forgive the poor photography. Low lighting and inability to use a flash
contributed to less than clear photos. This is a small sampling of the hundreds of displays we saw. We highly recommend a visit if you're in Hobart.
Australia's Antarctic Division
Australia's interest in Antarctica is probably more pronounced than any other country, probably because it's Australia's southern neighbor. Australia's weather and climate is influenced
significantly by the ice continent to the south. It shares the same Southern Ocean. Australia's Antarctic Division headquarters are close by in Kingston and we stopped in one day for a
look-see. They have a small museum/exhibit area. What was there was interesting to see. Science exhibits, some history and even an emperor penguin skin, feathers and wing to feel and
examine closely.
We didn't even know that Tasmania produced wines until we happened to find a whole Tasmanian wine section in the local bottle shop. Then local friends, Marcia and John invited us to
go on a winetasting tour with them one Sunday afternoon. What a treat and an eye opener. Tasmania produces some quality cool climate wines and there are beaucoup vineyards in the
area, including one in the next town of Margate. My favorite wines were at Lubiana, but the Pooley Vineyard was definitely the most picturesque.We visited three vineyards during the
course of the afternoon and felt rather mellow by the end of the day. Above, the bottle shop display (yes, I took my camera into the bottle shop and they let me take photos). Marcia does
a tasting. A picturesque blue door with a Mediterranean look at Pooleys. A fine sandstone Georgian mansion at the Pooley Estate Vineyards.  For a more detailed story about our
winetasting experience see our blog on
Tasmanian Winetasting Tour .
Tasmanian Winetasting
Bruny Island - In search of the white wallaby ... and other stuff
We'd taken free passage as pedestrians on the Bruny Island Ferry from Kettering to the Island, but there's not much within walking distance of the ferry dock on the other side. For my
birthday, we borrowed the marina's courtesy van and took the ferry back to Bruny...this time in search of the elusive white wallaby mob known to inhabit this island. The island is really split
into two, North & South Bruny separated by a very narrow isthmus which is called The Neck.
We headed to South Bruny and stopped at The Neck first. The white wallabies travel around, but are known to be in Adventure Bay so we were
headed in that direction. The Neck is home to a blue (aka fairy) penguin rookery and there are blinds constructed for optimal viewing without
bothering the penguins in their daily pilgrimages to and from the sea at dawn and dusk. Wrong time of day for blues, so we climbed the steep
wooden stairs to the top of the hill for stupendous views of both sides of the Neck: D'Entrecasteaux on the right and Tasman Sea on the left. At the
top was a monument to Truganini, the last remaining full-blooded Aborigine in Tasmania who lived a miserable life at the hands of the white settlers.
We continued down the east side of South Bruny and stopped at the Mavista Walk just north of Adventure Bay. This is rain forest area and true to
its name, it showered about every 10 minutes. The forest is thick with ferns and eucalyptus trees. The forest smells were clean and fragrant. The rain,
however, made for a wet, slippery, muddy paths...some nearly impossible. Above, native laurel and fronds wet and dripping with rain.
Signs, like the one far right, are posted everywhere. There's lots of wildlife here and roadkill is a keen issue.
We were disappointed in the plain, brush-ridden memorial to Captain Cook (left), but the Bligh Museum perked us up. It's tiny, but packed with
information and memorabilia about all the greats who have stopped in Adventure Bay during their explorations including Tasman, Cook,
Furneaux, Flinders,D'Entrecasteaux and of course, Bligh. Above Bligh's Creek, where Bligh put in to get water and collect wood. We stopped at
the Penguin Cafe for a hot coffee to warm up a bit from the cold, raw weather.
We drove along the coast road past "The Whale and the World", a monument to the whalers and the whales that account for much of the early
history on the island. The sun came out for a bit and we spotted a superb fairy wren. We were hoping to see a 40-spotted pardalote, a very rare
bird, but they eluded us. We drove up a side road and there, in a farmer's paddock, was a
white wallaby and his brown buddy. At first we
thought they were fenced in, but no, they had jumped in to munch some lunch inside the enclosure. We watched for awhile, took pics and then
drove on. When we passed by again, all the wallabies were gone...to greener paddocks, we suppose.
The east coast road ended at Adventure Bay, so we backtracked a bit, crossed the island and headed to South Bruny Island National Park and Cape Bruny. From left, the views from
Mabel Bay across Cloudy Bay were superb. Cape Bruny with the lighthouse barely discernible. The
Cape Bruny Light looked inviting, but weather toyed with us allowing beautiful photos
one moment and then pommeling us with rain, hail and 40kt winds. We never made it up the hill to the lighthouse, but we did sneak a peek at the little museum which gave some history of the
lighthouse built in 1838 and the third oldest in the Australia.
Once again, the road ended at the lighthouse and we backtracked and then headed along the west coast road up to North Bruny. We saw lots of native flowers like pigface (far left) and
common teatree. Up north, there seemed to be more farms and vast grassy fields where sheep and cattle grazed. We checked out possible anchorages, enjoyed the views and headed
back to the ferry dock. End of the day, but not quite the end of my birthday. There was more to come...stay tuned!
66th Annual Huon Show
Part II of my birthday included heading to the Huon Show aka county fair near Huonville. Once again, we used the marina courtesy van. For a one-day fair, people really went to a lot
of effort for set-up. There was a carnival and a midway typical of American fairs and lots of concession booths selling food. We visited all the animal displays including goats, cows,
pigs, llamas and a tent marked "cavy club" which turned out to be guinea pigs. There was a yoke of oxen hard at work and big draft horses.
The  most exciting, interesting and best part of the show in our estimation, however, was the axemen and sawyers competitions. An enclosed section of
field was condoned off, bleachers were erected and the competition continued throughout the day. There was cross-sawing (far left) and vertical block
axing, doubles cross-saw, jack and jill events, relays. The amount of energy expended was amazing. It appears axemen's competitions originated in
Tasmania and they even have an
Axemen's Hall of Fame. The most exciting event was the three board tree-felling. Men scarfed (notched) tall poles
and wedged in boards to climb the pole, then chopped the block at the top. Then climbed down and did the same on the other side.
Chocolate John
Just up the hill from us, behind the marina is an old, defunct gas station. There's always a pick-up truck across the street from it with a sign for
"Handmade Fine Chocolate". After passing it many times and at the recommendation of several folks in the area, we finally stopped in. Oh,
my...what an absolute delight. The sweet smell of chocolate caresses you and lures you into the shop with your first step inside the door. I visited
Chocolate John many times during our stay in Kettering. For more about
John and the Nutpatch Nougat shop, just click.
Thanksgiving 2012
We almost missed Thanksgiving this year. It
was earlier than anticipated. We managed to
find ourselves a turkey and a pumpkin and
invited some Aussie friends for their first
traditional American Thanksgiving dinner.
From left above, the cook, that's Craig and
Jody, then Ian and Wendy and of course,
the captain.  Wendy brought me the most
spectacular poppies from her garden. A fine
time was had by all. We especially love
sharing holidays with friends.