The beautiful south

img_0415We head south from Geeveston to escape the rain, and visit the Ida Bay Railway, which is the last operating bush tramway in Australia.  It once hauled limestone to a nearby wharf, but now takes tourists on a leisurely trip past gum trees, tea-tree bushes and pretty coastal views.

Our train ride over we continue to head south until we reach Cockle Creek, the most southerly point anywhere in Australia that can be reached by car.  We walk a few hundred metres further south to a life-size sculpture of a baby (calf) whale. The hunting of whales was big business in the early days of Tasmania, with whaling stations being dotted up and down the east coast. The Southern Right Whale was their main quarry. The whalers would initially target the calves, knowing that the distress calls of the dying youngsters would bring their mothers rushing to the rescue and into range of the harpoons. .

img_0473Of all the indignities that man has heaped upon the animal world it is probably whaling that upsets me most profoundly.  I find it almost unbearable to look into the eyes of the sculpted whale, knowing what I do about the fate of his species at the hands of the whalers.  Thankfully numbers of the Southern Right Whales are now recovering, and the sculpture stands as a poignant reminder of a more brutal age.

We begin to work our way back north, taking in the impressive coastal scenery:

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At one point we park up and I leave my driver’s door open while Julie is off taking a photo.  There is a sudden fluttering of wings and I find a Black Currawong, one of the Tasmanian endemics that we first encountered on Bruny, sitting brazenly on the top of my door giving me the eye.  A few days ago we met a local woman who dismissively described these birds as forest seagulls.  This seems a bit harsh, though I can see that people who don’t get birds might find them hard to like.

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We return to Geeveston, where it’s raining hard.  We pay a couple of visits to a nearby river to look for platypus, but to no avail.  Never mind, tomorrow is another day.

[12 November]

 

 

Author: Platypus Man

"Platypus" is a red herring: I'm English, although my blogging career began in my record of a 2016 road trip to Tasmania. Other blogs followed covering road trips in Newfoundland (2017), the Yellowstone area of the USA (2018) and New Zealand (2019). My current project is "Now I'm 64" , a weekly blog covering UK travel and wildlife, along with bits of history, social commentary and moans about the injustice of aging. I can guarantee a few laughs, and also the occasional rant. Some of it's even quite well written!

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