Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tasmania, Northeast Part 3

We took an evening drive through Mt. William to try and catch a view of some forester kangaroos.  No close encounters, but we spotted quite a  few (plus a ton of wallabies).

 

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The next morning we went for an early morning kayak in Musselroe bay in the north of the park.  Plenty of wildlife birds, fish, etc. 

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Tasmania is home to black swans.  The early settlers caught these birds for their feathers.

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We saw some small fish jumping near a garden of sea grass, and a few seconds later up pops a fairy penguin.  They are the smallest penguin species at around 10 inches tall.  What makes them even more unique is their bright blue feathers.  They were too quick for us to get a picture though!.  I guess we will have to find a colony of them to get a longer look.

 

We did some driving through some rainforest near the east coast, lots of tight turns, and steep grades.

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Our next destination is referred to as the Bay of Fires.  It is a confusing name though.  First, because it is a series of beaches, not a single bay.  Second, it was named for the fires seen by settlers which were lit by the aborigines, although now it is known for the fire red lichen that covers the rocks.  A beautiful area with mile after mile of scenic windswept coastline dotted with scenic little towns, national parks, and free campsites. 

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Yet another nearly perfect empty white sand beach.  If only the sun would come out!

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There is at least one species of parrot native to Tasmania.  These parrots can be seen in small to medium sized flocks in various parts of the island.  Often they can be spotted from afar as they are constantly talking to each other. DSCN0523

We visited the town of St Marys and used this chance to hike up the nearby mountain of St Patricks Head. It was a steep climb through a wet forest.  Quite a few unique plants and animals for a short hike, with a great vertigo inducing view at the top, complete with fast moving clouds.

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A whole flock of parrots was foraging on the hillside throughout the day.

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At the end of the hike it was a rock scramble including a rusty ladder to the summit. 

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At the beginning of our descent I noticed my left sock was soaked in blood?!  Very surprising as I had  no noticed any pain in that area.  Even stranger was the tiny wound that had caused the bleeding.  Chocking it up to exertion, I put some gauze on it and started down the mountain. 

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Back at the van, while cleaning up the mess, we discovered the cause.  Apparently I had a hitchhiker!  Another leach had found his way onto my bare right foot in the time between taking off my socks, and washing my left one.  A bit of salt took care of it, and its friend which was on Jen’s leg.  A third one was wandering around on Jen’s coat.  A word of advice about leaches. Don’t panic and pull them off.  You need to coax them off with salt or alcohol, or gently apply pressure by sliding your finger downward to sweep them off.  Pulling a leach straight off will leave its jaws in your skin, and could cause a nasty wound.  Their anticoagulant really makes the bite bleed.  Some corn start or baking soda will speed clotting.   

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A few days later we stayed at Douglas Apsley park.  In the morning we did a shorter hiking loop into the gorge carved by the parks main river.  The return hike was down the mostly dry riverbed, boulder hopping all the way.

 

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Bowls carved into the bedrock (about 4ft across) bares witness to the raging rapids that form here during flash floods.

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One of the common reptiles in Tasmania, a skink.

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