Thursday 2 – Monday 6 January 2014
Following our dash down the coast of Flinders we knew we’d be yet again land-bound for a number of days. What to do? Well, the first day was easy. With a tab on the bar at the tavern in Whitemark we headed there, walking and then hitching a lift into town.
Flinders sits on 40 degrees south, the roaring forties. Standing on the Whitemark jetty, we looked out into Bass Strait, leaned forward and were kept upright by the winds. Having galeforce winds blowing straight at me – this was a joyful and somehow hilarious experience. A truly ‘living in the now’ moment.
After a quick squiz at the well-stocked IGA supermarket we strolled into the Interstate Hotel for lunch. Thanks to our very generous friends we enjoyed having lunch cooked and served up to us, going the whole hog and relishing our sticky date pudding on their funds. Naturally, this was all washed down by a bottle of fine Tasmanian chardonnay. We were a rather happy pair when we sat back in the chairs, sated. Out came our maps, charts, compasses and other gadgets. The very pleasant dining room was the perfect spot to plan our next moves on the water, whenever the winds abated.
Second day, well that decision was easy too… naturally we had to climb Mt. Strzelecki. With much debate amongst sea kayakers about the two types of paddlers who cross Bass Strait, those who climb Mt. Strzelecki and those who don’t, we were fortunate enough to join the former group. It’s a few kilometres walk from the Trousers Point campsite (towards Whitemark) to reach the start of the trail. Once off the road, the trail goes up, up and up, and then up some more. Through beautiful forests and flowerbeds we hiked until we entered the cloudzone and could no longer see wonderful coastal views. Once at the top, the mists blew round, toying with us, giving and taking away the views to sea and the islands, and inland to deeper mountain terrain.
With the winds still howling in from the west, what else could be done? As odd as it felt, we hired a car for two days. Moving from our kayak-based journey to car-based travel took some mental readjustment. We loved the car, and how it allowed us the opportunity to traverse this magnificent place. Exploring the south, middle and north-east, we saw much of Flinders Island, met many open and friendly people and vowed to return.
The servo in Whitemark is one of those old-fashioned servos: providing service. Harry stood in the sideways-pelting rain and filled the tank; the servo guy stood next to me under the patch of shelter, shrugged his shoulders, “No point us all getting wet,” he commented as Harry did his job.
With one final day of slowly decreasing winds we made ready to get on the move.
Crossing Bass Strait
Trip Days 11-15
Thursday 2-6 January 2014
Distance covered: 20km (on foot); quite a few (in the car)