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Blowholes: geological & mamalian

November 13, 2011

I decided on the lazy approach for my day off on Sunday. I could have hired a car, but I wanted to take a boat trip to see the sea cliffs around Tasman Island and wildlife, I also wanted to see Port Arthur and my conscience told me I should get back in time to do a few more hours of writing. So when my Saturday stroll round the harbour discovered a tour which did precisely that I booked it in for the day. We had a great drive over to Port Arthur which was a mini guided tour in its own right and then got onto the yellow boat which was to be our home for the next three hours. Camera protected by poncho we did a rapid visit to the penal colony from the sea and then sped across the bay to what must be among the most spectacular sea cliffs on the planet. Sedimentary mudstone (picture above) adjoins columns of Jurrasic dolerite (picture below) to give two very different erosion patters, and multiple spectacular blow holes. Even on a calm day the swell of the Southern Ocean produced some spectacular effects.

DSC_7158.jpg We passed the turning point for the Sydney-Hobart Yacht race just as a series of rain squalls hit us. Australian fur seals and the crazy which arrangement for the old lighthouse provided a welcome distraction and then we started to sight our first Wales. The nature of the boat meant we were within a few yards of them most of the time and I managed to catch tails and humps but there were no spectacular leaps I am afraid!    The nice think about this trip is that we did not return to our starting point, but in effect did a full circuit of the peninsular and were then bussed back to the starting point. I shot around 700 pictures, using exposure bracketing and abandoned all bar 250 which gives a sense of the conditions. The great thing about digital is that you can be extravagant which increases the chance of great shot.

For the afternoon there was a choice between cuddling cutre Tasmanian Devils or going to Port Arthur. I chose the latter. There is a long standing family story that two great grand uncles buried there – they were Welsh Chartists, originally sentenced to hanging drawing and quartering for campaigning for one man one vote, but commuted to transportation for life. That is reason enough for a second visit, but I also wanted to spend a bit more time on this trip looking at the experiments in prison reform. That deserves a blog in its own right, so I will reserved that for the morrow.

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