Sunday, March 1, 2020

Tasmania Day 18 - Maria Island

We had to get up a bit earlier than normal today.  But, since "normal" had been sleeping in most of the time, we didn't mind.  The early start was due to the fact that we needed to catch the 10:30AM ferry to Maria Island and the ferry dock was about 1.5 hours away.  Originally, we had actually planned to take the 9:30AM ferry but changed our minds the day before to avoid what would have been a really big rush to get there since our lodge didn't serve breakfast until 7AM.

So, instead we leisurely enjoyed the Freycinet Lodge buffet breakfast and then headed south at about 8:15 AM.

The ferry leaves from the town of Triabunna.  However, since there is no food or drink on the island we needed to make a stop before getting on the ferry to pick up supplies for lunch.  We grabbed sandwiches at a store in Triabunna.  I elected to have my toasted of course but Karen must not have been fully awake yet since she didn't.  She regretted that decision later on when it was time to eat them.

I thought about getting some dessert at the store too but the choices all looked so good that I couldn't decide.  I believe that Andrea samples one or two of these so I wonder which was her favorite:
Decisions... decisions...

Despite the badly composed photo, here is a shot of the ferry arriving:
Ferry to Maria Island

The ferry ride itself is about 30 min and was quite comfortable.  The crossing can get rough I guess but it was very calm for both our trips.  We disembarked and read some of the signage about the island:
Maria Island NP

Right after the signs, the official Maria Island welcoming committee said hello.  The committee consisted of a mother and juvenile wombat:
Get ready for more wombats!

Mama and baby

Of course, they were inundated by everyone getting off the ferry.  After all the commotion and idiotic selfies, people moved on and we were able to enjoy the wombats with only a couple other people.

Junior was following very closely behind mamma but both were very used to people and weren't bothered by our presence at all.

Just a little nudge

Time to stop and smell the flowers:
Smelling the flowers

But, only for a second as there is lots of grass to eat:
Lots of eating...

Still eating...

These wombats had very light colored fur which was due to them being out in the sun so much.

Quick break and then...

Andrea and I spent a while jockeying for good shots and we both were hoping to get at least one of the wombats with the water in the background.  This is the best that I could do:
Back to eating.

And to conclude the photo shoot, here are a couple of wombutts:

We spent so long with those two wombats that we figured we didn't have time to do any major hiking loops.  Plus, Tim was concerned about getting "poo sock".  You see, he left his driving shoes on for this trip instead of changing into his hiking shoes.  The problem was that his driving shoes had a whole in the sole.  This led to the concern about "poo sock" and a very unique walking style to combat that concern.

But, after lunch we did walk up to the Fossil Cliffs.  On the way, we found this guy sleeping in the shade:
Siesta time

It woke up and groggily sauntered off across the trail:
wakie wakie

Besides wombats, Maria Island is also known for its cape barren geese and an introduced disease free population of tasmanian devils.  We saw some geese and did wander around the buildings hoping to spot one of the devils that purportedly lived there but came up empty.

On the 2 PM ferry ride back to Triabunna we heard that others did spot a devil right out in the open.  So, it is possible to see them during the day on Maria Island.

After getting back to our car we drove the final hour or so to the Hobart airport.  It was during this drive, I believe, when I saw a sign for a 9 hole golf course and made some comment about it.  Without missing a beat Tim makes the following announcement "You know, people have 9 holes".  He paused for a bit to let that sink in and then proceeded to count them off.  What do you know, he was right and we all got another big laugh out of it.  Ah, we will miss that sense of humor!

Reluctantly we dropped Tim and Andrea off at the airport for their return flight to Sydney.  While we didn't see a ton of new wildlife this weekend, we sure had fun with them again. Some day we hope to travel with them again once traveling is possible again that is.

We continued on to the Tasman Peninsula where we would be spending our last two nights.  We were staying at Mason's Cottages which were very nice but I completely forgot to take pictures of  the place.  Shame on me.  We talked with the owners a bit about the local wildlife and mentioned that we were after tiger snake and pygmy possum.  They gave us a couple tips and said they would contact a local wildlife expert and ask them as well.

We had dinner at the Fox and Hounds pub and I finally tried the schnitzel that I had seen carried by me at many other restaurants.  Luckily, my schnitzel wasn't as big as others I had seen (Wait...should I be sharing that?) so I had no problems finishing it.

As I mentioned, the Tasman Peninsula is supposed to be another good place to look for pygmy possum so based on some pre-trip research I had done we headed out for a combination night drive and walk along Salt River Rd.  We ended up at the old coal mine location for a walk which was pretty cool and a little spooky at the ruins themselves.  We saw over 10 brushies but not much else.

However, we did see 3 feral cats and a bunch of feral rabbits which is not a good sign for the native wildlife.

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