Australian Wooden Boat Festival

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This festival took place in Hobart over the weekend. A wonderful collection of wooden boats from tall ships to kayaks, historical vessels to brand new.

Here are just a few photos from the weekend.IMG_0698IMG_0715IMG_0709IMG_0713

The HMB Endeavor, a replica of James Cook’s ship when he charted New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia between 1768 and 1771.IMG_0717IMG_0720IMG_0721IMG_0838-2

From Cook’s cabin looking at “James Craig” built in 1874 in England, abandoned in Tasmania in 1930’s, restored in the 1970’s.IMG_E0746

Heading for The Med

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This locally built hi-speed catamaran has left Hobart this evening on a 20 day voyage to the Mediterranean Sea.

She has a capacity of 900 passengers and 167 cars and will join the ferry service between Malta and Sicily. IMG_0350

It’s been fun seeing the ferry doing sea trials in our River Derwent and moored on our Hobart waterfront.IMG_0345DSC03790

Bushfire update

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Although the bushfires are still burning, the immediate threat to communities has been downgraded from the highest “emergency” alert level , to “watch and act”, so people have been able to return to their homes.

We are hearing more individual stories, not just the headlines. The personal tales of a difficult few weeks.

Hotel and petrol station owners who stayed in the evacuated towns, to help firefighters.

Friends evacuated, staying with relatives, their car loaded with some clothes, bedding, their “treasures” and vital documents. We’ve had interesting conversations at work about what we’d take and the diminished value of the “stuff” in our homes that we could live without.

I chatted to our client who has family members staying in her small three bedroom, one bathroom home – 14 people including teenage boys!, 4 dogs, 10 guinea pigs, 2 birds and 3 cats. They had two slow cookers on the go so people could eat in relays, the washing machine was going non-stop, mattresses everywhere, no room “to swing a cat”. Her fingers crossed that her plumbing doesn’t get blocked or break down.

Another elderly client “wasn’t taking any chances”, she was packed and ready to leave in a hurry as she’d lived through the devasting fires fifty years ago that left 62 people dead, 900 injured and over seven thousand homeless.

A young couple who hadn’t seen their baby son for days, he’s with his grandparents while they stayed to defend their home and farm buildings from ember attacks and to feed the animals.

A local fisherman sailed 11 tonnes of donated supplies to two cut off towns on Friday, food, drinks, pet food, toiletries and sanitary products. Shops are empty as the road south had been closed.

Anxiety levels have been high with this fire, as the threat and evacuation dragged on. Pets have gone missing, unused to their temporary surroundings. The prolonged smoke has caused its own health issues.

There are always a few helicopters flying over Hobart, small rescue helicopters, tourist flights, private aircraft. But now there are large noisy helicopters heading to and from the airport, fire fighting craft, water bombers, helicopters that you can hear before you see them, loud thundering craft that sound like the opening scene from “Miss Saigon”.

We’ve had a couple of calmer days, but the fires are expected to burn for weeks and there is little rain forecast for February.

Children are due to return to school this coming week after the summer holidays. There are contingencies for students and staff will relocate to primary and high schools in the evacuation area.

We are seeing the best of people, a strong community spirit, helping neighbours, stangers and huge gratitude and support for all emergency service crew.

On a lighter note, the smoke filled atmosphere has produced some stunning sun rises and sun sets.

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Changing Seasons – January – Tasmania Bush Fires

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January has been a month of bush fires, here in Tasmania.
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There are currently 3 major fires burning out of control, each caused by dry lightning strikes. All have threatened towns, communities, rural residents, national parks and tourist attractions. Thanks to round the clock efforts of the Tasmanian Fire Service, the volunteers of the State Emergency Service and fire fighters from mainland Australia and New Zealand, only a handful of properties have been lost to date. There are over 50 active bush fires on the TFS website alert page.

The fire at Gell River which started on 28th December, has burnt 27,958 hectares. Another in the Central Plateau, which started on 15th January has burnt 51,140 hectares and one in the South West National Park at Tahune/Riveaux, which started on 16th January, has burnt approximately 56,230 hectares.

To put into perspective, the total area burnt to date, is equivalent of 135,328 rugby pitches, or 135,328 four hundred metre tracks. Or 86% of the area within the M25 in England.

The fire front is currently 1,300 km long.

An evacuation centre is temporary home to hundreds of residents. Many others are staying with relatives or in hotels. Volunteers are providing support and practical help such as meals to the evacuees and fire fighters. Some residents are staying to defend their homes and livelihoods, to help create containment lines.

Even though the closest fire is over 50kms away, smoke has been drifting across Hobart on and off for weeks. Again, today there was a strong smell of smoke when I got up, visibility was low, smoke inside our homes and workplaces. At times we can taste the smoke.
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Last week, the rising full moon, was dark red, brighter than any lunar eclipse. An unnerving glow of smoke in the darkness.

It’s very eerie and scary, the worst fire experience I’ve had since we’ve lived here.

The Tahune Airwalk has been devasted, although fortunately the visitor centre has been saved.
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(Photos without my signature are from TFS or local news websites)
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Praise and thanks to all emergency personal who are battling these fires.

Changing Seasons

A Free Ferry Ride

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Today, I took a free ferry ride and saw my city from a new viewpoint.

Hobart doesn’t have a regular ferry service as part of its public transport network. However, occasionally, for sporting events or specific entertainment gigs, ferries do run between the city centre waterfront and the Eastern Shore suburb of Bellerive.

Leaving Hobart city and Mount Wellington.
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Heading to Bellerive and Kangaroo Bay
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Looking back
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The ferry
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I would certainly commute to work using a ferry service if it was established here.

Goodbye 2018

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We’ve had another busy and happy year here in Tasmania. As 2018 draws to a close, here are a few of my favourite photos of the year.

Views of Hobart from Mount Wellington
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Port Arthur
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Wineglass Bay
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Fruit pickingIMG_0649

Salamanca PlaceIMG_1286

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Wombat on Maria IslandDSC03019

Dark MofoIMG_E6030

Sailing with Dolphins at Freycinet DSC01921

Lunar Eclipse in JulyIMG_6703

Wishing you all a very happy new year.

Sydney to Hobart

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Yesterday morning, the first yachts arrived in Hobart, having left Sydney on Boxing Day. This 628 nautical mile, classic ocean race is an annual event, now in its seventy fourth year.

I joined a crowd on Rosny Hill before work, to watch the first supermaxi yachts sail up the River Derwent, towards the finish line.
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It was great to see such a welcome by spectator boats on the river, and crowds on the shore. The past two years, the winning boats have arrived during the night.

The second and third yachts arrived twenty eighth minutes later, with only one minute separating them.
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Mid-afternoon, I went to a different lookout at Kangaroo Bluff to watch fifth place (a Tasmanian boat) and six place (all female crew) yachts arrive.
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On my way home I stopped at the waterfront.DSC03597

The smallest yacht in this year’s race, at 30 feet long, is expected to arrive tomorrow afternoon.
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Bridestowe Lavender Farm

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Last weekend, we visited Australia’s largest and oldest lavender farm, here in Tasmania. We timed it perfectly.

“The fields contain approximately 65,000 plants and the total length of the rows are 200 kilometres. Harvesting takes place in January.”

The scene and the scent were both beautiful. We wandered along the rows, amongst the plants and enjoyed lavender inspired treats in the café.

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