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Archive for October 28th, 2008

Day 71 – 28th October

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 28, 2008

I slept well again and after doing one more catch up page packed up and headed off to Port Arthur.

It was hard to work out the weather, rain or not rain, cold or not cold, hmm what shall it be? After about 30km I decided to pull over and add the rain gear as there was heaps of water on the road and I seemed to be heading into the clouds.

After that I made reasonably good time to the caravan park at Port Arthur. I could have stopped on the way to check out some sites but I figured I may get better shots with better weather on the return journey. So, I put my tent up in the light rain and while sorting things out it seemed to be clearing up. First stop for the day was the Tasmanian Devil park which is on the way and about 15km back up the road.

Now, do not in any way be deceived by that cute little fellow on the sign, they are not cute! I saw them in action, this is a small preview of what they normally look like and a sign telling what they are.

Here a couple more of them, they are aggressive to each other all the time, but it seems mostly bluff. There are 2 females and one male in this enclosure and they are totally isolated, due to the cancerous plague that is decimating the population in the wild. I will also post a video, the noises they make are gruesome 🙂 Some of the pictures are blurry because they moved so fast chasing the food.

In this movie the two devils making all the noise to start with are the females, then the male enters from stage left 🙂

After this little feeding episode it was on to the bird feeding show, this was interesting also. All the birds have been brought in due to injury, unwanted pet etc and will remain here. Some of the birds cannot fly due to damaged wings.

This parrot has learnt to pick up coins from tourists hands, then fly back to the handler and drop the coin in his top pocket 🙂 It is OK, he also flies back with your coin to your hand afterwards 🙂

This is a frog mouth owl and is missing half a wing, it is about to consume a mouse, not live, they look very cute but hard to spot, especially when they are in their natural habitat like the last photo, they sit like that to imitate a piece of wood during the day as they feed at night.

A Peregrine Falcon, missing the left wing, these are the fastest birds in the world reaching dive speeds of 300kmh. Apparently this one clipped power lines when diving on prey and the wing never mended after surgery so it was removed 😦

I forget the name of this bird but it was found as a chick by some kids and brought up here, it can never be released as it does not know how to hunt for itself. It plays games and is very fast, the game here is for some sucker, I mean volunteer to stand there and the bird will fly between their legs. I gave my camera to an older lady and I think she did might well with two goes. 🙂 Its PB for this game is 10 sets of legs! In the 2nd last photo it has caught the lure, which has a chicken wing attached to it 🙂

After this show there were other things to look at like possums and eagles and other animals that are being looked after. There was also a small display on the Tasmanian Tiger and a recipe for wild fowl which is a laugh 🙂

It was a good show all up and well worth the money to get in, you can see where it is being spent and more areas are being modified at this time.

Now for Port Arthur, I had tickets for the entry also for the ghost tour that night so it would be a long day as it does not get dark until after 8pm. The day was warming up nicely, although the breeze was a tad cool. I have also noticed now that Peter mentioned it the other day, that the sun is quite hot when in it directly, but as soon as it goes behind a cloud it gets cool very quickly, it must be a latitude thing. I got to Port Arthur around 1pm after some lunch at the servo on the way there. I handed in my tickets and the lady asked if I wanted to go on the afternoon Island of the Dead tour instead of tomorrow, sure would I said 🙂 So, I had the introductory tour first as part of what I paid for, cool 🙂

It is hard to describe what is and was here and I am not sure I can as I would not do it justice. The basic story is that convicts were sent to Australia as first time offenders, if they offended again this is where they ended up. It was a harsh place to live and they were treated hard. They used the convicts to build the port from scratch using quarried sandstone and bricks and of course wood.

There was nowhere to go if they escaped, they had been led to believe the water around the peninsular was shark infested and the only way out was through a place called Eaglehawk Neck. This is the narrowest part and is 100m wide. They put a line of ferocious dogs here to warn the guards if anything moved. The port expanded over time and eventually exported goods, but when the convict supply ran out, the port closed down.

It is a great place to learn about Aussie history, I will just post a few photos as there is too much here to do the job properly.

Then the Island of the Dead tour started, the boat takes a bit if a trip around before landing and those who paid get off for a guided talk about the people who were buried here. It is only very small, but over 1100 people were buried here, with the important people up on the hill with marked graves and the lowest down the bottom in unmarked graves. It was very eerie to know as you walked up the hill, you were walking on graves.

After this tour I had a look at the memorial garden. For those who have forgotten in 1996 a gunman shot 35 people here and during this the cafe he was in burnt down. It is very low key, but is not forgotten.

I then wandered around some more as I had heaps of time and daylight.

I was starting to get a bit tired so decided to head back to the tent and finish off setting up as it was now 5.30pm and I had 3 hours to wait for the ghost tour. I had a a shower and got all dressed up in everything and eventually went back to the port, bought some dinner and had a look at some more of the displays before the ghost tour. The tour was run by a tall chap called Todd, he has been doing this for 10 years and claims to have seen 4 unexplained things that he puts down to ghosts. It was very interesting and too hard to describe, go and experience it for yourself, he was very informative and funny as well 🙂 I have included a couple of night time shots just for the effect, the tour went for about an hour and a half, but I did not see anything or experience anything myself. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not 🙂

Day – 388km
Trip – 23,996km
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