‘Are you travelling?’ I didn’t know what to say. Was it a trick question? I was sitting, you see, in the driver’s seat of our car, two bikes on the roof and one and half odd tonnes of caravan hitched up behind. The boot was visibly full of chairs, tables and other paraphernalia required for a holiday. What’s more we were in a queue of others cars, similarly decked out, about 20 metres onto a pier waiting to board the Spirit of Tasmania.
So when the Spirit of Tasmania man stopped me and asked, ‘Are you travelling?’ I really didn’t know what to say.
‘No. So glad you asked. Seems I made a frightful mistake. Really ought to have taken the middle lane off the Bolte bridge back there but I didn’t. I didn’t know where to go next and so here I find myself jammed between cars on a pier and I don’t know how to get out. Can you help me?’.
I didn’t say that. But I really wanted to. Instead I chuckled a little as I said, ‘yes we are’, and tried not to appear disrespectful. It doesn’t pay to be disrespectful to a man with the power to direct you not to board the ship.
I was excited. We were about to board and I took the liberty of pointing this out to Emma, Amy and Oliver on numerous occasions until they took the liberty of politely asking me to stop. Emma had done a wonderful job of navigating us through Melbourne, after she did a wonderful job of getting us past Craigieburn on the Hume Highway just ahead of its closure for grass fires. My heart had also skipped three beats when we came off the exit ramp and hurtled towards a low bridge (3 m clearance) just before the port entrance. I thought we’d never see the bikes on the roof again. Not sure how much they missed by but it can’t have been much.
The ship was exciting. Took about an hour of queuing to get on I guess, but our cabin was cosy and comfortable with a shower to boot. We explored all the various decks and turned in for the night. It was flat as a pancake across Port Philip Bay, but then developed a considerable, though not uncomfortable sway. Even that dissipated and it was back to flat sailing as we were woken at 5.00am to get ready to disembark.
We really didn’t know where to head when we did drive off, so we just followed the signs to Devonport city centre found a park and had breakfast. Three hours later we had groceries, petrol and a tank full of water and headed for the Narawntapu National Park all of 25km away. Here we have been hooting about on our bikes, up and down the beach, watching birds on the freshwater lagoon behind the sand dunes, playing catch and taking the occasional dip in the surprisingly warm ocean water.
Showers last four minutes and cost $2 here. Amy, Oliver and I all managed to wash ourselves and our hair this evening and still had 45 seconds to spare. Thats got to be a record. Tomorrow we are going to… well we haven’t got to that yet, so I have to tell you later.