‘A complex high is forming over the east coast’, the weather bureau said. Hmmm, a ‘complex’ high. Is that weather man talk for, ‘we’re not sure but you might get wet’? I think it is. High equals sunny. Complex high means it should be sunny but it might not be and we here at the weather bureau are all care and no responsibility. Fair enough too. It’s complex after all.
Well that was no help to us. One of our ambitions for this trip was to do an overnight hike and we always had Wineglass Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula in our sights. Before leaving we told ourselves we had heaps of time and if the weather was no good we would just wait. But time is now rapidly running out. Easter approaches and so too our departure for the big island (that’s what the Taswegians call it you know).
So what did we do? We did what any rationale parents with a tendency to prevaricate would do. We changed our minds a dozen times before breakfast before finally deciding, ‘bugger it, let’s go!
Every hatch in the van was opened to find the hiking gear. As we’d decided to go we had to get on with it. For two days the high pressure system bringing fair weather would be ‘complex’, thereafter the bureau’s prediction took on an assuredly certain tone. It was gunna rain.
By 1.30pm the packs were… packed, and we were on our way. Up hill to the Wineglass Bay lookout and where 9 out of 10 people turn back. Down the hill to the Bay itself where the vast majority of the remaining few also turn back, and along the beach to the other end of the Bay where only the most hearty reside. We pitched our tents, cooked dinner on the beach watching dolphins and leaping fish, with the sun setting over the Hazards (the tall and dramatic granite outcrops surrounding Wineglass Bay) and read books under the moonlight. What a wonderful experience, sitting out in the bush on the edge of a moonlit bay reading books as everyone giggles along to the antics of a good yarn.
The complex high remained straightforward and simple that night. All was clear and still. So too the next morning. We scrambled around the rocks searching for crabs in the lesser walked nooks and crannies. Amy tripped and fell. I soaked up the blood with my T-shirt before awarding her 15 brownie points for her trouble.
Then the high became complex again as we donned our packs for the return journey. Out to sea a clearly defined line marked the boundary between dumping and clear skies. It didn’t stay out to sea too long, but headed straight for us. We delved into out packs for raincoats, each one strategically positioned beneath everything else.
Merely a squall, we hiked on, retracing our steps to the lookout, here again to be joined by nine out of ten people. Including one group with a device that took the ‘selfie’ to a whole new level. A telescopic pole was extended to which an iPhone was attached. The pole was then held out in front of the group and a photo taken.
‘I guess that’s what they thought of next’ Oliver declared. We must have looked amused so they invited us to participate. Which we did, jumping in alongside the group to be part of the next ‘selfie’. I expect we will be proudly shown off as part of this photo all over Japan!
The next day it rained, then it rained some more, and then after that this strange wet stuff kept falling from the sky. Rain I think it was. We drove to Bicheno to wash every item of clothing we owned, it’d been awhile. The lovely lady at the laundromat took care of most of it while we ate delicious wood fired pizza next door, chased down by salted caramel slice, chocolate milkshakes and the best flat white I’ve had for three months.
On route back to Freycinet we attempted the Cape Tourville short walk – for the sweeping coastal views. The rain however came in horizontally and so we ran around the boardwalk, saw pretty much nothing and retired defeated.
The next day I learned to knit. Yep, that’s what I did. Up the back, round the tree, through the window and then off jumps jack! What could be simpler? (Emma has just reviewed my drafting and burst into laughter. Apparently that’s not right.) Amy fortunately seldom took her eye off my work and was there to retrieve my various dropped stitches. I’m learning to ‘pearl’ tomorrow. Then I will have graduated to working on my own beanie – just like Amy and Oliver’s.
Friends arrived the next day. The kind of friends you didn’t know you had until you met them. Wayne and Amanda pulled in with their daughters Shelby and Chloe. The four kids circled each other like a pack of wolves before finally working out it didn’t matter how the ice was broken as long as it broke.
It was Shelby’s birthday the next day and we were invited to lunch at the pub in Coles Bay. Will we be driving there? No we won’t. Wayne hoisted the tinny down from above their Cruiser and attached a mighty 12 volt battery powered outboard which puttered us across the Bay in an extremely leisurely but highly enjoyable fashion. Had the tide turned or the weather become complex once again I’m not sure we could have made the shore. But fortunately that wasn’t to be. Everyone but Wayne walked back after lunch. Wayne’s battery gave out after rounding just one of the numerous headlands requiring to be navigated and he rowed most of the way. Doesn’t seem fair really!
Between boat rides, hiking, new friends and learning to knit I also found time to scramble up Mount Amos, for that iconic view of Wineglass Bay, not once but twice. The sign says its 3-5 hours return. I did it in an hour forty on day one and an hour ten on day two. Just sayin.