Day 7 - 30th September
Dimboolan to Station Pier, Melbourne
Distance Travelled - 355.6 km
Finally went to sleep at about 1 am after spending a lot of time just laying in the tent listening to music on the ipod. Woke at 6 am to the sound of chirping birds but thanks to being under cover it was still relatively dark and I was able to get back to sleep for a while.
Finally got out of bed at about 9 am and had breakfast and packed. The tent and bottom sleeping bag were still a bit damp from the condensation so I chose to use the time sitting in the sun reading and having a coffee. When everything was dry I packed the last of the things and headed off into town to find a place to post my blog.
The lady at the information centre / Community Resource Centre type place was very helpful and also a very keen photographer. She had some amazing photos of some of the local birds putting my feeble attempts to shame big time. We talked photography for a while before I set off from town at about 10.30 am.
Meandered along the highway stopping at a few shops in some of the towns to just kill a bit of time and have a peruse. Travelled through Horsham, Stawell and Beaufort to name a few. Nothing spectacular but a pleasant enough drive.
Got to the pier at about 3.30 pm and wandered up to check out a few details. Apparently I cannot take my Trangia (camping stove) fuel bottle with me so decided to take it to Lindsay and Heather's place, about 10 minutes away. It was great catching up with them again, if only for a short time. Hopefully timing will allow for a longer stay on the way back. Apparently my cousin Deanne is very keen to catch up so will try and factor that in on the way home.
Got back to the pier and eventually boarded without any hassle. Spent a few moments snapping some photos of some seagulls while waiting in line to load the car. Once on board I talked to a couple of my roomies for a bit before having a shower and writing the blog. After this I will go for a walk around the ship and have a bit of a look before we set sail. According to the announcement just put over by the captain it should be a smooth (ish) crossing.
The room looks comfortable enough and my allocation is the top bunk so hopefully the captain is right and there are no big swells to knock me out of bed. Tomorrow after leaving the ferry I will drive to Launceston and try to find a camera shop to put my lens in for a quote so I can finalise insurance claims and hopefully get them replaced. After that it looks like about a half hour drive to Michelle and Shane's so hopefully I will be there by late morning. After that there are no real plans for the day other than catching up with Michelle and Shane and seeing what the go is from there.
Day 8 - 1st October
Devonport Ferry Terminal to Lilydale
Distance Travelled - 140.3 km
Somewhat surprisingly I had an ok night. I went to bed at around 9.30 pm and read for a while and listened to a bit of music before making conscious decision to try and sleep. I took another tablet just in case and entered the realm of dream land. Woke about 1 am and could feel a slight rising and dipping of the boat but not to any significant extent. Went back to sleep and awoke about 4 am and then dozed on and off until the PA announcement at 5.45 am notifying us that we would be disembarking at 6.30 am.
I was in no rush so was the last to go through the shower and pack my gear before heading to the lounge area ready to leave. They called different garage levels to go and remove cars with my level being the last one called. Got out without any issues and went the quarantine station without a glitch. Headed off into Devonport for a quick breakfast and then drove the 100 or so km to Launceston.
Found a camera shop and spoke to them about getting a quote for the other broken lens. They wanted an up front fee of $100 (as opposed to the $27.50 in Perth) and said it would probably take at least 3 weeks to get the quote back (as opposed to the 4 days it took in Perth). I said no thanks and left.
I then drove on to Lilydale and found Michelle and Shane's place. They are on a lovely property with a very nice view. I have been put up in a wonderful self contained flat on the property which is very nice. Michelle and I spent time catching up and yakking about all things school and so on before heading out to one of the local haunts for a burger for lunch.
Came back form lunch and caught up with Shane and we all talked for ages before having a yummy chicken curry, cooked by Shane, and talking more and more until it was time for bed at around 10.30 pm. Came up to the flat, got ready for bed and wrote the blog. No photography today. Tomorrow Michelle and I are going book hunting and then a bit of sight-seeing if the weather is right. It has been a wonderful day catching up with Michelle and Shane after way too long.
Day 9 - 2nd October
Distance Travelled - 0 km
After a pleasant nights sleep with only a couple of wake ups I got out of bed, showered, breakfasted and was in the main house by 9.30 am. Not long after Michelle and I were heading of to Launceston to go book hunting.
We went through several Op shops and books stores and found a variety of books we were looking for and had much fun discussing various books we had read or other stories related to the titles we were searching through. We also had a quick look through other parts of the shops for the odd bargain or that special something we might discover.
After looking through several shops and visiting a nearby, non volunteer, fire station we were on our way to Cataract Gorge - a beautiful spot not far from here. There is the river and park land and a dazzling array of plants to view plus various birds including peacocks. We wandered and did some photography and were rewarded with a very nice and prolonged display by a peacock completely fanning out his tail and trying to impress some of his female counterparts. Unfortunately, some of the young children there decided it would be great to try and get close to the peacock and dance around him making it very difficult and frustrating to try and get any decent photos. I find it somewhat amusing that both Michelle and I can have amazing amounts of patience with kids at school but that patience goes completely out the window when it comes to holiday time.
After leaving the gorge we went to a few more book / op shops / secondhand places and then went to Coles to do a little shopping before heading home. I had a quick nap and then spent time going through today's photos before heading down for tea. Shane had prepared a magnificent roast chicken dinner which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
After tea we spent several hours chatting away about all sorts of things before finally heading off to bed around midnight with just enough time and energy to write the blog before succumbing to the sleep fairy.
Tomorrow we will visit nearby Lilydale Falls before I head off for a few days to do a lighthouse run along the north coast (or at least part of it). Once I have done some of that I will return here for a day or so before heading off again - which way yet I am still not sure.