9 February 2014
Waiting to board the Lady Jayne for the Gordon River Cruise
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This morning we made use of our breakfast pack at Anchor Down Cottages, then drove to Strahan Harbour to join the Lady Jayne cruiser, leaving at 8.30am. Wise idea to choose the Captain’s Deck where we had excellent service, and were pampered by the crew – coffee served as soon as we boarded, then some nibbles as we set off along Macquarie Harbour toward Hell’s Gate taking the opportunity to again see the artificial Training Wall and West Breakwater both of which assist in retaining the shipping channel. Passed Bonnet Island where we had gone the previous evening then outside Hell’s Gate before turning to return through Entrance Island.
We had the opportunity to see close up the huge fish pens (aquaculture project) where up to 20,000 Atlantic salmon and ocean trout are kept in EACH of 20-30 pens in Macquarie Harbour. Fish are harvested and sent all over the world. We have since then eaten some!
Isaac was again a guide on the Lady Jayne and presented a televised documentary of the proclamation of the area in 1982 as a World Heritage Area. To attain this the area had to meet strict criteria, and is now equal highest in the world as a World Heritage Area. Our first stop was the Heritage Walk through the rain forest (left), it was breathtaking to see the giant trees and tree ferns, even saw a black snake curled upon in an uprooted tree.
Back on board to cruise further into the Gordon River – breathtaking, inspiring, spiritual – to think we were cruising through an area that had existed for thousands of years. The crew had prepared delicious buffet lunch of salads, cold meats and smoked salmon, fish, couscous and a chicken dish – with a glass of red wine – I said we were spoilt!
As we travelled towards our next stop of Sarah Island, the clouds started to close in, and the wind grew in strength. By the time we reached Sarah Island it was time for the weather proof jackets with hoods – we were nearly blown off the wharf as we hurried to some shelter.
Dave was our guide – his knowledge of the history of Sarah Island was astounding – its reputation as the most severe penal settlement became real as the rain became heavier, the clouds lower, and the ambience of the island became as severe as the penal settlement must have been. Many of our party returned to the cruiser, but Dave’s commentary kept a number of us interested (we were so wet, and it was only water!) that we stayed to the end. Few relics remain, some brick foundations only – but Dave made it sound so dramatic!
Running back to the Lady Jayne to dry out, we had a nice hot coffee, and relaxed in the very comfortable seats (maybe have a doze) as we cruised back to Strahan Harbour. Weather so changeable, the rain and wind had eased and we were safely back in the Harbour, thoroughly overawed with what we had witnessed during that day, and thankful that we had had such a wonderful experience.
It was recommended that we see a 5.30pm show at the Amphitheatre on Strahan Harbour, the play “The Ship That Never Was” – Dave (from Sarah Island) again starred. The play was by Richard Davey and was great fun. There was a cast of two, but Dave and his co-star encouraged audience members to join in and it was very entertaining.
We had dinner at Hamer’s Bar and Grill opposite the harbour – Grilled fish/Crumbed Pork Cutlet, and a glass of Shiraz – the end of a perfect day.
Tomorrow we drive to Queenstown for a ride on the Wilderness Railway – excited!
Beautiful reflections in the Gordon River