King Island (still)

16th February 2013

A stormy and overcast day with a strong likelihood of cabin fever.

This could well be the days’ forecast this Saturday 16th of February 2013.

Map of King Island

Map of King Island

Its now been a week since we arrived and it would be true to say that we have well and truly ‘done’ King Island in that time.

Blowholes Beach... minus the blowholes.

Blowholes Beach… minus the blowholes.

It is after all a fairly small place being just 60klm long and some 15klm wide. Its major roads are sealed and in good repair and one can traverse its length in less than 45 minutes if done casually in a motorised conveyance.
Apart from the sheer quantity of shipwrecks here, its the quality of its produce that is its most outstanding feature and on Thursday last Per, Ann, Sarah and I hired a car and sought out its food and tourism highlights to see and enjoy.

First up was Blowholes Beach, a East facing crescent of sand that is overseen by the tiny hamlet of Naracoopa. No stores here but many holiday and semi permanent houses of character and charm. Blowhole Beach was pretty though a noted lack of Blowhole(s) did somewhat take the shine off the experience.

Next on the agenda was Yellow Rock Beach, another crescent shaped foreshore that ends on its northerly tip at Cape Wickham. Offshore is New Year and Christmas Islands whilst inshore of these two are shipwrecks and a rocky point. A very picturesque and tranquil place and well protected from the present strong Easterly winds.

Yellow Rock Beach

Yellow Rock Beach

Continuing North past Yambacoona and Egg Lagoon, barely more than intersections, we eventually

arrived at the Cape Wickham lighthouse which, at 52 metres high is the tallest lighthouse in Australia. Completed in 1861 of local granite in response to a series of terrible shipwrecks, the striking structure stands as a sentinal to the notorious Bass Straight, warning ships of the dangers to be found within.

Cape Wickham lighthouse

Cape Wickham lighthouse

It was at Cape Wickham where we took our midday repast of roast chicken, fresh bread rolls with all the trimmings and of course the odd bottle or two of excellent wine to wash it all down.
At one time there was quite a settlement on adjacent Victoria Cove, the many plaques and graves spread about this area lay as a testament to the grit and fortitude of the men and women who settled here at that time. It also testifies to Australia’s greatest single maritime disaster and the total number of shipwrecks at King Island being the greatest ever in Australia’s Civil Maritime history.

After taking our fill of refreshment and sights of the wild cape it was on to the white sand of Penny’s Lagoon, a

Penny's Lagoon suspended lake.

Penny’s Lagoon suspended lake.

favourite picnic spot and one of only three fully ‘suspended’ lakes in the world. This picturesque and quite large freshwater lagoon is held in suspension by only compacted sand and vegetation.

After covering the highlights of King Islands North it was back to Currie and a cold beer at the local.

A dinner that night at the Grassy Club was also most enjoyable although the bartender calling for last drinks at 8pm and Sarah’s coffee cup dismantling itself as she was about to take a sip did prove points of interest and lively discussion.

Fairy Penguins returning to their land nests at night.

Fairy Penguins returning to their land nests at night.

Returning to the Grassy boat ramp where our respective dinghys awaited we were treated to the sight of a small colony of Fairy Penguins coming up from the sea to their land nests close by. Wildlife abounds on King Island and these little fella’s are one of the cutest around.
Next Monday’s weather forecast is looking favourable for a departure to Launceston for the crew of Freespirit. This 134 Nm trip should only take us a couple of days or less as the winds coming up from the South West are in the region of 20+Kts and with no fetch we should be able to reach good speeds under way. Looking forward to it!!

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