Saturday, 12 January 2013

Hello Hobart

A fine G'Day from here in Hobart, capital of the southern island state of Tasmania. (Yes...also home to the Tasmanian Devil, but I will get to that in a minute!) We are experiencing some very strange temperature fluctuations. When last we saw land two days ago, it was a very balmy 35 degrees. When we docked in Hobart this morning, we were greeted with almost winter-like conditions of 14 and rainy. (Who says that global warming is a myth?) Very few people were prepared for the dramatic shift in climate and there was a run on slickers and sweatshirts from the shops downstairs. Just a few days ago, this entire state was engulfed with wild bush fires and searing temps. The crazy part is, that everyone expects the next round of heat to set in tomorrow. We just got caught up in the one day down cycle.

This city is also the birthplace of the silver screen legend Errol Flynn. They are very proud of this fact down here in Hobart, and I liked his movies as much as any other Hollywood historian, but I honestly think that they should find a local hero who hasn't been dead for over sixty years. That said, the people on our tour this morning, seemed to like the connection.

We spent the morning touring the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. This small oasis is doing tremendous work to care and nurture injured, orphaned, and endangered animals that are indigenous to Tasmania. The kangaroos are extremely friendly and are allowed to roam freely about the facility. We visitors are encouraged to pet and feed them. Several ate right from my hand. That was really cool. Bonorong is also working hard to preserve and protect the native Tasmanian Devil. The devils are dwindling in the wild and it is thought that their numbers have decreased to less than 4000. They can be nasty little beasts, just like Chuck Jones and the gang at Looney Tunes characterized them. Even though they are kept enclosed in a natural and extraordinarily large area, it is not unheard of for one or two to lunge at a tourist's camera if a keeper is not close by. The park is also home to emus, wombats, wallabies, and a few koalas, who are just about the laziest animals this side of a sloth. All the stupid creatures do are eat and sleep. Cute, maybe.....but totally incurious.

Upon return from Bonorong, we wandered the streets of Hobart. I can't believe it, but The Husband managed to find and drag me into the one local distiller in town. He spent about a half an hour grilling them on mash tuns and still capacities, all the while sampling a dram or four. They exchanged business cards and my guess is that a new connection has been born. The man couldn't be happier.

Salamanca Place is an area of town where artisans, shops, and cafes are plentiful. We meandered through many of them and enjoyed the local atmosphere before returning to the ship.

I must say that I do not like being cold Down Under. I preferred the extreme heat to the damp cold, so here's hoping for some better weather in Melbourne.


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