(January 6, 2021 – written by Dave)
We had a super easy day riding today – it was too long to call it a rest day but you could almost call it a rest day. After I typed that, I looked at yesterday’s blog and it was actually shorter – but there was less than ½ the climbing today, thus the easy part. Yes, the west coast of Tassie is quite hilly.
We were up the normal time in our fancy (not) donga. We both slept well and were happy to see some blues skies about this morning. We knew that we had a short day so we didn’t rush over brekkie and were still on the bikes by 8:30. We had to ride back through Zeehan and surprise, there were zero cars parked on main street. Come back in a few years and there won’t be much left here…
On the way out of town we stopped at the Pioneer Grave site. Many of the headstones were broken and there hasn’t been much in the way of maintenance. It was interesting walking around checking the dates – nearly everyone had died from 1890 to 1920. Those were clearly the glory days of mining in Zeehan – more people with more money meant for some fancy final resting places, though they aren’t looking too fancy anymore.
We had a little more traffic today but it wasn’t really anything to complain about. There were a couple hills to climb but only one of them was slightly hard, reaching 10% for a short spell. After about 30k of riding we crested the last big hill and had nice views out across the Indian Ocean. Technically as Tassie is narrower here than it was up in Arthur River, the swim from here to Argentina is longer from here. The big difference here however is that none of the local bright sparks seem to have come up with the idea of putting up a sign with a catchy name and car park to get the punters like us to stop.
We had one more stop at the Henty Dunes recreation area. There were a few cars parked in the carpark near the dunes, and heaps of abandoned shoes and socks at the bottom of the big dune. We didn’t see any people. We assume that all the shoes belonged to the car owners who removed them before climbing. Either that or something more sinister is going on – we didn’t report it either way. Nancy said that she would watch the bikes and my shoes if I wanted to climb but I declined – too much work for an “unknown” view at the top.
We rolled into Strahan around noon and stopped at the Strahan Beach Caravan Park. They had a spot and were nice. There is a Big4 across the street but they tend to be stricter and cost more, so we grabbed the site here. Before setting the tent up we headed to town for a go at the lobster/fish shop. Unfortunately they don’t open until 3PM so we stopped at the bakery for lunch and coffee, with a plan to return for lobster for dinner.
Back at the caravan park, we got the tent set-up quick smart as it was starting to spit a little. I like to say that either of us can put the tent up in 10 minutes but if we work as a team, it takes about 30 minutes. Together, it is clearly a case of too many cooks. Today, with the rain however, we did a pretty good job and got everything inside before it got wet. It stopped raining within half an hour of the tent going up and it got pretty hot and sunny this arvo – the joke’s on us I guess.
The camp kitchen is located directly in front of the playground. Actually, as the door to the kitchen opens to the sand of the playground, “in front” may not describe how close it is and how raucous our afternoon was. It is nice to be in a small coastal town where children can be completely free range without worry by the parents. I just wish that they would worry a tiny bit more – enough said.
Growing tired of child minding, we decided to head back out to Bay Fish for the lobster dinner that we (me at least) came here for. The boats that catch the lobster (crayfish) are docked right out in front of the locally iconic fish shack. I think they sell whatever fish the boys on the boats catch. Their crays are reportedly caught and put in tanks, brought ashore, cooked and sold. There’s no freezing and no trucks involved.
We got there early (based on recommendation, not the raucous kids, honest). This worked perfect as we were able to snag one of the few benches that they have. I ordered a half lobster, Nancy got the fish and chips. We shared an IPA that we had left over from last night. The fish and IPA were nice. The lobster was out of this world. A couple guys from the fishing boats came over and grabbed a bite, just to complete the whole authenticity of the scene. It is quite possible that time and location improved the taste but I’m inclined to give the lobster pretty high marks regardless. It is, after all, the reason we rode out to Strahan!
Tomorrow we head inland to Lake Burbury, just past Queenstown. It’s a little longer and hillier than today but our legs are fresh and I’m sure that the camp kids will be down early tonight (completely sure – how could they possibly have any energy left after the afternoon of mayhem, he says with optimism).