(January 12, 2021 – written by Dave)
Good news, we weren’t overly dusty this morning, even with our late evening with Phil, Jan and all of our other friends last night. Admittedly, we slept in a little this morning but overall, we felt great and ready for our eighth day of riding in a row. Jan served us some lovely Pigeon Whole Bakery croissants and coffee before Phil, Nancy and I headed towards the Bruny Island ferry. Jan had to work, Phil had the day off. Having Phil as a “guide” was great as it meant we didn’t need to check our maps. He guided us to all the shops we needed and then right to the ferry.
We rode a bit on the Channel Highway with Phil but mostly the traffic was heading towards Hobart and we didn’t have to worry too much about the narrow road. It was raining before we started but mostly just spitting as we set off. Phil rides fast and had us on our toes. I might have stopped for more photos but I surely would have lost Phil – Nancy was glued to Phil’s wheel. Photo stops were very quick and/or limited.
At the ferry we just missed the 10AM ferry and had to wait for the 10:30 ferry, but that was better anyway as it gave us a chance to catch our breath and to shout Phil a hot chocolate. It was mostly downhill to the ferry and we’d barely earned it, but Nancy and I also had a mini morning tea as well. It’s hard not to grab an egg and bacon roll when you have a chance. Thanks for the ride Phil and taking the front the whole way. And sorry that your nice bike got so much mud on it! Our bikes were already muddy so we weren’t too worried about more mud.
It was pretty windy today and the D’Entrecasteau Channel between the mainland and Bruny Island was full of waves and whitecaps. Thankfully the ferry was pretty smooth and not bouncy – Nancy made it without seasick bands. I think she’s becoming a real boating type person – right Nanc?
Just off the ferry on Bruny Island we found our first local product purchase opportunity, Black Devil Tasmanian Cherries. We pulled up at the stand and picked up ½ kilo bag of tasty treats. There was a good climb out of the ferry but more than anything, the wind made for a challenge. It was quite blowy out of the west but the road changed directions a lot so it felt like we had head, tail and side winds all within minutes.
Our second local purchase opportunity came at the Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Company. We like both so it was easy to pull in and see what was on offer. We picked up some cheese, some Tassie wine, some local bacon and an interesting looking IPA (beer) (for later). Even if you don’t count the very tasty ham and cheese toasty and coffee we had for second morning tea, it would have be called a successful stop.
It wasn’t long after the cheese shop that we came to the start of the narrow neck between the two parts of Bruny Island. On the neck there is a large colony of both penguins and mutton birds. We stopped and looked around but these birds are nocturnal so to see any of them, you really need to be there at dawn or dusk when the parents leave or return to the nest. They have heaps of signs warning motorist and we can only imagine how crazy the place gets when parents are returning from the sea headed towards hungry chicks. They’ve tried to make it safer with fencing and little ramps that the penguins would use to cross the fences.
After the bird area, we headed for the neck/isthmus and boy was the wind something out there. We were riding along the shore with absolutely no vegetation. We got the full force of the westerly winds. The wind was trying to blow us off the road to the left, at least not out into traffic. It was tough riding where we both had to really lean to the right to counterbalance the gusts. We were both pretty happy to get off the neck and into the lee of the southern part of Bruny.
The next stop we made was obligatory, at the Bruny Island Chocolate Company. I sent Nancy in because she is more qualified than me when it comes to chocolate. She did well as we are now set for our stay here with chocolate. For the record however, I don’t think that any cocoa beans are grown at this latitude so there may be a stretch calling the chocolate local.
Adventure Bay is on the western side of the southern part of Bruny Island. The views out along the coast road here are spectacular. We had to make a lot of photo stops in this section but it wasn’t all my fault as Nancy had her camera snapping as much as I did. We’ll be out on that road a few more times this week – it could feature in coming posts.
Eventually we made it to the Adventure Bay store where we did a supply shop for our four days here on the island. We found everything we needed in a surprisingly well stocked store 40k down an island only accessible by a ferry. In addition to staples, we also picked up some local smoked salmon. This brought our local Bruny purchases to beer, chocolate, cheese, salmon, bacon, granola, cherries and bread (if you count the homemade bread at our AirB&B). Farm to table works on Bruny Island.
The last 4k from the store to our AirB&B was mostly gravel and off into the woods above Adventure Bay. We followed the excellent route notes and found our little cabin in the woods without having to check the phone once. We don’t have internet here but that’s ok, we can go back to the store for access and it’s now time for more off-grid relaxing. We have plenty of food and drink. Lots of things to read and Nancy’s planned a number of outings. We’ll report back when we find reportable events – stay tuned.