|Path to Montezuma Falls|
We stopped to have lunch at Strahan, a small, sleepy seaport on the west coast. As it is winter, most of the shops were closed. There is an operational sawmill in town and the town is also the terminus for the scenic steam locomotive from Queenstown. Forestry is big (it was bigger) in the area and the sawmill in Strahan is the only one that still works with Huon pine. Huon pine is a protected species and trees can no longer be cut down, but piners (lumberjacks who cut pine) still find logs sunken in the river from lumber operations before the turn of the century, when the river was once the highway used to float logs cut in the surrounding mountains down to the sawmills. Even though they've been underwater for decades, the wood is still usable. Huon pine was a good wood to use in ship building; strong, and with a high oil content making it virtually waterproof. I saw some furniture made of Huon pine at Port Arthur and in the museums. It has a brilliant natural golden color. The shop at the sawmill has beautiful, very expensive, bowls, tables, other objects and pieces of art made from the wood. You can even buy the pine shavings; the smell is great and it supposedly deters moths and other critters. As we were leaving we saw a rainbow….again. This one was so awesome we stopped the van to get a photo. A boat was crossing the bay coming into port and the rainbow was shining directly on it. It seemed to follow the boat across the lake. The colors were bright and vivid and it wasn’t even raining. Just lucky I guess.
We finished our day at Henty Dunes. These are large sand dunes, 30-40 meters high, extending 15-18 kilometers along the shoreline, and the birthplace of the “Jump Tours” name. They reminded me of the Indiana dunes or Sleeping Bear dunes of Michigan. The dry sand was quite a contrast from the rainforest we left only minutes away. The dunes are constantly changing and moving as wind, waves and vegetation mold the landscape. However there is one dune, the “Jump” dune which seems to retain its basic characteristics over time. The dune is about 15-20 feet high and has a wide flat top and somewhat vertical drop off or cliff, instead of looking like a bell shaped curve. “Jump Tours” took its’ because the owner went there one day with some mates and they decided to jump off the dunes. He thought jump tours sounded like a good name and the rest as they say is history. It was never said but jumping off a 20 foot high sand dune sounds like something where alcohol was involved. It has become a tradition of the tours ever since. Basically you run across the top of the dune, throw your feet in the air, and leap out over the edge, coming to a gentle landing in the soft sand below. It really isn’t dangerous and after the initial trepidation of the first jump becomes quite fun, except when you have to clean the sand out of your pants, hair and every crack, crevice and orifice of your body. Sand gets everywhere, but it is worth it; a good shower back at the lodge and your ready for the next days’ adventures. And yes there was a rainbow.
Now let me tell you about day 3……………..
When you travel, whether for work or because you’re on an around the world odyssey, you tend to miss things; your family, your friends, your Sunday workout, holidays, anniversaries and birthdays. I’d like to think that an around the world odyssey is a better reason than work to miss these events, but it doesn’t matter why you’re gone the result is the same; you’re not there to share the joy of the occasion with someone you love. Today/tomorrow (it depends what side of the world you’re on) July 21 is my daughter Emelia’s birthday and I want to wish her a happy birthday. So this is for you:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMELIA!
p.s. Saw some koalas today, but didn’t hold them. They were too high up, sleeping in eucalyptus trees.
Put another shrimp on the Barbie.