THE OUTBACK AND SO FORTH – Sunday, 8 April

The Wineglass Bay tour boat will pick us up at 9:45. The day is overcast. The sea is glassy. A smart-looking catamaran docks and we board. A party of eleven, possibly celebrating something, gets the top deck all to itself. Our trip will take us around the Freycinet Peninsula, stopping for lunch in Wineglass Bay. The garrulous guide points out seals and blowholes and rocky islets as we motor south. The coast feels like Maine under this burden of clouds. As we approach Little Lemon Island a pod of dolphins takes to swimming with (under) the boat, sort of playing peek-a-boo. This is glorious, but being buffeted by the wind in the bow is bone-chilling so we reluctantly retreat.

Wineglass Bay opens like a fan into a splendid, sheltered lagoon, at its head an arcing, unpopulated white sand beach that’s considered one of the best in the world. The boat anchors and we nosh on bento boxes of snack-ish food. The galley serves a different (and inferior) brand of ginger beer than the Bundaberg we’ve become accustomed to. Although Wineglass Bay does resemble a goblet, it got its name in the 19thcentury from the wholesale and bloody massacre of whales. The entire bay would turn crimson, like claret. We head back the way we came, which promotes the notion of napping.

Somehow, we get shunted onto a different route back to Hobart than the one we took north. We’re the only car among sheep. When motoring in New Zealand with Jocelyn, the other daughter, honking at herds of sheep was a game we never tired of. The herd would turn as one and bound away. Ali does not find the sonic manipulation of farm animals to be a pastime worthy of our energies. The countryside passes mellow and empty. Our entry into Hobart is accomplished with ease and even aplomb. We return to the Henry Jones Art Hotel for one last night. This time we each get duplexes in the new section of the hotel. This time, the design displays an ignorance of nocturnal needs. The beds are above and the baths below. I think Henry ought to stick to making marmalade.

I made a reservation at the restaurant Templo several months ago. It rated highly in a couple guidebooks and sounded like the ideal place to spend our last night in Tassie. The food is truly wonderful. You can order a la carte if you want to, but their custom is a five-course tasting menu. We are seated family-style around a large round table, with five other couples. There are a handful of smaller tables. Once the meal begins, we relax into the experience and the awkwardness of the common table subsides, though no crosstalk occurs.

 

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