The Spirit of Tasmania rocked side to side and forward to back in the 9 foot swells of the Tasman Sea. I could hear loud booms in the distance as rogue waves hit the bow forcefully. I made myself concentrate harder on the show I had playing on my laptop to take my mind off my queasy stomach, but with only 24% battery life remaining and no outlet, I knew I was in for a long night. Tom had left to walk the decks and get some fresh air. At 4% I closed my MacBook and risked walking around to find him.
Pale faced and sea sick he haunted the empty midnight halls to a cacophony of blaring TVs in various lobbies and seating areas. It took some coaxing, but I convinced him to lay down on the long galley-style cushioned benches and focus on his breathing. Staggering back down the long hall and up the stairs, being swept right and then left with every second step, I retrieved our belongings from our assigned “Ocean Recliner” seats at the stern of the boat and joined him, head to head, to wait out the rest of the 11 hour ride from Melbourne to Devonport, Tasmania.
I woke just before 6am to my first sighting of Tasmania, the wild land of my childhood fantasies and Warner Brother cartoons. The harbor at Devonport was basked in sunrise; a beautiful shimmering orange globe hung low in the eastern sky, surrounded by shades of blue, grey and wispy clouds.
I barely kept my eyes open as we disembarked 45 minutes later and made our way through Tasmanian Quarantine in the Holden Ute we had borrowed from Tom’s dad. Setting the GPS, I promptly fell asleep and let Tom drive us to the northwest corner of Tasmania, just past Wynyard, to the dairy farm we had been invited to visit through Couchsurfing.
We arrived by 8:30am, but I was too exhausted and still queasy to have been very lucid during the conversations that took place with the generous proprietors, Sue and Max, and I’m still unsure what was dream, and what was real.
After a long morning nap, we woke to brilliant sunshine and rolling green fields and woods surrounding the little blue house we found ourselves guests in. We took a long walk along the river and up and down hills through various paddocks until we met Jo, a high school English and drama teacher who dreamt of being an actress in her younger years. These days she enjoyed spending her time with the ‘ladies’, bringing them in from the fields to get milked. It was a long slow walk behind those 450 lady-cows, and she passed the time by reading while strolling along, lovingly patting and coaxing her friends to continue on their way.