Crossing To Tasmania. At Last.

It’s overcast this March morning, on our Travel Australia, leaving the Lang Lang Caravan Park. We’ve packed up our little Nissan Urvan campervan and with trailer firmly attached, we’re heading for Port Melbourne where the ship taking us to Tasmania is waiting. The weather system that had brought the wind sweeping across the plains has passed and blue skies are predicted for this afternoon.

It’s normal for the drive from the eastern end of Victoria towards Melbourne to be buffered by headwinds. Weather systems originating around the continent of Antarctica move eastwards, highs, lows and capricious cold fronts, they move across the plains of Victoria and the 300 kilometres of this flat country offer little resistance.

We minimized our exposure by finding protected areas to camp and staying put twice, for two days spending the time reading, writing and simply listening to the sounds of the wind rushing through the trees and whistling around buildings. This diapause was no burden, no inconvenience, this was an opportunity to cease movement to revel in the experience, the joy of holing up, snug and safe, warm and comfortable while all around was in turmoil. These are memorable times.

We’ve developed a renewed interest in the weather, given the notoriety of Bass Strait and the hazards of negotiating its relatively shallow waters. Strong storms can blow up fairly quickly and there is nothing much between Antarctica and Tasmania. We’ve heard stories of crossings one would prefer to avoid. (If it got too bad, Julie suggested, I should buy a Viagra so I won’t roll off the bunk.) To keep costs to the minimum we opted for sharing all-male, all-female 4-berth cabins, so I figure I’ll give her advice a miss, assuming they put me in an all-male cabin.

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