Part five: Hobart, Tasmania

We were asked by people not to tell anyone that Tasmania is nice, so we will not. Please don’t read any further.

We are getting used to the fact that for some reason on this trip the instruments are playing more practical jokes on us than usual. Two more issues surfaced today, providing for a long work day on the airplane. Still, the determined crew wanted to see the island and was able to finish what had to be done in daylight, leaving a couple of hours for exploration.

Surf on the Seven Mile Beach
Surf on the Seven Mile Beach

We visited the Seven Mile Beach, located within minutes of the airport and our hotel. The endless beach, whose end hides in the haze of the salt spray from the breaking waves, certainly lives to its name. The slow surf was amazing: its character must be related to the shape of the shoreline but the waves didn’t come in at an angle as they usually do on beaches, rolling along as the crest of the wave reaches the shore. Instead, the surf would splash quietly three or four times, building up the strength, and then a wave would form along some 1,000 foot length of the shore and then come crashing down on the sand along the entire shore all at once, making a thunderous boom that came from both left and right with a very subtle delay, like a rolling stereo effect. The sound was a lot more powerful than I have ever heard from just a 1.5 foot surf, and it was very surprising and interesting.

The one Tasmanian Devil we did see
The one Tasmanian Devil we did see

Once the daylight faded and our camera cards filled with images we decided it was time to eat and look at Hobart itself. A 20-min drive takes yo across the beautiful bridge into the busy downtown area, where we parked and wandered around, looking at restaurants, buildings and cobblestone paved streets. All of a sudden we heard someone calling for us, and, turning, discovered three more people from our crew, who just have arrived to the same place by taxi, looking for food. What a coincidence! We discussed it and started off just to see the rest of our crew coming down the street with sandwiches for tomorrow’s flight. All 10 of us ended up on the same road, without making any prior arrangements! Now that is really quite a coincidence, makes you wonder if we are getting used to each other enough to even independently want to go to the same place. Of course it could also be that Hobart is not very large so we ran into each other, but it is not that small.

The enjoyable dinner, livened up by recollections from various past projects by veteran field researchers, ended our second day in Hobart. We will be leaving tomorrow for Darwin, Australia.

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