Saturday, October 06, 2007

Duck Hunting

At this time of year, it's not uncommon to see lots of baby ducklings around Wrest Point Casino.

Duck Crossing Sign at Wrest Point Casino

Alas, there' s not much happening there today, so I walk on around the Esplanade, past sailing clubs, shipwrights and chandlers....

Past the modest and little known Reserve dedicated to one of Hobart's most famous exports. Perhaps Hobartians are a little embarrassed about some of his exploits ...

To the Sandy Bay Rivulet, where water testers are hard at work.....

Testing the Water at Sandy Bay Rivulet - Chloe, Jess and Tamara

They assure me that this is one of the most polluted creeks in Hobart.

However, the ducks don't seem to mind. Look closely -double click - and you will see lots of baby ducklings. Not bad considering that this is almost the middle of a capital city.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What Drought?

Spring is supposedly here and the whole country is in drought, the worst in decades, including large parts of Tasmania except that is, for Hobart, where it rains every time I go out.
Between the showers though, I managed to have a lovely time at the market. I got some fabulous purple ranunculus and some Iceland poppies. Couldn't decide between the two so the stall holder gave me both at a discount. I was also given free shavings of coconut ice since they had run out of my favourite indulgence - and some organic apples.

*By the way, it is now scientifically proven that chocolate is an antidepressant, relieves pain and prevents mood swings (ABC News, 7 p.m. Tuesday, 2/10/07). When I told my son this exciting bit of news. He said, "What? And they needed scientists to prove that?

At home, our pear tree flowered like big wedding cake for a day or two before the blossom was blown around like confetti. The fierce winds also brought down a lot of trees and left five hundred homes without power.

Earlier in the week there was also an enormous fire in our major department store. It closed off the central city streets and much of the shopping district where a lot of shops suffered water damage and couldn't open for weeks. Despite this, there was almost a carnival atmosphere in the city. Strangers talked to each other and there was a sense of the city pulling together in misfortune. Too bad about the historic shop fronts though. I only photographed them a couple of months ago, and now they are gone.

Remains of main Myer building, Liverpool St.

Deserted entrance to Hobart's famous Cat and Fiddle Arcade where shops are closed due to water damage, loss of electricity or risk of falling debris

Exhausted Clean up Workers

Bright flower plantings in the city bring a bit of cheer
In other little known other news from around the globe, I am reliably informed by our man in Mongolia (Hi Ross!) that there's a touch of bubonic plague going around, carried by Marmots, the national barbecue dish. Just stay away from those Marmots and any other warm furry things.

Afternoon with Dick Smith

In my case a bit of Greenhouse Guilt has paid off. After my trips to Hokkaido and Mongolia last year I thought I should contribute a little to the "Save Recherche Bay" fund being promulgated by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC for short), which buys up land destined for logging to preserve it for future generations.

Recherche Bay has historic connections to Rear Admiral d' Entrecasteau's search for missing fellow Frenchman, La Perouse in 1792 and was probably the first bit of Tasmania ever stepped on by Europeans. The bay is named after his ship and many of the islands and channels and even the Huon River in this area, were named and charted by him.

I know there are many flaws with Carbon Offset Schemes - George Monbiot likens them to pissing over the side when when the ship is sinking, when we should be down in the engine room bailing (, but at least this is an established forest which is already sequestering carbon and one which we can see and visit.

The good news is that this forest is now secure thanks to a huge contribution by Australian entrepeneur, adventurer and now philanthropist, Dick Smith. He and wife Pip were guests of honour at the recent celebration to mark this event, to which we were also invited. It was good to see politicians of all persuasions there too, including Senator Bob Brown, Peg Putt from the Greens and State Labour Environment Minister, David Llewellyn. The state government contributed by waiving extensive stamp duties and formulating management plans.

If you want to know more or support the work of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, look up their website at

On the subject of air travel, there's a nice quote by Richard Branson on How to become a Millionaire. "Start with a billion and buy an airline."