SATURDAY 23 OCTOBER DEVONPORT
After a beautifully calm crossing, we fronted up for breakfast at 7am. It was light continental style, which greatly disappointed John, as he had been looking forward to bacon and eggs!
It was announced that, due to daylight saving, and “technical problems” we were late, and would not dock until 10.30am. It was every bit of that! We stood on deck and watched the Mersey River mouth come into view, and then our short passage up the river to the terminal. We watched the docking. These guys can park a big boat more accurately than I can park a car!
It was a day of blue sky and sunshine – lovely. Devonport was looking good. I had forgotten the magic glimpses of distant blue mountains to be had from around the town.
Our vehicle deck was the last unloaded – the penalty for being early on board on the Melbourne side. It was 11.30am before we were called to go down to our vehicle deck. I found a $10 note on the floor near our rig – a good omen for this segment of our trip, I hope.
As soon as we drove off, had to go through quarantine inspection, and I had to hand over some garlic that I’d overlooked.
We drove across the Mersey River bridge, then followed the river side road around to the Mersey Bluff, at the western side of the river entrance. We had camped at the caravan park here before, after walking the Overland Track in 1992, and remembered it as having a pleasant outlook, and with the Lighthouse as a backdrop.
The office at the Mersey Bluff Caravan Park was closed, and there were no notices about checking in procedure. Another coupling also wanting to check in tried phoning the Park number, but only got through to an answering machine. John walked around for a while, checking out sites and looking for someone in authority. No luck.
I phoned the Vacation Village in East Devonport and was told that an en-suite site (all they had) would be $90 for a week, which sounded good. At least there was a live body in charge there!
As we were turning the rig around, an old crone came down the hill from…..somewhere……and asked if she could help us, as she was the manager. We said no – that we were sick of waiting, having been here for at least half an hour, and we were going elsewhere.
So we retraced our way, back over the river to East Devonport to the Vacation Village – only a few blocks from where we’d disembarked from the ferry. Paid our $90 and set up on our site. This was pleasant, with some trees and bush about. Our bathroom was good. The park was not very busy. There was a rig next to us, and a vacant site on the other side.
After set up, and having some lunch, we drove back over the river, to the central shops, to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. We had brought none over with us, of course. We found Coles and Roelf Vos (local supermarket group) open, but the other shops had all shut at midday, including the newsagent, where I had intended to buy papers. Tasmania was definitely behind the times, as far as commerce goes!
I phoned my Aunt M and then we drove to visit her. Their unit is only a few blocks from the town centre. My Uncle T was at bowls. Another one! We talked for a couple of hours. She told us of a family meeting/reunion of my father’s family, at Rosevale, tomorrow. We arranged to go, too. We would drive ourselves, following them and my cousin B. His sister S would be there too, coming up from Hobart. By sheer luck, this has been a timely happening – I am interested in the family, of which I know not much, and this is a good chance to meet relatives.
We went back to the van for a while. Had not adjusted to daylight saving – it was actually 7.30pm when we went out looking for a fish and chip shop. We were lucky and found a good one down by the Victoria Bridge, not far away. It was almost closing time! Their fish and chips were excellent.