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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Black Wattle Bay - Four Mile Beach (aka....trapped)

We arrived early evening to our final Tasmanian destination. A remote house about 27km south of St Helens on Tasmania’s eastern coast. The owners sent us a map that caused a small marital clash in its interpretation. Later, we were a little appeased after reading some of the comments left by other guests reviews and agree that a better hand drawn map would certainly be appreciated by future guests.

It was starting to get dark and we decided not to shop on the way up. The shops were closed in any case and what will become important later is that bottle shops were open. All agreed we would go shopping for supplies the following morning and combine it with some adventures. We arrived at the secluded house and the key was not in the specified electricity box. We looked everywhere but to no avail. We also had no phone/internet reception so could not call the owners. 

One the way up the hill we had passed one house on the unsealed road. As we passed on it on the way down (searching for a mobile connection) the owner was standing at his front door. We hesitated as there was also a dog viciously barking and a wrong turn had us discover a creepy house with rusted caravans, cars and junk in the yard. But I eventually demanded Ron to get out of the car and talk to him. I was driving and breaking on a steep unsealed road - well that’s my excuse for not getting out of the car. After a short chat, we determined that he is somewhat of a care-taker and had a code to release the key from a special lock.

Finally we got into the house and had a late and quick dinner of a boiled egg each thinking about the nice local foods and places we would go the following morning.

It rained heavily most of the night and was still raining heavily and blowing a gale the next morning. But we took it easy and cooked some pancakes using up the last of our supplies  - proud of resourcefulness!

Finally it seemed like the clouds were clearing
In the end we decided brave the weather and all got in the car with an extensive shopping list. Down the hill we went in low gear to negotiate the steep downhill curves of the slippery unsealed road - very unsealed and wet road. We arrived at the small river crossing and saw this…..

What happened to the road?
Needless to say we decided not to risk the crossing and being swept away. So we did our 18 point turn and headed back up the hill and stopped in a slightly flat section of road about 20m from the “care takers” house. We knocked and asked for any alternative routes. He told is that there was a fire track further up the road but he did say it was pretty rough. If fact he looked sceptical about the "Silver Surfer" (our trusty car) being able to make it. We decided to check it out but missed the track on our first drive by and then “borrowed” some fire wood from some other neighbours stack. 

The start and best part of the fire track
We did not take the alternate route as if the end of the road (before it met the main road) was rough then we had no chance as the beginning of the road was somewhat hard pressed to be called a road. Ron was shocked that it could even be called a road. So it was back to the house to develop some interpretations of porridge and rice to hold us out for the next 20 hours or so. And we had NO beer or wine…after passing only 20 bottle shops en-route the night before.

Once the rain cleared the orchestra started up
About an hour later as we got a fire started for atmosphere and drying some washing the care-taker drove up the path. In fact we heard and saw him coming from about 300m, that gives you a feeling about the remote nature of the place. He had made a rustic home made bread and brought some supplies as he felt bad about not warning us that the road could be blocked (happens a few times a year) after heavy rain. He is apparently in charge of making sure there is firewood, which there was none to be found. It is “summer” here in Tasmania he exclaimed!

The waters receded but not enough to cross

Our day included a game of scrabble, some home schooling and working on downloading photos from my android phone to Mac. Finally about 4.30pm it started to clear up and we could finally see the lovely view. There was even a rainbow. So we went for a walk to check out the creek crossing - much reduced but still moving rapidly. Too risky for the trusty “Silver Surfer” that we want to give back to my brother in law in one piece. But we were serenaded by cicadas and the forest smelt divine of eucalyptus. So although not the day we had planned it was a wonderful day and we have slightly smoky smelling clean washing to remind us over the next days of the day we were trapped at home by mother nature.

And when it was sunny it was beautiful

A room with a view