A Bass Strait Crossing 2001

The next day we crossed to Deal Island, arriving in the small Bay below the caretakers houses. Deal Island is now a Tasmanian national Park. A small jetty in the bay allows the unloading of supplies and people.

We were invited in to have morning tea and were suprised to met up with all of the NSW paddlers. There had been a bit of a crisis. Wendy had slipped over and hurt her coccix on the walk between Winter Cove and the caretakers house some days ago. After a few attempts at paddling she realized that continuing the journey was impossible. Wendy had arranged to be flown off the island and was deeply disappointed not to finish the journey.

It was quite a crowd of well wishers that walked to the airstrip, to wait for the light plane that would take Wendy back to Tidal River. Unfortunately the evacuation wasn't considered a medical emergency so Wendy would have to pay for the plane.

The airstrip on Deal Island is quite amazing. Weny's first comments as the small plane buzzed the Kangaroos on the strip before landing was "I've got to go up in that!" The plane taxied downhill out of sight before turning to reappear as it headed into the wind and took off. National Parks have now stopped using the airstrip beacause of the risks involved and insurance. A fairly typical bureaucratic response . The airstrip had been used for years.

The rest of us returned to the house and then walked the track up to the lighthouse, a distance of a few kilometers. The lighthouse is no longer in service, partly because of the lack of need with modern technology but also because not long after it was commisioned it was found that the Deal Is light was often obscured by cloud. A separate light was built on nearby NE Isle.

The caretaker had kindly lent us the key to get into the lighthouse but warned us that iron stairway and outside railing were in bad repair. We climbed up to the outside landing and had a great 360° view over the nearby islands.

After returning to the caretakers house, we visited the small museum that is house in an old keepers house. Inside were many interesting artefacts and photos such as this one showing how the lighthouse looked at the turn of the century when there were 3 light keepers and their families on the island.

On the next day we walked to the northern end of Erith Island , to Wallibi Cove. Here Jamie and others went diving for crays and fish. I wandered around the cliff faces on the NW side of the island and examined the interesting rock formations. From here you could get a good view looking back to Deal and Dover islands.

Braving the rather cool waters was rewarded yet again, Jamie catching a creayfish . Between them we ended up with a good feed of fish for our last night on Erith Island. The NSW paddlers left to paddle around to Winter Cove on the eastern side of Deal Island. This shortened the next leg of the journey to Flinders Island by about 8km.

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