Circumnavigation of Maria Island

Jeff in the double

Toby asked to take some video so now at least you can see the back of the headof the person taking all these pictures. I also got to appreciate all the hard work that Toby had done in paddling while I was video taping the trip.

Looking out of a sea cave

There were more caves in the limestone, some were quite large. This one was relatively low but wide. Ian hovered at the entrance but seemed reluctant to enter. From inside the cave we could look NEast towards Schouten Island and Freycinet Peninsular.

Laurie inside the sea cave

The light from the morning sun illuminated deep into the cave. This light created an emerald green sea rising and falling against the purple lichen growing on the cave walls.

Fossil Bay, Maria Island

Proceeding further near Fossil Bay, the cliffs consisted of horizontal strata. Here again we found blow holes working quite vigorously even in the calm conditions.

Toby approaching Darlington, Maria Is.

After rounding Cape Boullanger and paddling under the Darlington jetty, we headed for our lunch spot and the opportunity to stretch our legs. Tourists arriving on the catamaran, cast an inquisitive glance at our party.

Lunch at Darlington

Outside the convict built Commissariat store we munched on our biscuits, cheese and salami. While the others layed back for a rest I decided to wander around the ruins.

View of Darlington Bay

Up above the old granary you could get a good view over the whole settlement and Darlington Bay. From this point Diego Bernacchi would have had a panoramic view from his house in the 1880's

Penitentiary, Maria Is.

To the south lay the restored penitentiary, Coffee Palace and Rangers house. The penitentiary is now tourist accomodation. In the convict days the Irish exile Smith O'Brien served his time here in 1849. An attempt to escape was foiled when his boat became entangled in kelp.

Maori graves, Maria Is.

In 1846 five Maori chiefs were imprisoned on the island. One of the chiefs, Hohepa te Umuroa, died of consumption while in prison. His grave can be seen above the harbour but the chiefs remains were returned to New Zealand over 150 years after his death.

Painted cliffs, Maria Is.

After leaving Darlington for Rheban Beach we cruised close into the bright sandstone cliffs near Hopground Beach. In the afternoon sun it is easy to see how they were named the "Painted Cliffs"

Sailing back, Maria Is.

A nice sea breeze had started up and it was a leisurely way to finish off the circumnavigation of the island. Sitting back, allowing the wind to carry us gently back to our starting place. Behind us Maria Island receded into the distance.

Landing, Rheban Beach

Carrying our kayaks up the beach to the car, we wondered whether we would have the same calm conditions on our next trip, down the notorious West coast of Tasmania.

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