The mind boggles, deep time

Questions questions, so many questions, in fact, so many answers to questions yesterday which is why I feel like there are so many questions today.

I wake as the sun rises. I check the temperature and its -1.5, but feels like about -5. Ian brings out a geological map of Tasmania and we talk some more. I pull out my small road map of Tasmania and he tells me about a few other geologically significant places to visit in the NW as well as in detail, many places along the few roads heading south down towards Queenstown, both the coast and inland roads. He leaves me the beautifully coloured map which I blu tack to the wall near where my computer is set up and he departs for the drive back to Hobart. I have very much enjoyed Ianís company. He is incredibly knowledgeable, very approachable and really knows his stuff, with a great way of describing it to make one feel very at ease, almost as if his scientific objective is really enjoying my subjective interpretations of our conversations.

Native flora To good to be true... Layer upon layer, amazing stuff! A landscape of contrasts

Silence sinks in to the shack again. I ponder what to do. I donít think I could bear another day in the car so I decide upon a day of exploring around Rocky Cape. I leave the shack and walk down the white sandy gravel road towards North Cave and Cave Bay. Itís a short 20-minute walk on the tree-lined road. The sky is blue and itís very mild. The rock formations around the cave and the bay are quite amazing. All of the rock juts out of the earth at 45 degrees. They are mostly light grey in colour with bright orange algae near the coastline. I do some rock hopping up to higher sections along the rocks. But I soon realise that it will be quite a climb to continue my way around and I donít really know how accessible it is. I climb back onto the beach and up again to the lookout adjacent North Cave and peer in from the distance. North cave is a gap in the rock about 60 feet above sea level strangely appearing out of the cliff face rocks at 45-degree angles.

It makes me think about the image Ian showed the students of glaciers on the south island of New Zealand which he said was what most of Tasmania would have looked like about 20,000 years ago. I think about Aboriginal inhabitancy of Tasmania aged at around 40,000 years. North Cave, I read, is a place of significance for the local Aboriginal community and would have been inhabited sometime within this period of deep time. But then I think about conversations with Ian about hundredís of millions of years of deep time, so my mind boggles at the abstract nature of what I am considering and I struggle to comprehend this. Ian also told me that this sort of thinking is even way beyond him so I donít feel like I need to understand, but thinking about Aboriginal inhabitancy seems a little more digestible in the context of what Iím looking at and trying to comprehend when thinking about of geo history of the area.

I think also what Ian said about Bass Strait only less than 20,000 years ago and how it would have been connected to mainland Australia. When talking about millions of years of geo formations, 20,000 doesnít really sound like a very long time. Or does it. Argh I must stop thinking about this. Still so many questions, but like being on the north west coast, I canít visit every place and I canít fully understand them either. At least my mind is racing.