Day 4 - Wednesday 12 November 2008

My body is stiff after 10 hours sleeping. Itís overcast today, very mild, and thereís barely a breeze. Itís still apart from the hum of bumblebees around the house and birds tweaking and flirting in and out of the button grass that is barely moving in the faint breeze. The sun is trying to poke through thick clouds on the horizon with a small strip of bright sunlight. The colours of the island and surrounds are dulled by mutations of the low-lying, flat mid-grey clouds. There are silvers and greys in many tones on the ocean and small but brilliant slither of light from the sun.

Breakfast is followed by a couple of trips back and forth taking photos out the front of Q3, cleaning teeth, etc., then off to finish extracting the arum lily back down in the middle of the bracken just underneath Q2. This task takes us until morning tea as there are literally hundreds of tiny little seedlings to dig out of the soil. The main hole we are digging in gets bigger as we get dirtier.

Morning tea saves us from more filth; we eat biscuits and drink tea before we are off to Q1 to pull out a gnarly blackberry bush that takes five of us about an hour to do. Then its lunch, so itís back to Q3 with bags of weeds in hand for another island style lunch.

After lunch the real fun part of the day begins as we take off for a walk out to view the Monkeys on the southern edge of the island. We head off past the weather station towards the middle of the western end of the island where a new view for me of the cliff faces greets us all.

We walk through waste deep scrub to get there before arriving upon the cliff edge and the vast sea and sky, but this time Cape Raoul and Port Arthur beyond are in clear view as well as the southern part of Bruny Island and Tasmania. Itís a totally different mood of the island, again. For some strange reason I am underwhelmed. Perhaps the island is starting to feel familiar even though this is a new experience for me.

The weather is overcast, but the clouds are high, visibility is good and there is virtually no wind. I feel incredibly lucky to be at this place, on this island where few have trodden, and here I am free to roam and explore it delights. After reaching the western edge we turn left and head south towards the Monkeys and each and every turn around the edge that we make delivers new visual spectacles.

The Monkeys come into view and is yet another spectacular sight to behold. The vantage point we are standing in sits way above them and the perspective is highly obtuse. The next turn around the islands edge provides us with yet another stunning section of cliff jutting out producing the most amazing complex visual delights.

We reach the most southerly point of the island and stop to take a few moments to look out over the vastness of sea. Chris and I then venture northward but now on the eastern edge of the island, we round the corner to a stunning view looking back towards the lighthouse and the eastern cliff faces. (What do I think of this place? How do I feel? I see this subdued light; I am with very friendly people that I barely know, but they are all very genuine. I feel the wind, we are eating great food and there is lots of it. I get dirty. I feel lucky. I hear stories. I see glimpses of great cliffs dropping away. I see and am enveloped in the long grass. I feel scared, strong, capable, shy, tired, I listen, I hesitate, I ask, I wait, I dream and I day-dream, I sing songs in my head, all sorts of songs. I hum and whistle. I remind myself to look around at what is surrounding me. I use my camera to draw, to map out the landscape, to capture and keep a record of what I am seeing. I also use it to record areas that I canít see below or above a cliff face that I canít see but can stretch over with my arms to take a photo with. I take multiple images of the one view. I use the panorama. I am seduced by the greens and greys, with patches of whites and yellows. Red brick and light blue skies. I recall the wind, the mist and haze blurring the boundaries of everything, covering the horizon and melding the sea and sky into one endless incomprehensible space. Space that is often blocked or covered by gargantuan rocks, cliffs, and fields of grassy plains.) I love this place.

Chris and I continue eastwards until we are unable to move anymore due to being blocked by scrubs and cliffs. We turn around and head back the way we came along the western edge of the island. Half way through out backtrack along the edge we turn inland, towards the eastern edge of the island again. We reach the point that I got to on Monday and traverse over the eastern cliff edge back to the lighthouse, but this time Chris, John, Alena and I climb down to one of the lower platforms that has many sections of large rocks that have fallen onto their side and settled amongst long thin soft deep green grasses. We are in a sort of amphitheatre of massive rock, grass, sea and sky. This section of island is quite amazing and we spend considerable time exploring before back up we go and along about another 100 yards or so before we find another section to climb down where Chris, John and I commence a more difficult navigation across over a number of Shearwater nests (mutton bird) and above areas of sharp declines of long button grass and slippery pigface. The view up and down is awesome. It takes us about half an hour of traversing the steep shelf of the island before emerging nearby the front of Q3.

Once we are back on the flat top of the island we fix some guttering on the oil store then have dinner, a really nice meal of tuna asparagus bake made by Mike. Itís incredibly windy tonight. I block up my windows with anything that will stop the rattling, it takes a while of fiddling around, and then even longer to get settled and off to sleep. A big and grand day was had again.