Since our travels started the end of November we have mainly been in Victoria. We had a brief jaunt over the border into South Australia in December. Mostly we’ve been hanging around Victoria since we knew we’d be off to Tasmania before long. It’s the only thing scheduled in our entire trip around Australia, the only thing we have set dates for. We were so excited to finally be on our way! We chose a night sail which left at 7:30pm. Boarding starts two and a half hours before sailing, and closes forty-five minutes before sailing. We made our way to the ship about 5:30pm for boarding. We were in the queue for a bit over an hour. We were all pretty excited and didn’t mind the wait. The kids got to play their iPads so they didn’t mind at all! TurboBug was asleep so we actually had a pretty quiet car while we waited. The kids had their backpacks packed with their clothes and other essentials. Quite the queue! This was quickest part of the whole process, once we got to this area it was a quick drive into the ship. We had to clear quarantine before boarding. No fresh fruits or veggies (among other things) can be brought into Tasmania. See the half-wall we were parked next to? We had a full wall on one side and a half-wall on the other. The half-wall was only in our lane, and only toward the front where we were parked. See how the floor looks corrugated? I’m not sure what this spot is used for but it made getting to and from our van a bit more complicated. The space between the van and the wall was tight, and even tighter next to some of the vans in front of us. When we returned to our van the next morning I was carrying TurboBug in our Ergo plus carrying a couple of bags in my hands. I could not fit through! Sean had to take the kids to the van and then come back and help me. When we appeared past the end of the van there was a couple in the next car that had puzzled looks on their faces, wondering why he had gone back the other way! It all made sense once they saw me with TurboBug being carried on my front. We had to duck under tow mirrors too. You can see our mirrors are folded in toward the car but not everyone remembered to do that. Because there are six of us we had to get two cabins. Our rooms were side-by-side on deck eight. Each of ours had two sets of bunks plus a toilet and shower. It was nice to have a place to dump our belongings. It was a bit strange to have to pack up our toiletries and such for the night as we are used to having it all in one spot in our caravan. I felt quite disorganised as we don’t have all the usual travel necessities you’d have with you for a holiday. Then we were off to explore the ship and have a look at the view! This is the West Gate Bridge which we came across after spending the day at Scienceworks. The Melbourne skyline! It was quite cloudy that day and we even had some rain while we were on the ship. Can you see the big wheel off to the left? It’s a bit hard to make out, but that’s the Melbourne Star, on my list of things to do in Melbourne at some point. The ship had restaurants, bars, shop, game rooms (adults and kids), and a tourism office. I came out of there with a huge stack of brochures on Tasmania. There are two ships that carry passengers back and forth from Tasmania. We’ll see if we get the other ship on the way back! I’m told that when the ship leaves at 7:30 as ours did that there is only one sail that day. Much of the year there is a morning sail and a night sail. We came back up on deck after dark to see what we could see as the ship left Port Phillip and headed for open ocean. Being dark we of course couldn’t see much but we could make out the Port Lonsdale lighthouse that we had visited the week before. We could really tell a difference in the rocking of the ship after we left the bay. We wobbled our way back to our cabins for some sleep.
I shared a room with a little girl who was soooo excited to sleep on the top bunk! She has never slept on the top before and for once didn’t have to fight her brothers for it. Can you see the railing in the picture? The one hiding under the sheet? Yeah, not much of a railing. I did not sleep well, worrying that she was going to fall off. There was one time I even got out of bed to check on her because I could hear her moving around a bit. Next time I may move one of the empty mattresses onto the floor next to her bed for a little cushioning and peace of mind for me! And sleep she did! She has never coped well with being woken up, even as a toddler. This morning was not any different. Sigh. But once we left the room and started making our way back to the car she was okay. We had to be to our cars by 5:30am, and they woke us up with an announcement at 4:45am! That strange spot we were in with the half-wall was the first part of the ship to deport! We were maybe third or fourth off the ship. As were leaving I noticed the car next to us didn’t have a driver yet. Wonder if they made it there by the time their lane was unloading? Sean’s uncle later told us about a time they were waiting to get off the ship and the guy at the front of their lane had a dead battery. Ooops! Sunrise in Tasmania! Complete with sunrays. Not that anyone saw it…. Our first stop was Launceston. Such a pretty view as you come into town. We stopped for some groceries (where we learned Tasmania doesn’t do plastic bags!) and then made our way to Longford to meet up with Sean’s aunt and uncle. We’ll have five weeks in Tasmania. None of us have been here before. We are really looking forward to exploring this part of Australia. In some ways it feels as though we are just starting our ‘one-year trip’ (as the kids have dubbed it). I’ve seen so many beautiful pictures of Tassie and can’t wait to see some of these places for myself.