2020 Aus Around Portland
The busy westerly wind we had been promised that brought about our respite in Portland arrived as we set off one morning for a good look around Portland. The poor wallaby in the water beside Zoonie must have been a victim of the recent rains and the two classic crayfish boats were as restless in the water as Zoonie, constantly being jostled by the disturbed water. Despite the size of the harbour and the generous distance from the harbour mouth many of the moored vessels had doubled up on their lines in case chafe caused breakages and set them free. Just infront of us was one such fishing tinny, a small aluminium boat belonging to Mark.
Very shortly after we arrived a fisherman came along the jetty, tapped on our hull, “Would you two like to come to dinner tomorrow evening?” Mark didn’t even know our names at that stage and when he came to collect us he said, “I do this whenever there’s a new yacht in the marina, Sandra’s quite used to it,” and so started a lovely evening looking at their family history of cray-fishing; see the size of the monsters from the one on the wall to the pictures of Sandra’s relatives from the past at work from here right down to the north west coast of Tasmania. There is a strict, re-enforced quota on them now and most of the locals were reaching theirs for the season. We walked the short distance back to Zoonie from their home, which Mark bought on a whim from an elderly lady who hadn’t done any modernising on it since she moved in. Sandra got her own back and had it gutted and refitted to her taste. The work was almost done when we visited.
Back to the walk out of the marina heading east along a coastal path which goes for many more miles than we would have time for. Sand from the harbour mouth is pumped along a big black pipeline to the point where it is shot up and out into the bay well away from where the big ships transporting wood and wood chip to China just to bring it back as pulp (!) need their deep channel. There is also a big fertiliser plant that is being phased out and a gypsum works all of which combine to make it a busy port with lots of ship movements, (for me to watch!)
We came to a fenced off area beyond which we were told on a notice that it was dangerous to walk because of falling cliff face on one side and the risk of dangerous waves breaking over the rocks to the right. As the tide was low and the waves only just reaching the rocks let alone breaking over them we proceeded with caution and only left the low path where a single family were enjoying a swim beside some wooden steps that led up to an area of sizeable detached houses with expansive sea views. There was an old water tower that was used in the Second World War as a lookout tower watching for enemy planes, such as the Japanese ones that attacked Darwin and Whalers Bluff Lighthouse lovingly moved stone by stone to where it sits today. A leisurely stroll back down along the track of the old tram that runs regularly and daily from the far end of town right up to the bluff brought us to the pub called Mac’s for a refreshing beer and soaking up of the history within its walls. I loved the wooden tan-sailed boat suspended in full flight over the bar and the tale of how the survivors of the Admella wreck were brought here to be cared for. Not a stranger to these waters, the Admella was so named because it traded between ADelaide, MELbourne and Launceston; the sea is not particular who it claims.
The contrast between the wrought ironwork of Mac’s and the classical style of the old Post Office, now The Clock on the Bay Restaurant where we dined well one evening, suggested an affluent and worldly view when it came to choosing architectural style for the town buildings.
So that was the east and central town explored which left the western end for another day. As it turned out we had arrived in time to share in the Australia Day weekend commemorations not the least of which was the fishing competition that ran from very early in the morning, as you can see from the queue of tinnies being launched at dawn in the picture, throughout the weekend.