Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cape Huay, Tasman National Park

(6/26/11) We spent today day scuba diving in the clear but frigid (12c) waters on the Tasman Peninsula, swimming among swaying kelp forests and through narrow caves between glistening purple rocks. That night we watched for tiny Fairy Penguins returning to their beach-side burrows at sunset. Alas, they must be shy because we saw not a one, just stunning stars wheeling through the gathering darkness. Eventually, the chill winter breeze eroded our resolve and we hobbled back to the car to warm our stiff limbs. While driving back to Port Arthur, however, I saw a Tasmanian devil prowling the bush, and we saw numerous wallabies and paddymelons. The next day we hiked along 1000' sea cliffs to the tip of Cape Huay.  While the sky's threats never materialized, the severely stunted vegetation suggested that the peninsula's typical weather might be horrific. The scenery was simply stunning!
The surreal patterns of the Tessellated Pavement stem from fractures due to  expansion from repeated salt crystalization.

One of the many stunning arches along the coast

Adam, Galen and Luca hiking out towards Cape Huay.

The basalt hcliffs are over 1000' tall
Some of the sea stack formations are incredible!  The small pillar crossing the horizon on the right side of this picture is a sheer column - see the next photo for a better vantage.

This 350' free-standing pillar is called the Totem Pole and lead to an epic first ascent, when the climber fell and was badly injured.

Galen enjoys the ambiance. 

The delicate flowers contrast with the rugged environment.

This 50 lb Bluefin Tuna will feed a large family.

Windswept forest on a nearby beach

Pied Oyster Catcher

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