Sunday, March 13, 2011

The devil you know…

devilsbiteSo here we are in Tasmania the island state of Australia down and to the right of the main land mass. Sara and I survived another marathon travel day of something like 30 some hours from doorstep to doorstep. it might be more, but my jetlagged brain is being used for more important tasks than math right now – like equilibrium.

We finally got into Hobart Tasmania around 6pm local time which is precisely god knows what time or day back home. Our goal when we get overseas and the time change is twelve hours or more is to try and stay up past 8pm local time before we pass out. Well we accomplished this - this time and right now I am not feeling too bad. We start working in schools tomorrow – we came in a day early in order to acclimate but then, lucky for us, Monday is a a bank holiday – the Aussie equivalent of labor (Spelled labour here) day so we get an extra day to get our heads straight and I think we’re gonna be fine.

We wandered around the artsy section of town grabbing  a cup of coffee then walked around the wharf where we came across the Bob Barker – a big black ship with a skull and crossbones theme. I couldn’t guess why the Price is Right host might have such an intimidating vessel named after him in the Hobart Tasmania port so I assumed it was some other bloke.

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Well, as it turned out the boat was named after the US Bob Barker – mainly because he paid for it. The Bob Barker is operated by Sea Shepherd – a group of environmental activists who use the ship to basically harass the living hell out of Japanese whalers hunting illegally in the protected Antarctic. barker had heard of their missions and being the animal loving dude that he is, donated six million dollars to the organization resulting in this boat, a helicopter and enough fuel to completely screw up this year’s whale hunt.  Sara and I toured the ship which had just returned from a successful three month stint.

As often happens on our excursions across the globe this was a bit of serendipity as was our walking into the tourist information and booking center a couple blocks away from the ship. We saw that a shuttle to a wildlife rehabilitation and refuge center was leaving in approximately thirty seconds. We quickly bought tickets and jumped into the van and were speeding at breakneck speeds across a bumpy Tasmanian road.

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At the Bonorong Wildlife Park we really got up close and personal with the wildlife. My past experiences with Tasmanian devils at other zoos was to see a sleeping pile of fur with its back turned to me. But here the little buggers were running around, chewing on bits of wallaby and sniffing the air in agitation. Seems the females were in heat and the males were rather bothered by that. We also got to get right up to and pet some koalas and, were jostled by kangaroos in search of the kangaroo chow we were provided with at the entrance of the park.

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After this we went back to the room and did a quick internet search for a place to grab dinner which resulted in a half mile walk and a wonderful lamb curry that rivaled any I have had up to this point. So – so far so good – Tasmania is treating us well and I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

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As you can see this kangaroo is checking to see  what Sara has in her pouch.

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