Well don’t say you didn’t get up to the moment reports. We’re just entering the Derwent River, cruising past Bruny Island, which looks wild and rugged.
Nature has turned it on for the final stage of the trip. Cookie banged on the door last night and said there was an aurora Australis happening (the southern lights, not the ship) so I dragged my warm weather gear back out of the bag and scrambled up on deck. Darkness! Stars! And a thick sea fog low down. The top of the fog was glowing with the edges of an aurora. You’d think the winterers would have seen enough auroras for a lifetime, but a bunch of them came out on deck with glow sticks and capered around making their own auroras. The air felt deliciously moist and the darkness was like a blanket. It may not have been a spectacular aurora, but even to glimpse the edge of one was a treat.
Woke early this morning and jumped up to look out the porthole. Land ahoy! When I got up on the helideck I found it’s true – you really can smell the eucalyptus and it’s the most wonderful scent, makes you think of crushing a gum leaf in your hand. Cookie said the scent of rain and the feeling of moisture in his nostrils was incredible.
After breakfast I went back up to watch albatross circling around the ship and lots of brown birds – shearwaters I suppose. Managed a couple of photos of the albatross and Tui identified it as a shy one. That’s a species name, not a personality trait – apparently shy albatross nest near here.
And then – turned around to see a pod of whales giving us a tail-slapping, pectoral slapping welcome back home.
The mobile phones are coughing into life (or at least the Telstra ones – mine is still dead as a doornail), all our bags are packed, this incredible voyage is coming to an end. I feel very emotional standing up on the deck and seeing land again – and I’ve only been gone five weeks. It must be extraordinary for the winterers.
I’m not quite done with writing yet – you’ll be getting more updates over the next week or so – but next time I write I’ll be on land.
Thanks for coming along on the journey with me.
Love Jesse xxx