'The Spirit of Tasmania' - Thursday December 29

This morning we were up at 5:30am and with lots of shhhh shhhhh we managed to pack up the campervan and be on the road on the way to the 'Spirit of Tasmania' ferry terminal by just after 6:30am.  Melbourne traffic between Christmas and New Year was a picnic and we were pulling in at the Ferry terminal before 7am.

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The kids started to get really excited as the ferry came into view.  It is huge.  We were checked by quarantine people - they made us open up the car and campervan - but the search was pretty perfunctory.

In the lounge of the 'Spirit of Tasmania'
In the lounge of the 'Spirit of Tasmania'

We headed upstairs and claimed some seats in the lounge bar (planning to sit there together from 9am to 7pm).  The boys and Hannah toured the ship looking for better seats - but Cathie preferred to stay where we were.  That was fine until some singers started around 2pm making clear that they would be singing right the way through until we pulled up in Devenport.  We stayed for a while - and the singing was nice - but we couldn’t stand five hours of not being able to speak to each other - so we went off around the boat looking for somewhere new.

Interestingly the TV on board the ferry was screening the Northern Territory Impaga channel.  The ads were all Northern Territory - don’t be absent from school - don’t drink like an idiot etc.

We first tried the recliner lounges - but discovered that they were for people who had paid a premium.  We ended up on level ten in a not particularly satisfactory seating arrangement (all the better places had been taken).

I watched Phineas and Ferb (a movie the kids chose a week or so ago) on the iPad and read a commentary introduction on the Song of Songs.

We spent ages sitting in the car waiting to disembark and then an even longer time in a six lane queue waiting to get through Tasmanian Quarantine.  They are serious about not wanting fruit into the state.

We discovered that Tasmania was basically closed after 7pm and that our caravan park was a full 1.5 hour drive from Devenport.  This was a mistake as I was exhausted - having driven 11 hours yesterday - then risen at 5:30am.

On the drive we listened to Paul Dale’s talk on thinking wisely about how to use one’s tongue.  Each of us had things we were challenged about.

We rang ahead to the caravan park at Kelso Sands.  The lady was annoyed with us for not letting us know that we would be arriving late (we had told her 8pm) and the ferry only arrived at 7pm.  She advised us to buy milk in Beaconsfield.  But Beaconsfield was closed (both pubs were shut, the bottleshop was open but didn’t have milk).

In fact Tasmanians seem to go to bed remarkably early (culturally it’s different to the inner west of Sydney where one would be able to buy milk at 9pm).

When we got to the caravan park the manager greeted us, was critical of me for mistakenly attempting to drive through the wrong gate, but did (thankfully) sell us some milk.  Mobile phone coverage on the Optus network seems abysmal.  The scenery is amazing with lots of small rich farms.