School is out and the traffic in front of 87 Bruny Island Main Road has increased – well expediently would be an over exaggeration! Let’s say there are one or two additional cars and the odd caravan with every load disgorged from the ferry. Wainui sits right on the entry to Dennes Point where the gravel switches to bitumen and the speed drops down from 80 to 40 (though 80 is optimistic or down right suicidal on much of the 11km of bends between us and the main drag). We lounge on the deck and identify the tourists (who generally slow down as they enter the settlement), and the locals who maintain speed until they hit the first bend with its ‘Slow’ sign painted on the back of an old real estate board. Just to reinforce the fact a second slow sign is a 100 metres or so down the hill. Between 7.30 pm and 6 am when Bruny is sealed off from the world (ie the ferry doesn’t run) the road is mostly silent.
By comparison the alternative highway that passes the house, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, is busy at all hours of the day and night. Having recently come to this conclusion we are trying to prove ourselves wrong but just when we exclaim ‘no craft on the water,’ we’ll see the flash of a tinny out fishing, the sail of a yacht on the horizon or hear the distinctive thump of a power boat moving through the swell. The sheer variety (and beauty) of many of these vessels is a delight and the telescope and binoculars are always on hand, as is my new favourite app, Deckee, which helps me work out who they are.
The Channel is very much a working highway and the fleet that in our house is collectively referred to as ‘The Ronjas’ are in constant movement servicing the fish farms in the Channel and out into Storm Bay. The ‘Ronjas’ are named after the Ronja Storm which is owned by Huon Aquaculture and is in perpetual motion past the house. She is pretty impressive even though we hate what she and her minions represent.
Last week the quality of ship on our stretch of waterway went up a notch when HMAS Hobart called in over several consecutive days – a bit eerie to look out into the early morning and see a guided missile destroyer slowly cruising past. Those of you who have read Heather Rose’s novel, Bruny, won’t be surprised to learn that I was supposing all sorts of secret squirrel behaviour on the go. Maybe the fish farms were about to blow up? I think the reality was more simply that they were doing the ship equivalent of a plane’s holding pattern before they could enter Hobart. Oh well, imagination is a fine thing!
With love from Bruny xx