The water temperature at New Norfolk was 4 degrees and pH about neutral (7). The river was still but flowing gently towards Hobart when I shoved off for the first day in the sea kayak. Dave the Ruby Currant is a slower and less elegant vessel no doubt, but I felt very safe in his pudgy red pontoons. The kayak felt wobbly to begin with but I soon remembered how to paddle and set off with the sail down. The river widened slowly until I reached the paper mill at Boyer. In times past the factories on the lower Derwent were a serious cause of pollution but things have changed and the rules about what is allowed to be discharged into the river are much stricter. There was no noticeable change from above the factory to below it, except for a pocket of air that I went through that smelled like farts. The wetlands with reedy banks were full of birds including black and pied cormorants, white face herons (photo on the bank), a juvenile wedge tailed eagle (photo) and another bird of prey that I couldn't identify. If Dr Alastair is reading this he may have an idea? It was smaller, squarish fanned tail, light brown underside and seemed to be chasing a smaller bird. The photo is a bit blurry.
Cirque 2 Sea Day 25 : 25-08-2016
Strangest Campsite Ever
The wind picked up so I hoisted the sail and drifted down on wind power alone. Houses became more common as the northern suburbs of Hobart approached. Under the Bridgewater Bridge I disturbed some black swans and what I think was a gang of grebes? Following the shoreline closely there was a slow but steady increase in the amount of plastic rubbish I could see, but still surprisingly clean for all the extra people that live on the river here. At a suburb called Austins Ferry I noted that the water began to taste slightly salty. The influence of the sea had come to the surface. The temperature rose slightly to just over 6 degrees and the pH looked to be a bit more basic (>7) but it was hard to tell with my pool testing kit! The rain came over Mt Wellington/ kunanyi so I sheltered under an overhanging wattle near the Claremont golf course without getting out of the water. I found two golf balls in the shallows and fished them out. The water definitely didn't look too healthy with a light scum on top and more litter washed into the wind blown corners. But there were fish stirring in front of the kayak and plenty of cormorants continued to dive for a feed.
It's very hard to find campsites in the city so I asked for a favour from our friends at MONA and they've let me pitch the tent on the grass. During the day thousands of art fiends come here to look through the museum and it's definitely one of the things that has put Tasmania on the global tourist map. Sarah and Bridgette welcomed me to the jetty. They are key organisers of a MONA led program called 24 Carrot Gardens which is doing great stuff with southern Tasmanian schools. Do you have a garden at your school?
Tomorrow is a special schools day when I meet Windemere Primary 3-4's near here at the GASP! pavilion for 3 hours of workshops with the Derwent Estuary Program, Taswater, Royal Life Saving Society- Tasmania and a few special guests. Full report and continuing down the estuary tomorrow. We're not quite at the end but please do an end of expedition survey so we can keep track of how to keep doing the good things well and fix up the things that really bugged you!
Royal Life Saving Society River safety tip of the week:
Can you remember the tips from the first three weeks and add an idea of your own to stay safe in rivers?
On Friday this week we will be giving away the Royal Life Saving Society's generously donated swimming lessons ($160 worth). To be in the running get posting on the discussion boards - everyone's in for a chance.
T-shirt winner: Wildesharon
Royal Life Saving Society Winner($160 worth of Swimming Lessons): Thor
Cirque 2 Sea is a partnership project between the Bookend Trust, the Derwent Estuary Program and our supporters.
Let's make an expedition booklet!
Lots of students and classes have been doing some fantastic artwork, science investigations and research during the expedition and I think we need to gather some of it for a Cirque 2 Sea booklet (check out Albuera Street's Grade 2's Mural in progress in todays photos). Get involved in two ways: As a class or as individuals (if you weren't doing this in your class)
1. Email your name (firstname surname) and/or class name/teacher (Year 3-4 Mr Hughes- Expedition Primary, Tasmania) and we'll publish you as expedition members in the back of the booklet.
2. Email me up to 5 photos of selected work (art/experiment/class activity) for possible publication in the booklet (please provide in JPEG form). We'll fit in as much as we can. We'll also put information about the River Derwent, weekly expedition reports and photos.
You can preorder copies for your school $5 each to cover the cost of design and printing.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of Term 3
- What are some Australian birds of prey?
- Lovely until a heavy shower
- Check out this week’s lessons