In Tasmania Day 15 Launceston
A day to organize and wander a bit. Woke up early but, while my German roommates slumbered on, I stayed in bed gorging on YouTube accounts of US politics (something I’ve been trying to avoid and happily so). Main tasks today were to take care of some emails, then find a good coffee shop. There were plenty but Sweetbrew was on the shady side of the street and turned out to be the right choice. Great staff—epitome of the openness everyone from Tasmania continues to show. A wall mural told the story of the discovery of coffee because of dancing goats. I’m a little embarrassed I never asked why the Atlanta local coffeehouse chain is called that— sometimes my own lack of curiosity confounds me. Launceston is apparently home to the oldest yacht club in the Southern Hemisphere and was once a major seaport until they stopped dredging the waterway. Not that many years ago, the ferry from Melbourne docked here instead of nearer the coast in Devonport. There is an inexpensive river tour lasting an hour and includes a run up the gorge, an amazing narrow rock fault the Esk runs through. It was low tide and we scraped a bit a mud but made it up. The Tamar banks are littered with old abandoned boats— dredges, ferries, freight boats, but they manage to look quaint rather than degraded. On one point were a series are large grain silos like the ones Charles Sheeler painted in the US.
With the abandonment of the port, they were transformed into an upscale hotel— pretty dramatic repurpose. Downstream we passed many dead willow trees, signaling salination in an area that should be fresh water. Got my food for the trek squared away, made a big pot of lentils for dinner, and wandered back downtown for a bit, spending most of the evening reading Bruce Chatwin. Tonight my roommate is a wonderful Croatian named Marenko who currently lives in Sydney and is here looking a real estate with his son—a delightful man. It was a quiet but productive day.
T. Hugh Crawford