4th February, 2018.
The cruise around Maria Island was our 5th boat trip in Tassie and, while they have all been wonderful and unique, this was, in our opinion, the best. If one can only do one boat trip in Tassie, this would be our choice. Of course, it was the most expensive!! But, it was a full day trip and a wonderful lunch was included.
Our boat being prepared for the trip.
With a full load of passengers and almost perfect weather, we cruised across Mercury Passage and anchored in Darlington Bay on the west coast of Maria Island where we enjoyed our morning tea with views across towards the remains of Darlington township, once the site of a penal colony and later of a cement works.
The original Commissariat now serves as an information portal for day trippers and campers who arrive by ferry as well as those like us aboard private vessels.
The Magistrates Cottage.
This tour company offers two different cruise options depending on the weather. When it is too rough on the exposed ocean side of the island, the western side is explored in more depth and includes a fur seal encounter on Ile Des Phoques some 18kms north of Maria Island. However when the weather is good a full circumnavigation of the island is undertaken. We were happy to hear we would be seeing the whole island as we had had enough of fur seals on the two Pennicott cruises.
We cruised in a clockwise direction exploring close to the amazing cliffs.
This sea cave does not look very large and we couldn’t quite believe that the skipper was going to take the boat right inside.
The view from inside the cave aboard the boat looking back to sea.
The colours and patterns of the limestone rock were stunning.
A screen shot of our location in the cave.
Further along, the coastline changed to dolerite cliffs.
More sandstone at Fossil Cliffs.
I think these are Shearwaters which are commonly known as Muttonbirds.
A Buller’s Albatross.
After cruising down the eastern coast and exploring Riedle Bay, which rivals Wineglass Bay for beauty, we rounded the bottom of the island and anchored in Shoal Bay, directly opposite Riedle Bay across a very narrow isthmus.. Whilst enjoying our buffet lunch, we were entertained by lots of sea birds.
A White-bellied Sea Eagle.
An immature Pacific Gull.
The common Silver Gull.
An immature Silver Gull.
Following lunch we cruised up to the Painted Cliffs where we spent quite some time marvelling at the amazing colours in the rocks.
Next we berthed at Darlington where we wandered around for a couple of hours checking out the former penal settlement and some of the buildings dating from later commercial undertakings.
There were lots of Cape Barren Geese.
Tasmanian Native Hen.
Beautiful flowering gum trees.
Some amazing old gnarled trees.
Lots of wombats.
About to reboard our boat for the trip back to Triabunna.