Bivouac Bay- Tasman Peninsula
Fortescue Bay to Bivouac Bay
Don't let the bumpy 12km dirt road from the highway fool you. Fortescue bay is rarely deserted. When we got there it was pumping like a Corey Worthington party (although there were no gaudy oversized sunglasses in sight, thankfully). We had actually set out from town early and apart from dad running a little late, the plan worked like clockwork (incidentally this is not a wise expression to use if you look Middle-Eastern and live in Texas- you will probably be arrested on suspicion of having a bomb. #amItoolatetostandwithAhmed?).
After walking through a campsite with tents clustered closer together than the Calais ‘jungle’, we stepped out on the soft white sand of Fortescue Bay. There was a gentle swell rolling in and breaking in frothy waves, but otherwise the beach was pretty quiet. A number of bluebottles washed up on the beach. In Tasmania, you see bluebottles as often as you see women elected to the federal Liberal Party. To me this just further reduced the chance of a spontaneous skinnydip, but for my two companions, the unusual jellyfish provided a new focus for their photography. As they adjusted their positions and even changed pieces on cameras, I considered offering to help, but assumed I would just get the, “You know nothing John Snow,” response so I just stared aimlessly out into the bay, which wasn’t a bad way to spend time either. To see more of their great photography go to Charles' Flickr page or check out Cass's instagram account.
At the end of the beach, we found the track to Bivoauc Bay (this isn’t meant to sound like any kind of achievement as it was as obvious as the need for US gun law reform. The track took us quickly up and over a headland in a second much smaller rocky bay, before continuing further around the point, where the views of the great cliffs around Cape Huay became more pronounced.
The dusty track wound its way through some pretty dry vegetation. We periodically slowed to duck under or climb over a fallen tree lying across the path. This was about the only time I took my focus from the great cliffs opposite me. After about 45 minutes of easy walking (and untold minutes standing still taking photos) we reached the junction with a short track down to Canoe Bay. Within 50 metres, we emerged into the near side of a sheltered rocky inlet. The picturesque scene was dominated by a rusting shipwreck close to where the path terminated. Despite being in a worse state of disrepair than the Turnbull front bench, there was still a sense of serenity about the metal skeleton.
After a prolonged break, we returned to the main track and followed it as it skirted its way beyond Canoe Bay towards a final destination (not the stupid movie though). The smell of rotting seaweed was an olfactory indicator that we were approaching a shallow creek that ran out into Canoe Bay. Although the creek was neither wide nor deep, it was spanned by a colossal over-engineered bridge, so I can only assume it is prone to rising quickly after heavy rain- or it was built by a friend of the minister of the day.
The trail on other side of the bridge briefly transforms into a rainforest section, with mossy logs and huge ferns but like Peter Dutton looking momentarily competent, it doesn’t last long and reverts to its old self quickly once it rises out of the low ground. In time, the track began to rise more steeply, with a sustained uphill section that lasts about ten minutes before flattening out and dropping just as steeply. Soon after the track flattens out again we found ourselves arriving at Bivouac Bay.
The campsite itself is pretty big, with room for a number of camping groups to set up down there without crowding on top of each other like Jamie Briggs on female diplomats. We followed the path towards the beach, where we had planned to stop for lunch.
Unless you had a lack of foresight akin to Ian McFarlane, you could tell this was to be the site of another long break. A long rocky beach stretched down to meet the gentle waves, while a few white boats bobbed placidly a little further out (don’t tell Tony Abbott though- we know how much he is afraid of boats). Looking out through the opening of the bay we could see from Fortescue Bay all the way to Cape Huay and the Hippolyte.
I found a flat rock and took my time chomping away on a big lunch. I chatted with Cass and Charles when I could get their attention, as they clambered around the rocks taking photos of everything from the cliffs opposite to shells between the rocks. Cass waited patiently watching a pair of blackbirds in a nearby tree wanting to get a photo of them taking flight. Might have been some performance anxiety issues going on there, as the birds postured to take off a couple of times and then settled. You could almost hear them say, “I can’t do it with you watching.”
The walk back
A pair of kayakers appeared around the closest point, slowly paddling closer and coming in to land near us. I managed to get my companions to put down their cameras and eat something before they returned to their work, but eventually everyone was ready to start the return leg. We were soon climbing back up the hill.
Some of the views of the opposite cliffs were even more striking coming the other way, as you see things from a different perspective (unless you are Eric Abetz who can never change perspective). We met a family coming the other way at Canoe Bay and they advised us they had seen a snake on the path ahead of us. Unsurprisingly, my dad was keen to get a photo, but much like the planned National Party fundraiser on an Australian Navy ship, the snake disappeared pretty quickly once we heard about it.
As we got closer to Fortescue, we stopped suddenly when we saw an echidna in the path. Now these little guys are usually rarer than female Star Wars action figures (this discrepancy with children’s toys has a lot of nerds very angry by the way) but I have been lucky enough to now see two in the last few weeks (echidnas, not stupid figurines). Cass shuffled forward to take a photo of him but the little guy saw the camera and assumed she was a female reporter. Not wanting to risk a $10 000 fine like Chris Gayle, he turned his back and started to waddle away in the funny way that echidnas move.
Eventually we were back on the sands of Fortescue Bay. As the day had warmed up a little, there were now a number of people swimming at the campsite end, showing as much concern for bluebottles as the world media is showing in the Vanilla ISIS terrorists in Oregon. We wandered casually past the swimmers and up towards the car. The walk itself had taken a leisurely five hours but for anyone planning it, if you don’t have a keen interest in photography you will probably only need four or less.