Rewind: Africa-fotografia!

NB: With this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Finally, the friends who accompanied me on my pre-lockdown Africa vacation have sent me their edited ‘greatest hits’ photos from the trip. Better late than never, no? But, I wonder – would they have been even tardier if not for the pandemic?! Just joking: they each did have probably terabytes of photos to choose from ).

Anyway, those terabytes of pics from (covering Namibia, Victoria Falls, and Madagascar) were whittled down to the very best, and then I had a go at even further editing them so that they’d ‘fit’ into this here blogpost without it getting ridiculously long. The result is the collection below. Some are mine, which I didn’t publish earlier. But most are my travel companions’ best shots. All righty. Let’s go…

First up: Namibian roads:

Stone fields along Skeleton Coast:

[Yawn]. “Ooh, do excuse me; I must have dozed off. What? Where? Walvis Bay, you say? Well, you’re on the right road. Just keep going, and you’ll come to it in half an hour!”

Pink salt lakes:

Cactii Aloe:

Unsorted unusualnesses:

Dunes, endless desert:

Deadvlei:

Windswept dunes:

Shadow on flying sand atop a dune’s ridge:

Oh my gorgeous!

Unsorted Namibia:

Zambia/Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls. No comment!…

Magic stone mushrooms in Madagascar. Gray tsingi at Ankarana:

Red tsingi – even more striking a thingy:

How cute? ‘Where are the bananas?!’

Night lemurs:

Unfed. Uninterested in anything but passing tourists and the food they give them:

Plenty portraits:

Ring-tailed lemurs:

Indri – the largest lemurs on Madagascar:

Unexpected, uninvited ‘guests’ – of Madagascan proportions:

Karma, karma, karma, karma chameleons: they come and go:

Oh my goodness. Just check out this miracle of nature:

Check out the independent eye movements!

“Who’s that back there?”

A whole new – literal – meaning to ‘I’ll have to keep my eye on you!’ ->

 

Smaller, subtler:

Oh my geckos!

As you can see – an amazing trip!

– The End –

PS: These pics were taken by (besides me): DZ, NI, OR, SS, and AD.

Thank-you to them, and thank-you too, dear readers, for your attention! Hope you liked the pics as much as we liked taking them!

Tasmania – the video collection.

NB: with this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and reassurance that we’ll all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Yes, I know: I wrote how yesterday’s post was the last on Tasmania. But I’d forgotten about all the video material my travel companion, OA, had taken along the way! Plenty of it too – two hours worth, all shot on his smartphone. So, herewith, an opportunity to get the popcorn in, dim the lights, and go over the whole trip once more enjoy a video version of the very ‘greatest hits’ of our Tasmanian road/walk/chopper tour!…

Oh those Tasmanian hairpin bends!

Read on…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Tasmania in a chopper.

NB: with this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and reassurance that we’ll all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Tasmania – done, at least in terms or a road trip therearound, plus much trekking along its peninsulas. The only thing still not done – chopper ride!…

First up – Tasmanian forest. You can see here how a swathe had been cut down, then replanted. I bet this is something to do with the very active logging that goes on on the island – done wisely: cut down, then plant some more in their place.

Read on…

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Ahoy, Cape Hauy!

NB: with this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and reassurance that we’ll all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Onward we stroll, on the last day of our trek along Three Capes Track on the Tasman Peninsula. On today’s menu – getting to Cape Hauy. Over there… ->

At first it was the usual sturdy path with super views, but a bit later we entered a really strange wood…

Read on…

Blade Runner, Tasmanian version.

NB: with this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and reassurance that we’ll all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Onward we marched, along Three Capes Track. The time had come to visit Cape Pillar, from which mind-blowing views like this are to be enjoyed:

Around half of the seven kilometers to get there are walked along this elevated wooden path:

Read on…

Tasmanian nights – with views to delight.

NB: with this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and reassurance that we’ll all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Up at dawn, and into day two of our walk along Three Capes Track

Just the other day, not far away, we were walking around blatantly sedimentary rocky landscapes, around about Remarkable Cave and Tessellated Pavement, while today’s rocky landscapes were blatantly of volcanic origin. These columns are the result of emissions of huge quantities of lava (of geologically ‘correct’ consistency), which gradually cool from up top, and form into a mosaic of cracks, which then extend below with further cooling – right through the full thickness of the material. Benard Cells they’re called, which used continuum mechanics to form. And the result today looks like this:

Read on…

Tasmania’s sensational sunsets and sunrises.

NB: with this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and reassurance that we’ll all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Now let me see – where was I with my tales from the Tasmanian side? Ah yes – with the marvelous views, like these, from the comfort of a cozy sofa! ->

The views become all the more marvelous when there’s a sunset or sunrise. And that includes the views of the skies:

Read on…

The Tasmanian Three Capes Track.

NB: with this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and reassurance that we’ll all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Regular readers of this here blog of mine will know I’m a big fan of walking/hiking/trekking – whatever you want to call it – on paths/routes/tracks (whatever you want to call them!) in far flung places on this dear planet of ours. I carefully study the landscapes around me, reflect upon them – meditate upon them – photograph them, and then later bring it all together, put the impressions into text form, and come up with a blogpost like this one you’re reading now. I even had a list of my fave walking routes… ah yes – here it is.

Well, recently in Tasmania I procured myself a +1 to what are to me the most amazing specially-designated walking routes: it was the Three Capes Track (official site).

// Yes – as you’ll see on the official site there the track is currently closed due to corona; we were lucky to have walked it just in time: our guides told us how we were practically the last booked in to walk it before the closure. But that’s beside the point: one day things will return to (~) normal, and the track will be opened again for walkers.

It’s not a difficult route: a comfortable 50km doable in three and a half days, along its smooth, sturdy, well-signposted paths. Spending the night here is convenient too – in lodges along the way (for the peak season – November to February – these need to be booked in advance). The views are oh-my-gorgeous, easily earning a 5K rating, aka – KKKKK!

Here are the views of Tasman Island and the ‘Blade’ peninsula. And we’re heading in their direction…

Read on…

Tasmania’s devilish prison history.

NB: With this post, about a place I visited before the lockdown, I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and also reassurance that we’ll all get the chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

And now for a bit about Tasmanian… prison history!

Since Britain would send its convicts to Australia, Tasmania received quite a few too. And it just so happens that here, on the Tasman Peninsula, the prisons were among the most strict, high-security and harsh – where the most hardened, twisted criminals of the evilest kind were sent. Eek.

Not that the peninsula was chosen randomly. It is attached to the mainland via two narrow necks of land (surrounded by endless ocean) – much easier to guard and keep jailbreaks in check. One of the necks – Eaglehawk Neck – even had a ‘Dog Line‘ across it: two dozen vicious dogs tethered up in a line across the Neck from shore to shore, and out above the sea on platforms (so escaping convicts couldn’t try dodge the dogs via the sea). Of course – as per the custom in Tasmania – it’s now a tourist attraction.

Old wooden buildings from the prison era are carefully maintained. Of course keeping them in a reasonable condition is helped out by the customary clement weather here.

My travel companion, OA, read up on the prison theme, and this is what he found out:

—8<—

The first prison on Van Diemen’s Land (the original name given – until 1856 – to what is today Tasmania) appeared in 1803, and in the following 50 years the British sent some 76,000 convicts there, which is nearly half of all those the British sent to Australia (~165,000).

The most famous prison of the island is the one in Port Arthur, which held only the most hardened of repeat offenders, and which became known as the prison it was impossible to escape from. The rugged lie of the land here was deemed ideal for a prison – there was practically nowhere to run away to, there was the Dog Line you mentioned, and there were plenty of guards too, placed well apart – who employed a somewhat advanced-for-the-times flag semaphore to communicate among themselves.

Nevertheless, a few escapes did occur. Perhaps the most audacious was the one in 1839, when a group of convicts took advantage of a thick fog to steal the ship of the prison commandant, Charles O’Hara Booth, and sail off! Passing the guards while already out to sea, one of the convicts even struck the usual proud, shoulders-back pose of Booth up on the bow of the ship – Booth often would use his vessel to inspect his prison from the sea.

The convicts remained on the run successfully for several weeks, sailing along the shores, stopping only to burgle farms. At one point they were stopped by law enforcement, but they made up a story that they were the search party looking for – themselves! More audaciousness! However, their luck was soon to run out: eventually they were caught – and later executed.

// Our guide told us a version in which they made it as far as Australia – 700km away, and that they weren’t executed but sent to other prisons; if they had been hanged they’d have become heroic martyrs.

Luckier was the fate of Martin Cash – a career criminal known best as the first man to ever swim the Eaglehawk Neck bay, despite it being rumored to contain sharks; and he did so twice! All his attempts at escape ended by his being eventually caught, but by some miracle he escaped the hangman’s noose. He even went on to dictate his autobiography, which became a bestseller in 1870.

But perhaps ‘the most infamous incident, simply for its bizarreness, was the escape attempt of one George ‘Billy’ Hunt. Hunt disguised himself using a kangaroo hide and tried to flee across the Neck, but the half-starved guards on duty tried to shoot him to supplement their meager rations. When he noticed them sighting him up, Hunt threw off his disguise and surrendered, receiving 150 lashes”! – Wikipedia.

Perhaps the most disturbing place in Port Arthur was the so-called Separate Prison – a panopticon modeled as per the theory of philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham. Living in a single cell, each prisoner was deprived of all interaction with others and had to remain silent… always! Instead of their names they were given a number to go by. And they had to wear sack-masks over their heads the few times they were allowed out of their cells. Such a ‘humane’ system promised full repentance; in fact it just made the inmates physiologically very ill indeed. Rumor has it it was so unbearable they committed murders in order to be sentenced to death. Oh my ghastly.

These days Port Arthur and a few other Australian prison settlements have UNESCO World Heritage status!

—8<—

That’s all on the Tasmanian prison theme. But there’s still more to come on the Tasmanian general-theme; in fact – the most interesting bits of our Tasmanian tour. Stay tuned!…

All the pics from Tasmania are here.

Remarkable Cave and Tessellated Pavement.

NB: With this post, about a place I visited before the lockdown, I want to bring you some positivism, beauty, and also reassurance that we’ll all get the chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

We finally make it to the Tasman Peninsula. First on the tourism menu here – a remarkable cave. A remarkable cave that’s so remarkable it’s called… Remarkable Cave!

Indeed: remarkable. ‘The cave itself is a long tunnel eroded from the base of a collapsed gully’. Probably some 100 meters long.

Read on…