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Published: February 24th 2014
I had never heard of Beauty Bay until a few days ago, though the neighbouring town of Beaconsfield will be etched in our minds after the epic survival of two miners trapped by a rock fall, 937 meters underground.
We have stayed in the Beauty Point caravan park for three nights. A chance for a rest, bring the blog up to date after the day at Evandale Penny Farthing Races, and the use of the park laundry.
Beauty is a very appropriate name for this point on the Tamar River. We see sunrise on one side of the point and sunset on the other, all about 50 meters from our site. There are beautiful flowering gums all around the area, and plenty of cheerful birdsong throughout the day.
The river here is of course tidal, so the scene changes throughout the day.
I must say that this is a pretty good camp with the sites separated by 2 mtr high hedges. This helps with the wind as well, but doesn't offset the 8c temps first thing in the morning. Us sookies have resorted to using our heater the last two mornings. The days warm up quick enough
and are pleasant through to sunset.
Today we visited three sites of interest to us and found a third that we added to the journey. First stop was at the Beaconsfield Mine Museum.
The disaster that struck this mine on Anzac Day 2006 is implanted in our memory as the strain of waiting to see if the two surviving miners could be rescued. We can only imagine the strain on the wives, children and work mates. The Beaconsfield Museum has a major display about that tragic day and the 14 days that followed. I remember the tears of relief I shed as the two miners walked out of the cage.
The museum also includes the remains of an earlier mine that closed in the 1920s. Much of the infrastructure of that mine is in ruins, but there are interesting displays from that era as well.
The museum has wider displays than just mining, and there are many interactive displays where you can get quite involved. I had a go at running the apple pealing machine, while Marg pulled a mining trolley up the track from a mine. There is also a button to get a water
wheel running that in tern drives an old gold stamping mill.
After 1.5hrs at the museum, we went for a quick drive to Batman Bridge. This is an interesting structure, but for the life of me I could not see any association with the Batman we have all enjoyed over the years.
A Google search produced the answer after a little hunting. The highway associated with the bridge is the Batman Highway, named after John Batman of Launceston who became the co-founder of Melbourne. However, it is true that the Tasi Police stopped the Bat Car on the Batman Bridge. A publicity stunt?
We headed back to the Beauty Point town centre and had a quick lunch, and then onto our next activity for the day - the Seahorse display on the wharf at Beauty Point.
This centre was set up with a couple of things in mind. Seahorses in the tropical waters are at risk, so breeding in a clean centre was seen as addressing this, but subsequently, legislation prevented any international trade of seahorses. So, the tanks of tropical seahorses are limited.
There are many cold water species of seahorses found around Tasmania
and New Zealand. I can recall seeing dead seahorses on the beach at Colac Bay outside Invercargill in NZ, but today was the first time I could see and hold a living seahorse.
Part of the plan for the centre was to breed seahorses form this region and release them to replenish stock. They have a 90% survival rate of the young seahorses here, whereas less than 5% survive in nature. However, after disease hit salmon stock after a release of bred fish, all releases are now banned.
So what do you do with all the little seahorses that are born here almost daily. Twins? Forget it. Dad will release around 1000 babies at the end of the pregnancy. (4 weeks) Yes, Dad carries the young in a pouch until they are ready to survive on their own.
Lots of people would like to have seahorses in their aquariums, and once set up, they are healthy and easy to care for. The only problem has been food. After much research and a breeding/training program, they have created a breed of little seahorses that eat a commonly available sea food. Now they ship hundreds of seahorses to private
collectors and other display centres.
By the way, did you know that they change colours to blend into their surroundings. At feed time, there is another interesting scene. Seahorse tails have a reflex action wrapping around any object that touches the inner surface of the tail. Hence, with many seahorse in a tank, it is inevitable that tails are locked, and then there is a traffic jam of tangled tails.
There is also a display of other sea creatures ranging from a very healthy octopus, star fish, and other swimming things like toad fish and snapper.
Next stop was a two minute walk away to the Platypus and echidna centre, also on the wharf.
If getting good seahorse pics is hard, the elusive southern platypus is worse because of the relatively low light. It is even harder up north as our Qld platypus are entirely nocturnal.
We have seen them swim and play, something that has eluded us at several other displays we have visited. They go as far as guaranteeing you will see these rather interesting creatures. We saw 4 today and learned a lot about these unique critters. Not sure if they are
related to the echidnas, but they do have a lot in common, and yes, they can swim too. They have a common type of spine which is quite compressible, and so they carry that as a common definition.
The echidnas are very cute and friendly, happily walking around our feet. They are very happy eaters their diet being echidna porridge. (bugs and maggots etc)
We wondered why these echidnas looked less spiny than the ones we saw in WA. Apparently they all have roughly the same number of spines, but echidna down here are also very hairy hiding many of the spines.
That was enough excitement for the day, so it was back to the CP and a cuppa.
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