Under Siege

Published: March 1st 2009
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DAY 111

There was a rustling in the trailer, Caroline and myself both sit bolt upright, Caroline grabbed the torch and shone it towards the floor, a very large Possum was sitting on top of the food box eating a bag of crisps and when I say large, its probably the size of a big “Tom Cat”, but with an extra long bushy tail.

I know we had seen loads of Wildlife last night but I had to be dreaming, this is our house, well trailer tent, and Possums don’t live in here. I got out of my very warm and cosy sleeping bag in to a very cold trailer tent, got down off the bed and on to the floor.

With Caroline training the light on to our intruder, it hadn’t even turned around, totally un- perturbed about the light and me standing there in my under crackers, hiking socks and t-shirt (Boy it was cold).

This very large brown Possum, who was too busy to even look up from scoffing a large bag of crisps that had only been purchased hours earlier in Ulverstone, and happened to be Caroline’s favourites (boy was she cross!)

Our new loaf I had to wrestle back off a Possum

How the hell did he get in? As we pull the one zip down and the other across, then the Velcro pad secures them both together.

I took his crisps off him, he swiped his paw at me in defiance, they have such dexterous little hands just like Raccoons, with can openers for claws. He grabbed the loaf of bread and I literally had to fight to take that off him as well, he turns around and there is a gapping hole in the mosquito net. We realise that he has come underneath the canvas window that has Velcro both sides but not the bottom, and stuck his claw in and just ripped the mosquito net and wandered in.

I look at my watch its 12.45 am, I open the door and try to shoo him out, he is now doing his best to get the lid off our food bin which measures about 900mm x 500mm x 750mm deep, he’s got the corner, but he is also sitting on it so I push him away, the door to the trailer tent is open and all the food has been taken away from him so he just wanders out the door.

Unbelievably I look around to see his mate stick is head through the hole he had just made thinking about getting in. NO WAY, I flick this fella on the nose to hopefully deter him from getting in, we both have to get all our storage boxes and stack them up to stop the Possums breaking back in.

We get back in to bed and we can hear them running over the top of the trailer tent, I lay there somewhat concerned that someone could get in that easily, I had never really thought about it before.

Caroline said, “They are on top of the fridge, they have knocked that bottle of Lemonade over”, I couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed and have a look. In between trying to sleep you could hear them poking about, I finally manage to drift off to sleep.

The morning arrives, my back has been getting me out of bed earlier than usual, for the last couple of weeks and I don’t know why, about 5.00am my back starts to ache and I just can’t get comfy. We have turned the mattress over, I feel
Beautiful DayBeautiful DayBeautiful Day

Just about to start our hike
fine, my kidney function seems normal but my bloody back just starts to ache but in the day time its fine. May be I need to shoot off to the doctors?

I tell Caroline that I am getting up and will go and sit up in the camp kitchen have a cup of tea and do the blog, I put my boots on and go out side wanting to see what devastation lays before us. It is really cold, I mean really cold, I looked around and the Possums have left their calling card on top of the fridge (Nice) and there are muddy footprints all over the cooker and other storage boxes.

I grab the laptop, and tea and wander off up to the camp kitchen, some people are there who we spoke to last night Barry & Meryl come from Ballarat in Victoria, we ask if they have been affected by the fire and they say fortunately they haven’t, though they say they are insured and that’s as much as they can do!!

They are on a year of work as Barry is on his long service leave, and are travelling for the duration. Meryl
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Dove Lake in the foreground
came over to Australia in the 1960’s with her parents as a young girl of 13 years old, and has never been back to the UK. She came from Reasby between Leicester and Melton Mowbray, where her father owned a fire lighter company called Dawson’s but it had burnt down, so may have been the catalyst to make the move over.

They leave and I get around to typing the blog, as last night was unbelievable. Caroline wanders across and presses here face against the window, I nearly take off with fright.

I go and shower whilst Caroline types up Camp Granada, which is the blog for the day before and when I get back her blog is finished so we go and make repairs to the mosquito net as best we can and put anything that is edible in the truck, just to take temptation out of the Possums way.

We planned to do the “board walk” today from Dove lake back to the Visitors Information Centre about 8.5 kilometres, we have made sandwiches and filled the camelbak full of drink and where ready to go. We drive up towards the ranger station and park the
More Cradle Mountain ViewsMore Cradle Mountain ViewsMore Cradle Mountain Views

This is with Lake Lilla

We go in to the ranger station as Caroline wants to buy a new fleece, the cream one she has is not warm and as it is cream, when looking for Wildlife you are supposed to blend in, NOT stand out, so it’s a dark coloured one for Caroline. I buy a new pair of laces for my walking boots as I think it was Trixie Pixie who ate the last ones, when we were having great times at Woodstock.

We get the shuttle bus to Dove Lake where we jump out and go and register our names and the time we start walking in the book.

It was a beautiful day really hot and better than we had seen it on Tasmania so far, and so we started off and fortunately we were wearing our hats.

We completed the first 2 legs in roughly the allotted time taking in to account our lunch stop and the many times we stopped to speak to people. I said to Caroline if she wanted to bail and get the shuttle back the last leg we could, no I’m fine she said on onwards we walked.

Caroline pointed out a Wombat having a graze near by, we stopped and watched it and it made its way to the board walk, I knelt down and stroked this beautiful creature, and he didn’t raise his heading from feeding itself

We had had a great walk, really enjoyed it, the scenery was marvellous we took some great photos and we did well. However, about 500 meters from the end, Caroline tripped on a step and fell over on the board walk, she was wearing her camera back pack which is quite heavy and went down on her face.

I picked her up and she was bleeding quite badly from her bottom lip and fortunately I have always carried a first aid kit in my camelbak. I whipped open the kit and administered some basic first aid, Caroline was quite distressed, there was a lot of blood, so I am not surprised. We got everything together, and managed to get her to the rangers station at about 2 minutes to 5.00, we got to her in to the visitors centre and she lay down in the first aid room where one of the girls got a dressing and a cold pack for her lip.

I knew we needed to get her to a hospital to get it checked out as I didn’t know if it needed a stitch or two, the ranger girl said the nearest hospital was in Latrobe about 90k’s away.

Whilst Caroline held the ice pack to her lip I went and got the Patrol from the parking bay and whilst I was walking over I saw our first Echidna in the wild and managed to get a picture, very quickly of course, then got the Patrol and drove it over to the rangers station.
I loaded her in, along with the backpacks and off we went, it was about 5.30 and we were grateful for the help at the Ranger station.

On the way out Caroline muttered that she had seen an Echidna, but I didn’t believe her, I think she was hallucinating; however she insists that it was real.

We arrive in Latrobe at 7.00, the hospital was called The Mersey Community Hospital and they seemed really good, we went straight into triage, and they called her through virtually straight away.

In essence they could only wash the wound,
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The tanin coloured but crystal clear waters of Cradle Mountain
which I had already done, and give her a precautionary Tetanus just to be on the safe side. The doctor explained that lips are not stitched due to high risk of infection, so all they could do was wash it. The doctor looked at her other injuries, her knee and her hands but was confident everything else was ok nothing seemed broken.

On the way back, there was a Wombat in the road, just standing there, you can see why they get killed so easily he just didn’t move until he was ready then just trundled off.

We got home, well back to the trailer at 9.00pm and we needed to feed Caroline to abate the remnants of the shock, and have a hot drink. The hospital said it would heal fast as lips do, so we just need Caroline to take it easy for a couple of days.

We get her in to bed and make her as warm and comfortable as we can, I am absolutely shattered I really don’t need too much excitement like this. Still, I know she is hurt but it could have been so much worse, lets just count our blessings

You can clearly see a Caroline in here enjoying the sunshine
and put it down to just one of those things that happen.

I fall asleep quite quickly, but it takes a while for Caroline to get to sleep despite the heavy painkillers she was given at the hospital.

As a foot note: if you buy a National Park pass, it allows you in to the parks for 2 months and they are $56.00 dollars. It also allows you to jump on and off the shuttle buses free of charge.
We purchased ours on the Spirit of Tasmania, and Caroline told me today that they charge you $7.50 per bus ride, so as we have both used it twice this would already be $30.00 Bucks.

The National Park people try to discourage you from driving in to the park beyond the Transit Terminal, but it can be done, but they don’t tell you that and at the Rangers station there is an Automatic traffic arm, it will only go up if there is a car park space further down the line, but you won’t have a problem in the evening going in to the park it can be done day or night and you really need to be
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She was so Gorgeous
in the National Park at night to see all the Wildlife.

The weather is a MAJOR consideration when coming over to Tasmania, and the time you will need here needs to be longer than 3 weeks, we are going to have to extend our stay on the Island by speaking to the ferry company, they will reschedule it at a cost of $30 each, what we have found out is you can buy an open ticket which would definitely consider doing next time.

A good torch is a must. Saying that you can fall over a Wombat, Possum or Tassie devil without trying too hard up here on Cradle Mountain.

Animal Score to Date in the wild.

Wombat 12
Tassie Devil 1
Eastern Quoll 1
Eastern Grey Kangaroo’s Lost Count
Wallabies Lost count.
Pademelons Lost Count
Echidna’s 1
Platypus 0
Possums Lost Count.
Fairy Penguins 3
Koala 1
Wedged Tailed Eagles 3
Eastern Brown snake 1
Leggless Lizard 1

Additional photos below
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The Stream is clear and good enough to dring, but it is stained with Tanin from the Button Grass
The Board WalkThe Board Walk
The Board Walk

The beautiful 8.5 K walk from Dove lake to the Rangers Station

No its an Echidna, the one i photographed whilst getting the truck to take Caroline to Hospital
The fallThe fall
The fall

What a shocking photo, Caroline's not wearing any make up !
where she Fellwhere she Fell
where she Fell

These are the steps that Caroline started to chew !!
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Cradle Mountain

With Lake Lilla

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