Another visit to Freycinet National Park but this time seeing it from the sea, an entirely different experience from one that I recorded on the blog for my Tasmanian musings – Tasmanian blog
This time we went cruising with our visitors from Queensland. Freycinet is on the north-east coast of Tasmania and you can approach it by driving north from Hobart, along the coast road or drive back south about a half hour from Bicheno. It took us around 1 & 1/2 hours to drive get there from Binalong Bay. We set off very early so we had a light snack and a coffee at the Coles Bay bakery. The cruise offered by Freycinet Sea Cruises is $120 per person which I can tell you is money well spent.
We were told some snacks would be served around 1pm and so we did not take any lunch. Our snack was coordinated by The Long Lunch Tour Company and packed into small cellulose boxes by the Ashgrove Cheese Company, nice enough but it simply consisted of two slabs of cheddar cheese, one flavoured with pepperberry and one plain and some crackers. The skipper made a point of telling us on the microphone about Ashgrove Cheese and the other suppliers – local oysters were shucked on the spot by the skipper but we only averaged one each. We were rationed one glass of sparkling from Freycinet Vineyard. The wine label is coordinated as well! At least it was not a nasty cheapy!!! So as you can gather it was more of a ‘little lunch’ – I know schoolchildren would not get the oysters or wine but to be constructive I would suggest that maybe a platter of fruit could be handed around.
On our way out we noticed the Marine Farm so went in to buy some oysters to take home and all being decidedly peckish stopped for a taste. We shared a bowl of steamed mussels and a platter of natural oysters. The mussels were worth going back for but our preference is still for the oysters we buy along Moulting Bay in St Helens and Bruny Island oysters. I am only adding that detail for the readers who read my blog for food reports. Freycinet Marine Farm 1784 Coles Bay Road.
Our day on the water was spectacular and much more fun when dolphins came to swim with us, then some lazy sea lions bobbed up and down for more entertainment. Actually we were told on the boat they were seals and the website of the cruise company has a photo with sea lions so I looked up pinniped’s for the difference between seals and sea lions. E asssortment has more about the subject and is the source of the factual information that follows.
Seals are considered earless because they lack ear flaps yet this does not mean they are deaf. Seals have tiny openings, which are called pinnae, that serve as ears. ‘The most distinguished feature of the seal is that they have short fore flippers with a claw on each toe. The hind flippers are also clawed and have a thin webbing of skin. The hind flippers angle toward the rear and cannot be rotated forward. This is a hindrance for seals. For a seal to move across dry land, it must balance its weight on to the fore flippers and crawl along using their bellies.
Seals have more girth than most of the other pinnipeds. Even though they are disadvantaged on land, they move swiftly through the water. The front flippers serve as rudders for steering. The hind flippers allow the animal to thrust along in the water. It is with these combined adaptations that seals can move along through the water at speeds of 14 to 24 miles an hour.
The sea-lion is the pinniped familiar to most, they are the ones often used in water shows at theme parks. Sea lions make up several of the fourteen species that make up the family Otariidae. The sea-lion differs from the seal in that its pinnae are covered by external ear flaps. This is why they are known as the “eared seals.” Sea lions also have longer necks than seals. The body of the sea-lion is much sleeker than that of the seal, even though sea lions are generally larger than most seals: a male sea-lion of certain species can tip the scales at over six hundred pounds, compared to less than four hundred for a large seal.
Another very different adaptation of the sea lions is the flipper. Sea lions’ front flippers have only a partial fur covering, unlike the seal, whose flippers are covered entirely by fur. Sea lions’ first toes are longer than the other toes. Their hind flippers are extremely flexible, and can actually rotate forward and beneath the body. This enables sea lions to move around on land with ease, unlike the seal. They are very dexterous creatures and thus have been the stars in many movies as well as marine aquarium shows. Behaviorally, sea lions are usually more vocal than seals. Sea lions are called “sea dogs” due to their unique barking noise, where seals tend to make much quieter grunting noises. Sea lions also tend to be more social than other pinnipeds.
Outdoor recycled bathroom at the Freycinet Marine Farm.
I took plenty of what I consider stunning photos for you to see but as I do not like reading long blogs I am giving you an option – view my gallery of the stunning Freycinet Coast here.