Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Superb Lyrebird

You will not see a Lyrebird in the post, but you will hear one!

On the way out to the Tahune Air Walk, we stopped by the side of the road to walk out of a place called the Look In Lookout. Crazy name, right? It was a platform in the forest about 40-50 meters from the roadside from which you could simple view the dense forest. And, for sure, this is place of great beauty and enormous ferns. Watching the video is not the interesting part.

Listen. In the distance you will sound of what we are sure is a Superb Lyrebird in the distance. Just close your eyes and listen.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery

Another venture into Hobart. This time to see the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. This is an interesting and eclectic collection of history, natural history, and art.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunrise Over the Huon River

No surprise...there was another delightful sunrise here. The clearing of the fog as the sun peeks through the clouds on the horizon, conspire to create a window on the sunrise that is reflected almost perfectly in the river.

I just don't get tired of this. I hope you don't either.

Another Sunset

Just thought you'd like to see what we are seeing on pretty regular basis out here in the hinterlands of Tasmania. As you can easily see from the image there is no commercial district, no city lights, no multi-lane expressways, and no crowded populous covering the hills near us. How can we possible survive this isolation, this lack connection to civilization?

I'll tell you how.

We get this kind of sunset many days and just over the hills in the center of the picture is Hobart. What more could you ask for?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mount Nelson Lookout

After the drive down from Mount Wellington, we stopped by the lookout point at Mount Nelson. Clearly, someone had notions on the ranking of Nelson and Wellington to give the name of one to such a large mountain and the name of the other to such a low hill. As you can see from the panorama above, we are not very far above sea level.

On the far right side of the panorama, is the opening of the Derwent River to the Tasman Sea. This is where the sailboats come 'round the point into the Hobart harbour in late December in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. We expect to be here for this event this year. More later.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mount Wellington

Standing 1271 meters above sea level, Mount Wellington dominates the skyline near Hobart. In the image above, you can see a bit of the Derwent River after it passes Hobart on its way to the sea.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lower Longley Cemetery

We stopped at a cemetery we found by the side of the road on the way into Hobart. It was located on the side of a fairly steep hill next to the main road with now signage or fencing. It is small and nearly all the markers are old.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Southernmost Cemetery

While on our visit to Cockles Creek, we found that in addition to seeing new animals, we got to see an interesting cemetery.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The End of the Road

After several days of drying out and sunshine, we decided to try going south again. This time we made it all the way. Along the way we found some fun things to see.

One of the interesting things about Tasmania this time of year, especially near the southern end, is that the sun is never very high in the sky. This means that you get that shadow-inducing morning/afternoon kind of light pretty much all day long. This, combined with the cooler temperatures means that some mountains are simply fog-covered all day.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Salamanca Market

The Salamanca Market is a large weekly gathering of people to meet, eat and buy lots of stuff. While the Eumundi Market is probably better, this one is pretty amazing.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Foggy Morning

Another of the many foggy mornings on the Huon River. As the sun began to burn away the river mist, I got a couple quick shots.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cygnet Cemetery

We visited the small cemetery in the village of Cygnet and found a few stone worth some pixels. I found the names on the marker above to be unusual.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Petcheys Bay

We took a drive around to the other side of the river on a pretty day. As you can see from the image above, a pretty day is just partly cloudy, not actually clear. Nevertheless, it makes for nice photos when the wind is still and the river is reflective.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


It took two us, but I finally got a couple of shots of Max, out other charge in this sit. Max is another Schnauzer mix. He's bigger and stouter than Monty. He's also nearly completely blind. But, with a little help, he manages. The dogs are closely bonded and seldom far apart. Clearly Max relies on Monty for getting around.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I Can't Stop Taking This Picture...

Clearly, if I just sat in the backyard and watched the sun come up and go down, I'd be a happy photographer for a very long time. This is just the best time of year to be in Tasmania for sunrise/set images.

Sunset in the Rain

Clearly, I have discovered a replacement for photographing cemeteries: photographing the light on on the Huon River at dawn and dusk. I am simply amazed by the sights from the rear window of our current residence. I just had to share a few more with you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Morning After

The calm river persisted overnight and we had a glorious sunrise to greet us. I thought you'd appreciate a couple more photos of a perfect reflection of the sky.

The Huon River at Sunset

At the end of a beautiful day (not warm, just sunny), we had another wind free afternoon resulting in a mirror-like river surface. This, of course, is the perfect opportunity for some photos.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Ida Bay and Lune River

On south of Southport is a small village called Ida Bay. It's one claim to fame is the narrow gauge railway. Although we could have taken a ride, we opted not to. Rather, we just had a look about.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Cygnet Market

Heading out on a Sunday morning we found a pretty spider web in the driveway. Had to stop to take a photo of it covered in morning dew.

Instagram Update

The transition to using Instagram is, like anything else, a learning curve. I'm really shocked to learn how clunky and cumbersome the IOS app is. No way to default settings, no template to insert hashtags automatically...no way to default anything much to save time when uploading. And don't get me started on the web interface. You can't even stay logged in to the site and must enter credentials each time. Not a big deal you say? This is the kind of thing that gets to be a drag after a bit.

After installing a couple apps (nothing is really simple, is it) and some late night (US time) testing, I think I finally have Instagram posts appearing on Twitter (with the image included) and Google+. We'll run with this for a while and see how it goes.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Finally Some Sunshine

Just so you know that it is not all gloom and rain here, we did have a day with a full spectrum of weather options. We awoke to a partly cloudy, foggy morning on the river.

Friday, July 07, 2017

South of Us

We picked a rainy day to have a drive south. There are no towns of consequence south of Huonville (which is north of us already). Just north of us is Franklin and next south is Geeveston. At least Geeveston has a grocer and pharmacy. South of that there is very little.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Finally, Another Cemetery

For all you cemetery aficionados out there, we have overcome the initial infatuation of sunrises and sunset (although we are certainly not done with those yet) and found a cemetery. I'm sure you are relieved to know that you don't have to wait for our return to the mainland.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017


One of our current charges is Monty. He's an energetic and playful puppy that seems to be everywhere at once. He's always glad to see you and eager to play.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Evening Mirror

When the wind dies down and the sun begins to set on sky filled with broken clouds, the river turns to a sheet of glass and the sky to an impressionist painting.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Fog on the River

The clearing of the morning fog from the Huon River is often quite beautiful. On this particular morning, there were some soft scenes to enjoy.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Tench

On a morning filled with fog along the river, but sun above, we drove into Hobart for some sightseeing and a movie. Along the way, we paused for a view of the Huon river and the lifting fog bank.

Saturday, July 01, 2017


For those of you out there that are instagram-ers, I have finally joined you. There's not much on there as yet, but I'm working on getting more as we go along. Here's where I'll be putting iphone images that are just snaps of interesting or curious things I find along they way. The 'good stuff' will still go on the blog, but you will see some lighter things on the 'gram.

My name on instagram is Steve.Whisnant. Come join me.

Hartz Mountains

After lunch in Geeveston where we had a very nice pide at the local Turkish restaurant (also know as the Geeveston One Stop Supermarket and Takeaway), we headed for the Hartz Mountains. Of course, just out of town, there was another rainbow. There are cemeteries here and you will see them in the blog, but I can't resist a constant stream of rainbows. They make me smile.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Franklin Market

On Sunday we popped in on the monthly Franklin market held at the Palais Theater this week. The logo for the market seems to be a Tasmanian Tiger. in the photo above you see the food cart of the local pasty maker.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


As we settle into the life in Tasmania and establish our routines, we been hanging around the house a lot and resting between fits of dog and chook feeding and laundry. We haven't had a chance to do laundry since leaving Virginia and we are bit behind. This means I spend a little time each morning looking at the sun rise.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Morning has Broken

Our first morning in Port Huon brought a glorious morning filled with light, scattered clouds, and rainbows. I went with our host Rob to the marina to pick up his boat after repairs. It is not often you see a double rainbow.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mid-Winder Celebration

After a bit of getting to know our hosts for our house/pet sit, we helped them carry things a few doors down to a party on the shore of the Huon river. This was the annual neighborhood celebration of the winter solstice with food and bonfire.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Driving Across Tasmania

After about an 30 minutes or so after we got of the ferry, the sun began to rise revealing a beautiful land enshrouded by clouds and in the throes of winter. We stopped in Elizabeth Town for breakfast. In the village of Elizabeth Town, there is no town, only a very nice bakery. We had a great brekkie.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

To Tasmania!

Finally, after what seems like days on the plane (oh, wait...it was) we arrived in Melbourne. Our friend Campbell picked us up at the airport in our recently repaired ute and we spent the night with him and Janeen. The next day, we headed into the Melbourne to kill some time at the movies (saw My Cousin Rachel...very good; worth a look) and board the Spirit of Tasmania for the 10.5 hour crossing to Devonport, Tasmania.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Back in OZ

This morning we arrived back in OZ to see the sun rise. Winter time and the trees are bare. We've spend most of the day resting, hydrating and repacking all our clothes. You see, we had shifted to our summer-time wardrobe and "stored" our winter duds in one suitcase we never opened in Virginia or Arkansas. Now, we had to flip this and pack away the summer stuff. We are started the shift back to living out of the back of our ute rather than out of three suitcases.

Anyway, here we are. Tomorrow we drive to Melbourne to do a bit of shopping and board the ferry to Tasmania. I really do promise that pictures will resume soon.

Monday, June 19, 2017


We've made it, finally, to the gate at LAX to catch our flight to Melbourne. The flight from Fayetteville, AR was pleasant enough but the crazies hit when we landed.

American Eagle took us to some place near San Diego  (not literally, it just felt that way) to a small terminal connected to the rest of the US by bus. After waiting for the bus for 10 minutes and then riding for 10 minutes, we arrive at Terminal 5 to collect our bags. No big deal here, they were waiting on us. Funny how our bags made the trip faster than we did.

Our flight information tells us we want terminal B. So I ask where it is. Well, we were at terminal 5, next to that is terminal 4, and after that is terminal B. Perfectly sensible, right? So we walk. it really wasn't far. We get in line to check in at Qantas and all goes smoothly.

Security took a little time, but went about as well as you can imagine in such a large airport. Then we went to look for something to eat. It had been about 10 hours since we ate last. The first place we stopped at had a young woman who just stood at the check out to season her food after taking 10 minutes to buy. WE got pissed and left.

The next place had a shorter line but wasn't any quickly really. We stuck with it this time and got an Umami Burger that was pretty good.

So now we are at the gate and the sky is dimming after sunset. there is every indication that we are on time, but there is no plane at the gate yet. There's time. No worries.

Next report from down under!

Father's Day!

Here is a short video from Seamus with his first gift to his 'Papa' on Father's Day. It is a bit dark, but absolutely perfect. While the str of this production is Seamus, the voice-over is done by Seth who gets the true fatherhood joy of 'post-production' recovery.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fun on the Road!

Some of you may have heard about the latest adventure: kidney stones!

Leaving Staunton and driving north towards Dulles, we planned to say a couple nights in a hotel so we could have space for organizing. On Sunday night, I starting getting the typical pains from kidney stones. This episode was bad enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room for pain control. We got back to the hotel about 2:00 AM for a bit of sleep before moving to the hotel located at the airport for our final night. The comparison is always made between kidney stones and childbirth. I'm pretty sure this one is at least 6 pounds.

After a couple days sleeping on morphine, I somehow ended up in northwest Arkansas. This morning we went to the a GP to consider getting more pain meds to be sure that I'm not on a 15 hour flight or 12 ferry ride writhing in pain. She recommend that I also get an ultrasound to be sure we know what is going on. Well, what is going on is kidney stones...everywhere. Just got to knock this episode down and make for another 6-8 months and I'll get friendly with a urologist in Seattle and get these things taken care of.

Now I need to just be careful that the airlines don't charge for extra baggage or carrying illegal items on board with me.

The most fun has been explaining to the medical profession that we don't really live anywhere, that we don't have a GP, that the emergency room on Sunday was in a different state and that the next one will be Australia.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Mary Baldwin

Since we've had a good bit of sun here in Staunton, I thought I'd share a walk that Raven and I had the other day. We walked up to the top of Cannon Hill to catch a few rays and see the city clothed in its leafy green splendor.

Monday, June 05, 2017


Springtime in Staunton is always a burst of flowers and newness. The soft rounded greenness of the trees on the hills and mountains tell us that it is time to enjoy the outdoors.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Home Again

The trip from Seattle went well until we got to Charlotte. It seems that the east coast had some "weather" and schedules were all akimbo. Our flight was delayed, so I go to check on other options. Since we had planned to drive from DC to Staunton and stay in a motel there, E got busy finding a new place closer to Dulles and shifting the car.

Friday, May 26, 2017

In the Air

Today we are headed east to Virginia to see friends on the East Coast. We've had fun exploring Seattle and getting to know Seamus. This week, we had some sun for a few consecutive days (!) and could see all the mountains arounds. This is a beautiful place filled with friendly people. We're going to have a great time living here after our travels to Australia are over. Which is not to say we are going to come back and just sit. We will continue to travel and house sit, but having a "base of operation" here will keep coming back to experience the best Seattle has to offer. (Looking forward to the opera and the symphony.)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Peek at Seamus

Seamus wa sitting on Dilly's lap with his feet towards her. She started playing with his left foot with her right hand and out came the camera.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

La Conner

We drove about an hour north to the small historic settlement of La Conner. It is near where one can drive to the northern end of Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island without requiring a ferry. It is in the Sagit Valley. As you can see above, the farmland gives way to the Cascade Mountains. In the distance on the left hand side, you can the white peak of Mt. Baker towering above the rest at about 10,000 feet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Celebration of Fatherhood

I began mentally planning an all-male family to-do to celebrate Seth's recent entry into the land of fatherhood. Last Saturday it finally happened. We had a collection of McDonaghs, near-McDonaghs, and honorary McDonaghs on hand to smoke a cigar, lift a glass of fine scotch or bourbon, eat, and tell stories on Seth.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Picnic Point Beach

I wandered down to Picnic Point Beach the other day just to have a look about. I arrived at something like low tide and was able to walk out pretty far on the seaweed covered rocks.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dilly reporting in from downtown Victoria, BC. Anyone up for a beaver tail?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Syttende Mai

Norwegian Constitution Day, the 17th of May, is a celebration of the signing of the constitution declaring (among other things) the independent country of Norway in 1814. This separated it from Denmark to avoid being ceded to Sweden after Denmark-Norway was defeated in the Napoleonic wars. This celebration in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle claims to be the largest celebration outside Oslo. We stood in the street at the turn in the parade to enjoy the people and the show of Norwegian pride.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother's Day

Mother's day really has to start with a child and in this household, there is on one that counts this year. Seamus started the day all bright eyed and happy. then came a busy round of photos.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


I was finally able to get some photos of Callie, the resident dog at the McDonagh home. She was rapt in the deliciousness of a bone.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Visit to Seattle

Jeanne came to visit and, of course, we had to take her downtown for a bit of the city. Second stop was Pike Place Market. On the way into town we had to make a stop at the REI mother ship. That's a place we'll have to visit regularly.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Out for Lunch

We headed out for lunch in Woodinville today with Anna, Seamus and Kathleen, a friend from DC. We went to the tavern at the Woodinville Whiskey Company for a sandwich (and a good one it was). After lunch, we stopped in the tasting room of the distillery so that Kathleen could buy a bottle of their find American Whiskey to take home.

Today was sunny (imagine that!) and warm and we ate outside. A wonderful time. Sorry there is no photo today, we were too busy having a great time together.

Monday, May 08, 2017

More Seamus

Seamus is growing and we spent some time with him while his mom and dad did some shopping.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Planning for the Future

We are shifting into planning and preparation mode as we think about our upcoming travels. Soon we'll be heading to the Shenandoah Valley for a visit, but then we are off to Australia again in June.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Live Long and Prosper

Here's a shock: it rained here last night and today we are going to visit Seamus. Seamus is not Vulcan, but he probably knows one or two of them. I expect him to be doing the Time Warp soon.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Bald Eagle

Seth and I went for a walk down the beach in the afternoon. To our surprise we found a Bald Eagle perched on a low branch in a tree. To our even greater surprise, he was perfectly happy to sit on the limb while I shot away and walked all around him.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Main Attraction

Of course, while we are Lummi Island we are also enjoying the company of our beautiful grandson. As he grows, he tolerates having his feet uncovered better and I can finally get a few photos.