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Staying in the eerie ‹shelter›

Cockle Creek (Australia) Fishers's Point
Southwest National Park Tasmania
Thursday, 27 March 2014

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The wind thrusts the rain down against the earth in scattered bolts; the Tasmanian Sea flings itself restlessly at gleaming grey-black rocks. The air is filled with the stink of rotting algae torn out of its forests by the last storm and hurled into the land – together with the moist iodine- and nitrous-breath of the half-croaked seafood that emits its life in the deep cracks between the stones. The gulls and oystercatchers, stubborn dinosaurs with feelings from another time go about squawking an argument with the squalls. My body is soaked through, my mouth feels dry and salty, the stab wound in my left thumb caused by an oyster knife burns and it seems as if my heart is beating within it. How little it requires for everything to appear eerie to me. Who can promise me here and now that the world does not go down – my world at least?

Fishers Point at the south-eastern end of Tasmania actually lies just an hour’s march away from the parking plot where I have left my car – even in the dark I’d find my way back. The ideal spot therefore to stay for a few moments of delicate shivering in the eerie “shelter”. It was the French Admiral Bruny d'Entrecasteaux who accidentally discovered the bay behind Fisher’s Point in 1792 – after his ship was tossed off course by a storm. In the log book, «Recherche», he describes the place as «an isolated bay at the end of the world». And, to get something of a sense of it, I have driven all this distance, trudged diligently along increasingly tightening lanes to the left fringe, and finally slid over an endless tract of porous clay – till Cockle Creek, «population:3», one-third of which greets me beckoningly.

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First Publication: 19-4-2014