Dan drove us 90 minutes North, then South, then East to the ferry across to Bruny Island. There are sealed and unsealed roads, all barely wider than two vehicles. Driving becomes a game of Russian roulette chicken: if you want to reach the speed limit, without skidding off the edge of the road, you need to drift towards the centre of the unmarked lanes but every crest and every corner is the chance that an on-coming vehicle, also driving slightly across the centre, will appear out of nowhere. When this occurs there is much swearing and, in Dan’s case, horn-honking. “Move over!” Dan yelled, over the car horn, as we narrowly skid past one of those white posts on the side of the road that mark the left edge with its little red rectangle reflector. We both drive like we ski: Dan fearless at the prospect of plunging to certain death rounding each corner, me, in second gear, hugging the shoulder and swearing loudly at the driver who’s car’s righthand wheels were both over the double-solid-white lines of the sealed road. Not adding to the national total of 5 fatalities this Easter has been our achievement for today.
There is a penguin rookery on Bruny Island. Like the platypus in Devon we did not see a penguin. I played with seaweed, washed up on the beach. The water was cold. We had an argument about parking at the lighthouse. There was no parking. I was driving. I refused to park on the side of the road, as others had begun to do, like atherosclerotic plaque at the common carotid arterial bifurcation. I turned the car around and, in moving over for an on-coming car, slightly fell off the road, scraping the chassis on a stupid metal speed bump. A speed bump made of metal! That doesn’t even reach the edge of the road! I secretly hoped I had forgot to put the handbrake on as we walked down to the beach, so that the rental car would have rolled down towards the beach too. Just so I wouldn’t have to drive any more. It didn’t. The 17 km of unsealed road North away from the lighthouse took me 16 minutes. Daniel read.