Hastings Cave and Cockle Creek, Tasmania

We checked the creek for the resident platypus but, like ALL THE MOOSE in Canada and the Northern Lights in Iceland, we weren’t privileged to experience a sighting.

 

 

I was excited to drive down to Hastings Caves.  I’ve been to the Jenolan Caves in NSW, Ngilgi Cave in WA and, in my imagination, the cave in The Hobbit, where gollum drops the ring and Bilbo Baggins finds it.  The guide confused me before we even entered, announcing, “This isn’t a limestone cave, like most other caves; it’s a dolomite cave!”  I knew limestone was CaCO3 and susceptible to mild acidic solvents.  I had no idea what the chemical structure of dolomite was, but was certain it was a much harder rock than limestone.  You can scratch limestone with cutlery.  The only dolomite I could recall was a very hard piece of marble my Mum had pointed to and said, “That’s dolomite.”  I was a  child at the time and remembered nothing else, except that Mum had a Bachelors degree in geology so maybe she knew something about rocks.  She was a fan of telling me complete porkies, out of amusement, so I could never quite trust that it wasn’t a joke.  Apparently turning the egg beater rota in the opposite direction doesn’t un-beat the eggs.  Our cell phones were out of range, so I couldn’t Google to discover that dolomite was the name for both a mineral and a rock and it was just the same as some limestone with a bit of magnesium and an extra CO3 to balance the extra 2+. (Whatever that means; I’ve actually finally forgot High School chemistry, my sister would be terribly disappointed.):

The guide was friendly but his information a little scattered and rambling.  I would’ve asked questions for clarification but there were so many kids on our tour, including some very grizzly toddlers and infants.  I didn’t want to become the annoying mature-age student in the class that held the group up arguing with the tutor.  You can’t claim that the rate of growth is an unanswerable question when you’ve just stated that 4 m straw back there was more than 1000 years old.  Dan muttered something about Hook, Line and Sinker, a presentation style that Perth Zoo encourages for its keeper talks.  “It’s not Hook, Line and Sinker-ed!” Dan tutted.  “What the fuck is DOLOMITE!?” I whispered.  The boy in front of me touched a stalagmite, ignoring the instructions not to touch anything (other than The Touch Stone).  The infant next to me grizzled.  I looked up and wondered when the weight of the trees and earth above us would cause the roof to collapse and, if it was imminent, whether I would scream and run, to save myself, or if I’d try to save strangers’ children.  They had all been impolite so far.  I’d save myself. The group shuffled along.

 

 

Daniel had planned a drive down to Cockle Creek, the road is the most Southern drivable road in Australia. He drove.  Right past the sign that posted the most South bit of the road, where it turns around and starts to head North again.  Unlike the shifting sand bar at Point Pelee, in Canada, we didn’t wade out into the water (another almost certain death experience, really, people have been swept off and died).  We drove on and looked at a sculpture of a whale.  It started to rain.  I drove us back.  We had pizza for dinner and watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding from our budget self-contained apartment. I fell asleep first, and apparently was twitching in my sleep, because I woke up to find Dan in the other bed.  What will the owners think?  Two gay guys check in to their accomodation and slept in separate beds.  That’s just not right.  It’s not normal.

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