Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The Spirit retuns
I didn’t know what time it was. I woke suddenly aware it was a noise which had startled me.
And there is was again. I knew at once that it was a ship’s siren.
I had heard that the Spirit of Tasmania sailed in every morning at 7.00 am and I knew from the sound that she was approaching the mouth of the Mersey River, returning to Devonport after her night crossing from Melbourne.
The room was black. The curtains had those heavy plastic-coated linings which didn’t allow a glimmer of light even though the car park outside was still brightly lit.
I found the switch and reached for my clothes. It was 6.45.
The siren sounded again - and it was nearer.
I knew that I didn’t have time to dress properly if I wanted to see it.
I pulled on my trousers, tucked my nightie into them, and pulled my coat on, zipping it high under my chin. It could be quite cold outside at this time of the morning. Joggers on – no time to lace them.
I grabbed the camera and room key and within seconds was down the corridor and out of the front door.
The B&B on Victoria Avenue was directly across the road from the River and at it faced east I could see the sky changing to accommodate the sun as it was about to rise at the point where Bass Strait ends and Tasmania begins.
I crossed the road quickly to the grassy bank and watched in awe as the modern ferry approached.
She sounded her siren again, for me I thought, as I was the only person waiting to welcome her.
She approached surprisingly fast sliding by smoothly and silently, creating barely a ripple on the rose-coloured sea – even the wild waters of Bass Strait were still asleep.
Would she reach her wharf only half a mile up river before the sun came up, I wondered?
I watched her pass and watched the sky change from red to gold and a dozen shades between and marvelled at the kaleidoscope of colours reflected in the river.
What a beautiful morning it was, and oh, what a beautiful sight.
Photo: Mouth of the Mersey, Devonport, Tasmania