I’d like to thank those lovely people who reached out to me. They gave me some much needed support and made me think on a few things. (And it wasn’t just family, but thank you Aunty Mary and my editorial team!)
Much of my uneasiness arose from the expectation or even an obligation of having to write every week. It was a goal of my 60 before 60 challenge and with that done I wasn’t sure of how to progress. One writer suggested I just post whenever I wanted to rather than sticking to a rigid schedule. (Thanks Pete!)
And I’ll do that; write when I feel the need. That may be every week, that may be once a month. But I will write. If nothing else has happened over the last four years that this blog has been in existence, is that I have come to realise that I like writing, and I’m getting good at it! More importantly, sometimes I even have something to say that may interest other people.
Another source of discontent is chasing perfect SEO. (Search Engine Optimisation) When I started writing I didn’t worry about it. I didn’t even know what it was. I just wrote. More recently I have been analysing my posts more carefully. Making sure I use the keyword the requisite number of times. Ensuring I have the right ratio of passive vs active voice. All in the hope of pleasing the algorithm and hence improving my ability to be found in random internet searches and increase my reach. This has caused me to write in a less spontaneous way. It has made me use subheadings where I found subheadings intrusive or unnatural. It has made writing less fun.
To remain true to myself and continue to write; I’ll pay less attention to the SEO and if I grow my reach, it with be organically. Much like my quest to grow veggies and have chickens!
Thank you dear readers. More soon.
PS: Next week is a Furious Fiction post, then on with the voyage into intentional living or whatever the hell I feel like! One idea I’m thinking on is longer, more analytical investigative pieces. But then again it might just be fluff about making pickles and jam while in Week 8 of lockdown with potentially another four to go!!! (at least!)
Thanks Ing, your not so random act of kindness was the tonic I needed.
I am returning to a From the Vault post. I have been writing this blog since July 2017, and this week I’m looking back at the posts I wrote in July in those 4 years, al la Facebook Memories.
I’ve been Facebooking since 2009. Like many of us, I spend way too much time scrolling through other people’s stories. I really like being able to keep in contact with my diaspora of friends who are scattered near and far. In these COVID times, it’s often the only way I stay in touch with some people.
I hate the posts from random companies that pop in my feed. The sponsored ones. The people who I don’t know. The ones that crowd out the ones I do know. I hate the ads. I particularly hate the ads that show up three milliseconds after you’ve searched for something online. Look at bullet journals, next thing you’ve got ads for bullet journal courses, bullet journals themselves, pens etc etc etc. I could solve this problem by switching to a private browser and for the most part, I do. But sometimes it’s just easier to have auto-fill do the work.
You’ll notice I didn’t include zero social media in my Year of Zero challenge! I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it! I’d be happy to start with just one day without Facebook. My good intentions are usually thwarted because I manage the social media for my school, and while I‘m there on the school’s page I just have to peek at what’s going on on my own page!
What I really enjoy about Facebook is the memories feed. While I don’t believe that Facebook actually cares about my memories, I do! When you think of it Facebook is a journal, even if it only includes the glossy bits.
This time last year…and the year before…
This week I have been enjoying Facebook memories from my trips to Scotland and Canada. There are snippets of my first attempts at serious photography and sharing good times with good friends.
In the spirit of Facebook, here are my memories from my blog for the past four years.
Back in the 1980’s the Tasmanian Government planned to dam the Franklin River for the purposes of hydroelectricity. A massive and effective protest movement arose with a strange alliance between old loggers and “tree-huggers” to protect the wild rivers.
Eventually in 1983, the newly elected Federal Labor Government led by Bob Hawke stopped the development and the area is now a UNESCO World Heritage protected area.
The pristine, undeveloped and wild area cannot be easily accessed by vehicle and most areas remain undisturbed except by intrepid bush walkers. Several tour companies also run river cruises for the first 12 km of the river. They are required to travel at very low speeds in the river to prevent bank-damaging wash. No commercial crusies are allowed beyond the 12 km mark.
The area near Strahan had been selectively logged for the fabled Huon Pine since colonial settlement but now, no commercial activity other than boat cruises are allowed on the river.
World Heritage Cruises
As part of my Great Southern Road Trip, I booked a Premium seat (aka window seat) with World Heritage Cruises. The cruise leaves the jetty at Strahan at 9 AM and returns at approximately 3PM. Prices vary but I paid $165. In the height of summer (December and January) there is a second afternoon cruise.
The cruise includes lunch. Normally a buffet, but in these times of COVID it was a prepackaged bento box with a bread roll, cold meats including smoked salmon, salad and cheese. Drinks and snacks can be purchased separately throughout the cruise. If you book a Gold ticket, morning tea is included.
The cruise takes you out of Macquarie Heads through “Hell’s Gates” a very narrow opening to the ocean, Sarah Island, an aquaculture area and the Gordon River. At the end you can also watch a traditional saw mill in action cutting up salvaged logs.
You get off the catamaran at Sarah Island for a half hour walk around with a very entertaining guide from the Round Earth Company and you can also leave the boat at the 12 km turnaround point for a short board walk through the forest.
There is extensive commentary from the boat’s captain and owner as well as some video clips displayed on monitors. This commentary was detailed and interesting. The Grining family who runs this particular cruise company have lived in the area for generations. Firstly as loggers, then loggers with a tourist side business and now the tourism business is their main activity. The family were also actively involved in the 1980 protests. The Grining family lobbied their passengers to sign a petition, ran supplies to the protesters as well as ‘smuggling’ in new protestors to the protest line.
Sarah Island is a small island in Macquarie Harbour. It was a penal settlement for secondary offenders, that is convicts who reoffended. It was a “hell on earth” with harsh weather adding to the man-made deprivations and frequent floggings. Many of the convicts tried to escape. It’s history is bloody and it was closed after 12 years and the convicts moved to the equally infamous Port Arthur. The history of Sarah Island is certainly worth checking out.
The Western coast of Tasmania is wild and the weather can be just as wild. At a latitude of 40o South the area is buffeted by the “roaring forties”. The next closest landmass in South America. It rains here frequently with the average annual rainfall being a little over 2 metres.
On the day of my booking it was raining heavily and cold. Visibility was poor but the sea was relatively calm. When we got out at Sarah Island, even though I had wet weather gear on, I still got soaked through. Cold I know is a relative thing. Cold here in Australia counts as anything less than about 15C! The previous day had been clear and 25C but on this day it maxed out at 15C.
The Harbour Master 2 was only launched in 2020. It is an impressive double hulled aluminium catamaran. It has comfortable fittings and seats. It has large windows and open decks at the front and rear. There is a bar/cafe. As stated they usually serve a buffet but because of COVID restrictions still in play they served prepackaged Bento boxes.
Gold Tickets holders sit on the top deck and have access to the roof deck. When you are boarding and awaiting departure watch the time lapse video of the boat’s construction.
Despite the poor weather, it was still a good day out and I would recommend it. There are other tour companies which run similar trips. Gordon River Cruises also have a catamaran and Stormbreakers run an over night cruise in a sailing boat. I wish I had of seen this before I booked the other cruise!
Note: because of the poor weather and reduced visibility I don’t have many photos! I did make this tongue-in-cheek video of highlights.