December 2021 - Cape Raoul

It's the Sydney to Hobart season again (hurrah!). Lyn and I decided to revisit our "inaugural" walk-a-month in 2010 and our 2017 return visit to Cape Raoul. With luck we would see some S2H contenders passing by the Cape. On a perfect summer's day, warm and clear, and keen to make up for some serious Xmas indulgences, Lyn, Di, Kat and Philip left town at 8am.

The obligatory coffee stop in Sorell was this year marked with worrisome CheckInTas signins and mask wearing. We stayed as briefly as possible and took our coffees to the car. We kept going, arriving at the Stormlea carpark at 9.45am, where Gary was waiting for us, making a congenial group of five today.

The carpark has been extended yet again, this time for the Three Capes tourism promotions. The landscaping is very nicely done, they have even provided footpaths! The new composting toilets are also clean and modern.
We were on the trail by 10am.
The first stretch was lively with birds, it would be a good spot for a bit of quiet birdwatching. We reached the turnoff to Cape Raoul or Shipstern Bluff at 10.30am. At the Cape Raoul lookout we were pleased to see one of the maxi's steaming south. Perhaps Whisper, which arrived at Constitution Dock at 3.51pm?? Kat's photo shows a helicopter taking a close look:
The trail down the hill and along the windswept headland has been sensitively upgraded - smoother, wider but not overly curated - to provide an easy walking surface and take the steepness out of the hillside path. You can now walk without having to watch your footing all the time, a great relief. A couple of duckboard stretches were well placed. The views were fabulous as always along the headland.
We noticed that the scrub had grown taller and now offered good protection from the winds over the largest part of the headland.
A totally unconcerned echidna was happily digging the side of the path.
The path around the Cape's little lake has been nicely improved with a snaking path along the clifftop and some duckboarding.

It was great to arrive at the tip of Cape Raoul and see four yachts in the water between us and Tasman Island. The S2H Yacht tracker was not quite up to date:
The maxi at the front, Stefan Racing, steamed right past us at 1pm.
It possibly overtook Whisper and arrived at Constitution Dock at 3.20pm, besting us by a long shot.

The big yacht not far behind it might have been Ichi Ban, which was followed by Celestial.
Down below us a Pennicott cruise boat came in to look at the seals. Then it was exciting to see Rob Pennicott himself arrive in this spot sheltered from the ocean swells in his big Freycinet Explorer. We saw them carefully load up a large camera onto the bow, and then set off towards the boats, no doubt to capture some great action shots.

As we headed off ourselves, we ran into an old friend from our Centrelink days, Tony Lawrie, another opportunity to catch up on some news. By 1.20pm we had seen the seals and were heading back along the headland.
As always, the conversation flowed as we walked, covering COVID at length (these are difficult and rapidly changing times), computer and phone problems, food adventures, news of old colleagues, Xmas events, and more. It was a comfort to share our concerns, knowledge and solutions as the kilometres slipped by. By 2.55pm we were back at the Cape Raoul lookout, taking a last breather.

Then it was back down the hill, and we got back to our starting point at 3.40pm. So the walk of about 17 km took us about 5 and three quarter hours, including a generous lunch stop and a couple of rests along the way. Due to the improvements to the track we escaped with very litte in the way of aches and strains. What a fabulous day.

Our walk: