Willow In the Hawk’s Nest

A narrow strip of land connects the Tasman peninsular to the rest of Tasmania. In the 1800s, it was once guarded by a chain of dogs thwarting the escape of any convict who dared abscond from the hellish conditions of the Port Arthur penal settlement. [vcm_short_ad] These days, the area is a shack community known as Eagle Hawk Neck, and many a tourist bus will pass through to visit the blowhole at the end of Pirate’s Bay – on their way further South to delve into the bloody roots of our convict past.
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The Hawk’s Nest

Away from the hustle and bustle of one of Tasmania’s most revered tourist destinations is a little lookout perched above Pirate’s Bay, what I like to call the Hawk’s Nest! On a cloudless summer’s day in February 2018, Willow and I drove up the rough 8km road through the forest to the top of the hill. At the little gravel turning circle we parked, and as I had my lunch, I let Willow outside to have a sniff around. She hopped over the rocks, ducked under the ferns, and found the perfect log to sit on. The blackened scars on the trees around us reminded us that this was bushfire country. As I snapped some photos of Willow, I wondered if she would follow me to the lookout.

Will She or Won’t She

I locked up the van and grabbed my jacket – for a jacket is an ally in any temperate Tasmanian summer. Willow had since given up on her log and was now by my feet as I walked towards the track to the lookout. I looked back and she was sitting. This cat was going to need some coaxing. I continued walking until I was just out of sight. This was enough to pique her curiosity and I heard her pawing towards me. I continued ahead until half way along the track where she strode up next to me, with tail in the air, demanded a pat. I retrieved some treats from my pocket and placed them on a rock, which were promptly eaten up. Looks like we are going to make it, I thought to myself.

Rising up

As we reached the end, the track gave way to the hillside and a single pink ribbon tied to a pole flapped in the wind. The lookout is in fact used as a launchpad for hang gliders. But we didn’t need a hang glider to feel as though we were floating above the earth. We could see the waves crashing below, the buses on their way to the blowhole, and people enjoying the cool water. Boats bobbed in the bay – though there was no signs of any pirate ships. The scene in front of us felt so close that I imagined reaching out and touching it as if it was just a scale replica. A whole world below, and us above staring into it like a diorama at a museum. If the buses and waves stopped, then maybe there is a slot to put another coin in, I humoured. But it was real, and that maybe what was more absurd was the fact that I was sitting there next to my cat. I saw the hawks circle above the scrub behind the dunes – or were they kites or eagles, I don’t know – and above them we sat. The next day we would venture down to Pirate’s Bay. I would get some fish and chips from the food van at the blowhole then we would wait for the tourists to leave. When the sun went down I would clamber down onto the rocks and photograph the waves breaking under the stars.

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I hope you have enjoyed our little snapshot from an afternoon back in 2018. I had since forgotten about the video we took so I am pleased to finally share it with you.
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