At the ‘General Store’ end of the Tarkine Hotel: ‘Hi. We are booked into the Corinna Wilderness Resort but we can’t find it’. ‘What is your name? We’ll have your booking here.’
Jeanette and I were excited about our walk up Mt Donaldson and inclined to share. When Jeanette mentioned her ‘Cooee’ performance at the top, the receptionist remarked, ‘I heard you’. ‘What? How?’ ‘Yes I did,’ she nodded. ‘Of course, I didn’t know who made the sound or even where it came from. I had driven up Norfolk Road/Western Explorer Road until I could get internet and mobile reception. While I stood beside my car, I heard a ‘Cooee’ across the landscape.’ My eyes widened in amazement and Jeanette gasped. How surprising.
Back to the business of getting accommodation. We learned that our cottage was up the road and inland behind the Hotel; we grabbed the keys and made ready to leave. ‘But before you go … we have been trying to reach you yesterday and today.’ ‘You have. Why?’ ‘We left messages on your mobile.’ ‘We didn’t get your messages.’ ‘We left voice and text messages.’ ‘But we have been out of mobile reception in this area so there was no way we could get the messages’. ‘Well we wanted to let you know that the Arcadia is not running tomorrow because we can’t get a pilot – so you will not be travelling on the river as expected’. Our faces dropped. The heat of annoyance rose. We had booked a boat trip for the next day on the Arcadia, to take us down the Pieman River to the sea. ‘We have booked you on the trip the following day.’ ‘But that’s no good. We will have left here that day’. Our response was unanimous and unrestrained. Then ensued discussions about other possible boat options which might be arranged for us. Resignedly and somewhat despondently we accepted little probably could be done.
We bought ourselves a refreshing drink from the bar and walked outside to sit on the expansive verandah and watch the world go by. Comfortable. Very comfortable. My sparkling pear cider and Jeanette’s gin and tonic began to work their wonders. It was exceptionally pleasant sitting there in the warm air watching people arriving and leaving and others moving their cars on and off the Fatman. This ferry took vehicles and their passengers across to the other side of the Pieman River to connect with the road that leads south to the town of Zeehan and beyond.
We sat and mulled over our situation feeling quite bereft because our trip to the sea along the Pieman River seemed out of reach. Taking the trip on the day when we needed to return to Hobart didn’t seem possible. The drive from Corinna back to Hobart was expected to take at least 6 hours. Our plan had been to make a very short walk in the early morning on our last day and then head off mid-morning towards home. Jeanette needed to be back at work the day after our return and so it didn’t seem fair that we would take the Arcadia boat trip for 4 or so hours during the middle of the day, arrive back at Corinna mid-afternoon and then have the long drive starting over winding narrow roads before hitting the highways to get home. Nevertheless, was this a possibility? I put the question. ‘You are the driver. How would you feel about taking the Arcadia trip on our last day and then be faced with making the long drive home safely? We wouldn’t get home until after dark and mid-evening at the earliest. What is your reaction? Would it be too much?’ We discussed the idea from every angle. ‘Yes I can do it. Will do it. Want to do it.’ Jeanette was sure. It could be done. I went back inside the Hotel, talked to the booking organiser and made sure we were listed to join the boat trip on our final day. Yes. Yes. Yes. I was so thankful for Jeanette feeling confident she could manage all. We were both pleased that our booking was now locked in.
It was now time to find and move into our accommodation cottage.