From the communications Tower, I followed the reasonably flat four-wheel drive track north eastwards by the edge of the river and ten minutes later I was able to look down from a high cliff towards Mary Ann Bay.
For a short while a solitary man stepped briskly along its short length. Despite the children stopping and starting as they took in the sights along the way, the group caught up with me as I looked down at the beach end of the very long and faceted Mary Ann Bay. These were relaxed country kids who said their ‘hellos’. I had forgotten such differences exist between the city and country. Their openness reminded me of my experience on a Marquesas Island last year, when having talked to a primary school class one day, and then travelling to a remote part of the island the following day, a young girl came up to me in the car where I was sitting, simply to say hello. With each of our halting use of the French language (the Marquesan’s speak a Marquesan language as their first language and only French, the national language, occasionally) we were able to work out why she was greeting me. She had remembered me from the class room, and the country thing to do was always to acknowledge people you know, however slightly. But I have gone off at a tangent … back to the walk and to Mary Ann Bay.
After glorying in the views of the undulations of this part of the South Arm peninsula, the expanses of the Derwent River and the sparkles of the western shore, I had the choice to continue on the four-wheel drive track up and over a hill or follow a single track through tall wet grass that skirted the cliff edge. No contest. I avoid hills when I can. Of course I had no idea where this track would go or whether I would need to retrace my steps. But all was well, and the track gave great views before curving around downhill from the main track. Quite quickly I found myself back joining the main track after it had dropped down from the hill. It was only 10.25 am and I had been walking for an hour and a quarter.
I continued for a few minutes along the main track until I reached a very steep hill for a 4 wheel drive to descend. Having owned a 4 wheel drive and enjoyed off road adventures in the Northern Territory, I know that if I had come across such a serious drop I would have been taking lots of very deep breaths and may have even prayed in what would be a swift if not hair-raising sliding descent. On my walk down the hill, I avoided the slippery earth and enjoyed a safe descent courtesy of clumps of grass. Soon after this, I continued on and passed the sandy track that could have taken me onto the beach end of Mary Ann Bay.