Boat ride adds to bushfire misery

Boat ride adds to bushfire misery

06 January 2013

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Australia —  IF those stranded by the Tasmanian bushfires were relieved to get out, they were also relieved to get off the boats that ferried them out.

Tourists and residents are evacuated from Nubeena on the Tasman
peninsular back to Hobart by ferry after the main road in and out,
the Arthur Highway was closed due to the fires. This photo was taken on Saturday.
Picture: Kerstan Marlene Source: The Mercury

Up to 2700 were picked up from the Tasman Peninsula, with another 400 due in Hobart on Sunday night as the Dunkirk-style operation continued.

Some arrived as late as 4am (AEDT) after a rough and ready ride across Storm Bay.

“A lot of people got seasick, a lot of little kids,” a Sydney man wishing only to be known as Keith told AAP.

“We had dogs, birds, a rabbit.”

Caroline Theo from Brighton East in Victoria was thankful for the ride, but also keen to get off.

“It was the worst thing I’ve ever been on,” she said.

Leaving behind the campervan they’d hired, Keith and his partner Kathy lined up on the beach near Nubeena at around 3pm before getting on a boat at around 10.30pm.

Others taking refuge at Port Arthur were bussed up to meet the boats, supplied by local commercial operators.

“It got a little bit chaotic because everyone was getting a bit cranky about who had been there the longest, so then we started making a line,” Kathy said.

“They said women, children and elderly first.”

Ms Theo and her family spent a night at the Port Arthur convict ruins, which housed up to 700 people, feeling like she was on the tourist attraction’s famous ghost tour.

“I was feeling quite spooked,” she said.

“I said to my husband, ‘It’s quite eerie here, thank God I’m not doing that night tour’.

“And then of course we end up sleeping there.”

In Hobart, evacuees were housed at City Hall where food, clothing and social services were being provided.

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