Greetings From the Five Dollar Shack

The shack

Out here traveling Flinders Island Tasmania on a ten dollar bike you learn to cope with changeable weather as follows. Sunny skies – hang your hammock and swing in peace. Rainy skies – sling your hammock, then hope your rain fly sheet holds up to the Roaring Forties set to drown.

Sometimes, though, you get lucky and find a shack right before rotten weather strikes. Then you run like to hell for cover and, once holed up, figure out how to make your temporary dry spot home.
Which is what happened yesterday. With a low bearing 40-knot winds heading my way, I eased into Killiecrankie, on Flinders’ west coast, and settled into what I’ve come to call the $5 shack. Owned by Mary-Anne Roberts and Jude Cazaly of Killiecrankie, it’s kept me warm and dry today while outside the wind and rain did their best to pry through the weather boards.

It’s what shacks are best at, providing funky, rustic shelter – with the freedom to improvise.

I won’t tackle the whole Tasmania shack culture in this installment but suffice to say it’s way cozier to be trapped by rain in a clapboard hut than a sodden hammock – or for that matter, in a luxury hotel. For a peek into shack culture, like the improvised limpet lamps I built because my flashlight died, check out the photos below.

Hope you’re cozy out there.

Killicrankie foreshore: the soft weather before the hard. The triangular, box-like structure in the foreground is called a coff. It is used to store spiny lobsters until there are enough to ship to market. The circular object to the right of the coff is a traditional Tasmania lobster pot. Historically made of steam-bent tea tree branches, they are still used by many crayfishermen. (Killiecrankie, Flinders Island, Tasmania)

Truth in advertising: Why I call it the $5 shack.

Home repair: how men and women think differently


Longing for the sea: the shell of porcupine fish gazes from whence it came

Wet currawongs: these crow-like birds keep me company even in the rain

Tasmanian limpet lamp: rice oil in a limpet shell provides lighting

Homemade lighting recipe: limpet shell, rice bran oil, a length of string. With dead batteries in my flashlight I have to use what’s on hand to provide some lighting. This will be cozy tonight. Drop by if you’re in Killicrankie.

Yes, even the bike’s allowed to come inside tonight

2011-02-19 14:08:18

Today is the first time to see your site. What an interesting different type of lifestyle you have.
I have this kind of creative life inside myself. I realized it when I became aware as an adult that my favorite childhood books were a series of books called Boxcar children. In a nut shell it is about brothers and sisters away from parents and on their own. I enjoyed how they utilized things they found on their journey ie: an old abandoned boxcar.
Thanks for sharing your adventure with me. I am a dog trainer in Las Vegas. I love my job. I only work from refferals and I work a lot. I find it hard to say no when I’m needed.
I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I have to find a way to do something similar to what you are doing. My life won’t be complete until I do.

Wishing you big adventures and good health. Kathy

kenny tyndall
2011-02-22 08:00:50

hey been working on the shack on the river here .i have got it dried in so when ya get back come stay a while.

2011-02-23 13:40:54

It seems there are a lot of us free spirits out there finally finding ourselves through your leading us down the not so trodden roads Bernie..


2011-02-23 14:08:48

Hi Bernie did you get your hands on any tea tree oil. Maybe try and extract some from the leaves ?? Its great for cuts and grazes and such, fungal foot and such and carry along some leaches, a good idea in case of a future oozing sore.



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