Well what a big weekend, totally not what was planed but we made the best of it and didn’t Alonnah Lunawanna/Brunny island turn on some gorgeous weather for us! My friend Jess came over for my 40th birthday and the “Nayri Niara” festival, the local aboriginal words for “Good Spirit” festival, after the initial disappointment of finding no festival we realize we had more days to just relax, fish and forage, thank goodness the weather was absolutely stunning
Brunny island is a little island of the south east coast of trouwunna/Tasmania it is a gorgeous place with almost all the diversity of habitats that mainland Tasmania has just in miniature, I would definitely live there given half a chance!
On the way to the ferry our foraging had already began, I spotted some willow (Salix sp.) and was wanting to test it’s anti inflammatory effects and Jess spotted some gorgeous bright orange wild rose hips (Rosa rubiginosa) these would make a nice relaxing herbal tea before bed.
It was my 40th and all I really wanted for that night was to be camped up by the sea with a camp fire, I wanted to fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean and I got it in spades, we set up camp and lit our fire and sat by it’s warm glow catching up and planing our now unexpected next three full days of foraging.
For some reason the festival wasn’t on but at least we had brilliant weather for the three days so we drove around the whole island and foraged and fished, the first thing we found was an amazing patch of Shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus) rite on the side of the road I hadn’t seen a patch like that since I was a youngen, haha I can say silly things like youngen now I’m 40!
We jumped out took picture and gentle picked them into a basket and kept on our way we ended up in a small pine forest that is also a camping ground and we found a basket full of Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) so we were of to a great start on the first day, further around the island we dug pipis a small clam out of the sand flats at low tide we also got some oysters and muscles for what was looking like a mighty fine clam chowder for dinner.
Around at Adventure bay we caught some what we call kelpies, I think they are a Wrasse species of fish with a fine white flesh that not many people eat and if you don’t cook them just rite the flesh becomes mushy so they need to be under cooked, they are good baked or fried, so anyway we ended up with Pipis, Oysters, Muscles and Mushrooms, we got everything back to camp lit the camp fire and cooked it all up, it looked and smelt fantastic!!
The next day we explored more of the island we went fishing again early as the tide was going out and caught seven or eight fish we had them fried for lunch, dinner and breakfast, what a life! We collected Bull kelp to dry, enough to last me a couple years, I love kelp and I’m not buying it from Japanese waters anymore that’s for sure. We had a couple beers at a cafe rite on the beach front, we relaxed and dreamed about moving to Brunny and buying the cafe and selling only local and wild foods, arhhhhhhh well I can still dream even at 40!
On our last day on the island the weather started to turn and the skies were getting pretty black by the time we had finished digging another big bucket of pipis to take home and just as we got in the car it started raining so we were very lucky with the weather for sure, off to catch the ferry.
We decided to visit a friend south of the fairy port on the main land and on our way we spotted some mushroom under the silver birch (Betula sp.) trees around a school in a small hamlet before my friend place, I didn’t expect them to be anything edible but to my surprise they were definitely Bolete’s two different ones I was so exited, we ended up with another small basket of mushrooms I had never tried before I couldn’t wait to get home identify them and try them and OMG they were so superb I now understand why people aren’t so exited about Slippery Jacks if they have these to compare them with, we couldn’t believe how they tasted, I will definitely be looking for these next autumn.
At home we settled in for the night by the fire and planned the next day before Jess had to fly back home, we baked the last two fish whole in the oven they were lovely so much food!
The next day we went foraging in the pine forest next to my home and came home with three baskets of Slippery Jacks and a smaller basket of Fly agarics (Amanita muscaria) we also dug some thistle roots (Crisium valgare) for Jess to try she loved them, we ended up peeling and preparing mushroom until about 1 am in the morning whilst listening to Pink Flyod, it was fun but my friend didn’t get to have much of a holiday it was more like a working holiday!
Jess left the next day with a bag full of hard won goodies to share with her friends back on the bigger island, Auss.
So that was my 40th birthday celebration weekend, I wouldn’t have wanted to be or do anything else, I’m so lucky to live were I do and this is the most harmonious, happiest, and fulfilled I have ever been with my diet and life style despite the physical pain in my life, these days make it all worth while, I’m so grateful every day!