A Tasmanian's view of corona
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"
Those are the words Hunter S. Thompson used to describe what happens when the world turns to shit, and over the past few weeks our world has turned to shit.
Down here in Tassie, the land of the weird, we seized the moment and turned pro. We told tens of thousands of tourists to go home, raised the drawbridge and stuck up the 'Locals Only' sign. A declaration to the world that we were no longer part of the Global Village.
Right now is the best time of the year for surf in Tasmania. The water is still warm-ish and the great Southern Ocean is moving out of hibernation. Many locals saw the silver lining, no longer packed with hoards of tourists, the lineups would revert to the old days, just you and your mates exercising at a safe social distance.
Self isolation, Tassie style.
Last Saturday that all changed. It was your classic autumn day, warm, sunny, offshore with a head high groundswell. Not only were the local surf beaches packed, boat ramps everywhere were overflowing and the roads leading out of Hobart were near gridlock with folk going for a drive.
Apparently this holiday vibe wasn't just a local thing either. From Snapper Rocks to Bells, to Margaret River, everyone in the Land of Oz went into a last drinks-style frenzy. Facebook and online surf forums around the nation lit up and leading the charge were the locals. Those who took the view that if you drove to the beach, you should turn around and go back home.
In the new Corona world, the beach was the sole realm of those who lived there.
Now you can argue the pros and cons of the hard core 'locals only' attitude all you like, personally I subscribe to the idea that the beach belongs to everyone, however, the Government doesn't agree with either side of the argument. They've decided it belongs to them. As of now, all Tasmanian surf beaches under state control are closed indefinitely, with no indication of under what circumstances they will be opened.
Down here it's a beach lockdown.
Which is all very bloody confusing. We're told very clearly what we can do. You can shop and exercise as long as you abide by social distancing guidelines and meetings are restricted to two, or your own family. Yet you can't surf on state-managed beaches, even with your kids, because the beach is closed. Step on the sand and you wear an on spot fine, even if you haven't a job anymore.
When this thing is over, and it will be, experience tells me that the natives will be looking for someone to blame, no matter the end result. Either lockdown was the right call, but you stuffed up my life, or, lockdown was the wrong call and you stuffed up my life.
There are no winners here.
// MICK LAWRENCE