The last couple of weeks have been leading up to this moment — driving aboard The Spirit of Tasmania for our journey across the Bass Strait. After a few last-minute repairs on the bus, I packed everything into its place and we drove away from Karina’s and into a long queue of vehicles waiting to board the ferry.

Spirit of Tasmania, ferry, December 2012
As we round the corner on the waterfront streets — already in a queue of vehicles waiting to board — we spy the ship waiting for us.

Our girls on the deck of the Tasmanian ferry, December 2012
When we go out on deck to watch the land receding from view, the cool wind prompts us all to cover up.

Our girls on the deck of the Tasmanian ferry, December 2012
It's really only when they see the water moving beneath us that that the girls realise that we're out to sea. The ride in the ferry is so smooth — and we're used to constant movement — so that inside the ferry it feels like we're in a hotel.

Sunset over the Bass Strait, December 2012
The sunset is befitting such a monumental day in our lives.

We only spent a little bit of time exploring the ship. The girls were pretty excited by their room, and the children’s playroom was small and busy, so we didn’t linger.

In our room, however, we had a grand time. The ensuite bathroom was particularly exciting, and the girls loved working out how to control the dual dials on the shower.

Bunk beds on the Tasmanian ferry, December 2012
It doesn't take long for the girls to choose their beds, and it takes a little longer for me to realise that I've missed out. Thankfully, Calista later allows me to join her in her bed.

I’m so glad we booked a cabin for this trip. We’ll all have a good (but short) night’s sleep before we disembark around 6.30 tomorrow. And then we’ll have the whole island to explore!