This is the view we gazed at for a week over the New Year. It's sparkling Spring Beach on Tasmania's south east coast. Maria Island lies across the bay - it's pronounced Mariah like Mariah Carey but a million miles from her glitz.
We ate, drank, napped, read and puzzled (I did much better than last year's poor effort) and spent a lot of time on the beach. Spring Beach has whiter than white dry sand that squeaks under your feet as you walk.
A week ago today we sweltered through a forty degree day while parts of our beloved home state burned. A hot, hot dry day with a hot northerly wind is rare in Tasmania and feels quite apocalyptic. For the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas it was. While we were chasing the boys' boards as they were blown down the beach other families were wading out in the chilly water with their children or fleeing in boats to escape the flames. Over a hundred houses were lost but thankfully it now looks as though no lives were lost. The water must have saved so many. If they'd been stuck in a valley things could have been quite different.
There were fires to our north and quite far to the south - nowhere near us but this was the wall of smoke that swept in overnight and obscured the view to Maria. There was smoke over Hobart for a few days afterwards.
The people of Tasmania - and the rest of Australia - have been doing us all proud. One volunteer set up this Facebook page - 'Tassie Fires, We can help' - and help it has. From Friday night when it became clear what had happened people started to donate everything from their time to clothes, groceries, shelter and animal food - and quickly and efficiently distributed it all via social media.
Have a read through the facebook page - you'll probably cry a little. The Red Cross Appeal has topped $2m already. The local primary school at Dunalley was razed but within a week they community is making plans to re-open and already has hundreds of donated books to restart the school library.
Perhaps one of the best things you can do in the coming months and years is pop down to Tassie, stay awhile and spend some cash - and if you do plan a trip, email me and I'll happily give you some more of my tips. The Peninsula is one of my favourite places.
Sometimes when you tell people you're Tasmanian you cop some flak (and a lot of bad jokes about your second head). Well two fingers to that. It's the greatest little place on earth.