Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some Loons and a Few Odd Little Birds

Here I go again in an attempt to out do my imaginary Uncle Harry in the boredom stakes.
We stopped at the Bay of Islands with the girls. Unlike last time it was not blowing a gale, but the weather was cold and it rained intermittently. But the weather did not deter some loony locals. In the circle in this photo (number one daughter in the corner by the way)...
are these guys, surfing far off this inhospitable coast.Every now and then surfers are drowned somewhere on this coast, when the conditions change suddenly on a rugged coastline they can easily be trapped against sheer cliff faces. When you see them in places like this you can see why.

To continue boring you, another shot of The Grotto.
And London Bridge at low tide in calmer seas.
I took this photo of the cliffs facing away from London Bridge the previous time we were there. I noticed footprints in the sand at the base of the cliff at the time and wondered how anyone could have climbed down there.
Two weeks later and there were still footprints at the bottom of the cliff, lots of them.
So I had a closer look. In the vegetation covered bank at the base of the cliff are dozens of burrows.
Then it went click, Fairy Penguins live along this coast. During daylight hours they fish out at sea, then at night they come ashore to rest in burrows where they raise their chicks.
All these prints are the work of cute little fairy penguins.
This picture is from Wikimedia Commons
Next along to Loch Ard Gorge
Where there are these interesting but rather ugly stalactites.
Out at the point beyond the gorge you can see where the Loch Ard foundered. The formation with the arch through it is Muttonbird Island. The Loch Ard was wrecked on the shelf at the base of the cliffs in the extreme left of this picture. Somehow the two survivors made it past these cliffs, through this gap, to land on this beach.

From here we continued on to the Twelve Apostles. These nifty little helicopters run tourists past the Apostles. We decided not to go last time because it was really windy, and this time because it was raining.
So we made do with looking from ground level

Here they are again from a different angle to last time and in very different light.
We had hoped to go on to Cape Otway, which we have not made it to on either of our previous trips, but the rain continued to get heavier so we decided to head for home.

Having made Uncle Harry proud by boring you all to tears, that is all for a while from the South West Coast.

Of course we still have to head down that way to see Cape Otway, maybe in summer before the high season. So Uncle harry could yet ride again!

Next: I cast an eye over my novel.


Wendy R said...

Dear Al

Thank you for taking us on this lightning tour. I loved it, felt I was there lurking at your shoulder. The edge of your daughter in the frame made it intriguing. It occurred to me that this would be a very good location for a murder mystery - there was an invisible threat there somewhere. And not in the least bit boring...

Kat said...

I'm loving this post especially the inspirational 'The Grotto' photo & the adorable fairy penguins.

Kat :-)

Kristen M. said...

You've done Uncle Harry proud and I'm sure you've also pleased the tourist board quite a bit! So beautiful.

Lisa said...

Okay, Fairy Penguins are the cutest little critters I've seen in a long time!

Lovely pictures and I'm sure you are making Uncle Harry proud. But it probably is time to get back to work?!

Al said...

Dear Wendy,
I would have my family in more of my pics, but in general they hate having their photo taken.
Trust a writer to hatch the beginnings of a plot! Now you have me thinking! It is a very harsh environment as well as very beautiful. Yet just behind the coastal heath is some of our most fertile farmland, what a contrast! Hmm, definitely a novel in there somewhere.

Hi Kat,
Thanks for your comment, it seems easy to get good photos in such a great place. Fairy penguins really are cute! They are hard to see in the wild because they only come ashore at night and head down their burrows. I've only seen one in the wild and she was sleeping in a shallow burrow.

Hi Kristen
I try to keep Uncle Harry happy or he gives me what us Aussies call an ear bashing (don't worry no physical violence involved). I guess the crew up at Tourism Victoria would be happy with me, do you think I should ask them for a job? It is a truly spectacular spot.

Hi Lisa,
Aren't they just the cutest, they are tiny and very sweet.
It is an easy spot to take great pictures (as long as you don't get blown away by the wind). I am sure even Uncle harry would say "Fair dinkum son you've done a grouse job this time."
Hmm work, I suppose I should.

Brian, the old man said...

Wonderful photo blog. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing.

hmsgofita said...

I loved the fairy penguins! I've never seen one before!

Al said...

Hi Brian,
You are most welcome, and thank you for commenting. It's a pleasure to "meet" you.

Hey Heather,
I love fairy penguins too. They are true blue Aussie penguins, although we do share them with our ANZAC mates the Kiwis. In other words they are only found around the coasts of southern Australia and New Zealand.

Amanda said...

Ok. I have a new dream vacation destination. I blame the blue penguins.

Al said...

Great spot isn't it? And those penguins, nearly as cute as Charlie!