Sunday, August 30, 2009

Albany on a Sunday afternoon.

I spent the day today hiking around Albany. And I mean hiking. This town, like many port towns I have seen this summer is built on the side of a hill. I saw a lot of cool things, but I am exhausted and it's only 4:00 pm. The sun goes down around 6:00 pm these days, so I'm going to spend the evening in the hostel eating dinner, knitting, trying to keep warm, and watching Aussie TV.
This is what Albany looks like from the bridge walkway over the highway along the coast. Please note that Australians also shop at IGA.

After I went for a jog and had breakfast this morning, I set on out my adventure at about 10:45 am. My first stop was the boatshed markets. It's a little Sunday market they set up in one of the big, open boat sheds on the shore. There was a lot of fish for sale. There was also a lot of really tasty baking and many other treats from local farmers. There was no wool for sale. I sort of wanted to knit myself a toque, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen because I don't have any appropriate supplies. It should be warming up soon anyway.

After the market, I walked out to a hiking trail that would take me to Middleton Beach. It was a really nice walk, up a few hills, but that's okay. Along the route I saw a lot of historical plaques and a lot of interesting wildlife.

The first thing I came across was the ruins of the pilot station. I'm not exactly sure what it was used for, but these little stations look like places to mount cannons. I stopped and rested in the next one, which wasn't flooded.

This is whale's head rock. A big boulder along the trail. All of the big boulders have names around here.

This is heartleaf poison (Gastrolobium bilobum).

This is a common honeyeater.

This is the ruins of the coastal searchlight emplacement. During WWII they had a light here to watch out for enemy attacks. They also strung a huge net across the entrance of Royal Princess Harbour to catch enemy submarines. I don't know how well that strategy would work and I doubt that they needed to try it anyway.

This is a little reptile creature called a king's skink (Egernia kingii). When I first saw his tail i thought it was a snake. Startled me a little until I realized what it was.

This work of art is called Avenue. It was installed in 1998 when they decided to make some shoreline art. The plaque says that the air and light around this piece is actually more important than the sculpture itself. I don't really get it. I'm also not totally convinced that I didn't take a picture of some sort of water pump pipe and miss the art completely.

This is looking back at the track I had traveled so far. The water going into the right is Ataturk Entry and that's how the ships get into the Royal Princess Bay, where Albany is located.

I'm pretty sure this is the showy dryandra (Dryandra formosa). I will have to check this one because I might have mixed it up with a banksia species.

I still miss having lots of things around a little bit. This one made me wish I had my loom with me. I was really getting into weaving just before I left. Thanks, Albany Weavers.

At the end of the path, I came to Middleton Beach. I walked along the beach for awhile. There were a lot of families out and people picking up things. I think they were collecting shells. I saw a lot of really nice ones, but I didn't take any because I will never get them into New Zealand. Here is a particularly nice scallop shell I found:

Middleton Beach and the Middleton Bay. I have recently found out an exciting detail. Australian authorities consider the waters to the south of Australia to be part of the Southern Ocean. That means I've actually been to 4 of 5 oceans in the world this year!

Parrots fly around here like seagulls back home. I love these guys with their big pink heads. They were eating all of these huge seeds that came out of the coniferous trees on the shore. And french fries people had left behind.

A cool little sitting area on the edge of the beach. I sat up there and had a snack and wrote in my journal for a bit, until I got to cold and decided to head back to town.

On the way back to town I ended up climbing Mt. Adelaide. The Aussies call anything that is more than an anthill a mountain. And, everyone I've talked to has been embarrassed about that. They say, " yeh, Mt. Adelaide is that way, but, of course, it isn't anything like the mountains YOU have". Um, I don't really have any mountains either. It was still quite the hike up the hill. At the top, I found Princess Royal Fortress. I didn't go in because it was expensive, but I did buy a Fanta at their cafe. The Fanta here tastes way better than our Fanta back home. Everything here tastes better than things back home. Why is that? Makes me feel less bad about the price because I know I'll be having a quality product, at least. Why do Canadians settle for so much less, though? I mean, the Fanta here is still made by Coca-Cola. It just seems like Coke knows Aussies won't accept an inferior product.

Okay, end of food rant. You'll probably hear more about that, though. The Cadbury chocolate bar I bought last night is one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. Here's a pretty little flower I found at the top of Mt. Adelaide before entering the Princess Royal Fort.

Tomorrow I will be heading out to Two People's Bay Nature Reserve to work with a conservation officer named Louise. There are a couple other volunteers living out there already and there is free internet. I'm really excited about that. We'll mainly be working in the area taking Noisy Scrub Bird inventories (they thought it was extinct, but have found it again at the reserve so their are monitoring its population), but they have also told me about a few other trips that will be taking place in September and I am welcome to join.

I'll let you know how this all goes tomorrow, Love Cass

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