Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Montague Island Light
Here it is, Montague Island lighthouse. Construction of this lighthouse started in1878 and was completed in 1881. It was built by James Barnet who built 15 other lighthouses in NSW. The tower is built from stone quarried on the island. The light has been automatic since 1986 and the original lantern and lens is now in the Narooma Visitors' Centre. Power for the light comes from arrays of solar panels near the tower. To get onto the island you have to climb a ladder up to the jetty you can see in the top photo. The crane is there to unload supplies. It used to be the way that lighthouse keepers got their stuff, but now it is used by National Parks and Wildlife rangers based on the island. The whole island is a wildlife sanctuary and access has to be arranged with NPWS. The track from the jetty up to the lighthouse is steep in places and a bit slippery after rain (anyhow, Dad says it was). The rangers are having a big push to rid the island of weeds. It is complicated because Little Penguins nest in the weedy areas, so the penguins in a small area have to be caught and removed, then the weeds sprayed and burned to allow native vegetation to take over. It is slow but is successful and the penguin numbers are increasing. The surprising thing about the lighthouse is that the tower is not as high as it looks from the sea. It is actually built on the top of a big rock. Well worth a visit if you are in Narooma on a day when the bar is safe and one of the boats are operating.
Across The Bar
The most exciting and scary part of our trip out to Montague Island was getting out through the breakwalls at the mouth of the river at Narooma and into the ocean. The passage is fairly narrow and it has a sand and rock bar across it under the water. That makes it very rough when the tide and wind are wrong. We hit it on a rough day and the waves were taller than our boat. The captain, Andy, waited just inside the breakwalls and when he saw a gap in the breakers he gunned the motor and "The Sherrif" went like a speedboat. We hit the gap and literally flew over the wave crest into calmer water. Dad tried to take photos as we went over the bar but the camera got splashed a lot and he was busy hanging on, so this is the only one that is OK and it doesn't show a really big wave. The run out to the island was fairly smooth after that. By the time we went back across the bar on the way home the sea was a lot flatter and Andy just surfed the boat across. On the way out to the island I had a go at fishing. Nathan, the crew, set a couple of lines out behind the boat and set me up to mind one of them. During the day we caught three big snapper. Actually, I felt a bit sorry for the poor fish, but it was pretty exciting as well.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Clouds are fascinating things and I could watch them for ages. They are always changing shape and colour. The ones you get in summertime (Dad says they are called Cumulus clouds) are the best. They start building up around lunch time and sometimes they develop into monster storm clouds. Here's a photo of one I saw two days ago. It is not very big as clouds go, but it has a very interesting shape. It looks like a dog's head sticking out of a fluffy bush. Maybe the cloud doggie was lurking in ambush, waiting for an aeroplane to go past so that he could chase it. I tried to get another picture without the house roofs in the way, but by the time I walked far enough to get clear the cloud had changed and the shape was gone.
More Ships at Sydney
Last week we ducked down to Sydney for a couple of days. There were two reasons why Mum wanted to make the trip. Firstly, she wanted to take us to see an exhibition of paintings by a guy called Pablo Picasso at the Art Gallery of NSW, and secondly she wanted to take us to a concert at the Sydney Opera House. Well, I have to admit that I really can't see why some people think Picasso is so great. To me it looks like he draws things the same way as I do when I am mucking around with Dad's model paints. Some of his drawings look like he has cut them into small pieces and reassembled the bits in random order. Mum really liked the exhibition, Dad and I liked some of the other paintings in the rest of the art gallery. The concert was by Il Divo. They were OK, but we were totally impressed by the Opera House Concert Hall. Superb architecture and acoustics. Do experience it if you possibly can. For me, the highlight of the trip was where we stayed. Mum found a great deal in a place near the Opera House, right on Circular Quay. From the balcony I could see all sorts of boats, from small ferries to big cargo ships. Moored on the other side of the quay was the cruise ship "Pacific Jewel". I was able to watch the passengers go on board and the tugs backing her out to set off on a Pacific cruise. And guess what? From the Art Gallery cafe we could see our favourite ocean liner "Queen Mary 2" moored at Garden Island. I could even see the cabin we were in last year. It really is time that the Oldies got the necessary cash together to take us all on another cruise (Dad take note).
Thursday, February 16, 2012
While we were at Araluen, I did a bit of exploring down by the river. Last year the river flooded and dumped loads of broken trees and junk along the banks. Now this stuff is slowly rotting away and it provides lots of homes for all sorts of bugs, beetles and small mammals. The problem is that it is still damp and mouldy and that means that Mum wasn't happy about letting me go pottering around in it. The solution? Borrow Aunty Vicki's gumboots. Gumboots are great things. They keep your feet dry in shallow water and are too tough for mozzies and snakes to bite through. In the top photo you can see me coming out of a little cave, probably dug out by a small wallaby for a resting place (at least there was lots of wallaby poo in it). Sharp-eyed readers will notice that I have the boots on the wrong feet. That didn't matter because my legs aren't long enough to get my feet down there anyway. As for the bottom photo, well, as you know, gumboots are very necessary gear for crossing puddles without getting your feet wet.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Whoops, Dropped Them.
Yesterday we did something a bit different. Unka Mark, Aunty Vicki and their friend Sonya were camping in their caravan down at a pretty place called Araluen. That's less than 2 hours from home so we drove down to stay with them for a while over lunch. Unka Mark does great barbeques and Aunty Vicki makes really tasty salads. Well, one of the great things about camps is that usually you have a fire there. Not always in summer in Australia because sometimes they start bushfires. Anyhow, Unka Mark's fire was just the right size for toasting things. I tried to find some marshmallows but there weren't any, so I tried a couple of snails that were sitting on the stick I wanted to use. The snails weren't happy about that and dropped off as soon as they felt the heat. I had to be satisfied with just poking the ashes and watching my stick burn. Next time, I pack the marshies.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
We Got There!!!!
We finally managed to do it! We got out to Montague Island and saw the lighthouse, seals and seabirds. Mum has been trying to do this for around 35 years but the weather or the rough seas have always prevented her. Not this time. We went out on a little boat called "The Sherrif". The captain was called Andy and the deckhand was Nathan and they were great guys. They even tried to teach Mum how to fish; they caught 3 big Snapper, Mum didn't. Of course, having a small bear on the wheel and at the throttle makes a big difference on any boat trip, and Andy and Nathan were glad of my help. I looked after things in the cabin while they untied the boat and moored it at the wharves. Because we had to go out and back across the bar at the entrance to Narooma inlet we all had to wear lifejackets. I would like to have a picture of just how rough it was getting across the bar, but I was too busy hanging on. Lots more photos of the trip coming in the following posts.