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 The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #024

Editorial

It's been four months now since we arrived in Tasmania, and I must say that we've really enjoyed our stay so far. The weather does get on our nerves at times though, particularly the wind, "Very unseasonal" the locals keep saying.

It's also very hilly, even though we're driving far fewer miles than we do on the mainland, we seem to be spending about the same on fuel.

There's plenty of free camping and the people are helpful and friendly. You could do a lot worse than spend some time on the Apple Isle.

 

 

Sat 3 Jan 2004


The chairlift with Mt Wellington in the background

We leave the show grounds and drive back out to a spot we know near the airport.

Sun 4 Jan

Leaving our airport camp we move over to the domain. I originally planned to camp on the grass near the Cenotaph, and know that many people do so without hassle from the authorities.

When we arrive however it seems that there's a better spot just below, on the water's edge.

It does require crossing the railway line though, and the corner is very tight, so we have to perform a three-point turn on the tracks. Luckily no trains turn up.


The railway crossing, note Wothahellizat parked down near the water

The circus is in town and has set up on the grassy area just above us. I know the manager (we were camped together at the show grounds a week or so back) so I walk up for a chat.

He shows me around, it's fascinating to see how they live and work, and to have a close look at the equipment.

This is the "Circus Joseph Ashton", an offshoot from the famous Ashton Circus, it was started by a fellow named Joseph Ashton. I didn't actually ask, but unless that's the most amazing coincidence with the surname, I assume Joseph is from the original Ashton family.

I meet Joseph and several of the other members of the show. And speaking of families, just about everyone is related, there's only one performer who isn't in the family, so I guess there's no point me applying for a job.

The idea does appeal to me in a small way, but I couldn't face continually erecting and dismantling all the equipment, and that huge quarter-million-dollar tent must be a nightmare to deal with.

Obviously circus life is very nomadic, but many of these people have never lived in a house.

Mon 5 Jan

Today we are supposed to leave, but by the time we get up and I check out some things in town, it's late morning and we couldn't be bothered moving.

I spend half the day just wandering around with a camera.


A small jetty near the truck, with the Tasman Bridge crossing the Derwent River.


A conifer near the Cenotaph. Mt Wellington in the background.


Seagulls arguing about something

Tue 6 Jan

We really wanted to leave early this morning to avoid the trains and the traffic entering the cramped park-and-ride area.

Unfortunately we sleep in, and by the time we are up and about the cars are arriving. No matter, we'll have a leisurely breakfast instead.

At ten to nine we feel it will be safe to exit the area. It's a steep and narrow road, and we don't want to meet any traffic on the way out, and so far there's been no trains.

However, at about the halfway point, we see a stream of cars entering the road above us, just our luck to have a stack of people late for work.

Then a train comes around the corner.

We all wait for the train, then I pull over as far as possible to let the cars cross the line and squeeze past the truck.

Now it's our turn. A railway man has jumped from the train and is manning a set of points. It's obvious that he's going to throw the points so the train can reverse onto a different line. He waves us through, but doesn't appreciate that I won't get around the corner in one go, I'll have to back up across the line.

As we reverse so does the train, adding some incentive for me to get it right first time.

After a long drive through the Huon Valley we arrive at Cockle Creek, or at least as near as we can get. There's a 5-tonne limit on the bridge at Catermaran, so we pull into a campground nearby at Finns Beach.

There's several camping areas strung out along the beach and, making a judgement based on the style and disarray of the camps therein, they all appear to be occupied by people of a more feral persuasion than ourselves.

As we pull in we're watched by a very overweight and unkempt female. Once parked I try to strike up a conversation, but am rewarded with a few one-syllable responses, so I give up.

I think we'll be moving on tomorrow.

Wed 7 Jan

It's raining so we sit put. The kids seem to like playing around the truck. We're very nervous around children, you just never know what they'll do next

At one point three of them are congregated around the rear of the truck, near the winch wire that emerges from the body to lift the steps.

I can hear them discussing the wire, and wondering if it was "electric". I can also see them with our security cameras, so, when one of the boys plucks up the courage to touch the wire, I press the button that raises the steps.

While not much obvious happens to the wire, the winch makes a hell of a racket.

The lads bolted as fast as they could run, and we didn't see them again for a good hour.

Thu 8 Jan

Raining again. We listen to the forecast on the radio and it goes something like this.

Gale warning for the North, West and South coasts. High wind warning for the East coast. Bushwalkers weather alert. Rain and hail in the south. Possible snow on Hobart.

Welcome to sunny Tasmania. We're in the south and, as per the forecast, it is windy and raining, but at least it's not hailing.

Hang on, what's that rat-a-tat-tat on the roof?

Sat 10 Jan

We're still at Finns Beach. It's been raining for days so we've just been hibernating in the truck.

I have ventured out on occasion though, to chat with the neighbours and their kids.

Young Mark turns eight today (or maybe tomorrow, there seems to be some disagreement about the actual day). He's a bright young fellow, but one wonders what will become of him, living in the environment he does, with no obvious stimulus for his mind.

His mother is the woman I had a mono-syllablic conversation with the other day, not much help there. His dad is cheerful and a likeable bloke, if you can get past the drooling, but not overly bright either.

They live in a one-bedroom council apartment, and occasionally make money by picking fruit or salvaging the lead from old batteries.

Still, they seem happy, more than can be said for some people with both money and brains.

Mon 12 Jan

We move out and drive northward passing through the locality of Moss Vale. Although not even marked on the map, Moss Vale consists of a dozen or so houses spread over as many hectares.

The strange thing about the settlement though is the fact that the entire area is neatly mown. Acres and acres of manicured grass indicates that someone around here has too much time on their hands.

At Lune River we decide it's breakfast time and pull into a hard stand area beside a house. After placating the house's resident dog, we chat with its owner.

Peter has lived here for 37 years, originally working in the quarry "Until it was closed by the greenies", and now boning fish in a factory.


Those thoughtful forestry people, just for a moment there I thought this was an armadillo, but the "GATE" sign soon put me right

We continue and eventually make camp at Port Huon, just north of Geeveston.


By the looks of this shed, and what's inside, I suspect the Geeveston Rowing club hasn't put oar to water for some years.


A somewhat abstract photo of a buoy in the Huon River.


Evening light on the jetty in front of the sailing club

Tue 13 Jan

Adrian and Carrol are driving past and see us camped. They drop in for a cuppa, but can't stay as they're travelling with their daughter and son-in-law.


Adrian & Carrol drop in for a cuppa.


A feather floating on the Huon River.


Amazing cloud formations come through with a cold front.

Wed 14 Jan

We drive back through Huonville, but rather than return to Hobart on the hilly route we came down on, we turn right and make our way along the coast.

After a while we pull into a rest area at Gordon.


Luckily I noticed that this motorhomer had his trailer on the wrong end of his vehicle. He could have had a nasty accident.


A great sunset at Gordon

Sat 17 Jan

We drive back to Hobart, parking in our spot near the airport.

Sun 18 Jan
I'm borrowing a phone line at Glen & Annette's today to upload the web site changes.

I tell Annette that it should take a couple of hours, but I have a lot of trouble with my FTP program. Six hours later I finally finish.

We want to get out of town so drive up the Midlands Hwy to the tiny town of Kempton.

There's a free camping area set up by the council, right in the middle of town. With electric BBQs, a shelter, and power available, someone has spent some money to attract travellers.

But I can't really see why, normally a town will do this in the hope that the people staying will spend some money, but there is nowhere to spend money in Kempton.

Mon 19 Jan

Another slack attack, we stay at Kempton.

Tue 20 Jan

Today we intend driving to outskirts of Launceston, but get lazy and turn off into Oatlands, just 39k up the road.

Oatlands is motorhome friendly, and has set aside a lovely camping area for travellers. It's right on the banks of the Dulverton Wildlife refuge, and just a few minutes walk from the main street.

There's good trout fishing in the dam, and plenty of birdlife to observe.

We set the truck up in a prime waterfront location, and settle back for a lazy day watching the birds.

Before long however I get the urge to be a little more proactive. I grab a camera and make my way out onto the mud flats.

At first I watch the ducks.


A pacific black duck, swimming, standing, and having a go at another duck

Lapwings fly away at first but gradually get used to me as I lie in the mud.


A masked lapwing on the mud flats.


Mommy black duck being mimicked by one of its ducklings.


Peaceful scene on the lake

Wed 21 Jan

First thing this morning I wander down to the dam.


Reeds reflected in the channel.


The ducklings cruise in the channel.


A dragonfly rests on a bent reed.


Scottish thistles

I spot a swan sleeping on the bank and drop down into the long grass to stalk it and get closer (nearly standing on a large tiger snake in the process).


The swan seen through the long grass. He's spotted me by now and is getting nervous

I get pretty close then stand up and grab a couple of photos before he waddles off onto the lake.


The swan swims off into the safety of the dam centre

I've always liked swans, such graceful and peaceful animals, or at least that's what I've always thought. I am to be proven wrong later in the day.

After breakfast we walk into town, a short and pleasant jaunt through the grounds of the old windmill.

I buy a magazine at the general store. We almost never buy magazines these days, but I've just had one of my Tarkine photos publish in "Outdoor", so I buy a copy.

On our return I wander down to the creek to photograph the ducks again.

When I get there however I hear a commotion in the nearby dam and go to investigate.

It seems that two or three swans are fighting, or at least one is, and the others are just trying to stay out of the way.


One swan attacking another

I get some photos but the action is over pretty quick. Then I return to a more sedate subject, wildflowers.

The bank of the lake is covered in flowers.



Wildflowers near the truck.


A mouse's-eye view of a flower. The "tree" in the background is another flower, only about 10" high.


Lady bird and bumble bee on flowers.

At some point I hear a commotion in the dam again. I rush up but just find two of the birds swanning (sorry) around.

Still they're nice to watch so I get comfortable on the water's edge.

Before long though I spot a swan approaching the two I've been watching. Even from across the other side of the dam the newcomer is obviously on a mission.

Things could get interesting.


Swan B (Bilbo) in the foreground, swan A (Agro) approaching in the rear.


Bilbo tries to escape from Agro.


Agro launches his attach.


Agro chases poor Bilbo across the dam wall.


Then returns with feathers in his beak.


Bilbo wonders what the hell is going on.


Agro launches a new attack.


Bilbo hits the water on the run.


The chase continues

Click here for a more complete description of this encounter.

Well that was exiting.


And now for something completely different, a spot of fly fishing.


Evening light on the lake shore

Thu 22 Jan

We find a nice spot near a creek on the outskirts of Launceston. After parking we ride into town to get our mail, but find that it hasn't arrived yet.

We figure that the mail may arrive tomorrow, but if not, nothing will happen until Tuesday as Monday is a public holiday. On our return to the truck we study the maps and decide to spend a few days in one of the national parks to the north of Launceston.

Fri 23 Jan

We leave Launceston at around 9 and drive up the East Tamar Highway, crossing over the river at the Batman Bridge, and continue to Greens Beach for lunch.

Our information indicates that the nearby Paper Beach is a good campsite so we drive there, only to find a very unsuitable area.

We retrace our steps up the highway, then turn off onto a dirt road and cross the Asbestos Range, arriving at Narawntapu (Asbestos Range) National Park, just in time for a well earned beer.

Sat 24 Jan

We meet a couple who are into prospecting today. They've found 460oz of gold in 7 years, on one day they found 150 ounces. That's not bad going, but you do have to buy a good detector and, at around $5000, that's a lot to outlay with no guarantee of a return.

Still, like most hobbies, you can't really justify the expense financially, but if you get hours, days, or even years of enjoyment what does it matter?

As they say, you have to enjoy doing it anyway, if you find something that's a bonus. They also have a Port-a-boat which we inspect because we've been talking about buying one.


A "Port-a-boat", they're very popular with motorhomers because they are easily stored, and light enough to carry to the water.


It's quite dusty in the campground

We also meet Siegfried and Sylvia today, a nice German couple camping on the other side of the campground. Siegfried has an interest in photography but is not sure about the quality of digital prints. I invite them over to have a look at some examples of prints made from scans off negatives.

When they arrive we show them through the truck and Siegfried asks how old I am. I reply that I'm 49. There's a stunned silence for a second as the two Germans look at each other. "We thought you were about 35" he says.

Bless their cotton socks, what nice people.

Just before sunset I go down to the beach to photograph the shells and jellyfish.


Kids swimming and a yacht moored in the river.

Obviously the shells are on the ground, which causes me to take a head down, bum up posture, much to the amusement of some children swimming nearby.

"What's that man doing with his bum up in the air?" I hear one of them ask. I feel like explaining that the best way to get anywhere in life is to work hard, with head down and bum up, but why bother, that's their parents job.


Shells and interesting affects of light shining through a jellyfish

Tue 27 Jan

After a few lazy days at campground #3 on the water, we move over to campground #1, near the information centre.

Campground #1 is also situated near a large lagoon, there's a hide to watch the many birds, but you don't need one to watch the other wildlife, such as Tasmanian native hens, and pademelons.

These small kangaroo-like animals are everywhere, and they aren't too worried about people. You won't get to pat them, but with a little patience, you can approach to within a couple of metres of these adorable little marsupials.


Pademelons, cute little members of the marsupial family.


A pademelon finds its food under our truck.


At dusk the pademelons emerge from the bush and move out onto the plain

There's wombats here too, just wandering over the plains in broad daylight. Something I've never seen before.

I spend the afternoon photographing the animals. At one point I'm chatting to another visitor and I comment that there may be some rain on the way.

"It often misses here" he says, "just rains on the hills". I'm not convinced and start to walk back to the truck, arriving at the same time as the first drops.

It's beer o'clock anyway so we sit in the truck listening to the patter of rain on the roof. There's thunder in the distance, but here things are nice and peaceful.

The rain gets heavier though, and the thunder gets nearer. Before long we're in the middle of a full blown storm.

We spend the night with the truck being rocked by the gale, listening to the hammering of rain on the roof, and the crack of nearby lightning strikes.

Wed 28 Jan

We lost at least one group of campers last night. The packed up in the middle of the night, and looking at their campsite this morning I'm not surprised, it's now a small lake.

We leave the park, cross the flooded creek, and head towards Launceston.

I've organised to park outside Alan Moyle's, Alan is a photographer I met recently and he has kindly offered the use of his parent's front yard as a campsite.

We pull into Alan's but there's nobody home so, after being half licked to death by the family's cocker spaniel, I level the truck and we settle in.

The area is semi-rural with most houses out of sight of their neighbours. Most but not all. I learn later that Alan's Mum received a phone call at work, one of the neighbours had seen a weird truck parked outside her house and thought someone may be stealing all the furniture.

Thu 29 Jan

I have some photos to mail off and it's pouring rain. Just as we're discussing how to deal with this situation Alan knocks on the door. He's going into town, would I like a lift?

After taking care of business we browse through some books we can't afford, then talk about photography over a cappuccino.

Alan has a job on this afternoon so Chris and I just hide from the rain for the rest of the day.

Fri 30 Jan

We take our leave of Alan and drive into town to do the rounds of the op-shops. Chris is getting low on books, and we find that these shops are usually a good source of cheap reading material.

TIP: Book exchanges are usually way too expensive. Op-shops run by the Salvos, Lifeline et al are far better value. We seldom pay more than 50c for a book, 20c is common.

After several hours we've restocked the library and make our way over to the nice park we camped in a week ago.

Last week the park had a quiet creek which trickled over a stone weir. However, after all the recent rain, the creek is now a raging torrent and the weir is nowhere to be seen, submerged under several feet of water.

I'm keen to see the latest Lord of the Rings movie, and there's a showing at 5:15, so I get a motorbike out. Just before leaving I mark the water level with a stick.

On my return the level has dropped, so I'm happy to stay the night.

Sat 31 Jan

It's time to head west. After another late start we drive to Devonport and find a nice spot to camp on the side of the Mersey River.


Our campsite on the banks of the Mersey River at Devonport

We explore the town by motorbike, the shopping centre we visit is quite run down, but the town's foreshore is very pleasant.

In the evening we watch the water birds on the river and the gathering storm clouds.


Huge cumulonimbus clouds are illuminated by the sunset then reflected in the river

Sun 1 Feb

Up at the crack of 10 this morning, then on the road after a quick breakfast.

We drive along the coast, passing through the town of Burnie, then turning off into Tangdimmaa (Rocky Cape) National Park, it sounds like a nice place, even though there's no camping allowed.

After a couple of kilometres the road turns into a single-lane dirt track, which makes it difficult when we encounter other vehicles.

The driver of one such vehicle looks familiar, then I remember that Craig, our boatman from the Tarkine photo expedition, lives out this way. In fact, now that I think about it, he lives right here at Rocky Cape.

We continue and find that there's a shack community inside the national park. I ask a local if "Garbo" (aka Craig) lives here, he does and I'm given directions to his shack.

In order to turn around I have to reverse into the front yard of an unoccupied shack. Once I've backed in however I figure that it's as good a place as any to camp. I switch off the motor and extract a motor bike.

After a short ride around the area to check out the sights we drop into Craig's shack to say g'day.

The shack itself leaves something to be desired, but you can't fault the location. It's right on the beach with views over the bay and, apparently, this side of the park is protected from the majority of the winds.


Craig's shack (upper left in the right photo) and one of his dinghies at Rocky Cape.

The shack is up for sale, for $250,000 it's yours. Add another $40-60,000 to buy the strata title when it becomes available soon, and you'll have a slice of paradise.

It's amazing what these run down places are fetching these days, but absolute beach frontage land is rare and getting rarer. As someone famous once said, "They ain't making any more of it".

I tell Craig where we've parked, "You'll be right" he says, "That's Anthony's place, he only comes down every few months and wouldn't mind anyway".


Mountain backdrop to the shack community

Mon 2 Feb

I spend a large part of the day exploring the rocky headland that gives the park its name...


The actual rocky cape.


Dead trees in a dry swamp.

...then ride down to Craig's

His dad's there, as well as a couple of mates, they've been down at the pub for some time and are quick to offer me a beer as I enter. Well who am I to refuse?

Tonight's dinner is on the floor, a newspaper-enclosed slab of pork. It's sitting in the sun, and someone suggests that it should be moved. There's no fridge, so Craig puts it in the meat safe (a free-standing cupboard with fly wire sides). "You can't be to careful" he says, "I got that salmonella poisoning once from some old rice in a pan, I was crook for days".

I look down and notice that his only fry pan still holds remnants of yesterday's rice. I'll be eating at home tonight.

I also spot the milk sitting on a table and ask how long that lasts. "What's it smell like?" Craig asks. I take a whiff and reply that it seems OK. "At least a day and a half then" he says.

Everyone here is, or has been, a professional fisherman, and at least two seem to have a working knowledge of Risdon Prison, with statements like "Oh there's TV in B-block now?", and "I hear they're two-up in the cells these days".

Still they're a good bunch of blokes, and even though I know almost nothing about fishing, and even less about prisons, I feel quite at home.

I ride back to the truck for dinner, then return to spend the evening sitting around the fire and chatting with the lads. There's no beer left so I settle for a white tea. It tastes fine, so I guess milk is good for at least two days.

Tue 3 Feb

After a gruelling 29-kilometre drive we arrive at Stanley and park the truck near the wharf. It's a bit too obvious to spend the night here, being quite near to the caravan park, but will do for the day. We'll move later.

Meanwhile we explore the area by motorbike. The main attraction here is probably The Nut, a huge headland that dominates the skyline for miles.

You can spend $8 for a chairlift ride to the top, or walk up for free. We elect to do neither.

At about 6PM we move Wothahellizat over to the nice grassy area behind the beach, then I head off looking for photos.


The Nut, Stanley's famous landmark.


The classic shot that everyone takes of the old convict barracks.


Ruins below the "Highfield" historic site.

Wed 4 Feb

Before dawn, at around 5AM, Chris wakes me to tell me that it's 5AM before dawn, and that I should be up photographing something.

I stick my head out through the hatch and find that the sky is indeed looking nice, with The Nut in silhouette.

It's cold, and I'm not keen at first, but soon gain enthusiasm as I walk down the beach and see the reflections.


The Nut at sunrise

Chris just opens the shutter and watches the dawn from a nice warm bed.

After my early start to the day I just relax in my recliner, watching the pacific gulls with binoculars (no the gulls don't have binoculars, I do).

It's fascinating to observe the juvenile birds pester their parents for food. For the most part the parents seem uninterested, and in fact actively try to get away from the chick.

Eventually though, according to some signal I'm not privy to, the adult bird dribbles a bit, then spews up a huge fish. The chick swallows it whole almost before it hits the sand.

On another occasion I watch a gull trying to break open what I assume is a shellfish or crab. The bird flies to a height of about 20 metres and drops the unfortunate morsel onto the beach.

The sand is quite hard but not hard enough, and after a few attempts it becomes clear to the bird that this isn't going to work. It moves it's operations to the nearby rocks, and before long is extracting entrails from it's free-falling dinner.

Soon after watching the aerial entré my early start to the day catches up with me, and I nod off.

On waking I scan the beach for something of interest and see some people standing around looking down at an object. One is photographing the object as well.

It's all too much for my curious mind, so I ride towards the other end of the beach and walk over to see for myself.

The object of interest is a huge jelly fish, over 600mm (2 feet) wide. I also take a photo, but then realise that there is no sense of scale, so take another with my feet in the frame.


Huge jelly fish.

It's getting late in the evening and the light is improving by the minute, so I spend the next hour or so in the cemetery, and down at the wharf.


Looking towards "Highfield" from the cemetery.


The main beach, note Wothahellizat and two other motorhomes parked behind the dunes.


Waxy-looking plant in the wharf area.


Pacific gulls, cray boats and Cray pots.


The Professional Fisherman's Association office is badly in need of a coat of paint

Thu 5 Feb

We drive down to Mallawah and pull into the campground at Green Point. The situation that we though would occur eventually, ie. we arrive to find an area already full of motorhomes, finally does occur.

The area is full of motorhomes, which makes it difficult to find a spot. With the large rally occurring next month it's a problem that I'm sure will worsen.

Anyway we squeeze in and make ourselves at home.


A shack and the owner's boat moored off shore.

Fri 6 Feb

We're too lazy to move, and anyway there's a lot of birdlife to watch.


Immature pacific gull.


Mature pacific gull.


Juvenile crested tern.


Tern turmoil.


Tern stretches its wings.


Silver gull takes off leaving a trail of water droplets.

Tue 10 Feb

We continue south, driving through the small community of Arthur River, over the one-lane bridge, and into the Arthur Piemen Conservation Area.

We're looking for a campsite on the Sundown River, but appear to have zigged when we should have zagged down one of the many tracks.

However it turns out for the best as we find a great spot right on the water, whereas the campground we were looking for is behind the dunes.


Wothahellizat in its natural habitat.

While an off-road vehicle is not strictly necessary to get here, there are some spots on the track where a high ground clearance is needed, and we have to drive through some soft sand, so the truck's abilities allow us to get to this spot.

If you're a regular reader of this diary you will know that we don't really go "off-roading" in the truck, but there's been numerous occasions where it's abilities, over that of a normal motorhome, have got us to really nice campsites.

In this case Wothahellizat has saved us from a crowded, costly campground with no view, and got us to a private beach that's free and isolated.

Wed 11 Feb

I spend most of the day hunkered over the desktop computer, preparing some scans for shipping.

At about five I've had enough and go wandering with a camera.


A cicada trapped in an old spider web. I released it after it smiled for the camera.


Bumble bee on thistle.


Plants and rock formations along the coast

Thu 12 Feb

I have more photos to send off today so ride the 32 kilometres into the nearest town. Fortunately the rain held off until I return, almost.

As I pass through Arthur River on my return I notice that my front tyre is nearly flat, and I have to take it very easy for the rest of the trip. There's nowhere to fix it, or even pump it up, in the tiny settlement of Arthur River.

Whether it's been going down for months and I just haven't noticed, or I hit one of the numerous sharp rocks on the dirt road into town, I don't know. When I get back to the truck I pump it up, tomorrow I'll see if its held the air.

Fri 13 Feb

The motorbike tyre held the air pretty well over night but it seems to have pinched the tube between the rim and tyre. It looks like it will have to be pulled off and checked, but my tyre levers are for trucks, and appear to be too large.

This afternoon I head back down to the kelp looking for photos.


Abstract shapes in the bull kelp

I start with long trousers and boots, but after getting a bit wet I swap to shorts and my neoprene skin-diving booties.

Just as well as it happens. The small cove I'm working in doesn't get any waves as such, but there are frequent surges of water that are quiet large and powerful.

While concentrating on a close-up of some kelp I here a surge behind me and stand up just in time to brace myself.

The water comes well over my ankles and I'm thinking it's a good thing I ditched the boots. Then is gets over my knees knees, and I'm thinking it's a good thing I ditched the long pants.

Then it gets over my waste and I'm thinking it's a good thing I've got another camera.

Fortunately I manage to hold the camera high and maintain my balance on the rock. The water peaks at around stomach level, then returns, causing me to adjust my stance to accommodate the reversed flow.

Well that was fun, maybe I'll check out that kelp over there, higher up.

I walk a few metres then look down to see millions of bugs swarming up the rocks, presumably escaping the recent dunking.

There's so many they blanket the rocks, rather like the massive wildebeest migration across the Mara River in Africa, only a lot smaller of course, and there's no crocodiles, no river, and no wildebeests.

Well we work with what we have.

Some nature photographers have lions, cheetahs and antelopes, I've got rotting kelp and bugs.


Bugs escape the tide.


I like to show an animal in its landscape. In this case the animal is about 5mm long and the "landscape" is a few square inches of kelp

The seas get larger as the day progresses, there's some huge waves just offshore, but they're broken by the rocks before they get anywhere near our beach and campsite.

At times though the water does surge to within about four metres of the truck, still there's no indication that it gets much closer than that. Not often anyway.

I should be out photographing the waves, but appear to have been offered a beer or two by a young couple that pulled in with a 4x4 earlier.

Sat 14 Feb

The wind has changed direction and strength today. It's now more easterly, and a howling gale.

The waves are almost as large as yesterday.


Not as large as yesterday, but these waves are still pretty big.

We decide to sit tight for the day and watch the ocean.

 

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