Saturday, 31 January 2009

Coast Trip of '09

As a friend was taking herself off to NZ for three weeks her house at the Coast was in need of visits to water the the garden. As always we were happy to take on this duty.

The trip down was made interesting by a large bushfire burning in Morton National park just to the North of the Highway. The front of the fire was well off the road but smoke was drifting across the road for quite a few kilometres. I don't know if it was:
  • smell of the smoke;
  • the twisty road;
  • the breakfast she had just before we left; or
  • a combination of the above
but the rat became renamed as the Puke Monster shortly before Bateman's Bay. Fortunately we had put a blanket down in the car. A bit of rapid scraping, and a period of driving with the windows down, saw us get to 2km from our destination without further incident. At which point - after more scraping - I decided to walk Puke Monster for the last stretch.

After settling our belongings into the house we took ourselves off to Congo Point for some birding. In the past we had a weekender/bach/cottage here and it used to be a very quiet relaxed place. In the intervening 18 years it has been 'improved' with bitumenised roads and signs prohibiting all sorts of stuff, including dogs. We decided that the signs only applied to the campground and not the beach so headed out for the rock platform to see what was there. This involved a bit of wading for us and a swim for Pukey. The aftermath is shown in the image.

Getting back to the residence we had a good, albeit very warm night's sleep. (For the benefit of Adelaide and Melbourne readers I apologise for referring to minimum temperatures below 30 degrees C as "very warm". We don't like anything over 15C!) The following morning we went for a walk along the electricity easement to check out the birds in the local bush. As it was already getting hot there were relatively few birds around. (For the benefit of Adelaide and Melbourne readers I apologise for referring to temperatures below 42 degrees C as "hot". We don't like anything over 30C!) However there were some very nice Banksias flowering: the images below show both new cones and older ones with visible seed capsules.









A pleasure of walking along the easement is that there are no signs prohibiting stuff. So we could walk with Pukey without having to look over our shoulder for the forces of repression. I found out later that just off this easement was an area using for dumping nightsoil - ie human excreta - from the days before sewage got to the area. It is probably a form of fairness that there were no signs warning of this either!

However, just about everywhere else we tried to go the signs banning dogs were very evident. I have just reflecting, in writing this, that in the three days we were down the Coast we didn't see a single National Parks Service truck or Ranger: obviously they have spent all their funds on signs and have nothing left to enforce them. Typical bureaucracy.

We did find one beach on which dogs were allowed and I have attached a couple of piccies below. They show the scenes looking North and South respectively. The total distance covered is about 8km: if you look closely at the North looking image you can see about 50 folk in the patrolled area - and one person to the South. And on the far side of the Headland to the South is another 8km in a similar condition!

























On the Friday we headed back home. I did drive a little more slowly than usual, but the road was still twisty and smoky. Since we had no chundering in the back seat we have concluded that the eating before driving was the issue. Puke Monster is renamed back to Tammy.

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