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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

Archive for November, 2007

Dangerous animals in Australia

Australia is notorious for its abundance of deadly beasts; it’s amazing that anyone survives here at all.

Until now all we had seen was the mildly hazardous Red-backed Spider and a croc or two - rather disappointing. Yesterday we went for a stroll in the Blue Mountains and first were attacked by leeches…

leech.JPG

…and then were confronted with a big black snake (sorry, we haven’t looked up the species) in strike position, right by the path.

snake.JPG

Fortunately a fellow European in flip-flops coming the other way noticed it too! We’re off to New Zealand now, where there’s nothing deadly at all, at least nothing I can think of…

A report card for Australia

We’re leaving Australia tomorrow and are sad to do so. We’ve had a lovely time and have enjoyed lots of wonderful beasties and birds, friendly people, fine weather and dramatic landscapes. All very excellent indeed!

Now, whilst signage is excellent, humorous and even slightly risque (in a way that would not be acceptable in Britain), grammar and spelling are poor. In Australia apostrophes are frequently misused, and little proof reading is evident in signs and menus. This upsets my good lady’s sensibilities greatly.

Mr Rudd, the newly elected Prime Minister, may wish to address this problem!

Australians are exceptional at Surf Lifesaving though - we watched a competition on Bondi Beach this afternoon and they excelled.

Submarines and bridges

We’re in Sydney. It rained today so we went to the Maritime museum. A replica of Cook’s Endeavour is here and a diesel-electric submarine too. The Harbour Bridge is nice, but not a patch on our bridge (above). The Opera house is a little more yellow than I thought, but nice all the same.

More pics

Some of the beasties we have seen whilst in Australia can be seen here and here.

Melbourne to Port Fairy

Over the last few days we have been visiting Melbourne, and were kindly taken in by Ameera - a doctor from OpWall. We actually kicked her out of her lovely new house, which was very kind of her!

Melbourne was very bad for our waistlines (well mine, Chris is skinny as ever) as we managed to wander from cafe to chocolate shop whilst trying to avoid the rain - all very European and yummy. Ameera took us for a tour of the Dandenong Ranges just outside the city where we managed to see some Lyrebirds, and devour more tasty food.

After a couple of days in the city we headed along the Great Ocean Road (after renting a car in the city and managing to avoid scary hook turns where you stay in a left lane to turn right!). The coastal views were as amazing as promised - lots of big waves and funky limestone geology.

We stayed in a lovely little place called Port Fairy and went for a night time stroll to a small island where Short-tailed Shearwaters flew overhead and occasionally squawked at us.

I continued in my mammal spotting and saw lots of Koalas hanging out in trees - some were having cuddles - all very cute. I did get scared when one of them started making weird noises from the ground behind me - wasn’t sure if koalas were prone to viciously attacking humans (yes, I’m a wuss).

We are now enjoying the sights of Sydney - it’s so big! Blue Mountains tomorrow though…

Inappropriate moustaches

We enjoyed a lovely few days in Melbourne. The very busy and cosmpolitan nature of the city was a little of a culture shock for us - Hobart and Alice Springs aren’t quite so hectic.

Amongst all the really very fashionable people we noticed a curious trend - young men with moustaches. Really very innapropriate. Over a beer in a roof-top bar, rather like a scene from Alice in Wonderland, we inquired of our host, Ameera, the nature of this fashion.

It transpires it is the month of Movember, where men grow moustaches to raise awareness of male health issues. So they are trendy after all.

Geeky stuff

Now that we are frequenting big cities again I wish to comment on two iPod related matters:

1.  We replaced the battery in Fe’s 4G iPod for $30 (15 squids) - it’s easy, don’t be scared.

 2. We played with new iPod touch in the Sydney Apple shop. It’s beautiful. Fe wanted to buy one straight way. I predict the end of the Windows based PDA. It browses this site beautifully.

Australians won’t give a XXXX for anything else

Whilst in the supermarket, we decided to treat ourselves to a beer (to take away that is!). I headed for the off licence and perused the fridge section which only seemed to contain alcopops and premixed spirits. I obviously looked a bit lost and bemused as a shop assistant asked if he could help - I asked him if they had a fridge with beers - he pointed me through a door. Much to my amusement, this turned out to be a huge freezer room with crates of beer as far as the eye could see! I managed to select a couple of nice sounding bottles (which were nice). And had to send Chris to experience the way Ozzies do beer!

Wildlife spotting with professional naturalists

Whilst in Tasmania we were very keen to see a Platypus, as this was supposed to be one of the best places to spot them. Therefore every stretch of water we saw was examined for any sign of these elusive creatures and we soon became ‘expert’ in places that were unsuitable for them.

We were getting a bit downhearted when after 8 days of looking we still hadn’t seen one (with the exception of a dead one on the side of the road - not hit by us I’d like to point out).

We thought our luck might be in at our last stop in Tassie when the walk was called “Platypus trail” and included a hide to help spot them, however it was the wrong time of day and so still no joy. We finally gave up and headed off to find somewhere to camp. Our camp guide suggested a fishing lake. On arrival we did our now customary inspection for the creature, where Chris knowlingly declared “This isn’t suitable platypus habitat” and I keenly observed one serenely floating in the water 5 metres away. Who’s the better naturalist now I wonder?! (This was after I had also pointed out a wombat that was munching grass right in front of him a couple of days previously!).

The platypus seemed reasonably undisturbed by us and continued diving down for food and gave us some lovely views of this fascinating beast. We celebrated our good fortune with a little dance!

Carpeted bike sheds & baby krill

Megan and Karen kindly obliged us with a tour of the Australian Antarctic Division buildings. It was a fine display with many gnarly looking machines and equipment. They even lined up a tour of the cutting-edge-of-science krill breeding program with a nice lad called Rob. AAD are the first people to breed Antarctic Krill in captivity. Rob taught us about the sex lives of krill (and I thought I knew more than I really should already).

I couldn’t help but compare the AAD with BAS and can summise my observations thus:

AAD have carpeted bike sheds.

What more need be said?

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