Two Yanks Downunder

A blog about the experiences of two Americans on their first visit to the fabulous continent of Australia

Friday, August 18, 2006

Prints in Denmark

Then it was time to visit the coast and see a beach with large rocks resembling elephants bathing where strong waves crash into them causing water to spray upwards forcefully.

While we ate in the parking lot we saw several birds fly through.

I tried to photograph them (as usual with minimal success - but here is what I got:)

We had lunch in our car and then went down to this beach to see the awesome force of the Southern Ocean, the only thing between Australia and Antarctica!

It was breathtakingly beautiful!

The wind was strong and the waves were sometimes enormous as they crashed against the rocks.

We walked down some stairs to get closer access to the beach and the rocks. The water wasincredibly blue and clean. This may have been the most impressive aspect of our trip south.

Following our shoreline walk, we got back into our reliable vehicle and headed inland, to the town of Mount Barker. Once there, we located the Banksia Farm, recommended to us by botanist Steve Saupe, recently returned program director for the CSB SJU Australia program.

There, we took a guided tour by the proprietor who started off with a really interesting talk about this fascinating species of plant, the Banksia, and a table full of fun banksia objects to touch and play with.

We saw banksia pod animals and blew banksia whistles and learned about aboriginal uses for the plant.

We then took a walk around the grounds which are covered with numerous common and rare forms of this amazing plant or tree. He had about 77 species of banksia including some from South Africa.

The banksia were interesting to Wendy because her father had collected a similar species the Protea. There was no visual similarity for the most part, but occasionally there would be a whiff of foul scent that was reminiscent of the protea of long ago.

This lasted over 90 minutes but the time passed so quickly! (Wendy took many photos only a few of which will be posted here!)

The last part of our day was a long drive back to Fremantle along the Albany Highway. The karri forests were long behind us, and the land here was quite flat and filled with scrub trees and grazing fields. Interestingly, numerous colored parrots lounged about the shoulders of the highway. Some crows were also hanging out along the road, which is no big deal, but parrots, that would not be seen back home! We could only guess that the nearby trees had dropped pods or something that was food for these birds near the road, and that is what drew them to the ground.

We were warned that we had to take care at dusk to be alert for kangaroos crossing the highway, a nuisance that can be fatal for the roo and the unwary driver, a problem much like that with deer in the U.S. Fortunately, we did not have a close encounter with a roo. We did drive through some intense rainstorms in darkness but made it home all right. Well, we got very, very close to home before getting unexpectedly lost. Don got unfairly peeved at Wendy whom he thought would be navigator (actually it was her father who was a navigator in WW II) but somehow they chanced upon a familiar road and made it back to the Henry Street Residence. This was quite an amazing vacation and considerably enriched our time together here in OZ.


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