in never ending time;
Swept by barren winds:
Sand and sail and sea
Found in beauty
All men live enveloped in whale -lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realise the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life. (Herman Melville, Moby Dick)
In keeping with our love of all things coastal – hence our garden title “CrabandFish” – not just a combination of our star signs – but a calling to all things natatorial, we embarked on a whale watching excursion.
We have foregone the wineries, chocolate factories and fine food outlets for a two hour sea-faring adventure in this part of the region of Margaret River. As our followers know, we are holidaying in one of the most ancient and magnificent regions in Australia, renowned for its ruggedness and beauty. The beauty we sought out today, was the elusive and dramatic beauty of the hump-back whale.
Whale watching is just that – a concentration of the senses, a patient disposition and a navigational vessel that knows its waters. Our “Naturaliste” vessel took a group for forty of us out to sea and promised a sighting of whales and it did not disappoint. After a slow start – we are such impatient creatures, we humans – our first sighting appeared, albeit for only a few seconds. This was followed by not one but two diving tails and a collective, outpouring of excitement.
We were then to begin our chase as our vessel picked up speed pursued these creatures with a frenzy – was this the excitement those whalers experienced? But how could anyone bear to end the life of these magnificent and majestic sea creatures? In the horizon we could see their spouts spewing water, their breaching, their wings and splashing tails. We gathered pace until we were surrounded by whales to the shrieks of delight from all on board.
According to the tourist brochures, Western Australia has one of the longest migratory seasons for whales – from May to December and many can be seen from the shore-line. So we were indeed privileged to witness them frolicking in these waters.
Once you have experienced seeing these grand creatures in their world, you have to marvel at the beauty of their existence. They do not threaten us but live parallel to our shore and breath and feel and nurture as we do. Let us watch them and admire them as nature’s grandest creatures.
It was one of those serene and surprising weekends. We were fortunate enough to be able to visit a charming little cottage by the sea. Its owners had kindly allowed us to stay in this place where their own children had spent many happy summers – long ago.
Daughter Number 2 was to arrive unexpectedly to share this weekend with us. Colin had kept that secret well! It was wonderful to see her especially as she was to spend a precious weekend with us by the sea.
Seaside walks are a must, even in winter and we had a much needed chat-shop-coffee time. Our walk saw us reach the iconic bathing boxes of the Mornington Peninsula. These colourful sentinels look out over Port Phillip Bay. Blue, yellow and green boxes create a novelty appeal by the sea. Surprise number two. Something caught our eye. Was that an injured animal? A large animal. It was lying lifeless on one of the landings.
As we gingerly drew closer, a row of plastic tape revealed an important notice.
A resting seal. Wow! This poor fellow was all tuckered out and had found its way to a most amenable residence. Clever seal! He was gorgeous and oh so sleepy.
We returned the next day and he was still there, stirring slightly. A wildlife ranger watched patiently over his sleeping state. The ocean, the sand and the bathing box buffering his dreamtime state. Isn’t nature truly beautiful!
Thanks to everyone who made this weekend a very special one indeed.
Our little soirée on the border of Queensland and New South Wales has seen us celebrate our anniversary by walking to Fingal Point lighthouse. Colin’s dear friend, who passed away a couple of years ago, has a memorial at the site. It is breathtaking.
I must admit that Colin and I both have a fascination for lighthouses. This particular one is a small example with its big brother Byron Bay Lighthouse a mere fifty kilometres away and designated as the most easterly lighthouse in Australia.
Secluded beaches are a must see and a must swim in this part of the coastline. Though not part of what is known as The Gold Coast, Fingal is much more inviting and private and only a few kilometres from the township of Kingscliff. Be mindful of the rips though and check for a patrolled beach if you are unsure.
In some ways we are thankful to be temporarily away from the heat wave and bush fires which are gripping many parts of the country. Our thoughts go out to those who are fighting bush fires all along the eastern seaboard and to those who have lost loved ones and properties in Tasmania.