Jurassic Beach

Trip Start Sep 23, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, January 6, 2007

Travelling along more winding roads, we arrived at our bach on Porpoise Bay. It was a lovely wooden building which creaked in the wind and looked straight out onto the sea. A short drive to a lookout gave us views over Curio Bay, where a yellow-eyed penguin was slowly making its way across the beach back to its nest, holding its wings out to dry off and calling to its chicks, which squeaked in return. It looked very serious as it waddled, hopped and jumped its way back. Later on I decided to take an evening walk along the beach at Porpoise Bay. I meandered along in the twilight, wit the beach to myself. I climbed up a path leading to the headlands, and emerged onto a grassy patch near the camp grounds. I saw what I took to be a golden retriever lying down- it came as a huge shock when a backpacker wandered past with his dinner and it reared up- not a dog at all, but a fur seal! The man scurried out of the way, and the seal got on with the difficult business of trying to get comfy and get back to sleep. Having decided that we were not a threat, he ignored us entirely, allowing us an amazing up-close view.
The next day, the rain returned. At low tide we wrapped ourselves up in waterproofs and returned to Curio Bay. The bay is home to a petrified forest. All along the shore were the fallen trunks and round stumps of trees which had been part of a flourishing forest 180 million years ago. The state of preservation was amazing- the bark and grain and growth rings were still visible; it was almost a shock to touch them and feel cold stone instead wood. Some of the logs were many metres long. It was amazing; I was walking amongst relics from the age of the dinosaurs.
By the middle of the afternoon, the rain had cleared and the sun was breaking through. We walked down the beach and round to Curio Bay to look for more wildlife, but were unlucky. From the headlands, Mum and Dad decided to stay up on the cliffs to walk back to the bach, but I decided to have another stroll along the beach. Looking down from the headlands, I saw a fur seal lounging about on the rocks as her little pup clambered around, exploring. I stopped for a while to watch his antics, and then carried on down to the beach. Halfway along, I found another fur seal sprawling on the sand. He lazed about, occasionally waving his flipper, until a family came to close and got between him and the sea. He charged! It was surprising how fast an enraged seal can travel- though not as fast as the humans ran away! Now I was left with the task of getting round the creature with all my limbs intact. I stayed as close to the bank as I could, and scuttled past, somehow managing to retain all my fingers and toes. He had relaxed again when Dad and I went for another walk later, and was lying about in a very soporific state, until he perked up and bounded into the ocean to go fishing.
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