Familiar Names in a far away place

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Australia  ,
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I located a place to hook up to the internet - a very nice internet Cafe called "BarCino Internet Café.  Here I had breakfast and got caught up with email.  I also, in an attempt to get a lot of missing Aeroplan mileage updated, got a CD made of copies of my tickets and boarding cards which I will apparently need to send to Aeroplan.  This was a somewhat frustrating mission and after completing it I took an afternoon to do some sightseeing on the Flinders Peninsula. 
I started out my afternoon by having a look at the ship the Amity.  Information I obtained there indicates that this ship sailed from Sydney on 9th November 1826, carrying a party under the command of Major Edmund Lockyer, who had orders to form a settlement at King George Sound.  After a difficult voyage, the first half battling through heavy weather in Bass Strait and the second enduring the summer heat of the westward run, the brig reached Princess Royal Harbour on Christmas Day.  The settlement party comprised the commandant Major Edmund Lockyer, a captain, surgeon, storekeeper, 18 rank and file soldiers, and 23 convicts, mostly tradesmen. Also on board were the vessel's own crew and a naval party comprising Lt Colson Festing, a quartermaster, midshipman and a marine batman - and stores for six months, including sheep and pigs. Later sold back into private ownership, in 1831, the Amity was operated in Tasmania until, in June 1845, she was wrecked in Bass Strait on an uncharted sandbank.
A project to build a replica of the brig Amity commenced in 1972. After much discussion and research, construction started in 1975, with a local boat builder as project supervisor and another man as leading shipwright. Other local craftsmen joined the team, with the aim of making the replica the focal point of celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the brig's arrival.  We were encouraged, when visiting this full-size replica, to try and imagine more than 50 men, together with stores, sheep and pigs, sharing this small vessel in a difficult journey taking over six weeks.  It was a forbidding journey to be sure and jam packed. 
I then drove out towards Frenchman's Bay.  On the drive back I ran into a lot of things related to Captain George Vancouver.  At Frenchman's Bay itself, there is a note (put up by the Frenchman's Bay Association) saying "At a spring in this cove Captain George Vancouver watered his ships Discovery and Chatham in September 1791" and "Two English ships rode the heavy swell as they drove westward along the southern coast of New Holland.  In the lead, the 'Chatham' under Commander Broughton, behind and one kilometer seaward, the 'Discovery' sailing slowly, majestically.  Aboard 'Discovery' Captain George Vancouver conferred with his friend and sailing master Joseph Whidbey.  Their opinion of the coastline was uninviting, dangerous, rocky and precipitous.  As daylight gave way to dusk 'Chatham' signaled a break in the coast.  Guided by 'Chatham' with linesmen casting the lead into the deep but shoaling water, the two ships crept into the unknown bay.  Gradually the mizzle of rain thickened as darkness deepened; still they crept on till shoaling waters forty, thirty and finally eight fathoms warned against further blind exploration.  The anchored and settled in to wait the dawn.  Michalmas Day, September 29 dawned clear and calm the sea weary eyes of the sailors were delighted with the magnificent anchorage in which they found themselves." And again - "As soon as possible the yawl was put overboard and Capt George Vancouver accompanied by Whidbey and Archibald Menzies, the Scottish surgeon - naturalist, were rowed toward what Vancouver described in his log as 'the second sandy beach on the southern side of the Sound'. They finally landed at the third sandy beach.  'A stream of fresh water drained there through the beach, which although nearly the colour of brandy, was exceedingly well tasted; by this stream was a clump of trees sufficient to answer our present want of fuel'. 
I stopped at "Vancouver Lookout" just above the spring and over looking Frenchman's Bay.  At this point I was driving along "Vancouver Road".  Running off that road was "St. George's Crescent.  I could not get much in the way of views from that road but continued down to a beach where I took photos looking back.  It reminded me rather of the views from Ballenas where my brother and family live.  I rather enjoyed running into such familiar names reflecting the area of the world I am from when I was so far away. 
I then spent some time at "Whale World" and was alternately grossed out by the places where whales were killed and taken from the most marvelous creatures in the ocean to be rendered to oil, and amazed the 3D renditions (had to wear 3D glasses) of whales.),
On the way back I passed through Torandirrup National Park and stopped at some lovely beaches and bays on one side and rocky outcroppings (Stony Hill, Blowholes, Gap and Natural Bridge) on the other.  Thought the day was a bit grey, I had a very relaxing and educational time. 
At "The Gap and Natural Bridge" I found a note telling me "Welcome to the edge of Antarctica".  "The continents of Australia and Antarctica were bound together along this rugged coastline for more then one billion years, forming the super continent of Gondwana.  The ancient continents were formed mainly of gneiss a rock created deep in the Earth's crust (look for bands and folds of dark rock).  Pressure and friction at the base of the two fused continents caused rock to melt and slowly rise up through the gneiss (think of a lava lamp).  This molten rock slowly cooled, hardened into granite and helping to cement the continents together. 
Australia and Antarctica separated about 45 million years ago when the last sections of the super-continent broke apart.  The rocks where you now stand were left behind when the continents parted.  Today rock formations on Australia's southern coast can still be matched to identical rocks on the northern coast of Antarctica near Windmill Islands.  Still drifting north, Australia is 5 centimeters further away from Antarctica than it was a year ago. 
The granite which forms the Gap and Natural Bridge was created when molten rock rose from deep in the earth's crust.  It hardened 20 kilometers below what is now the surface.  Water and wind wore and eroded away the softer layers of rock which lay above the granite.  NO longer held down by this weight, the granite expanded and cracked as it slowly rose to become exposed at the surface.  Driven by wind and waves, water and air pressure wore open the cracks, quarrying the granite into block shaped sections.  Waves relentlessly pounded against the coast eventually tearing away loose blocs of granite to create the Gap and Natural Bridge.  Sometime in the future, the Gap will widen and disappear.  The Natural Bridge will collapse to become a new Gap."
The note also reminded us of the danger that this is a coastal risk area.  We should stay on the pathways and keep back from the cliff edges as well as be wary of strong winds and slippery rocks.  The wind certainly was extremely strong when I was there and I had to hang on tight to had, camera and footing.  ON the way out to the rock I noted a plaque to the whale chaser Cheynes II and an aircraft pilot and their outstanding courage.  They saved a man in 1978 from certain death in the waters off this spot. 
Later that evening I typed a long letter to Aeroplan which the Backpackers will run off for me and had another lovely dinner at the Earl of Spencer again. 
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