All Creatures Great and Small (by Lyndon)

Trip Start Jul 07, 2010
Trip End Sep 02, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today was a good day. Weather was sunny (and warm in the afternoon), and we got to see lots of wonderful animals. The day started with dolphin feeding at about 7.30 am the beach. Did you know that sand can get cold? We got chilblains just walking on the sand and then frost bite when we entered the water. There were stacks of people and it was difficult to see. The kids decided that dolphins did not warrant freezing their feet off, so they sat up in the sun. Connor was still listening to the ranger though as he recited some of the facts later. Facts such as:

Swimming and feeding the dolphins use to be allowed but people were feeding them sausages off the BBQ and other food that wasn't really good for them. They were also getting overfed and the mothers were neglecting their calves and not teaching them how to fend for themselves. They got stressed when people constantly swam with them and touched them so there were numerous incidents of the dolphins biting people. We were also told that dolphins could catch human diseases such as the common cold. Because of all this, feeding is now restricted and is supervised by park rangers.

Only 5 adult female dolphins are fed each morning and they are only fed 2kgs each. This means that the dolphins do not stay at the beach all day, they feed their calves (which can’t be done in the shallow water as the calf can’t get underneath to drink), and they still need to catch their own fish. Only a couple of people get the opportunity to feed the dolphins and unfortunately we weren’t among them.

However, mid-morning when we came back to the beach to board our cruise, the pod was back. The beach was nearly empty and we got an opportunity to get up close with the dolphins (less than a metre). It was awesome to be so close to such wild and beautiful creatures. They were very curious about us as well, rolling over to check us out (dolphins can’t raise their eyes so the only way to look up is to roll over slightly). There was also a mother and her calf frolicking around.

After the dolphins got bored of us humans and swam out to deeper waters, we cast lines on the Aristocat 2 (the boat) and headed out to the sea grass for some dugong viewing. Unlike the dolphins, dugong are very shy and do not remain on the surface very long. They can remain underwater for 8 minutes so if you miss one, you have a little wait until it surfaces again. We were lucky enough to be here at this time as dugong are normally solitary creatures but when they are calving, they form pods for safety from the ever present tiger and hammerhead sharks that occupy the bay.

Between viewing dugong and dolphins, the kids had great fun sitting in the deck nets on the bow watching the water swoosh underneath them. As we got back, we saw a couple of green turtles called Randy and Rudy. The third local is called Roger.

After such a splendid morning we spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach, joined by some pelicans who were happy to hang around the fish cleaning tables and intimidate the seagulls. Symone tried to get a photo of one of the kids next to a pelican but they must have been afraid because as soon as one of the kids came close the pelican opened his mouth wide and made a funny croaky burpy sound. Keely thought that she was going to be eaten! Connor fared about as well.

Connor attempted snorkelling but only managed a couple of dips in the water due to the icy temperature. The kids spent the rest of the day covering each other in sand or making sand and seaweed castles for their echidna figurines named Penny and Spike (Chloe was still in the shop). I’ve finished my last couple of books (Ramage and Sharpe – can’t go past a good English beats French novel) so I’m back to reading white papers on project management.  Symone is now reading my cast offs.

Tomorrow looks like another fine day. We’re planning to take a paddle boat out on the water . Keely is insisting on wearing her floaties because she thinks we are going to sink. Should be interesting.
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Pam on

Maybe it is just as well the temperature is slowly dropping. Maybe then it won't be such a shock to the system when you arrive home! I'm looking forward to that day. Lol mum

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