Friday, July 4, 2008

Whales - at last!

Leaving Kangaroo Island, we chose the coastal route towards Victor Harbor. It is a lovely seaside town 80km south of Adelaide, popular destination for weekend getaway for city folks.

Horse drawn tram - a local tourist attraction.

An impressive row of huge pine trees.

Soon this sight re-activated our desires to go whale watching again. The Whale Center provides information of daily whale sightings reported. There is a lookout point at Encounter Bay along the foreshore - more like a public park.

It is a joke if this was all we saw of whales!

Of course others were there for the same reason when we arrived - people with binos gazing at the ocean. With surfs breaking it was like trying to find needle in haystack. We stayed probably an hour without success except for few false alarms. Lisa seemed more determined than me - she like to come back again next day.

Fortunately a passing couple told us they just came back from Nullarbor; 30-40 whales sighted there!

Huh.. Nullarbor, where is it? They were kind enough to show us on the map. What! 3 hrs driving back to Port Augustus and another 700km to the top of the Australian Bight (direction toward Western Australia); wasn't part of our travel plan!

If we drive overnight we could be there by the morning. A quick decision was taken to go for it. Lisa would take the wheels to Port Augustus and I took over from there. We arrived in the early hours.. may be 4 am, caught a nap here till the gates opened.

I am a late riser, so a rare occasion to catch sunrise.

We were delighted.. sights of Southern Right whales soon as we reached the shore! Only wish I have a better camera for wildlife shots.

Many calves swam close to the mother. This calf piggy back on mum.

We had a wonderful time watching them here. Easily spotted more than a dozen around!

Warm currents from the Indian Ocean hugs the coast to get this far. How did the whales know it? And come back here annually to breed over the generations from Antartica.. few thousand km away!

More visitors arrived as we left.

Walkway leading down to viewing areas.

These bikes were geared up for a long tour, could have came further away than us!

Another opportunity to stop by at Hahndoff on our way back towards Victoria.

Nullarbor is probably the best place to watch the Southern Rights! Our aspirations were finally fulfilled here! It was also a journey of will & determination to achieve a personal goal.

Kangaroo Island - Part 3

At the far end of the island is Flinders Chase National Park. Often I don't research ahead what to expect so I can have surprises. This place gave me one - The Remarkable Rocks!

Wonder if they can't choose a better name.. anyway, it is truly remarkable! So it is appropriate at least. It is striking at first sight and fantastic for photo takings.

Wonderful views from any perspective.

These are hard rocks.. how long did nature take to sculpture into such forms!

Keep marvel over how these formations come into being while walking amongst them.

Lisa checking out photo shots of a more serious photographer (judging by the gear he carried).

Putting together my panoramic shots... unfortunately it turn out as narrow strips here. You may double click to download for a better view.

Are these broken down pieces of a 3D puzzle? Did a giant sledge hammer smash on it before weather wore it down? Just a layman's attempt to speculate at its formation.

Before leaving the island, we stopped by to check out the Little Sahara.

Sand dune with foot trials suggest we do the same.. walking on sand is hard enough. May not seem that high but tiring to walk up to the top.

Fragile vegetations at the dessert's edge.

This 360 panorama shot could not capture the same sense of presence being there - only useful for recollection.

On the whole, I sum up this as a memorable and enjoyable trip. Though no whales sighted here, it was not a disappointment.

Putting on blog brings the trip back to life for me, rather than to leave photos in a forgotten folder!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kangaroo Island - Part 2

Kangaroo Island has many varied landscapes.. forests, bushes, marshy wet lands, rocky coast lines & even a desert.

A walking trail in a forested area - 'Harvey's Return Walk'; one can easily lost the way out if wanders off track!

Scenic view of the shores along the trail.

We passed this landing point for supplies to the light house before roads were built.

Horses pulled wagons up these steep slopes.

These grass trees fascinates me.

So is termite mound, it's design is a nature's wonder. How they regulate the internal environment and provide areas for fungus cultivation to feed its youngs! How do they pass on such 'knowledge' without documentation?

There are many scenic coasts, we were hopeful to spot whales off shore each time.

Weather was windy with light drizzle at times.

But not enough to hide these beautiful sea cliffs.

We sat out here longer to try our luck again, scanning the ocean surface with binoculars.

But it was unrewarding, so I content with photo of this magpie.

A visit to the light house for a change.

Then onward to Casurina Islet with a seal colony.. this long board walk zig zag down to look out points. The rock islet out there is populated with seals, a little too far for close encounters.

There were many seals resting on the rocks.. you may spot them resting on rocks at far end. They look clumsy on land, how they climb that high up?

Pretty well camouflage with the rocks even viewed at close range.

More board walk leading down!

Below this land arch has many seals too.

Mother and calf having a nap. What a cute sight!

There are few hundred seals around at least.. good visit to wrap up the day.