Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quokka adventures

For all my international people here is a mini kangaroo, officially known as a Quokka. This little fella (or sheila) is about a foot tall and even more adorable in real life. They are found on the small island of Rottnest just off Perth. Every time I see one it takes a whole lot of self control not to try and stuff it in my suitcase. I've been holidaying at Rottnest (Rotto) since I was a little kid and I still rekon it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. Yesterday some mates and I took a day trip on their boat to the island for some Sunday ocean fun.

I get chronically sea sick. Doesn't matter how long I live on a boat for it still happens. I even threw up on anchor once in the Caribbean. The ride to Rotto took over an hour but I made it without bringing up my breakfast. Once we arrived a few of our group went diving but I opted to take the small tender half way around the island on the hunt for some surf. I found toe biter midget sized waves to surf. On the positive side the only other critter sharing the waves with me was a big fat seal. No weekend warrior crowds. I got beat on the ride back in the little tender though. Thought I was going to get thrown out a few times and my back is killing me.

I felt pretty crook when I finally got back to the big boat but I still wanted to go diving. I was scuba certified in Panama but it has been years since I've been, so I sorted my gear and headed out. Once I made it down to the bottom my mask started to fill with water. Being seriously out of practice I tried to clear it the wrong way and the whole thing flooded. I was holding onto my dive partners arm shaking him and pointing up to the surface. He had to grab my mask and show me how to clear it. I almost panicked down there. Then to top things off my slightly infected ears wouldn't equalize which resulted in a bad headache. I gave up and came back to the surface. I tried to signal the boat to pick me up for 15 minutes by waving my fluro yellow swim fin in the air but no one noticed. In the end I gave up and went back down for a while, it was easier to be on the bottom of the ocean with an earache than bobbing around in the waves on the top. We eventually got picked up.

By the time we started back for Perth it was evening and I was wiped. I focused really hard on the horizon the whole ride back and tried to find my happy, non nauseous place. We had almost made it back home. I could see the lights of the wharf getting closer and closer. Then we got the radio call. Our friends who were sill over on Rotto on the smaller tender had broken down half way round the island and needed rescuing. We turned back and headed into the black ocean to retrieve them. Luckily a few fish had been caught while scuba diving and we were forced by extreme hunger to gut and cook them on the boat ride back. The broken down tender was tied to the main boat and towed back. We finally arrived at the marina around 10pm, salty, stinky and ready for bed. On the bright side the evening produced a beautiful sunset and I got to spend a little time hanging with the quokkas.

Bellow: Me passed out on the boat, my friend Matlida watching the sunset.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Staying Sane

Week two of no surf. This is the cost of getting educated! Perth is suffering from its usual sun kissed summer flatness plus I've been so busy with university and writing. There seems to be no immediate end in sight either, the soonest I can get South may be in a week or two. Luckily I discovered a big, old orange wave ski (ocean kayak) behind our shed. Once I sprayed off all the poisonous spiders with the garden hose and cleaned it up it didn't look so bad. I've been hitting the beach early every morning kayaking, swimming and rock running. It took me a while but I found the most perfect sized rock and now I keep it at a set spot up by the sand dunes. If a rock is too big you can't pick it up, if it's too small you start to float too much and it's hard to run. These morning beach sessions are helping me cope with the shock of returning to studying, my poor brain is like "what are you doing to me???"! C'mon summer it's time to finish, I love you but I'm ready for some waves.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out and About

I vowed to write posts every couple of days. I guess it's only been a bit over a week right? Being away for 3 and a half years means a whole lot of stuff piles up. I want to be a kid again so I never have to do any paper work! Since being home I think I have only spent about one week in Perth. I can't help it, down South is just so damn lovely. I also had a bit of true Aussie outback time up in Kalgoorlie a few weeks ago visiting my good friend Jacci and her kiddies. My mum came along with me. She grew up on a sheep farm not far from there and gets all stoked to go inland. Me, I feel like a fish out of water, but there is definitely a certain charm and presence about the Australian bushland. The 8 hour drive I could have done without though. You can just drive and drive for hours out there and it's all so still and quiet. We drove in a back way and had the jeep stocked with water and supplies just in case we broke down. Recently in the area a guy died when his truck got bogged and he tried to walk for help in the heat of the day with no water. That's how unforgiving the land can be for those who come unprepared.

Kalgoorlie was just as I remembered, hot and red. And full of poisonous stuff. On the drive back home we stopped at an old dam in the middle of nowhere for a swim. At least there is some water, and no crocodiles! I stopped for a walk along the water pipeline that runs beside the road just like I used to as a kid on our desert camping trips.

In summer Perth is flat like a big fat pancake. I did score a little cyclone swell which apparently lit up the Margaret River surf region like a big happy christmas tree (check out the pics at ). I got there a day late. Last Sunday I headed North of Perth to a little town called Lancelin which is known for its sand boarding and surf. We scored some fun windy little waves and the stretch of beach, accessible only by 4 wheel drive, was so beautiful. Miles of perfect white sand, crystal clear blue water and hardly any people. But for now I am up here in Perth taking care of business and getting ready to start studying again. I've been working a few laboring shifts as a removalist, not sure how good I look in a fluro tradies shirt and over sized shorts but hey, whatever pays the bills! I am also still living off a consistent diet of meat pies and lamingtons. Gotta love Australia!