ROTTNEST ISLAND GREAT ESCAPE 2018

3/03/2018 – Action Outdoors Association March long weekend

It is always great to be back on Rottnest Island. This year I celebrated with an super duper ice cream.

Saturday morning a group of us went on one of the newly publicized walks – Gabbi Karniny Bidi, about 10kms, it was interesting to see some different aspects of the island, and to get to places that cannot be reached by bicycle.

We stopped to watch the birds on one of the salt lakes (they all escaped the camera).  Rottnest has a system of salt lakes which covers 10% of the Island at more than 200 hectares.  There are 12 lakes in total with seven being permanent, while parts of the wetlands and 5 of the salt lakes dry up in summer.  The pinkish colour is caused by the algae Dunaliella Salina. It contains a naturally occurring pink substance called beta-carotene.  When shrimp eat this algae it gives them a pink colour also.

Another salt lake showing pink tinges in some places.

This lake is an important area for migratory birds.

It was nice to finally reach the coast again.

However, long weekends do have their drawbacks, and there were plenty of party animals over at Rotto this year, there was also a concert on in the afternoon and evening, so drinking and loud music was the go.

Here is Thomson’s Bay on a long weekend, it looks as if you could walk across the bay on boats.  We retreated to our quiet corner of the island to play tennis and have a few quiet wines.

And I had to get a quokka selfie this year after all of the publicity over Federer getting one.

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Categories: ACTION OUTDOORS ASSOCIATION, BUSHWALKING, Rottnest Island, Western Australia | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

ROTTNEST CHANNEL SWIM

24/2/2018 – An early morning

I was ‘lucky’ enough to be marginally involved in the famous Rottnest Channel Swim via David who paddles as support for the four swimmers in his team, and two of his brothers who actually swim.  I delivered him and his brother to the start point with kayak, and retreated safely to a quiet spot where I could get some good photos.  (Actually there were no quiet spots).

I found this all very interesting, never having been present at the start before. Literally hundreds of people, kayaks, cars, officials, milling around at 5.30am around Cottesloe Beach.  The swimmers leave in ‘waves’ according to their group delineation. ie Women under 25 teams, single swimmers, men over 55 teams, etc.

The paddlers are all waiting on the north and south boundary trying to see their swimmer, they are supposed to pick them up (not literally) at the end of the lane ropes. The kayak and swimmer then pick up their support boat at the tall ship in the distance.  However, kayak has to find swimmer, and boat has to find kayak and swimmer and it looks like organized chaos. Above is a ‘wave’ of inexperienced swimmers, see how they have move en masse over to the south side of the channel, so many swimmers, they were getting feet and arms in their faces, it looked like a giant washing machine. And how are they going to find their kayak when they are still within the lane ropes.   Swimmers who have not found their support boat by the time they reach the tall ship are taken from the water and not allowed to continue.

Above picture shows two groups, the pink hats and the green hats, more experienced older swimmers, they have lined up evenly, you can still see the group before in the distance slightly to the left still bunched up.

Now you can see that these swimmers are following a much more sensible path, just swimming out away from the beach, when they get to the end of the rope their paddlers will pick them up and go with them.  David’s brother Simon was in this group, Simon always swims straight up the middle of the field and David can easily pick him out and meet up with him when he gets to the rope end.  After taking this photo I was off back to bed.

Here is a shot of David taken from their support boat, with his niece Ellie swimming past the 17 kms buoy.

And a shot of the unfortunate boat that sank near them, everybody was taken safely off the craft, but we never found out exactly what happened and why the boat sank.  Here endeth my experience with the Rottnest Swim and that is as close as I will get to being involved.

Categories: KAYAKING, Perth, Rottnest Island, Western Australia | Tags: , | Leave a comment

ABSEILING AT MOUNT QUARRY, PERTH

18/02/2018 – A quiet Sunday afternoon!

Taken from Action Outdoors Association activities for 18/2/18  “We will start with two 20 meter abseils, followed by two 40 meter and then two 60 meter abseil with instructor Sven Borg.”

Just the view of the quarry as we drove in was enough to take my breath away?

Then Sven took us to where the first descent was to take place – just behind that tree branch hiding the person.

We listened to all of the instructions (hoping that we would remember them) and the first person went down.

Soon it was my turn and I managed to not disgrace myself, not scared of falling, but if you tip sideways you crash against the rock wall, that didn’t sound nice.

On to the 40 metre drop, we even got a carpet to help us get over the edge?

Here we are a bit further over the edge, but what he didn’t tell us was that the cliff sort of disappears and you are left….

….  kinda hanging and trying to reach the rock, apparently you are supposed to relax and just go down with the rope at this stage.  I was still trying to walk down the rock.

A bit further down, no chance of reaching that rock, I finally let myself just propel down on the rope.

View of the 60 metre drop with me at the top, by this stage the harness was really biting into my body just under the ribs, it was hot, dusty and there were bull ants climbing up my legs, so not that happy.

Last descent as I decided I had had enough at the bottom of the first 60m drop, once was enough, I thought my ribs were going to pop out they were so sore. I waited while some others had their second go.  A good experience, glad I did it, but don’t care to repeat that one thanks.

Categories: ACTION OUTDOORS ASSOCIATION, Perth, PHOTOGRAPHY, Western Australia | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

PORONGURUP NATIONAL PARK

5/02/2018 – On the way home from Albany

We stopped off at Porongurup National Park, the Porongurup Range lies 48 kilometres north of Albany, the range has distinctive granite domes which are the remains of massive bubbles of molten rock that rose from deep in the Earth’s core.

Soon enough we were amongst these massive giant granite masses.  Changes in the temperature and in the weight of the overlying rock have caused the granite to fracture.

Balancing Rock – not hard to guess why it was named so.

On the way to the Granite Skywalk.

Once on the Skywalk stunning views can be observed.  A nice tourist offered to take our photo.

The Granite Skywalk is a suspended walkway around the huge granite outcrop of Castle Rock. There are spectacular views of the park and across undulating farmland to Albany, plus views to Mount Gardner and Mount Manypeaks.

There is however, further to go, and this requires much scrambling over rocks and climbing a ladder bolted into rock. Some people have already turned back, puffing and red in the face, but we are intrepid – and forge onwards!

Quite a stunning view, I especially like the straight fracture of the granite rock. Great weekend away David.

Categories: BUSHWALKING, South West Western Australia, TRAVEL, Western Australia | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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