Friday, December 30, 2011

Lava flow, oyster catchers and no dogs: Ph. Island

Without dogs you can walk right around Phillip Island; with dogs, you're allowed to walk west to Opal Point, or east to the small town of Cowes. The reason for the westerly restriction is the protection of penguins and hooded plovers.

Late yesterday afternoon 'our' beach was crowded with people sun baking, building sand castles, digging forts, swimming, playing ball games -- -- --. Therefore, we took the opportunity to walk west, towards the distinctive hump of the Nobbies and onto beaches reserved for the birds -- a walk of about 6 kilometres. Our dogs stayed at home; each with a bone.

Within 15 minutes we had the beach to ourselves and soon discovered a unusually large shell resting in a tangle of seaweed (in the photo you'll see the shell along with four others that are the normal size for this part of the world).

I had the feeling I could walk forever; eventually though, we came to a place where black stones 'flow' from a headland out into the sea, remnants of an ancient lava flow. In amongst the 'flow' of black stones, a pair of sooty oyster catchers fossicked for seashells, their long orange bills contrasting sharply with the black of the stones and the silver glint of the sea. After five minutes, they took flight, their eerie calls echoing out to sea.

We turned back towards the east, our eyes drawn to Grossard Point, and the new boardwalk leading to our home on the hill.

Walking in unspoiled places is one of my greatest pleasures, and always I'm rewarded with the discovery of something that inspires me; that lifts my spirits; that frees my soul.

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