Wednesday, September 23, 2009
DAY 39 – MORE KAYAKING AND MORE DOLPHINS
Despite my last kayaking adventures a few weeks ago not going entirely to plan I gave it another go this time a group of us hired single kayaks and the winds and currents were nowhere near as strong, However I had a minor rib injury and found it difficult to paddle with my right arm so once again I found myself on Herrison island this time of my own choosing I had a rest and a did a few stretches and started paddling gently back when suddenly just meters in front of me 2 dolphins surfaced, a minute later there was 4 dolphins ahead then loads of birdlife joined the area, there was obviously loads of fish there and there was a good feed be had. Was amazing to see dolphins up close while on the water myself.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any decent photos of the dolphins so you have to make do with one of me in my kayak with the Perth City skyline in the background on yet another overcast day. I’m leaving Australia for 10 days tomorrow I just hope the weather gods get out of their system what they’ve got against me by the time I get back!
Another sharp warning about the dangers of Australia today, although thankfully I didn’t see any snakes, there’s just not enough sun about. Once it warms up and the sun does stay out snakes will occasionally sunbath on the paths round here so caution will be required when cycling as you try not to run one over and they won’t like that and could turn aggressive!
Got caught out in some heavy rain on my bike and having forgotten to take my rainjacket arrived back at the lodge rather soaked!
One of the most famous Australian signs is the yellow kangaroo sign warning motorists that a roo might be about to chuck it’s self over your bonnet and windscreen at any moment! However being near Ascot racecourse (Yes they steal all our British names) there was more likely to be horses about. By the looks of it could also do with a dog warning sign as well!
I was cycling towards a suburb called Bayswater where I went to have a look at a room in a potential house to live for a while, of course I had to check out the local pub as well as that had to be acceptable as well as the room, got talking to several friendly locals and the beer was cheaper than the city pubs so it passed the test with flying colours!
Went cycling with a kiwi (Someone from New Zealand by the way though I did also have a kiwi fruit in my picnic lunch!) The highlight of the ride was when we stopped for a picnic lunch by the Canning river and we spotted several dolphins Unfortunately I couldn’t get a real close up clear pic but here’s my effort.
We did 36km in good time but it made me realise that despite having done 550km (approx 350 miles) in 4 weeks I’m still nowhere near fit enough as the kiwi guy I was twice my age and looked as if he could have cycled faster and further than me if his bike hadn’t malfunctioned towards the end!
Went out for a good cycle around the swan river towards the Swan valley wine region. On the way back I stopped for a break at this nice spot overlooking the river in the valley with the Perth hills in the background. I noticed the Ferry from the daily wine cruises heading my way on it’s way back to Perth, I decided it would be a good challenge to race it the 15km or so back to Perth therefore motivating me to keep up a good pace, I had to take the long way round going around the outside of the river and round inlets, but kept a good pace and always kept ahead of the ferry arriving back in Perth a good 5 minuets ahead of the cruise.
Why pay $140 to do a wine cruise when you can get fit and do it for free on the bike and make it back faster - providing you don’t have too much wine!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Having not having been out on my bike for days and my Birthday eating and drinking taking it’s toll, Today I made sure I had a decent ride by cycling to Freemantle and doing some shopping at the Markets.
The Markets have a great range of food courts from all around the world. I decided I didn’t want to eat with knitting needles again so settled on Italian and had some smoked Salmon Pasta, It was absolutory delicious in fact probably the nicest Pasta meal I’ve ever had, better than any Italian restaurant and this was just a food court! The only thing that would have made it nicer would have been a nice glass of wine with it, a temptation that I resisted as I’d promised myself a high exercise no alcohol day in exchange for a no rain day that the Australian Bureau of Metrology had promised us.
I kept my side of the bargain, sadly the weather didn’t as despite being a nice sunny afternoon the heavens opened at about 7pm.
Another quietish day except for the sound of yet more rain hammering on the roof. I ended up going for an afternoon drink with some others from the Lodge before going back in the evening to watch Liverpool thrash Burnley 4-0.
Here’s another pic from my Birthday BBQ. At least I have a barbequed sausage in my hand in this pic while the others have a beer in their hand this time instead!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Today was rather a write off just lazed around the lodge drinking plenty of water! There was also still plenty of water outside as Perth was suffering under the weather as much as me.
So heres another pic from yesterday taken up the C Lounge the revolving restaurant in Perth’s City center
Well today was the big day of my 30th Birthday. I certainly felt a decade older when I got up.
Some of my plans for the day got ruined by the awful weather, there was severe gails and rain, it was more like a late autumns day in England rather than Spring in oz nobody here can quite work out what’s going on at the moment with the weather.
Anyway despite the weather went up a revolving restaurant in the afternoon for a few drinks with a friend. It’s on top of a 500ft tall building and offers stunning views all over Perth, all over the Swan river and even out to the Indian Ocean 12km away it just cleared enough at one point to see the ocean before quite a monsoon erupted and we ended up being in the clouds!
We went back to the Lodge where I’m staying and after the weather settled down fired up the BBQ in the courtyard it, I put on a great BBQ for everyone stating there and invited friends I knew from Perth from my previous trips round, despite a few showers there was enough undercover section in the courtyard to have the full alfresco bbq and we had a great time and had plenty to eat and drink including this huge pavlova I made and blown out 30 candles in 1 go! My Cycling must have really given me good lung power! then a few of us went out for a few drinks before coming back the lodge for another slice of pavlova and a beer at 2 O’clock in the morning!
Today was the last day of my twenties in both my age and days of my trip! Did more shopping for the BBQ including buying 30 candles for my cake! In the afternoon went for a short bike ride before meeting up for some beers with a friend I knew from the last time I was in Perth 3 years ago.
After several beers he said he would treat me to a Japanese meal at the restaurant over the road for my B’day present. I’m not usually that keen on many Asian foods but gave it a go and it was quite tasty but why oh why does a country that is extremely intelligent and excels in everything technological, still have to resort to supplying a pair of knitting needles to capture food? It got to be rather a tedious task not exactly helped I’m sure by the 5 pints of beer downed that afternoon, I think I look a little drunk in the picture but oh well I had to see out my final hours of my twenties in style and at least I’m still some years away from taking up knitting yet!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Had a well-earned day off from cycling but had just as strenuous day by doing loads of shopping for my birthday bbq on Thursday. Got a cow or two and half a kangaroo in the fridge ready for it (Oh and of course a beer or 2!)
With no new pics taken today, here’s another one from my Bike trip where I stopped for a break just South of Mandura with stunning Indian Ocean views!
Nearly went from songs titles to movie titles today except I didn’t use an automobile during my trip, today I just had a little ride round Bunbury, stopped at a Brewery for a pint and some Lunch then got to the station to catch a train back to Perth.
Didn’t take and photos taken today so heres me and Bortz the St Bernard playing during my “rest?” stop on Friday.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Woke up after a good nights sleep rather surprised that I wasn’t too sore from all the cycling. Weather was much better, sunny blue skies with no wind, I decided then it was the perfect day to do some flying!
So I cycled to Bunbury Flying School who offer trial flying lessons for just $88. The plane I flown was called a Sportcruser and was almost brand new the pilot even let me take control of the throttle on take off and once we were in a safe climb I took over the main controls, climbed to 1500ft and turned the aircraft due north to follow the coast line.
Once we got away from the airport I was told I could make some turns and fly it wherever I wanted, so I followed the route where I had cycled the previous day then turned and back over Bunbury and circled over the hostel where I was staying. It was pretty easy to fly I just had to be very gentle with the controls. I was even allowed to make the initial decent to 700ft when the pilot took over for landing.
It was not so easy to taxi however the pilot soon took back the controls on taxing after I nearly slid the plane off the taxiway onto the grass – whoops!
The Sportscruser is classed as an ultralight and the great thing about that is that you can learn to fly it and get an ultralight flying certificate in just 20 hours without having to do the full Private Pilots licence that requires much more hours and study. The main downside is you are only allowed to fly ultralights within a designated area, specified on the ultralight certificate though by passing a test at local flying schools can add additional flying areas as long as they are outside air traffic control restricted areas.
I’m hoping to go for it and give it a go sometime before I leave Australia. It will just mean I have to base myself down in Bunbury 120 miles south of Perth for 3–4 weeks.
PS I’ve got to stop using names of hit songs as my blog titles!
Today was probably the least enjoyable days cycling I’ve ever done, with 50 of the 74km I cycled being alongside a busy highway combined with strong headwinds and showers really did make it seem like a highway to hell! Thankfully the last 25 km were on quiet side roads and bike paths and I was eventually rewarded with fields full of kangaroos I counted 40 in one field and half a km later counted at least 60 all without doubt the most kangaroos I’ve ever seen together.
I arrived in Bunbury about 5:40 half an hour before sunset, relived to have made it before dark.
Took the Train out of Perth to about 70km South of the city and started my Bike tour to Bunbury a distance of about 125km that I would ride over 2 days.
Leaving Mandura there was stunning scenery as I cycled past the multi million dollar homes on the canals thenI soon arrived on the coast of the Indian Ocean and followed it for about 10 km, crossed a bridge with incredible views of the estuary and then followed the estuary for at least another 10km.
During a rest break I met Bortz a huge 14 month old St Bernard who still wasn’t quite fully grown, I walked a St Bernard dog regularly when I was about 14 so it was great to meet him and play tug of war with his rope just like I used to do over 15 years ago.
Cycling onwards I took a detour to stop at a winery but was greeted by a not so friendly dog who chased me on my bike and snapped at my heels, the dog seriously needed to drink some of it’s owners wine to chill out!
I arrived at my accommodation for the night after only cycling about 50km, much earlier than I thought as it was located further up the highway than it was marked at on Google maps, this was not a good thing though as it would leave a much longer distance to cycle the next day.
It was a pub in the middle of nowhere and was expecting it to be a sleepy quite little pub, I was wrong upon walking in the bar at 6:15 during happy hour it was packed with the locals desperately trying to get as many drinks as poss during happy hour to receive a raffle ticket, where the lucky winner would get a shot of winning $1600 if they picked the Ace of Spades at random. The jackpot had built up over 16 weeks so I was prepared to literally get on me bike if I had won as I would not have been popular! As it happened my ticket didn’t come out the hat and the person’s who did, didn’t pick the ace of spades so the Jackpot rolls over to $1700 next week.
I had a great night meeting some great local characters, mostly farmers from the surrounding area. They even had a local band playing live. After a few too many beers I retired to bed hoping I could sleep it off for the long day cycling ahead.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
For the 2nd time in 6 months spring is beginning for me, it seems strange to be taking about Spring in September!
Perth and the Southwest is well know for it’s wildflowers in early spring these are wildflowers in Kings Park.
Spent most of the day planning a trip away from Perth this weekend by bike. Going to take the train to Mandurah and cycle around 120km over 2 days to Bunbury, spend a few days there before getting a train back to Perth on Monday Afternoon. Will probably not get a chance to updating the blog till Tuesday but will hopefully have some great pics to post when I get back.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Went for an evening bike ride around the Perth and South Perth part of the Swan river.
Stopped for some takeaway fish and chips and sat on a picnic bench eating them overlooking the stunning nightime skyline of Perth.
Heres a pic where another photographer moved as I was taking a 2 second exposure giving a ghost like effect!
A friend from the lodge and I hired a kayak for an hour, we decided to do a lap round Herrison Island on the Swan River– the same Island with the tame Kangaroo’s on.
We were getting along quite nicely despite it... being a bit choppy and getting a bit wet, but then as we turned round the city facing side of the Island the winds and currents combined making it really tough going and despite our best efforts realized we weren’t going to avoid crashing into the rocks on the edge of the Island. We tried paddling off the rocks but decided we were better off carrying the kayak ashore.
Fortunately the kayak wasn’t damaged at all and after emptying it of water were able to walk it a little around the island and relaunch back into the river where the currents weren’t so bad and paddle back to base!
On the bright side of things if we really had got shipwrecked the Island does have free to use gas fired bbq’s and remember what lives on the Island….
In the evening found one of Perth’s best value meals, Steak Tuesdays at Harrys Bar in Northbridge, a delicious beef steak with peppercorn sauce, chips and salad for only $12 it was top quality steak too and as an added bonus the bar had a top quality beer selection as well! (NOTE TO MYSELF - I really must stop talking about beer in my blog posts anyone would think I like a pint or two!) But it was much needed and well earned tonight after the kayaking!