Sand: There is LOTS of it in my limited experience of Australia, and it varies in color and texture from place to place, but it is all barefoot walkable and clean. At wineglass bay, the sand was very white, and laid out in bands from very fine in the intertidal, to super fine and squeaky (like at Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea) above it, to slightly granular at the edge of the vegetation. At Bicheno, the sand was slightly less white, and along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, it is yellow and medium-fine - perfect for sand castles and other constructions. Along the Bay of Fires I encountered one beach, adjacent to a squeaky sandy one, where the sand was crushed shells. The fragments were large enough to be identifiable as shells, but small enough not to damage my tootsies. It is all SO COOL, and I wish I had a field microscope to get a closer look!
Theodore Geisel trees: Since I arrived here I keep seeing trees with tall trunks and tufts of leaves on top that remind me of illustrations in Dr. Seuss books. They are, in fact, Sugar Gum trees (Eucalyptus cladocalyx), but I do wonder if our beloved children’s author toured Australia before illustrating his books.
Bats: I neglected to mention that as the sun was going down last night, a large creature flew from one tree to another over our heads, and was followed by several more similar creatures. Even though I was well aware that flying foxes live in these parts and was, in fact, looking for them in the Botanic Garden, my brain told me these large flying things were birds. Hah! Anyway, I hope to get a little more upclose and personal with their furry faces before I leave the continent. I’m told that’s inevitable.
Took a walk from Split Point Lighthouse along the cliffs. The perspective is lost here, but the view isn’t.
This is me before lunch and a quick change for a magnificent swim in the surf at Lorne Beach along the Great Ocean Road. Crystal clear water, no jellies, no sharks, no flies, no rocks (where I was swimming), no trash, no flotsam. Just not cold, beautiful ocean water with body-surfable breakers and swimmable swells. And the sky really was this blue. Glorious!
Stopped for culture and coffee at Qdos gallery in Lorne before heading home. It’s a beautiful woodsy spot with fun and sometimes beautiful sculptures outside, and today, an exhibition of three French artists and an Australian inside. We sat outside and had the company of a family of Australian magpies, whose chatter is far more melodious than that of their European cousins. They are also very much friendlier tha US birds, as are the other feathered fauna I’ve enocuntered thus far. We even saw a tree full of cockatoos near the beach. They are not so melodious (though quite large and handsome).
Drove back to Melbourne at the end of the day by an inland route so as to avoid all the beach traffic - not as bad as at home, but significant, and annoying on the crazy curvy cliff roads. These are not as narrow as those in Tassie, and some even have shoulders, but they still warrant a great deal of attention from the driver. Once on the big highway back to the city, I noticed the sound barrier walls. They’re made of rusted iron, I think, but some engineer or designer of something decided to pretty them up by inserting clear colored panels at random intervals. I didn’t catch it in a photo, but as the sun was getting lower (you science nerds know what I mean!) it made patches of brightly colored light on the roadway where the light passed through the panels. The route was other wise fairly monotonous, dry brown pastures and fields ringed with cypres trees eventually giving way to a more industrial landscape.
Almost too hot to sleep, but after a tapas-style dinner at a local beer garden (great people watching, good food, good good good good libations (sing it with me!)), I’m sure I’ll manage.