Hi folks and folkesses,
Out in the Indian Ocean, about 12 miles from Fremantle, is Rottnest Island. We went there today to check out what it's all about.
Well the day started off early enough, eben by our standards! The ferry left at 9.30, so it involved us rolling out of bed before 8am on the weekend... however we managed to get to the ferry in time and off it pootled along the swan river. Well the "ferry" turned out to be a tourist sightseeing barge, complete with captain pointing out various landmarks along the way, but never mind. As many of you may well know, Gareth's never been a massive fan of these sorts of things, but it got us there in the end. It was a little frustrating knowing that the "ferry" took two and a half hours to get to Fremantle, when we know damn well the train would have taken 25 mins. Still maybe I'm just sounding cynical (again).
From Fremantle we jumped on to another ferry that was going to take us "the last 18 km" across the Indian Ocean across to lovely Rottnest Island. As the boat pull out of the post (complete with doors now fully locked down) the steward shouts to the passengers "Now we are expecting a ROUGH ride all the way - so you must stay in your seats - if you think you have a weak stomach go downstairs near to the toilets now!" And off the boat chugs into the Ocean.
Within 3 minutes we're in one hell of a swell and the (normally hellish / noisy) kids have gone strangely quiet. The swell was amaing - the boat would climb up an 8ft wave then drop all the way back down again until the huge bang as it hits the bottom. I mean - people were screaming... The waves were going over the top of the boat. The ship hand explained that this was "nothing" and that they go out in "much worse conditions than this". But still the children cried, and the the urging came.
People left, right and centre were reaching for their sick bags as nature took its course. Helen and G were ok, just quietly shitting themselves for the full extent of the journey.
Anyway... onwards to Rottnest.
When we arrived, all the green-faced folk climbed out and onto the jetty. I'm proud to say that our "steel" bellies held out, but it was a close call.
Rottnest itself had a 'Cook Islands' feel about itself. Low key, with dirt track roads, the island itself is made up of a number of lakes and sand dunes. If you've been to Hayle Towans (sand dunes) in Cornwall then really, you've been to Rottnest. Windy, a bit of rain and that grassy stuff growing through the sand. Yep, all that was missing was St Ives in the distance.
The island had a number of shops, which collectively made up the 'mall' - not exactly huge, but practical none the less. We decided to go for a walk to check out the lakes in the centre of the island and it wasn't long before we came across our first 'Quakka'! We were pissing about taking photos etc, when Helen screamed out aloud! This ball of fluff (about the size of a cat - but looks like a giant rat) hops past us at top speed. You could say it looked like a giant rat, but had the manouverability of a kangeroo... Very strange, but we felt priviliged to see one. We stayed around the lakes and checked out the wind turbine there too, but also noticed the *white foam that was building up on the edge of the lakes.
* I don't think it was rabies foam... well it didn't taste like rabies foam anyway ;-)
On the way back into "town" Helen noticed a shop that sells clothes. This prompted her to suddenly end all tourist activities and check out what was on offer. One coat later (+ a hoodie for Gareth, which we are told will suddenly make him look 'cool'.. like he wasn't before?!!) and Helen is all shopped out. Thank God.
From there we wondered up to "The Basin", an area which Gareth's collegue Aimee informs him is where all the college grads hang out. There were none there today, but then the sea must be bloody cold...
From there on for the rest of the day we saw stacks of those bouncing overgrown rats everywhere. See photos for examples of the form.
Apparently the aussie teenagers get drunk and kick them around in a cruel sport known as "quokka soccer". Not clever guys.
The ferry back was better, apparently the boat (which was much bigger) was going 'with the current'. We got back around 7pm and we were shattered. Job well done though. Cheers very much!
Lots of love Gareth and Helen x x x