15 October 2009

Rottnest Island

This is jumping a long way ahead from Kangaroo Is. Never mind.

We visited Rottnest on a day trip from Perth. As day trips go it was pretty good.

Stage One was the ferry. From Perth it made its way down the Swan River. We were given a commentary on various features of the river, with an emphasis on the mansions of those that mining has made into billionaires.

The vessel paused to take on more passengers at the mouth of the river in Fremantle. We were not all tourists; the ferry takes plenty of folk who, to judge from their clothing and luggage, were travelling on business.

In beautiful sunshine we sped across the waves to Rottnest. It really was a perfect day for it. The name comes from the Dutch for 'Rat's Nest'. The navigator who gave the monicker saw many "rats as big as cats" through his telescope and didn't land. What he actually saw were quokkas; marsupials built along the same general lines as a kangaroo, but much smaller and with a quite different head shape. Since they are nocturnal I had little hope that we would see any.

The ferry company offers a range of options. We had selected the optional short walking tour, a cafe lunch and a seaborne 'eco-tour'.

The walking tour - it was really an amble - gave us some history of the island and then the guide said she would try and find us a quokka. Of course, she knew where they slumbered through daylight and we saw dozens of them. The approach of a party of clumping humans woke up our quarry who blinked with a far-away look in their eyes and them mostly went back to sleep.

Time's up at this computer. To be continued.

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