Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cape Otway/Johanna Beach

Took a little weekend trip down to the Otways to Johanna Beach. Another casual trip, with a Saturday departure and two day hikes split up by some hammock time and a bottle of wine.

Saturday's walk was through the hills that join the beach. There was a lovely valley inland cut by a creek. The whole area was full of cows, who were mellow enough, but didn't have any interest in sticking around if you got close.

It turns out that the hills were littered with kangaroos, too. Some of them appeared to be about my height, but they didn't allow you got get closer than about 50 meters before they were off. The spot where we saw the most was over a ridge going down towards the ocean. We had walked down there to have lunch, and it was clear who the visitor to the area was. Heads popped up out of the grass everywhere to try to sort out who we were and what we were up to.

We managed to get a bit above them, but they clearly knew we were close. Eventually, we managed to scare them off even though we weren't really moving towards them.

The Crimson Rosellas were a little bit more accommodating, but I was still wishing for a bigger lens.

We did spend a bit of time on Saturday evening watching the sun wane and some folks surf some fairly large waves. I'd pick them at 2.5-3 meters.

Sunday was a stroll down the beach for a few hours. The great ocean walk eventually turns up onto the ridge again, but we only went up a little bit for a view, then spent some quality time doing nothing at all on the beach. Lovely. Not a soul down there.

Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

Photo of the Day

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Photo of the Day

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a hot air balloon shaped like a pot of terrible Australian beer!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brisbane Ranges National Park

Two Saturdays ago, Shannon and I went to the Brisbane Ranges National Park for a little day hike. Despite the name, it's only about 45 minutes outside of town, if you know where you're going. Naturally, we didn't, and it took about twice that.

We just did a quick hike of about 10k that started off going up to the top of a ridge. While you look out of the park and see plains (above), the top of the ridge was very desert like.

There was also a lot of evidence of recent fire. From what I can tell, it was most likely in January of 2006.

The above seed pods only open after a fire. It seems like a pretty strange way for a plant to reproduce, but I'm no botanist.

Very pretty terrain and vegetation. It should have been perfect for koala spotting, but despite being promised some in all the park signage, we didn't see a one. Out animal spottings were more in the death arena.

While the skull had clearly been there a while, we actually saw this moth meet it's demise. From the struggle, it almost seems that some venomous creature got a hold of it. That certainly wouldn't surprise me in Australia. For size reference, the body of that moth is about the size of my thumb.

We did see some excellent Crimson Rosellas on the way out, so at least there was that. Despite the somewhat disappointing wildlife, it was still a great way to get a little exercise in the sun. Well worth a day trip, and there is a three day end to end hike of the park that has some appeal. Now, I just need a sick day...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Photo of the Day

A series from Chinatown

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Photo of the Day


Halve them, coat them in olive oil, grill them, and stuff them with blue cheese. Pretty darn tasty.

Wilsons Promontory Backpacking Trip

Two weekends ago (is time flying, or what?) Shannon and I went to Wilsons Prom to go backpacking with our friends Bryan and Bronwyn. It was just a quick overnight, about 10k each way, so we rolled up early Saturday morning in lovely weather.

The profile of the hike is up for about 4k and down for about 4k, with about 2k of flat at the end. Not too steep, the max elevation was about 330m. On the inland side, it looked very much like the Lake Tahoe area.

But as soon as you get on the ocean side, things become much more lush.

Just before reaching the beach, there is a river with trees swung low across. This river has a bridge, presumably to accommodate day walkers.

And then you pop out onto a lovely beach at Sealers Cove.

Just before the camp area, there is a tidal river. When we got there, we were about two hours ahead of high tide, so it wasn't too bad - water was just up to my knees or so. But later that afternoon, we did watch some people that were hauling packs overhead with water to their stomach. The last few hours of the tide coming in were rather dramatic.

This was a short hike, and keeping with the mellow theme, Shannon brought along a Christmas present from her brother and sister in law that we hadn't used before. And let me tell you. Best. Gift. Ever.

This is pretty much how we spent the afternoon. A two person hammock that weighs a little over a kilo is a beautiful thing. Eventually the sun started going down, which turned into a beautiful thing on its own.

After a fairly uneventful evening, save the possum that decided to snack on a bit of our breakfast (because I stupidly left some food out), and then have a screaming match with his buddy in the middle of the night, we awoke to a spectacular sunrise over the cove.

There had been rain predicted for Sunday, and we were pretty sure that we were going to see some when we saw the double rainbow. But hey, we saw a double rainbow. The first was full, and the second one nearly so, but it was far too close to get a picture of the whole thing.

After a wet, but not impossible hike out, we had an uneventful trip back to Melbourne. The weather didn't get any better than gray for the rest of the trip, but I think Saturday made it all worthwhile. This park is worthy of another visit.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Catch Up

It's been ages since I've written.

A few weeks back, I returned to Melbourne after a successful, if not drawn out, 777 modification. The plane is flying now, so I guess I can show pictures of the final product. I'm sure it's on Flyertalk anyway.

As unhappy as I was during the whole process, I did have a moment at the end, when it was quiet on the plane, and I was alone, that I could look around and admit to myself that the end product looked pretty damn good. So I guess that's something.

Life has been returning to normal in Melbourne. I had missed being here more than I realized. The people here are good, and it's a nice place to be. And it's always good to be at home.

I seem to have missed a good bit of fall, and I certainly missed a number of festivals that I had wanted to attend, so that's a bummer. The weather has been reasonably good though, at least temperature wise. It's been a little wet, but that's to be expected.

It has been a shock though, to come back to Australian beer prices.

One thing that I did neglect to blog about while I was away were two weddings. The first was that of our friends Erin and Adrian. They got married in Lihue, HI, and I was lucky enough to be able to break free from work for a few days to meet Shannon and attend. By that point, it had been nearly eight weeks since I had seen Shannon, so I was thrilled to make it (despite a little effort making flights).

We linked up with the wedding party on Friday at Kapu Falls. It's a jump point, and while most people opted to just jump off the falls or the rope swing, the real locals showed that it's best to do flips out of trees.

After managing to shut down the local's watering hole Friday night with some old friends, we needed a pretty mellow time before the wedding, so we went to a distant beach on the way to the Kauai Coffee Company. It was a nice day, and Alamo had upgraded us for free to a tank (Sebring convertible) so we did some cruising with the top down.

One wedding, one reception, and some early flights for both of us the next day. Again, I got slightly creative going back to SF.

Wedding number two was way back in Raleigh, for our friends Lisa and John. Sadly, Shannon couldn't attend this one. I was particularly honored to be there, as John had asked me to be his best man. We kept the hijinks to a reasonable level before the wedding (mild hangovers), got him to the church on time, and all was well. And they couldn't have had a better weekend, weather wise. Aside from the pollen, it was a really beautiful day.

So yeah, that's pretty much the recap. Hopefully from here, posting will be more routine.