Monday, March 01, 2010


Up the Coast to Sydney!

A quiet Monday evening in Lakes Entrance, on the east coast of Australia. There is a footbridge from the mainland to the beach area. The beach is part of ninety mile beach, and seems to stretch forever. The water is swimmable, but the sky was slightly overcast, so we just dipped our toes.

We started the day on Phillip Island, primarily known for its penguin parade. Every evening, just after sunset, more than a thousand penguins come ashore from the ocean, cross the beach, and waddle up to their homes. They live in burrows, some perhaps 500 metres from the shore. They return to these burrows every evening, after swimming and filling their bellies all day in the ocean. We paid our fifty bucks to witness this "parade", and went through the reception area filled with penguin items for sale.
We headed to the beach, even though the parade was not supposed to start for more than an hour. There we sat, in howling winds, and driving rain. Always the gentleman, I had given Joanne the jacket. I scrunched under the poncho I was given at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Hawaii. I froze my ass off.

Finally, the penguins arrived. I could not see them because my spectacles were covered in rain, and`were all fogged up. But I knew they were there because I could see little white flashes coming off their chests. I cleaned the specs, and enjoyed the spectacle. They are the smallest penguins in the world, and smart little buggers too. Once they left the beach they squealed and squawked until they found their mates, their young 'uns, and their homes. No photography allowed, unfortunately.

Certainly an interesting way to end the day. But the visit to the koala sanctuary was a highlight as well. One little koala decided to clamber over his mother near the top of a tree, climb down, and visit with Joanne and me. He remained there, munching on the eucalyptus leaves. A really splendid show. The heritage farm on Phillip Island left a little to be desired, but the meat roll and chips were good.

The truth is, the chips (french fries) are wonderful. Fish and chips have been a hit with us.

We switched on the television this morning just as the first period had ended. All by ourselves, and the game was broadcast live! As you now know, Sydney Crosbie tried to split the defence, lost control of the puck, and ended up on the side boards. He fought off the referee, got the puck to Jerome. Iginla returned it to Syd, and Crosbie slid the puck by Miller. Game, set, match. Gold. As far as I am concerned, hockey was the real winner. All of the players have spent many hours honing their skills in Canada and the United States. The border has become completely blurred, perhaps even when Brett Hull declared his Americanhood.

Off we sped after breakfast, to finish the day in the Best Western here in Lakes Entrance. A few more days in Australia, then off to New Zealand.

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