The Forest meets the Sea – having a whale of a time
Today we didnâ€™t really know where we were going to end up. We started off going back through Warnambool, and passing a sign saying â€œWhale watching – June to September.â€ We both liked the sound of that, but didnâ€™t much like our chances, it being the very end of Sept. Nonetheless, we thought we would check out the beach for the heck of it. We actually went past the turn-off, but J being the lovely boy that he is hauled the truck around and off we went looking for the beach. I was trying very hard not to get my hopes up – I donâ€™t often have much luck at the best of times, and this is the end of Sept – so I was very, very impressed to see a whale!! And a calf!! !!!!! When I say â€˜seeâ€™, I mean of course â€˜caught a glimpse of its back and flipper, and the occasional spurt of waterâ€™. Most of the time it just looked like a shadow under the water; in fact, at first we both thought it was just kelp. It was so exciting to see. And quite funny, too: J and I have a running joke that on lots of our trips bush, I [jokingly] demand that he show me some animal Iâ€™ve never seen before. I think this really started when we went up to Mt Buffalo a few years ago; we passed all these lyrebird signs, so I told him I wanted to see one. On our last day there, there was a lyrebird basically making its nest in the carpark. J therefore claims never to have let me down – and the whale today backs him up.
Anyway, after that excitement, we headed down the Great Ocean Road. We stopped at the Bay of Islands – sea stacks, very nice; skipped the Bay of Martyrs; stopped at London Bridge (which, of course, has fallen down); skipped Loch Ard Gorge; then went to the Twelve Apostles. The last time I saw them, you could still park basically right next to them. But no longer: now, you park in this massive supermarket-like carpark; go through some â€˜Discovery Centreâ€™ thing (which I donâ€™t think had anything commercial, for which I am thankful), then under the road out to the lookouts. Come on people, theyâ€™re just sea stacks!! Quite pretty and impressive, but sea stacks nonetheless. And then there were these idiots who ignored the warnings about the crumbly cliffs and jumped the fenceâ€¦.
Next we drove up to Lavers Hill, then to Triplet Falls. It was nice enough – quite a pretty little walking track. From there we went down through the Otways, back to the coast, on quite a fun track (few too many potholes, and lots of curves that made me glad J was driving). We ended up at Blanket Bay, which we thought might be full but turns out isnâ€™t – getting there, though; Iâ€™m glad we arrived early-ish.
A surprise-filled adventure
Well, it was a surprise that we ended up spending the first night in Port Fairy: that was because J, he-who-laughs at my geographical ineptness, managed to get us lost. I think he is blaming the instructions his dad gave us (we stayed the weekend in Ballarat first) – we were meant to be heading for Colac, but instead ended up going to Hamilton. So we decided that Port Fairy was a perfectly fine place to spend the first night.
So we drove to Port Fairy. Itâ€™s a lovely drive down there – all green and rolling – a bit like Gippsland really. We ended up in a caravan park at one end of the town which was half-closed; we had expected the town to be crawling with people, thanks to the holidays, but no. Which was very nice for us. We walked along the wharf, past the boats (another of Jâ€™s obsessions), and out to the lighthouse on Muttonbird Island (and saw one of my studentsâ€¦ she didnâ€™t recognise me, I think). We then walked back to the truck, and this is impressive because I was walking in my new Scarpas (thanks Mum!!), and they didnâ€™t hurt. Well, they didnâ€™t give me blisters; the left one hurt on the bridge of the foot, but this is a small price to pay for what I know will be the best shoes in the world once Iâ€™ve worn them in a bit.
We ended the day with fish n chips (incredibly average whiting, unfortunately, but it was made up for by the six battered scallops I got – after J only ordered twoâ€¦), and reading in the truck. Truly a lovely day.
And it was an adventure holiday because J insists that all holidays in the truck must be adventures. By default.
Another Brian Caswell story – the most recent, as far as I can tell. And the darkest one yet: teen pregnancy, abusive parents, violent boyfriends, prostitutionâ€¦. Again written from multiple first-person perspectives, some third-persons, and the occasional switch from past to present tense. The main characters are Cain, an average eighteen-year-old; his twin Chris, who has artistic talent coming out of his ears; TJ, a teen mother whoâ€™s escaped from an abusive boyfriend with her son, Tyson; and Abby, a sixteen-year-old prostitute who has run away from her sexually abusive stepfather.
Itâ€™s a very clever storyline; I really enjoyed reading it. J can vouch for that: I was reading it in the car, and he had to prod me to keep reading it because I was going on and on about it and trying to figure out what the resolution would be. I had guessed part of how it would work out, but not the whole lot, which is always a great way to end it I think.