On the way to Port Fairy Folk Festival

On the way along the coast heading back east again, we stayed the next couple of nights in a caravan park right on the beach in Portland Victoria. It was brilliant for a van park as our campsite was so secluded it felt like we were in the bush. All we could see was green and all we could hear was waves crashing. We were also protected from the cold wind coming off that southern ocean. We then used this as a base do some walks and check out a few sites in the area. M

I love a light house. Most are last century and I love the architecture of them. Tall and white with a bit of red or blue usually. There is always a bit of ship wreck history around them and they are usually in fantastic places for scenery and sea birds. In this case there was also a very good place for cake a huge date scone and coffee. Cape Nelson did not disappoint. It was cold and windy though which sort of goes with the whole light house thing. This made for some amazing white caps on the southern ocean. It was mesmerizing to watch the big rollers come in and smash onto the rocks. Only that cold wind kept us moving! M

cape nelson LH
Cape Nelson light station
steve and the roundhouse cape nelson LH
Steve and what reminded us of our yurt!

cape nelson lighthouse top

black rocks washdown
Interesting volcanic rock all around this area constantly pounded by waves
singing honeyeater 2
There is always a bird too. Singing honeyeater
Maddy at cape nelson
I had not worn jeans and a jacket since Nov 8th. Very sad to be this cold! I got close to putting on real shoes!!!!!

All around this area there are wind farms on each bit of land that juts out into the ocean. This one near Cape Bridgewater was on a dairy farm and these poor cows had to listen to the sound of the windmills noisy buzzing/wizzing the whole time. The poor things. M

cape bridgewater windfarm 2
Cape Bridgewater wind farm, a total of 29 wind turbines.

Next we went to see the only mainland colony of Gannets in Australia at Point Danger. This was a real highlight for both of us. Also a new bird for bird man! Portland is a deep water bulk port with a huge aluminium smelter dominating the landscape. You drive through the smelter just about, to get to the gannet colony and see the aluminium ingots sitting around waiting to be shipped all over the world. This is also a big forestry area so there are plenty of logging trucks around and fake forest (skinny pines planted too close together) everywhere along this coast. M

cape danger sign

point danger ganet colony
The gannet colony is protected from four legged predators and humans by an electric fence. They let us in for a closer look thankfully.

 

cape danger ganets
Not too much longer and these big babies will be leaving here for a life on the sea.
gannet colony with fying bird and island
Lawrence rock in the distance is also covered in Gannets. When it became too crowded a new colony developed at Point Danger in 1971. Gannets born here will return here to have their young.
Lawrence rocks with gannets
Lawrence Rock being pounded by the southern ocean waves. The white spots are Gannets.
gannet colony with flying bird
Adult gannets come and go with food
gannet older chick
Chicks start white then turn black and spotty then white again as adults
fluffball gannet
A very young chick. It will want to get a move on or the eagles will get it when everyone else leaves
Little eagle at gannet colony
A little eagle in the gannet colony. It was making low passes and even landing but we didn’t see it get a chick while we were there.
Maddy in pants with windmill and smelter
Gannet watching gear. Tommy and Maren will remember these pants! The gannets must contend with wind turbines, the aluminium smelter and a shooting range right next door!

Cape Bridgewater was our next stop. We had a cafe lunch at Bridgewater Bay and noticed this message written in seaweed left over from a rally the day before to stop oil drilling in the great Australian Bight. Yes, that’s all we need to cover the gannets and seals in globs of oil like I’ve seen in California and Portugal! M

At Cape Bridgewater we visited the so called Petrified Forest rock formations and the Blowholes, where huge southern ocean waves hit huge volcanic cliffs with full force. I could have sat there for hours watching and waiting for the next big one! Except it was a tad chilly! M

petrified forrest
Petrified forest rock formations. Not really petrified wood.

 

Big wave smash
Blowholes Cape Bridgewater

We then did an 9 km walk following the coast that led to Victoria’s highest sea cliffs at Cape Bridgewater. At the bottom of these cliffs was the largest mainland colony of both Australian and NZ fur seals. They were a very long way down and very hard to see and not very many. We are a bit spoiled by diving with seals in the Galapagos and off South Australia and found the seals here a bit of an anticlimax. The walk was nice though. M

Seal at cape bridgewater
Can you spot the seal playing in the fairy pool?
Great Cormorant
A great cormorant:  Relaxing in the calm waters in the lee of Cape Bridgewater

 

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