Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Life imitates Vue: images from our road trip

click to see images at 1200 pixels wide

Well, to quote Samwise, we're back. Tired and sore, and dying to plan another one of these trips ... it was fantastic. I came back with about 3,500 images ... Mount Gambier (waaaah, I wanna go live there!) with its Blue Lake and extinct volcanoes ... the Great Ocean Road, Twelve Apostles and all ... the tiny fishing towns and crashing surf ... the limestone caverns and wetlands, bird sanctuaries ... endless pine "plantations" (call them tree farms, if you like) that make the air smell like Canada, or a place in Alaska that I'll never forget, Trapper Creek. 

Don't worry, I won't inflict  them all on you, but for the next few days, while I catch up with WORK, after having been away, I'm going to upload a few of the trip pictures. A few. I promise, just a few. Starting today. Here are 10 to give you something like an overview of where we were...

It's coastal. Biiiig surf. Mountainous seas. Incredible colors... 

Top pic: Bay of Islands on the Great Ocean Road. It really is that color in the afternoon when the sun's shining. I didn't do anything to the colors here, just resized the image (I shoot at 12MP; these pics are all uploaded at 1200 wide, and 72dpi). We were on our way to the iconic landmark, the Twelve Apostles -- yup, we got there, and got fantastic photos. Stay tuned. 

Pic #2: Huge surf at Carpenter Rocks ... that's the Southern Ocean. The sea was green and glorious on the day. It wasn't even cold, and we had the sun for an hour (as well as a picnic right above the beach). But iIcan just imagine this place in an Antarctic storm. Remember The Perfect Storm? Uh huh. 

Pic #3: The beach at Piccaninnie Ponds, about one mile on the South Australian side of the border. (Victoria was nice; the folks were very friendly. But it was also nice to get back into SA.) The beach there is vast; the seaweed is crimson, and the cliffs in the distance are shrouded in fog ... the sea is heaving and roaring. Amazing place.

Pic #4: change in the weather. Again. Huge skies at Port MacDonnell, west of Mount Gambier ... it was also coming on towards evening, so the shadows were long and when the sun shone, which it did on an "on again, off again" basis, the colors were gorgeous. 

Pic #5: I think it's a swamp hen, or mud hen, among the reeds and grasses at Piccaninnie Ponds -- more about this location later  ... it was beautiful beyond description. I fact, it's a cave diving destination. There's an enormous limestone cavern about 120 feet down under this bottomless lake...

Pic #6: Wind-tossed reeds on the edge of Book Lagoon, south of Mt. Gambier. Looks are deceiving: it was actually almost dark with threatening rain and a wind you could lean on. Ten minutes later, the rain was dumping and it was coooooold! Which was too bad, because the migratory birds were there, and if it had been sunny I could have photographed many species. [Grumble.] 

Pic #7: The Blue Lake, Mt. Gambier. It's a volcanic crater, and you never saw anything so blue as the water in this lake. It's also the town's water supply. Fantastically lovely place. We were staying at a holiday park just over the hill -- actually about 200 meters away from the lake. We were there for three nights, and it was a great place to stay, in a self-contained cottage.

Pic #8: Roses at Cave Garden in the heart of downtown Mt. Gambier. It's a sinkhole that's been turned into a beautiful garden, right behind city hall. You climb down into it ... it gets quiet and humid and warm, the further down you climb; there's a deep cave right in the bottom, and the air is buzzing with the wild bees that nest in the rock faces. Come back tomorrow to see the gardens themselves...

Pic #9: a worm's eye view of the landscape at Bool Lagoon. Well, actually it's the parking area (!), but the colors were gorgeous, and the sky was inky blue-black with this one finger of sunlight picking out the reds of the hundreds of fallen pine cones. Couldn't resist this.

Pic #10: work boats moored in the bay at Carpenter Rocks. Real, genuine trawlers, these -- none of your fancy sport fishing boats and pleasure craft. These boats work hard for a living. Carpenter Rocks is a good-sized town, but it's all about commercial fishing. The local catch is rock lobsters and abalone. Very, very secluded place, almost off the radar, but not quite. 

More images tomorrow, while I catch up with work. I'll try to give a good range right across the places we've been, and eventually will zero in on the iconic stuff on The Great Ocean Road itself...

Jade, March 28

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