After my hot shower this morning we had quite a parade of animals through the camp site; the ever present kangaroos with babies, the curious emus, a rather magnificent cockroach-looking beetle that jumped into my bag and was sitting staring at me after my shower. Being in Australia where they say everything is poisonous, I thought I had better not touch it, so left it in the bag….of course after it disappeared I had to go carefully through every piece of clothing to shake it out! It seemed equally as nervous of me and jumped away as soon as I exposed it…to I know not where!!
I was bent over my backpack on the ground by the back of the bus re-packing my clothes and felt an “energy” come up close beside me. I thought it was Ray and turned my head to speak to him. I came face to face with the outstretched head of one of the emus! So, once I got over the shock, I talked quietly to him and Ray came up just as he was about to stick his head into my back pack. Ray shouted at him, and he slowly pulled his head back. He was quite happy being around us and eventually ambled off.
We got on the road again around 7:30 and headed over to the Diamond Tree which is about 52 metres tall. We arrived just as the other group (20 x 20-30 year olds) headed up the tree. It was an old tree that had been (and maybe still is) used as a fire watch tower, so there were iron pegs all the way up the tree. We watched them achieve, surpass, or almost achieve their goals on the climb; then came our turn. Ray couldn’t wait and was the first from our group on the tree. He made it to the more than half-way point about 28 metres high. Good going!! I was so nervous that I couldn't watch him, and consequently didn't get any pictures. He got one of me though!! One of the girls from the other trip quietly asked me how old he was. I told her. She was super excited to know that she could still be doing things like this at that age!!
I made it about 1/5 of the way – 12 metres – about 36 feet – and decided that the panicky feeling was starting to overtake my shaking body and I didn’t have time to do the “self” reassurance talks, so came back down. It was fun though, and given more time I feel I could probably have made it at least halfway, not sure about to the top!!! I think it would have been better for me to climb straight up instead of wending my way around the tree!! Somehow the turning around the tree was not comfortable for me!!
Our next stop was at Hamelin Bay to see the stingrays or eagle rays swimming in the ocean. There were several in the water waiting for the fishermen to discard the unused fish portions. There were several in the immediate area and one came right up to the shore to inestigate our “wiggling toes” at the edge of the water – HUGE – they are huge and quite fun, but watch out for that tail!!
Then it was on to Vase Virgin where we tasted olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and there was chocolate galore and coffee which we didn’t taste. I bought a jar of olive oil face cream. We headed back to the bus and off to the park at Margaret River for lunch. Margaret River was nice little tourist town and seemed like so much civilization compared to the Nullarbor.
After lunch we headed to the Margaret River Dairy Farm and tasted some cheese, then on to Provodore where the mint chocolate liqueur was delicious, but oh so sweet!! It was inspiring looking at the miles of vinyards – it gave me a momentary feeling of order in an otherwise disordered world.
We stopped at the Cape Naturalist Vineyard and tasted merlot, merlot/cab, cab/sauv, and shiraz. Decided I do not like the Merlot and that Shiraz is probably my first choice and Cab-Sauv my second choice. So we bought a bottle which we are keeping for a special occasion!
Our final stop in the tasting trip was at Gabriel’s Chocolate, and well, I just had to support Ghana and buy 2 blocks of the chocolate made from the Ghanaian cocoa beans. Mmmmm, delicious!!
We left just before 5 and headed to camp at Big Valley Caravan Park, RosaGlen. We slept the last night in our swags under the stars. It was cold and damp, but we were so snug zipped in like a Mummy. Just before we came to bed, one the girls had to be taken to hospital in Margaret River because some sort of a bite had gotten out of hand and was causing a ton of pain and swelling. She got back just as I headed for the swag. The doctor had lanced it and put her on antibiotics. Her father is a doctor back in Switzerland and she will soon be home for him to care for it with love.