Monday, September 18, 2006

Breakfasting in St. Kilda and Tide Pooling in Willamstown

Sunday morning Barb and I headed out for a sea-side adventure.

First priority: breakfast.

St. Kilda is known for it's cakes. I don't know why Melbourne is so fascinated with cake, but it is, and St. Kilda is where you go to get the best. Cake shop after cake shop lines Acland Street and they do business like you wouldn't believe.

Yes, I can hear you scolding me. We did not have cake for breakfast.

We thought about it though.

What we did end up doing was getting croissants stuffed with breakfasty goodness and some coffee (What is the difference between a latte and a flat white? As far as we could tell, just the glass it is served in.) and I know that croissants are probably no healthier than cake for breakfast, but we felt better about our choice. There were vegetables involved.

We meandered our way down the rest of Acland Street, back up the Esplanade through the Sunday morning craft fair, spent some of Barb's money on souvenirs, and headed towards the pier to catch the ferry to Williamstown.

We were early for the ferry, so we walked out to the edge of the break and found:

A small Fairy Penguin colony (like the ones I saw on Phillip Island) lives in the rocks of the break and a couple had not left their roost for the day. With the aid of some very European, very tanned, old gentlemen in speedoes, we spotted them and we were able to get some up close and personal shots.

We also spotted a sea-star, which I suppose is not all that special to see, but it was neat to see it right there, up close. I probably could have leaned down into the water and touched it, but knowing the defenses of other Australian animals, I wasn't about to go petting much of anything.

Pretty soon it was time to catch the ferry, so we piled on the boat with about 30 other people and made the 20-minute trip across the bay. Along the way saw a pirate ship (Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day, by the way!) and we learned that when the massive container ship that is moving waaay too fast gives you five long horn blasts it basically means "I'm not slowing down for nothing, so you'd better get out of my way."

We arrived to Williamstown to find that there was a craft fair here as well, and after giving it a good look, we headed off in the general direction of some sights.

Unbeknownst to us, we definitely took the long way around. (Barb was feeling particularly carefree today, as she'd left the house with out her Lonely Planet, so we had no idea where we were going.)

This turned out to be a bit of a blessing though, since we stumbled upon some tidepools very worth exploring. (I admit, I just wanted to climb on the rocks.) Turns out that Barb is a specialist in coral reef ecology though, so she knew a bit about all the squishy and shelled organisms living just under the water.

We hopped around the rocks and examined crevices and looked at shells, and as luck would have it, we found a jelly fish! The jelly got caught in the low tide and was waiting out the time until it could swim away. In the mean time we got plenty of time to look it over.

Soon after, we met up with Luke (GA GIS group) and his girlfriend Ann, who live not too far away in Yarraville. They took us to the swimming beach and showed us the best place to get ice cream, to the beach trail that is popular with bicyclists, and to some wetlands reserved for the big squawky birds of the sea.

Pelicans and ibis and sea-hens, oh my!

Yep, that's rain. It didn't stick around too long though, so we continued our walk along the wetlands until the sun started getting low, and our stomachs began to grumble. Realizing that we'd skipped lunch, Barb and I convinced Luke and Ann that we needed to get some food and we went to one of the local pubs on the main drag and sat outside (but under an umbrella- just in case). We all got something fishy, and my fish and chips were pretty darn good!

Soon after, we called it a night and began the long trek home via mass transit. We got back to the apartment and watched a bit of the Robbie Williams concert on TV, making our day of Australian culture complete!

Vocab for the day
She'll be right: In the way that everything inanimate that is finiky is a "she", this phrase means "it will be alright". Also told to be She'll be apples, but the only time most anyone's heard that is when they've read it aloud to themselves out of the guide book.

You're right and she's right have nothing to do with being correct, but are also variations on this theme and are often used instead of "your welcome".

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