Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Welcome to Tangalooma, on Moreton Island!

Tangalooma was the largest land based whaling p
lace in the southern hemishpere until @1962. In a ten year period between 1952 and 1962, almost 6,300 humpback whales were caught and processed (ok - let's be honest, they were slaughtered). A blue whale was also among the victims during this time. Today, there are whale watching, not hunting, tours and just the building where the whales were processed remains. The building is now used for ping pong and other games so now it is a happy place!

It really is a beautiful place and is quite peaceful at this time of year. There are countless things to do here and we will take advantage of many of them, minus the water activities! The air temperatures get up to about 60+ degrees F and the wind has been ever present. It is the wind that has grounded the helicopters at times, prevented the whale watches, and made it all but impossible to hand feed the dolphins. They even had to offload passengers from an incoming ferry down the beach by the shipwreck because it was too rough to dock the boat at the pier. Passengers were put into an open topped cage, of sorts, and were lifted off the boat by a crane!

But, flexibility is key to the success of any adventure in life so we've found other things to do.

We all took the quads out on a guided tour of the sand dunes on the island. After a short safety introduction, we were all handed little white hairnets to put on prior to the helmets. I must say, they were quite a fashion statement! We were able to get some beautiful views of the water from a higher perspective and to test out our driving skills in the sand. So much fun!!! So much so that some went back out on a more in depth ride more suitable to their experience. All in all, a good time was had by all! I can understand why so many people love these things! (Special note to Anthony and Tim: Notice your mom's picture in the bottom right hand corner of the collage! She really did it!!! )

Needless to say, Mater felt right at home among his peers! He even found a quad more equal to his size! He's an adventurous little tow truck, for sure, and is having the time of his life, Liam!

We also took a walk down to the shipwreck at the end of the beach. The sun...and wind...were with us and it was a perfect time to take a leisurely walk along the beach and explore. Lots of starfish could be found among seaweed, wood, shells, jellyfish, sand seeds from the trees. ...Uh..oh! I will finish this later! It's almost time to go sand tobogganing! Stay tuned!

Ok - we're back from our sandy adventure! More about that later though...Our walk down the island beach on Wednesday was wonderful. Still pretty windy but perfectly sunny. We've been so fortunate to have avoided any rain while here. We came upon a "shipwreck" on our walk, designed using 15 different old ships to generate a man-made reef and a snorkeling and diving spot for tourists. It was near here where the ferry came in to offload passengers.

We went down by the dock to feed the pelicans but found pied cormorants instead! Now they don't feed these little buggers because they are very aggressive and they don't want to encourage them to go to humans for food. But, they patiently stayed with that hopeful look your dog might get when they know someone at the table might have a soft heart for them. The marine biologist was attempting to feed another bird, whose name escapes me but I will find out. These birds were like hawks and hovered around overhead waiting for the opportunity to eat that they knew was inevitable. In the meantime, the cormorants were getting a bit impatient. One hopped up on the railing and attempted to help himself to the fish in the hand of the staff. Quickly, she held the fish away and protected herself with a leg up! The bird reluctantly returned to the beach and continued to wait. She threw the fish up in the air and the unnamed bird swooped down and retrieved it much to the dismay of the cormorants. It was an interesting exercise in bird behavior!

We arre going to miss Tangalooma.

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