Well I’ve decided to take the time to REWRITE what I wrote before that TypePad so conveniently lost. I’ve learned my lesson and will write in Word first.
I’m having problems adjusting to Real Life since returning from vacation. Big deadlines and massive product development is taking over every moment of every day and night. It’s wonderful getting to be creative designing all new products, but doing it 12 hours a day 7 days a week is beginning to take its toll. So I will take a few minutes to relive my FAB holiday…wishing I were still there…
We spent 4 wonderful days on Kangaroo Island just off the southern end of Australia. We took a private guide by the name of Peter. It was the best decision we made. He was friendly, knowledgeable and gals…the guy cooks! That’s right. Every day for lunch and tea he cooked for us. Sometimes we’d stop by a lake, sometimes by a trail and just have lunch. He is a professional “swagger” (which doesn’t mean he walks like John Wayne) it means that he knows a thing or two about camping. He had all the gear that makes traveling so much less like traveling and more like a home away from home. We didn’t camp, since I’m a girl that needs a shower daily…(except for when I’m buried in design work…not pretty!) but stayed in great hotels and cabins. If you are considering visiting Australia I highly recommend his services. He was a geologist for some 25 odd years and can tell you anything about the wildlife, flora and fauna that you want to know and a few things you probably didn’t need to know. His website is here http://www.swagabouttours.com.au/
We did the coolest thing…adventure caving. For over 3 hours we went deep underground crawling around with just us and a guide through areas no larger than 1 ft high, so every part of your body was touching the cave…you had to literally push your stomach into the ground to squeeze through. We climbed over and down steep cliffs inside the caves all with just our helmet and headlamp and knee pads. This was very exciting and challenging as I normally have claustrophobia, so I was confronting a fear I have head-on. At one point when we were crawling through a space for about 5 minutes that seemed too small to clear and every part of me was touching the cave, I was sweating profusely, sand and dirt was touching my face, sand was in my pants and I was trying desperately to keep moving and “swim” through the dirt, I felt myself have a little “freak” on the inside. I suddenly felt trapped, like I’d never get out…like I couldn’t breathe. Mentally I talked myself through…”just breathe, breathe…keep moving…” I counted backwards from 10 and kept moving, snaking my way through. About 5 minutes later I’d made it through to the other side and a clearing where we could stand. My adrenalin was skyrocketing. It was AWESOME!
The other really awesome thing in Australia was the wildlife. Our guide had wildlife “radar”. I’m still amazed how Peter was able to spot a Koala high in a tree in the middle of nowhere while going 100 km/hr. After we stopped to check her out Robert got out and tried to snap a photo of her. Koalas are quite a bit like cute teddy bears that sleep all the time. They move in slow motion and have really big sharp claws so they can climb and hang onto the tree limbs all day. Every time Robert went to get a shot the Koala would move to the other side of the branch so that the branch was between her and Robert. Robert would move to one side, she’d move. After about 3 minutes of this I swear I saw her turn her head and look over at me and give me a huge smile. I’m sure she was just having a blast thinking these tourists never give up. After getting home and viewing the photos Robert took I know why she didn’t want her photo taken. She had a baby in her pouch. We can see the tiny leg sticking out. Awwww!
Snakes On The Road!
Another wildlife sighting on the same day was a big black tiger snake. It was right in the middle of the road. When Peter spotted it and yelled, “snake!” I thought he had driven over it for sure. We turned around and stopped in the middle of the road and it wasn’t moving. I figured it must be dead. The head looked a little flat. So since I really wanted a photo of this 3 ft. long baby I opened my door and was close enough to stick the camera out and take a photo. It was right by my feet. I was disappointed it had been run over but explained to Peter that no one would know it was dead in the photos. We started to pull away and turn the van around on the road and Peter said, “he’s not dead! The snake just slithered off the road!” I couldn’t believe it! The prankster was playing dead! He didn’t move at all when I was there taking his photo, probably waiting for me to step down for a close-up so he could have a nice appetizer of “tourist a la mode”. Apparently the tiger snakes can be quite poisonous, and as I found, rather clever. I can tell you I was darn happy that I didn’t go out of the van and get my face right down next to him to get that close up shot.
The kangaroos were everywhere as you would expect with a name like Kangaroo Island. It was wild since you’d be driving along and it seemed like you were on a Bugs Bunny program. This big kangaroo would hop out and hop across the road. You just wanted to pinch yourself since it didn’t seem real. At our cabin they would sleep outside some of the camper’s tents. Almost every female kangaroo we saw had a Joey in her pouch. The Joey’s were of course extra cute, especially when they had their heads sticking out. The crazy thing was that the baby could be about 3 ft tall and weigh probably 60 lbs and was still riding around in the Momma’s pouch! Yikes! It’s good not to be a female Kangaroo! I think they’re taking after most young adults of today. They’re still living at home when they’re 25.
The Remarkable Rocks
Australia’s famous wild open rugged coastlines and beaches were at every turn in the road. We saw the Remarkable Rocks which were monolithic rock formations on the coast made from the winds and water erosion. It looked like a moonscape.
We took a hike through a sea lion colony right on the beach. Little baby sea lions were everywhere and SO CUTE!!! They would come right up…curious about what was going on. To see them in their natural habitat was a little like heaven on earth. Nature the way it should be.
The Southern Cross
We took a night stroll and looked up at the Southern Cross and a completely different night sky, the southern hemisphere. The stars were so bright. It was like a twinkling velvet blanket over our heads.
A night penguin walk let us see crowds of the little guys walking around and scurrying to their burrows just up from the ocean bay. Moving, live stuffed animals…all busy with their own lives. I don’t have any good photos of the sweeties as no flash bulbs are allowed. They burn their eyes.
There was so much to do and see on Kangaroo Island I wish we had stayed longer.
Back in Adelaide we took a day long wine tour and explored the delightful array of Australian wines which I have to say have to be one of my favorites now. Meeting the wine makers and mixers was an experience in itself. They were all real “characters”, each with their own story and unique family operation and history. It was wonderful to understand their feelings about each of their wines and how they described them. I wish we could have brought more wine back with us.
We stopped in Hawaii on the way back and snorkeled with sea turtles. It’s the first time I had been next to anything so regal and docile. They are very agile in the water…so unlike how we see them on land. There were lots of other interesting and funny looking fish however the turtles really made it special.
Well…work is waiting…I will post a few layouts so you can see what I wrote about.
What an awesome trip, Suzanne! Thanks for letting us experience vicariously through you. 🙂 You really make me want to go to Australia now, but I think I’ll pass on the caving part of things. Yikes! No way could I do that!