Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kangaroo Island

Due to the rough conditions in the Tasman Sea we ended up leaving Tasmania in the opposite direction of what was scheduled which also meant arriving at Kangaroo Island about an hour later than planned. We weren’t arriving until 1:00 PM, so we had the morning on board ship with various activities including an early game of trivia where we again placed second. We had a quick bite of lunch before the tour that left at 1:20. Mom decided to try and take care of her cold today, so she did not go on the tour. I left her on the balcony with a blanket and a box of tissues. Some of our friends that we’ve met on here looked after me as they too were on the same tour.
Our first stop was an emu farm and Eucalyptus distillery. I was very excited to get out to nice warm and sunny weather, finally! On the drive up we found out more about the island and the fact that it only has a population of 4200 and is not named so because of the kangaroos. There are actually very few kangaroos on the island and it actually was named for a rock formation that resembles the head of a kangaroo. I never saw it so I’ll just have to take their word for it. Our guide at the farm/distillery was quite humorous, that is until he started talking about how they shoot cats and eat kangaroo. Feral cats are a real problem on the island, as they tend to attack and kill many of the smaller animals. I thought he was kidding until they showed us the skins of the cats. The next thing that got to me was the recipe book called “Roadkill Recipes”. Ugh. I have heard differing numbers, but there are either 500, 700, or over 1000 different varieties of Eucalypts on the island. They take these and turn in it into oils, lotions and everything imaginable. I think they feel as though it’s a panacea. You can use it for everything from cleaning the toilet to washing your mouth out! I did have to buy a bottle and thought we’d bathe Mom in it and hope she gets better. In the store I almost tripped over a baby kangaroo that was sleeping. 
She had been rescued after she had become separated from her mom. The island is also home to the only pure strain of Ligurian bees that are still in existence. We won’t be able to take the honey back, so I just bought a small jar to enjoy during our last week here. There are also emus located on this farm and as our guide said that this one is about to make a one-way trip to the barbeque. I’m afraid he wasn’t joking.
After this entertaining experience we were off to a bird sanctuary where we had an up close and personal view of several type of birds including a Kestral, an Australian wedge tail eagle, and two different types of owls. The one disturbing part was where he fed the owl a mouse, which he almost swallowed whole. The only thing you could see was the tail hanging out of his beak! 
I was fortunate enough to go out and have it land on my arm and I was even able to pet him. They are such beautiful creatures. We also spotted a koala in the wild that was climbing up a tree. It just doesn’t get better than this.
From here we went to Seal Beach. We had a brief walk down a boardwalk to the beach where we could see hundreds of seals sunbathing. They go out and expend so much energy fishing that they have to come back and take a long nap. There was the full range from females to bull males to babies. 
We also learned that mother seals come back to where they were born to give birth. They were fun to just watch as they waddled on the beach (that’s the way I’m starting to feel after all of this food), and then roll over in the sand, which helps their fur dry. We enjoyed our time there, but it was time to head back. The tour was 5 ½ hours, which didn’t even count the ½ hour tender ride each way. I enjoyed watching the rugged scenery go by as we drove back to the ship. The island really is much larger than I anticipated, 550 km if you go all the way around the island.
Pelicans saying goodbye as we left Kingscote.
After being tossed about on the tender ride back we arrived about 7:00 PM. I came back to find Mom in pretty good spirits, and looking very nice. First thing she said to me is “Do you know what you did?” I thought that this couldn’t be good and I immediately thought that I had left her without a key to the suite. Nope, that would have been a minor detail. I had in fact locked her out on the balcony as I went in for this 5 ½ hour tour!!! Long story short, after being out there for about 2 hours (part of which she napped), she was finally able to get the attention of someone a few decks below who got in touch with Reception and sent someone to let her in. I SWEAR I DID NOT DO THIS ON PURPOSE! Fortunately it was nice weather and so we just have a funny story out of it. We had dinner reservations at Stars tonight, which is the tapas style restaurant on board that doesn’t even open until 8:30. It’s a good thing considering I had to get back and get ready. When we walked in we saw Gary and Bette (art instructors) as well as another couple we had met and they asked us to join them. We had a wonderful time at dinner talking with everyone (they are all from NYC). Dinner ran quite late, so we missed the show. We made it back to our room about midnight; at least I think that’s what time it was. This ½ hour that we’ve moved really confuses me and from what I can tell we move it forward that ½ tomorrow night. Tomorrow is a very early morning for us as we have our tour of Adelaide. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Catching up on the blog finally and have to say that the baby kangaroo is about the cutest thing EVER. Adorable. Glad ya'll are having such a great time and that your mom is starting to feel better.