Wednesday 16 January 2013
On the 14th of December, I boarded a flight that went from Nice to Milan and on to Doha, where I changed planes and flew to Perth, Western Australia. I arrived a day and a half after I left, in the evening. The gracious friend who hosted me fed me a lovely dinner of spicy vegetarian stew, and the next morning, we took a ferry from Perth to Rottnest Island, so named by a Dutch captain who mistook the local marsupial population of quokka for rats. The Aboriginal, Noongar name for the island is Wadjemup, meaning “place across the water”.
There were indeed quite a few of the hoppity, tea-nibbling pouch-holders on the island! We humans stayed in “villas” (cabins). The island is managed by the Australian government. Villas are given on a lottery basis, to ensure as much equality as possible in the distribution. Indeed, one of the nicest things about being on Rottnest is that in spite of its undeniably gorgeous setting, the people who visit it are down-to-earth. Cars are forbidden except for those used by island management, so everyone gets around by foot or bicycle.
Making the most of my jet lag, I borrowed a friend’s bike on my second morning, at around 5am, and rode around a good two-thirds of Rottnest. I didn’t make it to the farthest end, instead cutting across at the narrow western part, since the hills and jet lag had started to fatigue me on the 7-speed rental bike.
Later that day, my friend and I returned to Little Salmon Bay, where I had the treat of my life, snorkeling amongst tropical fish. I had my waterproof camera with me, so not only was I able to take photographs, I was also able to shoot video! I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite photos, and a video I took with several different types of fish. The crackling you hear in it is from the seabed; I heard it as well.