Saturday, 2 February 2008

Australia Day Long-Weekend 2008 - Keppel Island

As it was a long weekend, the Capricornia Bushwalkers were holding a get-together on Great Keppel Island. Darryl and I picked up Cindi from Cawarral, and met up with most of the rest of the group at Keppel Bay Marina. The ferry trip across to the island was lovely, with bright sunlight and sparkling blue water. We landed on Fisherman's Beach, and were greeted by the Lodge managers with a 4x4 and trailer to take all our gear up to Keppel Lodge.
We took the short walk up to the Lodge and were really thrilled to see how lovely the octagonal building was inside. There are 4 bedrooms, each with their own ensuite, containing a double bed and 3 singles. The large lounge, dining and kitchen areas are shared. Each bedroom can be rented by itself, and has a small tv. In the lounge is a huge plasma screen with digital tv, and dvd player, and there is free wireless broadband! This lounge runs on solar energy, and there is bore water, but also tank water for drinking.

Some of the group were keen to head off on a walk, and after lunch headed off to Clam Bay. Some went up Mt Wyndham, others walked back on the track, but Darryl and Mary walked back by the beach and Morris Lookout. I just stayed at the Lodge, and went for a swim, and had an afternoon nap. Click here for a Map of the Island. Some of us headed down to the Wreck Bar to watch the sunset.

On Sunday, one group walked to the lighthouse and then to Svendsen's Beach, returning via Leeke's Beach (approximately 15km). At Svendsen's Beach the group met up with Dot's ex-in-laws, who live there. The other group went straight to Svendsen's Beach. All enjoyed a coffee and a muffin, before heading back. The group who walked had to wait for about half an hour for the tide to go out before they could cross one of the tidal creeks. Once again, I had a very relaxing day at the Lodge. I watched the DVDs of my UK trip from 2000 - I hadn't seen them before in one hit - had a nap, and did a little work. I wasn't the only piker, though, as some of the others stayed behind and watched cricket and tennis on the very clear, large TV screen. Of course, each evening we enjoyed 'Happy Hour' and a very social time.

On Monday, we were pleased to discover that we did not have to vacate as early as indicated
(although one room had to be cleared for other visitors arriving on the ferry). Darryl and I decided to go snorkeling. Some of the others had walked the track to Shelving Beach, but Darryl walked around the rocks and I snorkeled around. We saw large parrot fish, bream, lots of holothurians (sea cucumbers) and bait fish, rock cod, sponges, little black-tip sharks, and an injured turtle. Darryl was pleased to see that underneath the damaged coral was healthy growth. While swimming around to the beach, I started coming across water hyacinth which had been washed out of the Fitzroy River by the flood. Eventually we walked back, by the track, and had lunch before heading down to catch the ferry. The ocean, which had been so beautiful and clear on a couple of days before, was now looking very murky, with lots of logs, flotsam, and big clumps of floating grass, some dead, some alive, floating past us. 

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