Sunday, February 15, 2015

And all that Jazz

Somehow I have ended up at a jazz festival in the Grampian Mountains, near Hall's Gap.  I have been rolling along the Great Ocean Road for a couple of days, struck inland, and landed here with another thousand grey-hairs.  What's wrong with the younger generation, don't they appreciate good jazz?




These pics are from a few days ago, out of Melbourne and heading towards the Great Ocean Road.
Small little towns with great attitude...
 An old bridge, retained for its historical integrity...


The Aussies are very mindful and respectful of their Vets.  Every little town has a well kept cenotaph detailing the dead and missing in all of their wars.  It many ways, these memorials remind me of Newfoundland and the Maritimes, where whole families were lost, with fathers, brothers and sons gone forever....


A well-powered Search and Rescue vessel.  This town faces the Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea.
 A black Swan....


This prawn boat used the big globes for night fishing, presumably...



As I have said before, for every dock in the world, there is some fool thinking he can make a living taking people fishing....




An interesting setup for a little charter boat...


This guy did a magnificent job of backing down this rig with a very strong gale on his nose.  




An interesting setup, with a plastic dingy on the stern....


This guy was the local watch dog, and he was just waiting for me to come aboard so he could tear my leg off....


An interesting setup where the lines went off the bow.  A different form of longlining than I have seen before....






I didn't know Harley's went to Sea....






 I think I counted 8 VHF antenna on this rig.  I am guessing that they get some big Blows on the Bass Strait...





Huge block on a dragger....




I am fascinated by the trees of Australia.  The variety is overwhelming...

 Aussies don't fool around when it comes to their rigs.  I have seen some setups that would be great back home.  They certainly know how to set up their rigs...complete with UHF radios.


Oh look, wallabie spotters with big cameras....



 I stopped at Stratford on Avon and discovered that it has two sister cities in Canada.  Wonderful ladies running the Information center had lots of information for this wanderer....


Further on, I stopped at Philips Island for a night.  I was too early for the motorcycle Grand Prix, but the beach was phenomenal...



Looking towards the Bass Straits...




 This is for my daughter, who is convinced that death and destruction is part and parcel of every Australian walkabout....









This is for my daughter-in-law, the photographer....







The Grampians are significant by Australian standards, and from a geological point of view, I believe that they represent a fairly recent uplift in the strata of the southeastern coast of Australia.  I went to a local cultural center and enjoyed an informative presentation on the local Aboriginal culture for this area.  While the treatment of First Nations in North America was for the most part abysml, the manner in which the tribes were massacred and openly hunted for sport here in Australia is beyond comprehension.  Hearing the stories makes me want to deny my Anglo-Saxon heritage and cry for what has happened to the oldest surviving culture on this planet.

After booking the ferry ride to Tasmania, I decided the last thing I wanted to do was hang around a city hostel for a week, so I headed south out of Melbourne for the Great Ocean Road, as it is touted. I took my time and watched the ocean on my left.  On one of my first encounters at an Information booth, a nice lady told me that her grandson had a motorcyle, and then she handed me a brochure detailing the thousands of bike accidents on the Great Ocean Road.  Well meaning she was, and the message was clear: stay left, and stay alive.   The road is narrow by highway standards, and guess what: chock a block full of tourists, mostly from Japan.  The Information centers which one can find in just about every town are phenomenal in that they are well organized, and full of information.  The volunteers will make reservations for you, and they are more than happy to tour guides for any route you want.  I am very impressed with the Information Centers, and BC could learn a lesson or two from their operation

At my wandering pace, it took about a day and a bit to arrive at Cape Otway, where I climbed the lighthouse, just to prove to my Sister that I am not totally without some courage when it comes to getting off the ground.

 I also spent some time talking to a young man whose grandmother was a member of a local Aboriginal clan.  He was running the Aboriginal display.  He did not have many customers, so we chatted for over an hour and a half.  I could tell that he was just becoming aware of his own cultural identity and history. He was very passionate in telling the history of his people, and I appreciated his willingness to share his stories.  I learned more about Songlines, and  his information corraborated the book that I am currently reading which attempts to explain this fascinating subject in terms understandle to a non-Aboriginal.  I heard a story about an Aboriginal Man, a hermit type of individual who was the sage of the tribe.  The story goes that a Wise Man from a Northern Queensland group needed some information from a southern (Victoria) group.  He stood on the mountains, and shouted his questions to the wind.  The next wise man, along the backbone of the mountain range, hears his questions and passes it on, down the line.  The way it was explained to me is that it is far more than simply an oral tradition, but that the Mountains themselves form an integral part of the communication system.  The Great Dividing Range is apparently, made up of quartz and other crystals.  The Aboriginal communication system integrated the quartz crystals into the process, and that is how they were able to communicate over thousands of miles of rugged terrain, long before cell phones.  I have butchered the story, but when he told it to me, it was very real and plausible.





















The road from the main highway into the lighthouse was fairly narrow and windy.  The good news is that there were lots of wallabies in the trees.  Unfortunately, the tourists from Japan did not see anything wrong with parking their cars all over the road, and jumping out with their Canons and 1000 mm lenses.  I am banking on finding some compliant wallabies who are not in the middle of a major traffic flow.




These are not ordinary birds, but Australian Stealth Ducks.  They circle about your tent, and as soon as you leave, they nibble away at the tent....they circle about very innocently, and then attack..




 Did I mention that Australia has awesome trees?
This is for my Son the Plumber...this tradey has it all set up in his rig, including the kitchen sink..



Beautiful wood makes wonderful furniture...

Do I need to talk to my daughter, the Grammar Nazi, about this spelling??

One sleepy dude...



A shy Koala...
 And his admirers...

 Entry war to the Lighthouse at Cape Otway...





 I thought I would note this for my kids...it is what we used before Smart Phones....


The Aboriginal Flag of Australia.  Unfortunately I took the pic without colour...




 Weather in the Strait...


 For my daughter in law, the wedding photographer....





 The clouds opened, and the skies poured down.....
 I spent an enjoyable hour inside this Aboriginal culture center, listening to the passionate young man explain the history of his clan in the area...

Looking North, up the Bass Strait



The 12 Apostles are an iconic piece of the the Great Ocean Road.  A helicopter company has taken full advantage of the huge tourist draw.  The four choppers were flying folks over the Apostles in 15 minute chunks.  3 of the 4 birds were in the air at any given time...

A film crew appeared to be filming some Aisian tourists...a movie star perhaps?





 The ground crew and pilots were a finely tuned team, keeping the clients loaded and unloaded, and the birds in the air.  There was at least a 30 knot wind blowing, and I don't know if the tourists appreciated the skill in which the pilots dropped on their pads....






One of the 12 Apostles......






As I sit and type this, I am looking at a small range, by BC standards, across a valley from me.  A faint rainbow rises from the top of the ridgeline, and the black clouds of a gathering storm backlight the rainbow.  I can see how Songlines and a completely oral culture can become a method of describing the earth, of detailing the different geographical features as one travels across the land.  The rise of the hills and the mountains out of the flatness of the desert could very well be the undulating rythm of the Great Rainbow Serpent, which is a major motif of Australian Aboriginal lore.

A white cockatoo just flew by me, and undoubtedly he and his buddies will be squawking and chattering later, as twilight falls.  The local Aboriginal clan has the cockatoo as its totem, and the culture center is designed with that in mind.  When I first saw it, I was immediately reminded of the new school at Waglisla, which is designed to resemble an eagle with outswept wings.

 Finding good wi-fi is a challenge, and I anticipate that my next group of pictures will be a mixture of the Grampians, Melbourne, and perhaps a bit of Tasmania.....