Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
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Bathurst Harbour Day 6

Back to Forest Lagoon and exploring Loaparte Cove

The miscellaneous weather — with shower fronts racing across us throughout the day, patches of sunshine and fairly strong but manageable winds — continued for Day 6. Fortunately the winds were westerly, which made our trip east along Bathurst Narrows quite easy. There were stretches where it seemed more was gained by — or at least no energy needed to be exerted by — raising one end of our paddles into the air and using them as small sails instead of paddling with them (it really did make a difference, at least in comparison to not doing anything at all).

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As we approached Gull Reef we knew we were on the homeward stretch, and as we turned into mist-surrounded Bathurst Harbour itself we were curious to see if the sea eagle we’d seen earlier in the week was in the vicinity. It was (it may even have been in the same tree, but as I didn’t take a photo I can’t tell for sure).

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I was struck again by the vastness of the harbour, with several different weather patterns visible in different directions: here we’re in a patch of sunshine, there were at least two separate shower fronts with associated low misty cloud, and there were higher cloud patterns as well. bIMG_6838

We headed across to the Celery Top Islands, which are a special set of islands in the southern part of the harbour. They have not been touched by fire for hundreds of years, and so their ecosystems and biodiversity patterns are quite different from the surrounding areas. In particular, they also have specimens of mature celery top pine trees, rare elsewhere like the Huon pine because of the desirability of their timber.

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You are permitted to visit the second island from the west, but the others are off-limits to protect the fragile environment from both fire and the tree-killing root rot disease Phytophthera.

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There is a short walk which allows you to see the bush on the island, including some big celery tops, but somehow I ended up taking a photo of a toadstool instead.

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[Hmm, it occurs to me that I should at least show you why they are called celery top pines: here is a not-particularly-good photo I took earlier in the week of a young sapling, showing the characteristic leaves.]

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After arriving at Forest Lagoon Camp, unloading and having lunch most of the group were content to have a quiet afternoon, but three of us plus our guide Tory headed back out onto the harbour to explore Loaparte Cove. Here there was again birdlife in abundance, with plenty of swans.

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It was also calm and non-showery enough that I could chance getting out my good camera while paddling, which made it much easier to track birds in flight. I’d mostly only used the big camera while ashore; it was challenging enough at times looking after the little camera which is what was used most of the time I was on the water (neither of them are actually waterproof).  bIMG_4385croppedfull

We were treated to the sight of another sea eagle, sitting impassively in a tree (yes, I am anthopomorphising the inscrutable creature; I suppose it’s entirely possible that it’s telling jokes to itself and this is what it looks like when it laughs).

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There were some lovely light effects as the sun set aglow the olive greens of the eucalypts against the grey of the mist-shrouded hills.

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At the very southern end of the cove we were treated to the sight of more raptors, this time a family of wedge-tailed eagles.

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They are so magnificent in flight. I took quite a few photos but they were too far away to capture well though these shots are enough to help me remember the moment.

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As we moved back up into Bathurst Harbour itself, Mt Rugby was being very atmospheric under yet another shower front.

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And behind us, as we started paddling back to Forest Lagoon, there was a beautiful rainbow, possibly the lowest-angled one I’ve ever seen. bIMG_6874croppedfull

Tory captured Louise and I as we paddled “beneath” it.

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(Photo above by Roaring 40°s Kayaking)

You can probably guess by now that we had another delicious dinner as a culmination to the day, with baked chocolate brownie/cake for dessert marking the final night of our trip.

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