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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Another critter ticked off my list and another unexpected encounter.

Today we had a rest from being on holiday. Bizarre statement really but so far it's been a non stop tour of sightseeing and bush walking but today was different. With the planned canoeing with Platypuses due at 6.30pm we had all day to chill out. So I did the washing while Ian titivated by giving the car another dust and then, 'cos it wasn't in our nature to sit and do nothing, we drove out to the rain forest at Maits Rest. It was a far cry from the high humidity and temperatures of yesterday. Today reached a chilly 15°C, a drop of 20°C which seemed extreme. But that is Victoria for you. Upper 30's one minute and low teens the next.

Here we encountered some real giants.

Only a 1.5km walk on even ground so no suffering with sore muscles this time. Not having much else planned we headed back for a walk on the beach. Before we left the UK we bought a Muvi camera (Like a Go Pro but considerably cheaper) and the rock pools gave us a good opportunity to try it out.

The sun may have been out but that wind was biting and we cut our walk short and headed back to the warmth of the van. We had several more hours to kill before meeting Bruce (Good name for an Auzzie!) who would take us canoeing on Lake Elizabeth. I took this extract from:-


On the 17 June 1952, a landslide occurred in the headwaters of the East Barwon river, blocking the river and creating Lake Elizabeth. The original lake extended 1.6 km above the landslip. By the 8th August 1952 water began to spill over the landslip back down the river again. However on the 5th August 1953, following heavy rain, the top 26 metres of the landslide broke and sent a wall of water down the East Barwon Valley carrying boulders and gravel. It was thought at the time the town of Birregurra could be threatened by flooding. Today the remaining lake is what was left over after the top part of the landslide broke.

  Rendezvous was at a place called Forest and we were told to meet by the local pub. No chance of a quick pint mind, as it was closed. 5 Germans were already there waiting for the same excursion and, for some reason, the talk got round to Brexit. They were not best pleased by us Brits voting to leave!!! Anyway a lot of good natured banter ensued and then our guide Bruce showed up. Another 10 minute drive into the heart of the forest, down dirt tracks full of potholes and we eventually arrived at our destination. Then another 2km hike before finally reaching the lake. Time now was 7pm, dawn and dusk being the time Platypus usually come out of their burrows to feed.

All Germans!

We did see the Platypuses and as they are shy creatures we had to be ultra quiet. Only 3 were seen and they only stayed on the surface for a short while before diving down for their favourite food of worms, insect larvae, freshwater shrimp and the freshwater Yabby. Staying under for about a minute before surfacing again. That's when it's snout or beak comes in handy as it uses this to dig out the food from the lake bed, places the prey into cheek-pouches which is then carried to the surface. Not the best photos as the light was fading fast but so very pleased to have seen them. Honestly didn't hold out much hope and this was one creature high on my 'critters to see' list.

By the time we came of the lake it was proper dark! Good time to see the glow worms nestled in small crevices in the rocks and shrubs on the route march back. Ian had the presence of mind to bring a small torch, he was the only one to have done so. Even Bruce didn't bring one. Got back to the meeting place by the pub and parted company with a small fortune which we paid to our guide but it was so worth it and one trip I would recommend.

It was as we did the 40km back to the van that we met up with another unexpected critter.

It's a good job the roads are so quiet. We managed to shoo it to the side and then drove slowly past. What the outcome was....well I can only hope a good one. We have seen too many dead animals on the side of the road. Didn't want this Koala to be another.

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