February 12, 2009 – Busselton, Western Australia
Another hot day in Western Australia. We opted for a low-key, low-travel day. Although the drive would take us west to the coastal road, south to Margaret River, and back north to the Eatons’, we spent most of our time wandering around Busselton.
A major trading centre for this area south of Perth, Busselton is on a stretch of white-sand beach that extends for miles. Since it faces north it misses the harshest gales from the west but still experiences plenty of storm winds in winter.
One of its prime tourist destinations is the Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Building began in 1865 and continued for the next 95 years until the 1841-metre structure was completed. When port operations ceased in 1972, maintenance stopped, and the jetty succumbed to wood borers, rot, fire, and storms. Only the determination of volunteers saved the local icon from demolition.
Hopeful seagulls, obviously accustomed to handouts, accompanied us on the walk out to the end of the jetty. A cormorant was fishing nearby but kept out of the reach of my lens.
An Underwater Observatory has been built at the far end of the jetty. With four levels of windows looking out into the bay, it offers views of marine life only divers would see otherwise.
A group of teens couldn’t suppress their excited conversation enough to keep things quiet so some of the underwater neighbours kept their distance. Still, there were enough coral, fish, sponges, starfish, mollusks, and even a shy octopus to keep us entranced.
We stopped for lunch at a beachside stand and watched the corellas in the Moreton Bay fig beside us. There must have been a couple dozen of them in the tree. They are hungry birds and wreak havoc on vegetation. Robin pointed out a row of Norfolk Island pines whose upper branches had been stripped bare by corellas.
The last photo is looking southwest to the sea from Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. No filter is needed to achieve the brilliant turquoise, just clean seawater and bright sun.