It’s March 1 and the first day of Fall?

Seasons are strictly by the calendar in Australia. None of this equinox, solstice stuff. Summer ended on February 28 and Fall began today. I’ve made a silent vow to walk a track a day until we leave. These photos are along the creek to Little Squally Cove on the south eastern side of the island.

Little Squally Waterfall Little Squally cairn Little Squally Creek

The view from the lighthouse overlooking the compound and Erith Island.P2270140.JPG

Returning home on the lighthouse track with a mother and joey wallaby.P2270142.JPG

Yesterday, I submitted the monthly totals of rainfall to the Bureau of Meteorology. We had 121.6 mm of rain for the month, which is the most rainfall on Deal Island since 1939. We experienced one of the wettest summers in 72 years! And it was wonderful.

Since it’s the first day of Fall, we have cold gale winds. The garden is looking so good. I hope it survives. When the sun comes up, I’ll check and consider setting up barriers around the smaller plants again. Then rinse the sea salt and keep my fingers crossed. We’ll see if I take a walk today.

Another beautiful sunset and dinner on the jetty

I don’t know if I like nice or bad weather better. Nice weather is nice. Bad weather is dramatic. We are enjoying nice weather and a group of kayakers arrived in the early afternoon. They are on a fundraiser to clean up the beaches of the islands in the Bass Strait and the event is called Clean Across Bass Strait. They spend time at each of the islands cleaning debris off the beach. They have mostly found debris off ships, recreational visitors are pretty tidy. I saw them pull in and then they walked up to the house and even walked up to the lighthouse before picking up a bag of debris along the rocks of east cove.

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I was in the middle of my encounter with the giant sea creature. I boiled water in a very tall stock pot and put him in. There was some thrashing about and I had to hold the lid on. Pretty horrible. Tim had already vacated the premises. Things settled down and it cooked up beautifully. I chilled it then got a ton of meat from the tail and claws and we ate it with a dipping sauce of tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, red pepper and milk taken from the Lighthouse Cookbook.

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We had a nice dinner on the jetty with the kayakers with stimulating conversation. Several had spent some time either visiting or living in the United States or Canada, in beautiful places: Vermont; Whistler, BC; Aspen, CO and Marin County.

We are all moved by the beauty of Deal Island and the Kent Group. It is awe inspiring to approach from the sea with the soaring cliffs, bright orange lichen covered rocks and aquamarine water. It was also heartwarming to see everyone individually walk up the hill to the new bench to get a good phone signal and call family and friends.

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Another beautiful sunset.jpg

 

We built a wonky bench

During the run of bad weather, we kept busy working in the shop. We found lumber, nuts, bolts and screws and, using only hand tools because we’re not allowed to have power tools, made a bench. Not bad eh?

It may look a little crooked but it works for its location. There’s a corner on the road from the jetty to the compound, which usually has good cell phone reception for Telstra phones and laptops. It is fondly referred to as Telstra corner. If you do a Google search for Telstra Corner and Deal Island, there it is. The trouble is it’s on a hill with slopes in at least two directions.

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We made a similar bench for Seguin Island but it was sited on level ground. This was on a slope that went downhill and forward. I got a headache just thinking about the angles. But it worked! Then we hemmed and hawed about putting a sign on the bench. Telstra corner seemed too commercial so we came up with the universal reception signals instead. And it will remain on Telstra corner because it won’t sit anyplace else.

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The wind abates and there’s trouble in the garden

Clear skies

The wind settled down overnight after four days of 30 knots with gusts to 70. The garden survived. After the first night of strong winds, I barricaded the small seedlings as best I could from the wind. They had been spinning around in circles while the wind blew. A large group of tomato plants took a nose dive. Today I removed the wind screens and resupported my fallen tomatoes.

I noticed one of the beet seedlings missing just like in the cartoons. It was dug out of the bed and there was a small pile of dirt nearby. I smelled a rat. I knew there was a reason there were a hundred rat traps lying around the garden when we arrived. They’ve moved back up to the garden. I thought I noticed some of the tomatoes had small bites taken out of them but I think I suppressed it. So I got out the peanut butter and set a few traps. This is war! So far it’s two points for the Home team and 0 for the visitors. Or should they be the home team and we the visitors? I’ve been coddling these seedlings along for two months. During this last gale, even after it rained, I had to go out and water the garden to wash the sea spray, which blew in from Little Squally Cove, 1/4 mile away, off the leaves. Just like “Jaws”, “First the shark, then the rogue wave, then the tomatoes falling overboard!”

During a walk yesterday, I saw some strange vegetation. Glowing, bright red fungus, Eucalyptus trees that bleed and shed their bark instead of their leaves. Some sort of berry or parasite that grows on the leaves not from the stems. And of course more rocks where I found half a man but is he lying down or sitting up?

Toxic fungus
P2200133.JPG  Shedding bark Berries on the leaf

Man about to be eaten by spotted serpent

Apparently red skies in morning also predict a gale

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Sunrise Sunday

Tim has been wearing a hat most of the time because his sunglasses died. Two days ago, when we went to Squally Cove, a willy waugh whipped it off his head, took it straight up in back of him and then deposited it about 20 feet in front of him. Later that night, one of the fishermen in the cove recorded wind speeds of 70 knots and all three boats in the cove dragged their anchors during the night. And it continues today with 15 foot seas off the island.

We have a small fishing boat sort of stranded here. They can’t leave because of the weather and weren’t planning to be here more than a day or two. It’s been five days now. Maybe tomorrow will be calm enough for them to go home. Sometime this week a group of kayakers from Surfriders should arrive as part of a fundraiser/clean up effort. They plan to spend the first hour on each island cleaning up the beach. They’ll have it easy here unless we scatter our trash, packed to take off the island, on the beach.

The wind shifted to the west and yesterday I walked to a couple of lookouts to see the surf. Squalls blew by. Waves crashed on Erith island with surf rising at least 200 feet up the cliffs. It’s nice to come back to the comfort of the cottage on days like this.

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Pictures don’t always tell the story

We’ve been buffeted by a gale for a couple of days. It began with a front with lots of rain that pounded the roof. We had caulked leaks in the roof in preparation, to no avail. We listened to the beat of water dripping into a couple of bowls the early part of the day. Then the skies cleared but the wind remained and we went for a walk to Squally Cove on the southeast side of the island. We were exposed to the wind on some bare spots and at times I had to keep my head down to prevent the wind from blowing me away. This posture enabled me to see some interesting ground photos though.

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When we got to the cove, we were surprised to find three boats there. One fisherman had been anchored at Hogan Island, to the northwest of us, but got blown out to sea in 50 knot winds. While we sat on the beach, we saw sea smoke: clouds of water blown across the surface. We initially thought it was sand, but there are only rocks in Squally. As we watched the water, we saw williwaws hit the surface and the water would spiral out from it as if a fan had blown it in a circle.

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The picture of the tree in the compound looks like a nice, bright sunny day. What it doesn’t clearly depict is the tree’s leaves being blown in 30 knot winds. I think we had at least a Force 7 on the Beaufort Scale.

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Red skies at night predict a gale the next day!

We are enjoying our last full moon on Deal Island and the skies cooperated.

Full moon over the Museum

We had fog on and off all day, and even recorded several mm of water in the weather gauge from it.

Fog rolls in and out

It lifted in the afternoon and produced another beautiful sunset with the sky ablaze.

Whew

As I walked around last night, I marveled at the size of the island and its sheer cliffs. The lighthouse hill is a 1000 foot cliff on the edge of the island. The island is 1600 acres and is inhabited by two people, us! We are surrounded by soaring hills and big sky and usually big waves.

There is a small chance we may get to see the Southern Lights over the next several days. There is a certain chance we will have gale force winds over the next several days. The weather is very exciting here. Especially from the comfort of our cozy, caretaker cottage. The wind howls and whistles, the rain pounds the roof and the sun is brighter than we have ever seen.

Lighthouse hill alit

  Lightouse hill afar

Deal Island Sunset

Wonders on the walk to Little Squally Cove

It’s been a little while since I have had rock visions but they are back. We ran a shopping errand and took a trip to our local Lowe’s. Little Squally Cove is exposed to the southwest and gets all the lumber which falls off ships. It’s a good source of wood for projects on the island.

Lowes Little Squally Lowes

I looked up and there was Porky Pig.

Porky Pig

Next I spotted an armored Ninja Turtle.

Armored turtle

On to the real creatures, this could be a white lipped snake but I’m still not sure a snake has lips. Does a chicken have lips?

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This might be a blue tongued gecko but he wouldn’t stick out his tongue for me. I think he was bashful.

? Blue tongue

The flight of the sailboats

I saw this boat in the cove yesterday and the water and its shadow were so clear it seemed airborne. As more boats arrived, the dance of the sailboats at anchorage began. Initially two were anchored. Another arrived and dropped its anchor, perhaps a little too close to a boat already there. They hauled the anchor, circled around and dropped it again. We go to bed and someone drags anchor, or simply decides to move during the night, and the positions change again. Someone told us they were here when there were at least 18 boats in the cove. Hard to imagine.

Flying Sandpiper
A couple of ketches
We celebrated Valentine’s day yesterday with flowers from the garden.
Valentine's day flowers
Today I found this heart on the lawn from a Cape Barren Goose.
Cape Barren Valentine Heart
And what about this soup made entirely from the garden’s beets. Gorgeous color.
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