I woke up this morning and no longer could smell the bird sanctuary. Something tells me this is a version of Lilliput’s Travels, and I am going to need to really wash my clothes...
The morning started late - 6 am! We crashed last night at about 10 pm, and slept the full 8 hours. Definitely not our normal sleep pattern, but the lights out policy here has our bodies following our circadian rhythms much more closely than at home. We didn’t even get on the internet last night, and I sent out the daily note this morning!
We started out at a bit past 9 with our group and headed to Rusty Bucket. It didn’t take long - nothing does on the island - and we came to a beach covered in rusty metal. In the shallows was the bottom frame of a ship, in which juvenile goat fish and two Christmas wrasses were swimming. Lots of metal on the beach, thus the name. There were a large number of brown footed albatross flying about, along with terns. Wonderful sights, swooping back and forth. A little further back towards the runway was a walking trail, and down the beach, a monk seal. At least one a day has been our record.
From Rusty Bucket, we headed down across the flight line and up the Waldron South Beach Trail. Wayne, our naturalist, pointed out the entry to Bulky Dump and other observation points (to include a pillbox), and then took the time to show us two dead baby goonies, and the contents of their stomachs, which is what killed them. Plastics, both string and in broken bits, filling their hungry tummies and providing no nutrition or water. Enough to make a girl cry. When you think of the pollution that we create through plastics and non-recyclable materials, and how it impacts the environment, you can only want to make the world filled with better people. How? That’s got to be my next project.
Lunchtime, followed by a brief siesta (simply to avoid the harsh midday sun, naturally), and then Wayne and I were off on our own.
We headed towards the hiking path near Rusty Bucket, and took the trail. We got closeup (well, if you call a football field close) shots of our monk seal from earlier, and some nice overhead tern shots. Then back to the bikes, and off again. We toured around the runway, and stopped just past Frigate Point at an observation point. There we walked out and looked at the beach, not much to see other than pristine water. Very nice indeed. Then back to the bikes and off to the next vantage point, where there was a WW II pill box, fairly intact. It has a wonderful view of the lagoon, unfortunately is very exposed. Still, in very good shape. The last part of the ride along the runway took us to Bulky Dump, where we walked out and watched hundreds of birds flying overhead. And over the runway. Truly amazing.
From there, off to the Fish and Wildlife Park office to see some historical items, over to the airstrip to take some pictures of the former welcoming area, and then to the Goony Bird statue. The rest of the night will be dinner, blogging, and relaxing as we get ready to clean up trash, pull out invasive plants, and hopefully snorkel on the outer reef. In the cold.
I’ll need sleep for that!