Friday, 21 February 2014

Coastal Cruising

Last week, I was bitten by a white-tailed spider.
It wasn’t big enough to do much damage - unlike the large ones seen around the house lately.
But, along with the recent heatwave, and sleepless, hot nights, it was enough to make me cranky, whiney, irritated, itchy and… bitchy.

Saturday night, hubby took pity on (or, was fed up with) my pathetic keening, and suggested a drive down to the Peninsula, with the promise of, “breakfast somewhere” on Sunday.
A welcome cool coastal change would mean a very pleasant outing, and a distraction to my incessant focus on the bite.
I gladly accepted.

We woke to a drizzly grey morning, after a delicious sleep in.
Usually, on market days, we are up at 4:30am to allow for the one hour trip and the 45 minute set-up before early bird customers arrive. Our monthly trips down to Red Hill, mean “work” for me at the markets, so it was very nice to be tourists for the day instead.

The bay greeted us with silver-grey hues and a misty morning salty kiss on our cheeks.

Flinders Bight, looking out to West Head, Phillip Island in the distance, and out beyond to Bass Strait

We revelled in the empty beach – especially Jack, as he sniffed the air and watched the gulls, content to let them go about their beachy business and just observe.

As I snapped away, I heard a familiar, heartwarming trill among the dense low shrubs. And, was delighted to see this little fellow.

At first, I thought he’d be elusive and too quick to get a non-blurry photo. But as I sat quietly waiting, he came out to sing his song and pose for his audience of one.

I can’t even begin to express how much I adore wrens.

We continued our drive further down the coast and came to a viewing platform overlooking the notoriously wild waters of Bass Strait.
I spied three daring souls braving the biting wind. Kitesurfers. 

click on the image to see them a little clearer

Beneath the waves is the Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary. An unusual intertidal coastal landform, which is a naturally protected home to multitudes of unique and diverse marine life, as well as being a valuable natural feeding/roosting habitat for shore birds.
Low tide exposes the mushroom shaped cobbled platform, revealing small bays and many sheltered rock pools, providing places to hide within crevices and under loose rocks for the many species of crabs, fish, sea stars and anemones.
The bottoms of the rock pools are covered in dense meadows of bright green seagrass and brown seaweed - perfect camouflage for the delicately beautiful Weedy Seadragon - Victoria’s marine state emblem.


The reef is also home to exquisitely beautiful, but potentially deadly, Blue Ringed Octopus.

For landlubbers, there’s the Flinders golf course on the cliffs – a pretty spiffy place to play, I’d say.

As the sky grew blue, we grew hungry. We headed inland to the sweet, sleepy coastal town of Flinders, and saw a welcome sight.

Lovely atmosphere. Cute historical cottage. Friendly service. Great food.

And… dogs are very welcome in the courtyard.
What’s not to like? Perfect!

With tummies replete, we moved on.
And, then got lost.
No matter, it was fun finding our way.

Following the coast for a while, we pulled off the road and stopped to admire the view.
In the distance, I saw what I now know to be Cape Schanck Lighthouse.
Built in 1859, it’s the second oldest coastal lighthouse in Victoria, and sits on the southernmost tip, overlooking Bass Strait.

Still a “working lighthouse”, it keeps the shipping lanes safe, as boats pass the Peninsula to and from Melbourne.

Don’t know why, but I’ve always been super fascinated by lighthouses, and love images of them. Something about the wild and lonely seas they shine out on.
Perhaps I was a salty sea dog, or a lone lighthouse keeper in a previous lifetime.

Sadly, as it is within the Mornington Peninsula National Park, we could go no further to see it, as dogs aren’t allowed. So, the long range resolution taken from the road is pretty awful. Sorry folks.

You can just see the lighthouse upon the rocky headland.

Here’s a better image...


One day, hopefully soon, we’ll return to take a tour around the lighthouse and keeper’s cottages.

We headed back up the other side of the peninsula, along the Port Phillip Bay foreshore, stopping from time to time to take advantage of a surprisingly non-crowded day and gaze once more at the beautiful water, before heading inland and home.

I spotted a juvenile Pacific Gull and Little Pied Cormorant on rocks dipped in the sparkling blue-green shallows.

Jack had quite the day. Sensory experiences galore.
In and out of the car at regular intervals eventually took its toll, and he slept deeply all the way home.

dear old soul

I was literally buoyed (pun intended) after our trip to the coast. And promised myself, that it wouldn’t be too long before we do it again.
There’s something about the sea air that blows the mind’s cobwebs away.

Speaking of cobwebs...


  1. How lucky are you to be able to drive so quickly to such a beautiful place. Reminds me very much of our coastal Maine, but that is a two day drive for us.
    Hope that bite is clearing up, I hear ya on the whining, I could win a whine prize when I have even the tiniest ailment!
    Your Jack brought back memories of my Tyler, still missing him bad. He loved the beach.....

    1. I am very envious that you can drive to Maine, Tracey. Such a beautiful part of the world. I have long loved images of the saltbox houses on the water, and the wonderful old lighthouses.
      I would love to spend a few days travelling around Maine, visiting them all.

      My heart goes out to you. The loss of a dear companion like Tyler is very hard at times.

      It's an oldie, but hubby still sometimes asks, "would you like some cheese with your whine?"

  2. thank heaven you didn't ruin this post with a huge picture of the white tailed spider! though you are fearless where snakes and spiders are concerned.
    i appreciate it anyway! LOL. but i will have to look it up and see what bit my beloved friend.
    and jack's laughing face. and jack exploring. and jack asleep on his way back home. my heart... singing!
    i loved this post. i was right there with you. i swear i could feel and smell the cool salty air.
    and yet another thing we have in common . . .
    i have always loved light houses too. what they are. how they look. what they stand for.
    can you imagine a dark night. a rough enough sea. blackness all around. then you see that bright beautiful light. you manage to anchor almost near the light. land. but beware the rocks.
    you can make it through the blackness of the night now. in the morning you'll be safe.
    i love your posts.
    ... furever.
    xoxo ♥♥♥

    1. Haha, I thought of you, and decided not to include a picture of a white-tail. No one really needs to see one up close :)

      For many years, I've been in awe of the construction of lighthouses way back when building equipment was not so "sophisticated".
      But, they built 'em good, standing strong against the brutal elements.
      It blows me away, the engineering of them.
      Especially the Bell Rock Lighthouse in Scotland. Amazing!

      We are kindred spirits :)

  3. I love that you finally got a break and a treat (and what a treat) while hating the reasons you needed it. A rotten white-tail fanged me while I was in the shower one morning. Goodness they have a powerful bite.
    I really, really enjoyed this day trip with you, and could almost feel (and smell) that reviving air. And lighthouses have a spot in my heart too.

    1. It certainly was a treat, EC. And definitely took my mind of that irritating bite. For such a little creature, they sure pack a punch.

      There really is a certain something about lighthouses that calls to some people. Whenever I see one, I am in awe.

      Glad you enjoyed the trip :)

  4. A glorious post, Vicki ~ thank you for all your delight-full pics and stories. And wish you no more spiderbites - (such an exotic idea, from overhere. Albeit a pesky exotic.) Lovely to take the air with you, through the screen! Happy weekend to you. xxxj

    1. Glad you enjoyed it all, jaihn :)
      We certainly do have some pesky, bitey creatures. But, all's well now.

      Wishing you a lovely weekend too! xx

  5. Yay, a post from Vicki! I love it when you go out snapping not just because it's creative and fun for you, but because it means I get to go exploring from my computer chair.

    How awesome that you were granted your very own fairy wren visit. I hear that audiences of one granted to special people by fairy wrens contain potent magical powers that help with the healing of things like spider bites :)

    (Ouch! You poor thing. What were your symptoms?)

    1. Haha, I think you're right about the magical recuperative powers of the song of a fairy wren ;)
      I began to feel much better after our trip to the coast.
      The sweet sea air helped a lot too.

      I like to visit the world from my computer chair too - dreaming of all the places I'd love to see.

      It's taken nearly two weeks for the bite to settle, with just a now fading red mark and - thankfully - no more maddening itchiness!
      It began as an angry red small lump which became increasingly swollen, redder and discoloured, blistered and soooo itchy, and wider - eventually covering the size of a large grapefruit. Ugh.
      I treated it with home remedies that worked a treat - after trial and error :)

    2. I'm glad you have finally got relief from the symptoms :)

  6. Scratch the itch, then dab it with undiluted antiseptic, dettol or tea tree oil, whatever, should stop the itch.
    Little country bakeries always have great food I've found. Love the photos!
    It's nice to get away for the day now and again.

    1. Thanks River. I've healed the bite with some old home remedies and it's much better now, thankfully.
      It sure is great to get away for the day - recharges the batteries.
      Hope you had a lovely day at the markets.

  7. Oh, I love this post. I like taking day trips and then coming hone. I'm not one for staying away too long. I worry about my fur-kids and I don't like sleeping anywhere other than my own bed. I wish there were more pet-friendly places so that I could take one of my dogs. Blue is getting a bit cranky (me too,) and could use a day out.
    Such great photos! Love the little wren.
    Whenever I think of lighthouses I immediately think of all those that I've seen in old scary movies! Ha! But I do think they are very cool.
    Your little Jack looks SO sweet! He reminds me of a wonderful dog that I take care of in my boarding area. His name is "Diesel" and he's deaf. He comes in with his buddy, "Remi". who is a Golden and those two stick closer together. I adore them both.
    Thanks for the day trip that I got to take from my chair in my home while the temps are freezing cold outside!

    1. Day trips are a great re-energiser, for humans and dogs alike :)
      I hope you can find some places to take Blue - do you have lakes, the beach or parks nearby for a picnic when things thaw out?
      A little spring outing would be lovely.

      Thanks for stopping by Cynthia. Hugs to your beautiful furkids :) xx

  8. Oh, Vicki... do hope you are feeling better soon! Spider-bite... Just the thought of that freaks me out... I don't like spiders--LOL! ;o) But a day by the coast always refreshes & renews, doesn't it?... *sigh*... LOVE the sea views, and Jack... He looks tired after his day out & about... ;o) AMAZING sea life there...just dazzling! Such fun to see your part of the wold...thanks for taking us with you! ((LOVE & HUGS))

    1. Bite is pretty much healed now, thanks Tracy.
      We do have some bitey/stingy creatures over here - on the land and in the sea.

      Jack always loves going exploring with us, and was tuckered out for the rest of the night :)

  9. Vicki, I'm so glad you weren't harmed seriously by the spider bite! Your photos of the sea, and some of the creatures who live in/on it, are really beautiful. I've been longing for the ocean for some time now...I must try and get down there before it gets really hot. I'm happy you had such a lovely time and got to re-charge your batteries, so to speak. If I get to the sea soon, I'll face south west and wave and holler, "Hi Vicki!" You let me know if you hear me, lol. It's kind of cool to think that, even though men have given the ocean different names for different parts of her, you and I are still dipping our toes in the same ocean!


    Victoria (give Jack a kiss from me, ok?)

    1. Bite's all good now, thanks Victoria.

      Perhaps I'll hear you call out on the wind, as you stand in the cool, soothing, big, beautiful ocean.

      Jack's kiss delivered :)


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