Day 03 : Mad Cyclists and Englishmen

Friday 30 May 2014

With reference to a point made yesterday, there is a possible cause as to why I’m getting thinner; it’s not just related to lack of food (although until 3pm all I ate was a bar of chocolate). It may also be related to my excessive exercising; all 25km of it today …

Although I set my alarm for 6.30am I was awake long before then. Maybe I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know. Certainly I woke up a few times in the night, but I wasn’t tired this morning. It was a reasonably comfy bed too; the hostel’s quite noisy till late (it’ a bit of a party hostel) but to be honest I couldn’t really hear it anyway. Or maybe in theory I can sleep through anything; I certainly slept through an earthquake when I was younger, but even a 5.4 on the Richter Scale isn’t particularly noteworthy in any country other than the UK, where I’ve seen news articles on 2.3 quake before now – ie one that no-body would actually notice …

But I digress. As usual (it’s not that I need a high word count for these blog entries; I just like to waffle. Something I do when I write. And give presentations. Though the latter’s partly due to nerves.).
One of the reasons for heading out this way in the first place was to visit a place called Rottnest Island. It’s touted as a place where Western Australia goes to relax – it’s an island about 11km by 4.5km off the coast of Perth (about 30km offshore I think) with no cars, indigenous wildlife, and lots of scenery. A propros of anything else, it’s also where teenagers go to … be teenagers. Evidently the locals are thinking beyond the back of the bikesheds.

I wanted to make the most of the daylight so got the ferry over there that arrived at 8am, and immediately started walking. I wasn’t sure how far I’d get to in the time I had (about 8 hours before I had to be queuing up for the ferry back to the mainland), but I thought I’d head on out and see.
In the event I walked pretty much the whole island. I dabbled around the rather attractingly-named ‘Oliver’s Hill’, complete with WW2 gun armaments and remains of a control centre, before passing the lighthouse and wandering to the far ‘West End’ part of the island, complete with crashing waves, snakes, and unique flora. (I didn’t actually see any snakes; I did catch a glimpse of a lizard-like creature though as it rushed back into the undergrowth). And a couple of fairly tame marsupials.
The island in part reminds me of a bigger version of the Ile d’Aix, near La Rochelle in France, byt parts of it also made me think of Scotland, with the forest, country lanes, and general remoteness (despite the ferry over being pretty full, and other ferries coming afterwards, there were several times on my walk where the only sounds were my footsteps, the wind blowing through the bushes/trees, and occasionally the sea or a passing private plane. Just occasionally I got passed by cyclists (a much more logical way to explore the island, I have to say), a couple of whom even spoke to me. They thought it was impressive that I was walking it (and some of them I was walking more than they were cycling), but they didn’t seem to think it unusual.
This all despite the fact that after a cool-ish start it became very hot and dry. I suspect I will have a lot of sunburn…

I was a bit knackered by the end of the walk, and I’m not sure my feet will ever recover.
I did make up for my previous lack of food though, with an ice-cream and a pie on the island – I got back to the small town where the shops and the ferry are at around 2.30pm, so had an hour and a bit to waste. Not that I was going to walk anywhere else. Then, when I got back to the mainland I had a very rich mint hot chocolate and a burger from a chocolate-themed place on the main street (the place is called ‘Theobroma’. Make your own conclusions.).

No idea what to do tomorrow, although “as little as possible” ideally. This hostel very definitely feels like a party hostel so no doubt I’ll go to bed late. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

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