Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Fishing Trip to Narooma

The co driver had a quilting class in Moruya about an hour’s drive south so, after dropping her off, I continued on for another 45 minutes to Narooma to do a bit of fishing.
It turned out to be a pretty nasty day with a cold howling southerly wind so, looking for some protection from the elements, I headed down to the small harbour.

 Narooma sits at the entrance to Wagonga Inlet which now empties into the sea through a man made breakwater. The bar is notorious for boating accidents and this day it was in full flight with huge waves crashing over it. No one would be heading out to sea this day except maybe for Marine Rescue.
The view from the end of the breakwater along the rugged coast was quite beautiful despite the bad conditions.

Out to sea, about 8km offshore, is Montague Island.
This is a unique NSW south coast destination being a nature reserve which is accessible only by boat for day tours or for an overnight stay in the island's accommodation in the restored lighthouse keepers quarters.
The island lies within the Batemans Marine Park and features thousands of years of ongoing Aboriginal heritage and over 125 years of lighthouse history.

The lighthouse was built in 1881 and automated in 1986 and then demanned in 1987. It is 21 metres tall and the light is 80 metres above sea level with a nominal range of 20 nautical miles (37 km)
It has the state’s largest little penguin colony, approximately 12,000, as well as a fur seal colony. The seasonably variable wildlife includes Crested Terns and Shearwaters (mutton birds).
Obviously the rough conditions had upset the local seals. There were a few splashing about in the relative calmness behind the sea wall and one was even asleep on the rocks.

I headed back to the wharf and spent a few hours casting into the boat channel.
Suddenly my line went taught and it took some effort to reel it in. But it was deadweight. Seaweed or a snag of some sort I thought.
But no, it was huge red octopus!
I had no chance with the light gear I was using to get it up onto the wharf so thought I might have to cut the line. Finally after quite a struggle with much squirting of water and black ink, he managed to get himself free.
So it was sausages for dinner, not calamari.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Olympic Games Wrap Up

Well, it's all over!
Two weeks of great sport, a few upsets, the usual controversy and, as always, a little bit of scandal.
London did a great job and thankfully the English summer didn't live up to its reputation.
Our satellite television coverage could not be faulted. Every sport, every heat and final, every medal presentation covered over eight channels. For us the action was live throughout the night and into the early morning due to the 9 hour time difference with replays during the day.
Despite all good intentions we did not manage one overnighter. We are getting old!
My favourite moments?
Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter burning up the track in the 100m, 200m and 4 x100m relay, the latter in world record time.
Kenya's David Rudisha's 800m win in world record time dragging everyone behind him in the race to personal bests and national records.
USA swimmer Michael Phelp's four golds and two silvers in the pool to add to his previous impressive collection.
Australian junior athlete Steven Solomon, controversially picked to run the 400m over more fancied runners who qualified for both semi final and final with personal best times. One to watch for the future.

Australia did not do as well as expected. We really never do. Fifteen gold were predicted but that was always a big ask.
We ended up with 7 gold, 16 sliver and 12 bronze medals and number 10 in the rankings.
We always have high hopes for many athletes and somehow take it personally when they don't perform.
But this time round, the media really got stuck into many of them.
For some reason 'A Silver' was considered a failure. It was obvious from many comments that the general public did not share this view.
It took our long jumper, Mitchell Watt, a silver medal winner to give the media a bit of a serve about their attitude.
So now we wait on the dust to settle and the inevitable post mortems.
But for me it's what happens on the track, in the pool, on the field etc. that counts, not the bean counters' performance analysis.
Only another four years to go until Rio!
Can't wait!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

August Update

Life as we know it has come to a bit of a standstill. Over the next two weeks we will become nocturnal beings glued to the television for all the excitement of the Olympic Games in London.
But we have worked extremely hard over the last month getting things on the farm in order so we could take some time off.
The spray program against the bracken seems to have gone well with huge amounts dying off over the last few months.

Because of our late nights we needed extra firewood so we have been attacking some of the larger fallen trees around the place.
Cutting it up with the chain saw is an easy job but splitting it into usable size is a harder one.
I am well supervised by the co driver who obviously has inherited some lumberjack skills from somewhere and is sensitive to the dangers of dealing with big trees, even those lying on the ground.
Suffice to say that one did roll suddenly (luckily away from me) during the cutting so her concern is justified.

We also revamped the Pinot Noir vineyard. The initial netting height was too low making it uncomfortable to work under and somewhat limiting the growth of the vines. It was also in two pieces which meant constant repair work along the seam.
So with the help of Stirls, we took off all the old (and rotting) netting, put in higher stakes and threw one piece of 10m wide netting to cover the whole area. Now we can work in comfort and the vines will be able to grow longer shoots ie. extra leaves, to improve their fruit ripening capability.

 Stirls also helped in the clean up/burn off which gets rid of all the non usable fallen timber and is part of a bush fire prevention tactic recommended by the authorities. This is a huge job and he will be back soon to continue. We need to do as much as we can before fire restrictions come back on on the 1st October.
And last but not least, the vegetable garden has been dismantled and will be left to return to grass. I managed to salvage a lot of star pickets during this exercise despite it meaning a lot of extra work. But as my father used to say "many a mickle makes a muckle". 
Phew! Enough work already!
Where is the remote?