Across the bay

After our stay in Geelong visiting family we took a shortcut across Port Phillip Bay on the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento and drove up to Mornington. The weather was beautiful on the day we caught the ferry but rapidly deteriorated into cold and windy with showers for the next few days. The love and warmth of dear friends and family more than compensated for the appalling weather and then it was time to move on to Phillip Island.

Definitely not for swimming; this ocean beach is wild.

It was an interesting and quite scenic drive from Mornington, through country which was once familiar to me but has now changed dramatically. We had an invigorating walk along Cape Woolamai beach on the afternoon of our arrival which was a great introduction to the island.

Masses of Blue Bottle Jellyfish, at a very early stage of development, were stranded along the beach while some had a better chance of survival in shallow water near a rock.
I’ve always been intrigued with shapes caused by the weathering of rocks.

As we walked along the beach Allen was keeping a sharp eye out for Hooded Plover. I gazed, somewhat mesmerized by the crashing waves, appreciating the wildness of the scenery until I noticed his intense focus in a particular direction further away from the water. Such dear little birds, foraging quietly and mostly unnoticed by walkers along the sand. Their survival on this particular beach is assisted by a total dog ban.

Hooded Plover amongst seaweed.
Hooded Plover with an eye cast upwards checking for predators.

The next day we had a good walk around Churchill Island which wasn’t particularly rich in bird species but we both needed a good long walk after too many days of sitting and socializing! I visited Churchill Island with my fellow Burnley Horticultural students in 1978 when we all assisted with some tree planting. It was lovely to have a chance to see the island again, especially to admire the ancient Moonahs (Melaleuca lanceolata subsp. lanceolata) which structurally dominates the threatened Coastal Moonah Woodland communities.

Moonahs make particularly sculptural features in a photo.
Melaleuca lanceolata subsp. lanceolata

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