Sunday, October 2, 2016

All kinds of animals - plus a distillery

Moving down the eastern Australian coast!  We decided we had time for a detour over to Eungella National Park, and it was an excellent choice.  The scenery on the drive up (to the end of a valley and then switchbacking up to the rim) was lovely.  The woods were beautiful.  The trails were great fun to run on.

And there were platypi platypuses!  We got an even better look this time, the lighting was better, and their pool was right at the trail.  We used our training from our first platypus experience - talk in a low voice so they know you aren't a predator, don't point when you see one, and move slowly.

Hello Mrs. Platypus, so great to see you!

Hanging out on the surface, resting from the underwater experience:

And maybe doing a little sunning:

I so adore the butt wiggle at the end of this short video that I figured out how to embed it so you can watch it easier - share the cuteness!

An embedded platypus, how about that!  Let me know if this doesn't work for anyone, it's my first embedding in this blog (surely I should have thought of it long ago, this is true).

Further along the creek - a turtle!  Looks like lots of greenery to eat for any creature so inclined:

Back down along the coast, another cane train crossing.  Maui has (or soon to be "had") giant cane trucks that are truly impressive.  The little trains are a fun alternate way to move sugar cane around:

I had been hoping to make it to the town of Bundaberg at the right time of day for a distillery tour; we missed a rum place on Kaua'i and the vineyards near Adelaide, but happily we made it to Bundaberg!

A fitting "giant object" outside the distillery:

"Huzzah!" - indicative of the can-do spirit of the people who work here.  The tour described a massive flood in town and how the company did a lot of things to help the community after it happened.

The tour was fun, I learned more about rum (and there is always more to learn  :) ), and the tastings included mixers with the Bundaberg ginger beer soda from another local beverage company.  A most excellent time, and a purchase to share with my cousin in Sydney - when we eventually get back there (I tried not to push out our return too much, but we kept finding fun things to see in Queenland!)

Checking out a pandanus/hala tree along the coast on another beautiful day (we got SO lucky with the weather for most of the trip, sometimes arriving a week after a big rain, things like that, we'll take it!):

Tin Can Bay!  Much of my planning involved getting here at the right time (early a.m.) so we could maybe hopefully feed the dolphins!

These are a couple wild humpback dolphins that arrive most every morning, as members of their pod have been doing for many years ever since the community assisted an injured/beached dolphin.  The dolphin returned to health and then returned to the town for a visit.  The feeding is highly regulated and the people who monitor it seem very grateful that this is part of their job, as I would be!

And they are back this morning, hello!  These might be Mystique (alpha male) and Patch (female) but I can't recall for certain as it has been a few weeks since we actually had this amazing experience:

The first few people in the water, as the guides talk about the history and regulations around the dolphin feeding:

In the water (braving cold feet) for a closer encounter:

A fish we purchased to feed to a dolphin:

How cool!  I just loved this so much.

The guide handing out the leftover fish - they have a certain amount they are allowed to feed the two dolphins, and any fish that aren't purchased are fed to them at the end:

And now - an embedded dolphin!

Thank you, beautiful animal!

I should figure out how to animate this series of photos that John took, but I've hit my max "video learning" for one day.  So just scroll and imagine that the photos are in a flip book:

Funny bird!

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