You guys are so nice. You left me nice comments and sent me nice messages, and I appreciate it so much. I’m feeling better now, actually. Funny enough, the very next day I got my first temp assignment, and then today I got a call from a recruitment firm! Small victories, but the important thing is that things are finally moving forward. I have learned what true frustration tastes like, and I’d rather lick a tub full of baking soda. I’m starting to see a little sunshine behind the clouds, which makes patience so much more attainable.
Anyway, on Friday Stan insisted that I take the day off, so I did (after I applied for a couple jobs). What did I do on my day off? I did what a lot of homesick Americans would probably do: I went to Ikea! I didn’t buy anything besides a double chocolate sundae. (It tasted like slushy sweetened condensed milk… not the best sundae of my life.) Whoever invented chain stores was a genius, because the emotional, familiar aspect gets even the most skeptical consumer. When I go to Ikea, I might as well be in Draper, Utah (as long as I don’t listen to the conversations around me). I might as well be home! Pretty lame day off, I know. So then I went to the beach.
The nice thing about Adelaide is that if the temperature dips below 50° F, people start hunkering down with their scarves and tea. So I had the beach completely to myself.
But eventually even I got rained out, but I went home feeling refreshed and pretty happy. Does anyone else love rainy days when they’re sad? A sunny day when you’re sad is so mocking. A rainy day makes you feel like a good friend is empathizing.
The next day we decided on a whim (after I made us some delicious French toast) to drive down to Victor Harbor. It started as a major whaling site in the late 1800′s and, like many other poorly-planned human endeavors, the people quickly ran themselves out of product (whales), and therefore out of business, in about a hundred years. Blubber and lots of other whale parts were used for common items that are all petroleum based these days.
Anyway, it’s a really beautiful spot. It was rainy on and off, but that just gave us some pretty skies and moody light to play around with.
There’s a little island called Granite Island, aptly named for its geology. It was used a lot as a whale sighting spot. A horse-drawn rail tram still carries people out there. (It must not run in the late autumn, though.)
Some pretty scenery.
No island is complete without a pile-o-rocks with some birds on top. Put a bird on it!
Here is another cute bird. Stan tried to figure out what it was, but to no avail.
There are some cool eroded rocks. This rock looks like a seal:
Stan would like me to add that as a geologist, he is particularly talented at taking photos of rocks. I mean, look at this beauty!
Don’t you want to go there?? The water looks so inviting, but then again the next piece of land is Antarctica.
The island also has Little Penguins, and they offer penguin tours at dusk. Otherwise, you can stroll around on a self-guided walk of the island. It took us a little over an hour, I’d say. Then just as the rain picked up again, it was time for us to walk back across the causeway.
It was around 3:00 and we still hadn’t eaten lunch, so we went to see what Victor Harbor had to offer. As you may expect in a small, off-the-beaten-road town, most restaurants have stopped serving lunch, but don’t serve dinner for another couple of hours. We found a semi-deserted deli and ordered some wraps (think quesadilla) and an enormous “small” order of “chips”. American-sized portions, my butt! Here I am waiting for the greasy goodness in all my greasy rainy goodness.
After lunch we decided we needed a little more grease, so we went and had our first Australian donuts. They weren’t bad, but they were no Banburry Cross. (Oh, what I wouldn’t do for a couple [dozen] Banburry Cross donuts right now.) Then we hung out in the park.
Although Stan is not a biologist, he is talented at taking photos of living things such as trees in addition to rocks.
Then we went to the South Australian Whale Center. The people at the desk were very super friendly, and were excited that we were from the USA. (Although the guy was a little sad that he still had to put “Adelaide” on his tourism survey form, since that’s really where we live.)
Here is Stan standing next to a Southern Right Whale skull.
Although encountering any being that size would likely cause me to soil myself, there is no real reason to be alarmed. Their throats aren’t even big enough to swallow an orange. They have baleen, which are basically big comb-shaped keratin shields that filter out their true culinary delights, which are plankton, krill, and other tiny organisms.
Here is Stan again being very frightened that the shark behind him might be able to fit its pointy head through the cage:
Fun fact: The guy who invented the shark cage, Rodney Fox, was attacked in a big way some years earlier. The shark gripped his whole left side and arm, and the only reason he lived is because he had the presence of mind to poke the shark in the eye. Can you believe that? The lady at the museum animatedly told us more details, like how he surfaced and found himself surrounded by bloody water, only to look down to see the shark surging up for another go. See above re: soiling myself. 400 or so stitches later, good as new (if you dare, Google Image “Rodney Fox”).
The lady also talked about how her husband had been bit by a shark, but it was “just a little nip”. You know, one of those love bites that pierces your diving suit and your flesh.
Lastly, I just loved this guy. He is a Port Jackson shark; endemic to Australian waters.
Sorry for the blurry picture, but I didn’t want to flash him. Aren’t his markings incredible? Stan pointed out that they look just like water ripple shadows. Evolution at its finest.
It was a great day. Just what I needed. Thanks for reading!