2017 Kangaroo Island – Day 2

SUNRISE – DOLPHINS – PELICANS – SEALS – SUNSET – a day of wonderment

Duck LagoonThursday – the alarm goes off at 0430 – now that gets me going.  After the initial shock and having to find the phone to turn off the alarm I lay there and look at the blackness outside and think of what Robin Williams said in Good Morning Vietnam.  What’s the 0 stand for?  OMG it’s early.

Today’s itinerary states that we will be brought to life with an early mug of coffee and then we’re off to ‘Duck Lagoon’ for a sunrise shoot.  The CB crew have coffee and tea going – so a grab of some coffee and the morning looks better already.

We head outside into the inky blackness and pile into our island transport – our small mini bus.  We get in, camera bags and tripods loaded into the back, we all have plenty of water (most important if we do not want to dehydrate and get headaches) and away we go.  Before I go any further I should state now that some days could be split into two or maybe even three posts if I cannot decide what photos to choose – you will just have to go with the flow – but back to the story.

DUCK LAGOON – the glow of the sun is lighting the sky so it is time to find a position, set up the tripod, check camera settings and begin.  The morning is so still, there are no ripples on the water, the mist is slowly drifting – perfect.

Duck LagoonOur CB team are busy flitting around and helping us to get ready, maybe if you stand here you can get this framed better – how is your rule of thirds – how are your settings – etc, etc.  It is so quiet and still but surprisingly not very cold although I am wearing my snow coat.

As the sun rises it is time to put our knowledge into practice – the colours are incredible especially with the pinks highlighted in the clouds and then reflected in the water.

We have a couple of hours here to move around the river bank and get different aspects – try different settings – investigate the bird life and in general have a very relaxing time.  Instead of giving a step by step documentary on where I was standing, what settings I had – I will just put in these photos and you can enjoy – imagine the rustling of the trees when a soft breeze blows – the bird song every now and again – my fellow CB group members treading on the fallen leaves – the smell of the trees and the freshness of the air – – off you go – – – –

Isn’t the mist in the bottom left photo incredible?  The swan and the tree branches gives it a Swan Lake feeling, anyway, to me it does.

Duck LagoonDuck LagoonIt is hard to get the spider webs in the tree in just the right light – apart from continually looking around wondering if Mr Spider is around ready to leap on me and just being able to see them – but I think I did OK.

Duck LagoonDuck LagoonSo, isn’t this a place you would like to visit, especially when a black swan starts to glide around? Of course it is, don’t fib to me.

Duck Lagoon 0095 Duck LagoonJust when I am really enjoying myself, it is time to return home for breakfast.  Time sure has gone fast it feels like I just arrived, so packing up the tripod, bag and anything else it’s back on the bus to our Island Beach Lodge pictured below.

Island Beach LodgeIsland Beach LodgeIt’s not long before the squad has the coffee going and also breakfast – you will have to forgive me but even though it wasn’t that long ago – I cannot for the life of me remember what we had for breakfast on what day.  Let’s just say breakfasts from now on were either pancakes OR bacon, eggs (not for me), mushrooms and toast OR KI yoghurt with fresh berries OR fruit toast.  I do however remember what breakfast was like on the last morning but you will have to wait for that one.

I have to lodge a complaint however.  I thought that as we were still in Australia there would be Vegemite in the cupboard for sure. Unfortunately there was not and I didn’t do my usual thing of bringing my own.  File that one away for future.  A week without my Vegemite – not good.

Packing our gear, making sure all our batteries are fully charged it’s off to say hello to some dolphins with KI Marine Adventures.  The day is not great weather wise but we are all keeping our fingers crossed it does not rain.  Doesn’t matter if the skies are grey as this is good for photography instead of the blazing sun and glare on the water.

Arriving at the wharf we are told that the owner Andrew has a new boat.  It is a great size for 11 of us plus himself and his offsider Nina (hope I got the name right) and once everyone is on board we hit the open water.

DolphinsDolphinsBoating through the waters after leaving Kingscote Jetty it’s not long before we see our bottle nose friends, although spotting just a fin cutting through the water makes me wonder if it is Jaws on the prowl.

Dolphins are always smiling, at least it looks that way and after the many, many photos of them swimming around us it is time for Andrew to put the boat into gear and create some wonderful wakes which encourages our smiley friends to jump and leap and generally act the fool.

Here are a few photos of the happy faces having fun  – –

DolphinsDolphinsDolphinsDolphinsAs you can see, they are having a great time – just like us.

We do however, have the opportunity to swim with these wild creatures.

Swimming with dolphinsI decide to give it a miss because the water is freezing – even with the offer of a wetsuit.  Our CB staff however take up the offer and it  is not long before they are splashing around.

This would have been great fun if the water was a bit warmer, maybe a return to KI in Summer?  Soon it is time for lunch – a healthy offering of sandwiches and wraps with a cup of hot tea.  This goes down well as it gives our cameras a well earned rest, well at least for a small amount of time anyway.

Kangaroo IslandAs we bob around enjoying lunch, we look up and the clouds appear that they will open at any moment. Being so cloudy, it certainly brings out the colours in the crystal clear water, so more attention is paid to the water underneath my feet  than the clouds over my head.  Time for photos.

Once lunch is finished it is time to head back but on the way we see some more happy faces not to mention a lesson on ‘how to catch squid’.

SquidThat would have been nice for lunch – some freshly caught and cooked calamari with some hot chips on the side – but I digress.  As we hug the coastline we are keeping our eyes out for anything.

Around one of the rocky headlands there is a flock of cormorants who look as if they have just had lunch.

Their fat bellies and lack of enthusiasm to do anything except sit and look at us gives us the impression that it was a big lunch at that!  Hmmm, reminds me of some of us.

CormorantsEagleJust around the corner from our fat friends one of the group spies a young eagle.  It is hard to get some good photos so some Lightroom has come to the rescue.  The colours may not be the best but as he was in front of all that brown seaweed I am happy.

It’s really great to see everything as nature intended.  We are so lucky to have such abundant wildlife.

Nearly home and more dolphins.   We get a few leaps and lots of smiles but the skies are becoming more threatening and the wind has picked up so time to put the pedal to the metal and finish our day on the water.  We have had a great day with Andrew and Nina – yep, definitely have to do this in Summer.

As we head back to our house we make a slight detour through Kingscote and discover some pelicans.  There is a 5pm feed scheduled but we are too early for that but some pelicans have arrived to get prime position for the fish throw.

PelicanCormorantsDon’t you think they have gorgeous faces? I am reminded of Mr Percival in that great movie Storm Boy.  But let’s stick to the subject before I get carried away and give you a run down on the movie.  There are also more cormorants drying their wings.

SealHoly crap it is windy.  It is a wonder how they keep their balance on that rock.  It is also getting colder so after saying hello/goodbye to a sleepy seal who couldn’t care less that we came to say hello, we huddle back in the bus and head home for something warm or alcoholic – either one will do the trick.

Even though my snow jacket keeps me protected from the wind and cold my face is not so lucky and it is great to get back into a warm house and thaw out a bit.

Of course, there is always time for some more photos and this is a stitched photo of the view from our house. Imagine living here.  I would never get anything done that’s for sure. Imagine if there were lots of storm and lightning, but I am away again.

View stitchedWe are having an early dinner (of what I cannot remember) and then it’s back out into the elements for some sunset work at Pennington Bay.  The itinerary says we clamber around the rocks – that really pleases me NOT, but we will see what eventuates.

Pennington BayParking our bus at the top of a hill we commence the walk down with our first stop just a short distance – and yes, we do have to clamber through the bushes but it is not too bad.

Here we can take some wonderful shots with the sun on the cliff and some foliage in the foreground and while we are doing this, our trusty CB host Lachlan can take photos of us taking photos of the cliff – this is his photo and that is me in my big brown snow coat being careful not to get too close to the edge of the cliff.

Time for a bit more walking and clambering as the sun is getting ready to put on a wonderful show.  Nat, Jonathan & Lachlan continue to ask everyone how they are going and what settings we have and why have we chosen those settings.  It is great when you have to think why and they are not there just to say use this or do this or stand here.

Pennington BayPennington BayIsn’t that a glorious sunset?  You wouldn’t be dead for quids at this time of day when the colours are so vibrant, the winds are whipping, you can smell the ocean and hear the waves.  Ah!

Pennington BayPennington BayBecause it is now getting too dark, we make our  way back to the road and up the hill to the bus.

Pennington SkyAs we arrive and wait for the rest of the troupe, the moon rises I snap some photos – hand held and granted the moon is not very big but seeing that I have my 80-200 lens on I don’t  think I did too bad.

How wonderful it is to get back to the warmth and protection of home.  A hot cup of tea, a hot shower and then into bed.

It has been a long day and I am worn out – but it has also been a day full of wonderful experiences.

Tomorrow we pack up and move our belongings – to Vivonne Bay.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY : those happy, cheeky dolphins

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