Friday, October 12, 2007
People used to get killed at The Nobbies. They would be down on the rocks often fishing and a big wave would roar in and off they would go out to sea or be smashed upon the rocks. We kids used to play on the rocks and tide permitting, walk out to the second rock. The rock in the distance is Seal Rock, named for the many fur seals who use it.
Where we went on our rock rambles was reasonably safe, but you can never be fully safe when a rogue wave arrives. Access down to the rocks is prohibited and I understand that it is dangerous and the area badly needed revegetating. But I do feel sad that kids can't ramble across the rocks like we did. I suppose they can elsewhere.
The cliff face has been revegetated and seagulls who used to nest further along, have now decided the less steep part of the cliffs is a good place to raise chicks. They don't like the more sheltered side but prefer to be in the full blast of the wind blowing in from Bass Strait. God they make a mess though. I got hit on the forehead and R's car got splattered.
A bus load of school children arrived and they managed to drown out the gulls. We took off to a boardwalk before the kids finished their packed lunches.
One gull was attacking an almost dead chick. Nature can be cruel. At almost the end of one of the board walks we watched the blowhole for a time. Large waves push into the shallow cave and compress the air and spray is forced back out. When I was a kid I thought the water would shoot up out of hole in a rock somewhere. It was always a disappointment to me.
We returned to the now excellent cafe/education centre/gift shop and had a bite to eat and coffee. The exhibits are good and interactive. Sadly the Seal Rock webcams were not working. Also very interesting were newspaper clippings about The Nobbies from over many years. The picture of the old kiosk shown here, which I thought was ok when I was a kid, clearly wasn't. One newspaper clipping showed a fisherman holding up his catch with a huge wave coming up behind him. His friend well to his rear was swept away seconds after the photo was taken.
There were clippings about the original new Nobbies centre before its roof was blown off a few years ago. Some about the protests when the public were denied access to rocks below. Pictures of the early days of the Penguin Parade. My mother remembers sitting on the sandy beach watching the penguins arrive. I have seen them many times and I had no intention of making an evening trip to sit in the cold. It is incredibly controlled nowadays and bus loads of tourists arrive from Melbourne to see the cute little birds.
There were also protests about any change that has ever happened at the Nobbies and the Penguin Parade. Some mention was also made of the topical compulsory house acquisitions now being made. The houses are in an area that has been declared a coastal park but there are only a few remaining.
We drove along the coastal track to above the Penguin Parade where I stopped to take a photo from the hill above. From there we went past the motor cycle grand prix track, the event happening this coming weekend, to Smith's Beach and Woolamai Beach then back to the park to regroup.