australia, ocean

Detours off Britta Blvd

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Fun at Maggie River
australia, ocean
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I was up early again, so at least I didn't delay any of our plans, but I'm not used to being awake this early! Since Daisy's dad's bush tucker canoe tour didn't end until 1:30, we decided we didn't have enough time, so after a nice continental breakfast prepared by Daniel, before 10am we were all on our way to Ellensbrook House to see if there was any trickle of water left in the small waterfalls there. It was just a short walk on a paved path, but the sun peeked out from the clouds, and it was nice to get some exercise in such lovely scenery.



Amy kept driving our car all day since she had already been to Margaret River last year so knew her way around, and great job, since she found kangaroos for me! My first kangaroos of the trip! They are known to relax in a certain clearing, just like deer, so not very close, but close enough for zoom lens, and I even caught one hopping away from me! Very cute, and I hope to see some up closer if I get the chance.



Next we went to the Berry Farm for morning tea with scones & cream, plus they have fruit ports...you're only allowed six tastings for free, but I wanted to taste them all! I prioritized my most promising as my six, then others got others and we shared sips. The Lemon Ginger port wasn't "subtle ginger" at all, and tasted like I could infuse it myself at home. The Apple Vanilla tasted like an apple pie, but I might be able to infuse my home-distilled applejack with vanilla and get similar results. The limited edition tropical port was melon and not nice enough to lug all the way home. However, the boysenberry port was excellent, very similar to my parents' "accidental" blackberry port, and I wished I had more customs allowance for alcohol to take home! One bottle is coming home with me, and Cyd as catsitter extraordinaire gets first taste with me when I open it. :)



As we left the Berry Farm, our other car waved us down saying "Emu!" There was an emu among the chickens and geese in the fenced quince orchard, so even though he was running & wandering quite a bit, I got some good photos...yay!



We got to Swings & Roundabouts in time for their woodfired pizzas, and plenty of tastings. They didn't allow tastings of their "The Sticky" muscat, otherwise I might have bought some, but they had a blend of shiraz & viognier that was extremely tasty so I splurged on that to take home. Amy & I are planning to hit another wine region outside Melbourne, so we might have to drink some before I leave if I end up with too much wine, but if I don't find another I like as much, at least I bought this one since I won't be going back! We did have random sprinkles off & on today so we ate inside instead of out by the live music. I also enjoyed the free wifi on my iPhone, checking in quickly on email & Facebook, and Ruth found me online for a quick chat. I got ribbed about being such a Californian and that I should just unplug for vacation...no chance! heehee...

We quickly hit the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, which honestly was a bit disappointing, so I guess I'm spoiled by knowing the owner of Saratoga Chocolates and going on the San Francisco chocolate tour last fall. There was no dark milk, and their truffles were tasty enough, but not unique at all. Next door was Providore, with many tasty infused olive oils, jams, chutneys, sauces, and a nice garden, but I didn't buy anything. We raced to Cullen Winery, with me joking about perhaps seeing sparkly vampire Edward Cullen (hehe), but we arrived just 5 minutes after their tasting closed at 4:30....darn! We'll go tomorrow on the way out of town, since that was high on Daniel's list for this weekend. We did make it to the Margaret River Venison Farm in time to be their last customers, with kangaroo skewers and venison sausage for dinner BBQ, then we drove back through town to the grocery store to fill out the rest of the dinner fixings with salad, bread, & fresh corn on the cob. The last stop was one of the many drive-through liquor store "bottleshops" even though we walked up to buy some wine for the evening. Grocery stores aren't allowed liquor licenses, and none of us had bought "spare" wine for dinner! We bought all Margaret River wine for the evening though, with me contributing two bottles of rose Amy swore she'd enjoyed before, and they were indeed tasty. On the drive back to the house, I had them drop me off at the vineyard at the top of the hill above the house so I could get some sunset photos in the fading light.



Dinner was excellent, and tasty enough with our kangaroo & venison that I took a photo! haha...None of them had steamed corn in the husks over a fire before, so I prepared all of those, just removing the silks, slathering a bit of butter on the cobs, then closing the husks & wrapping in foil & leaving them on the gas grill for about 30 minutes, then the two guys did the actual meat cooking tonight instead of Amy. Very tasty! It's a lot of fun making dinner a group effort, then enjoying it all together with some nice wine & conversation. :)



After dinner it was clear enough that Amy, Pete & I went for a walk to look at the stars. Amy even brought her star chart with her! I could definitely see the Milky Way, and probably close to as many stars as Glacier Point at Yosemite, but boy I wish my eyes were better! Even with my contacts, I still couldn't see that Betelgeuse was red with the naked eye but they could, but at least I could see the galaxy in Orion's dagger with Amy's binoculars. Amy had pointed out the Southern Cross in Fremantle, but I saw it much more clearly tonight...so I had that Toto song "Africa" going through my head... "when you see the Southern Cross for the first time..." ;)

I'm finally feeling a bit more awake at 11:30pm, after everyone else has gone to bed already, so I might have finally triumphed over jet lag. Still not enough aircard signal at this house to post, so I'm just saving up my notes until we get back to Kardinya when I can include photos too. Sunday morning we have a reservation for a posh brekkie at a restaurant in the bush by a lake courtesy of Daniel, but they're thinking of going to Cullen Winery BEFORE brunch. I've also requested an hour of just beach relaxing before our drive back if at all possible, but that will also depend if it's sunny enough. We'll see what actually happens!

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