Camping With the Kangaroos
Trip Start Jan 10, 2005
53Trip End May 10, 2005
There are also "heaps" (as the Aussies would say) of birds: eagles, quail, green parrots called "Twenty Eights" (because they sound like they're saying "28"), magpies that look like the ones we have in Saskatchewan but make a much more pleasant burbling sound, good old crows that sound like Donald Duck gagging(!) and kookaburras, a type of kingfisher, which sound like monkeys when they really get going
Rabbits and foxes are animals that are not indigenous, but have thrived to the point of being nuisances. There has been a program set up to poison foxes and feral cats to try to contain their numbers. While we were at Digby and Nikki's, there were two foxes that came up to the house to check out the chicken coop. Digby managed to shoot one. Many wild animals are very hungry and thirsty this time of year because of the drought.
Then there's all the poisonous things here, like snakes and spiders. Martin and Digby spotted a red back spider when they were fixing fence and Digby saw a king brown snake (both are poisonous) the same day. He's never been bitten by anything poisonous, but his father was bitten by a scorpion once. Even if the spiders aren't all venomous, they can still be pretty scary - I looked down one day while I was on the computer and there was a wolf spider climbing up my leg! They're about 3 inches in diameter and very hairy. Needless to say, I let out a shriek! Then there's fire ants, crocodiles, rockfish, jellyfish . . . . (Heather and I did go swimming with the crocs at Katharine, Northern Territory when we were here in 1984 - guess they must keep them well fed so that they don't nibble on the tourists
Mosquitoes can also be a problem. About three years ago, Digby contracted Ross River Fever (similar the West Nile Virus) and struggled to regain his strength for more that 18 months.
Our stay with Digby, Nikki and family was a complete contrast to our week with Irwan and Ria in Singapore, but we enjoyed it just as much! I'll always have a soft spot for farms and Western Australia reminds me a lot of rural Saskatchewan. We kicked back, helped move sheep and machinery, fishing for yabbies (similar to crayfish) and had some in-depth conversations about life in Oz and Saskatchewan. They're are many similarities, one being that we are people living in extreme climates that continually challenge our constitutions and creativity.
After six days on the farm, we decided to see a bit more of Western Australia and rented a campervan that Martin drove out from Perth. It's a wonderful change from buses and planes and we're not trying to cover a huge distance, just the very SW corner. We drove along beaches, through huge jarrah forests and last night we camped with the kangaroos
We are getting used to driving on "the wrong" side; it's right turns that turn across traffic and left turns that are easier, plus the gear shift and driver's seat are on the other side! Basic traffic rules are the same (yield to the right), but you can't turn left on a red light. The main roads are good (all paved), but narrow (single lane) and not much shoulder - and many of them have a 110 km/hr speed limit! Apparently if no speed is posted, the limit is 110, even on gravel roads!