Boat Captain Charlie
Pasture land around Tilba
This morning Michael and I started the day with a short walk. It felt really good to get our heart rates up a bit since we are sitting so much of the time.
For breakfast, we drove to “O’Brien’s Boat Shed” and enjoyed a full English Breakfast, complete with eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes and toast. We sat at a table on the dock and ate while looking out at the lake. At one point the dolphins danced in front of us, daring us to try to photograph them. The shop not only had a kitchen, but also tons of boat and fishing supplies and an area where they work on boat motors. I loved seeing a wall of Fish Bait called “Gulp”.
We then drove about 30 minutes and stopped in a little town called Central Tilba. It was a quaint little town with tons of shops and small cafes. We enjoyed stopping into several of the shops, spending most of our time and money in a leather shop and a woodturning shop. This shop had some wonderful wooden kitchen gadgets, beautiful hand-worked tables and chairs and really neat mirrors with carved Aussie animals on them. We spent FAR too much money!!!
We then drove to the town of Narooma (Aboriginal word that means “clear blue water”) and ended up at Taylor’s Wharf. After enjoying a cup of tea and watching Michael take photos of a particularly photogenic pelican, we boarded the “Wagonga Princess” for a three hour tour of the estuary. Our guide, Charlie, had lived in Narooma all of his life and had been doing this particular tour for 18 years. He was a wealth of information about the local history, geography and animals. As we started the trip, he said that we were taking a bit of a detour because he had noticed a seal (New Zealand Fur Seal) in the harbor and wanted to give us the opportunity to see it. We enjoyed watching it cavorting in the water, and sprawling on his back as he floated along.
The boat was built in 1905 and was originally used at Lakes Entrance in the state of Victoria. Charlie is the third owner of the boat and he has made some major modifications to the boat, changing it from a diesel engine to an electric one. This made the boat very efficient and quiet.
Charlie talked the entire time that we were cruising the bay area, telling us stories and pointing out places of interest. He then docked the boat at Paradise Point and took us on a short bush walk, once again pointing out tons of interesting things. The area was inundated with Bell Birds whose call sounded just like a tinkling bell….it was cool to listen to them as we walked along. Charlie also showed us a Spotted Gum Tree whose bark looks like a green/brown camouflage, a Stinging Tree whose leaves are covered with fine white hairs that will stick to you and cause welts on your skin, a “Sandpaper Fig” whose leaves feel like sandpaper, and a tree called a Lilly Dilly (cant remember what it looked like, but I loved the name).
We returned to the boat jetty and were met by Jeremy who provided us with homemade scones with cream and jam and Billy Tea. The tea had been made over a wood fire and you could taste a slight smoky flavor in it……it was wonderful.
As we were eating and looking out over the estuary, a flock of about 30 Crested Terns flew in and started diving into the water to catch fish. It was great fun to watch them dive-bombing into the water and then fly back out with a small fish in their mouths. The water was churning with the ripples from their splashes. It is amazing that they don’t knock themselves out as hard as they hit. At one point they all flew quickly in the other direction and we soon realized the reason….a Sea Eagle had flown into the area and taken roost in a tree across the river. The birds soon forgot about him and resumed their dinner time ritual.
Charlie then brought out a bucket of fresh oysters that had come from a local oyster bed and proceeded to show us how to open and eat them. Michael and Danny both had several each, and I finally managed to try one. It was very salty since it was fresh out of the ocean and tasted OK, but I was not THAT impressed.
As we returned to Taylor’s Wharf, it began raining so we changed our plans of walking along one of the jetty’s and instead retreated to the Narooma Golf Club for a drink. While drinking Lemon Lime and Bitters we watched the huge cloud fronts move in and out of the area. It was fun to watch the golfers come running up the hill when the weather took a particularly nasty turn. As they all hurried into the club, you could see 10 to 15 flies on each of their backs. They tried to brush them off as they entered, but it was impossible to keep all of them out of the building. We also watched a group of golfers trying out a new type of golf clubs. They were VERY focused on what they were doing and didn’t seem to notice the weather at all.
At one point, a “Golf Cart Train” came thru the club, with one cart pulling 5 others. I would not have wanted to be driving it. The golf courses here are all on the side of hills and would be amazing to play. I am sure that the balls take some interesting turns when hit.
We enjoyed listening to all of the golfers talking to each other over a VB (Victoria Bitter beer) and calling each other “Mate”. We decided that they couldn’t remember each other’s name so they just used the generic term!!!
We moved into the dining room for dinner where Michael had Veal Schnitzel and I chose the Roast Beef. In each case we were given the main meat and then allowed to fill the plate with roasted and steamed vegetables, including roast potatoes, corn, carrots, and baked pumpkin.
This club’s members were a bit younger than last nights and seemed to be a bit more active. The club had several things going, including an Asian woman singing “Patsy Cline-ish” music using a karaoke machine, a young woman walking around with a “chicken hat” on (this was her “hen’s night” before her wedding), and a wonderful raffle whose prizes were legs of lamb, filet steaks, seafood platters, fruit platters and vegetable plates!!
We pulled ourselves away from all of the excitement and returned to our cabin to watch a bit of cricket on TV before an early bed time.