Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wilson's Promontory in Gale force winds

[Michele] Our first destination outside of Melbourne was Fish Creek, a small town in southern Grippsland and 1 hour from Wilson's Promontory (the prom).  We stayed in a solar powered house where all the water is collected from the roof and heated by solar power.  The house however is only heated by firewood and a couple of electric space heaters.  On the second night temperatures got down to 9˚ (48˚ F), which doesn't seem that bad but without heating and with single pane windows, the outdoor temp was basically the same as the indoor temp.  We made the best of it and wore a lot of layers during our stay at the beautiful place.

Despite rainy and windy weather we set off to enjoy Wilson's Prom.  Folks were a little cranky about setting out so I decided not to tell the rest of the family that there was a gale force wind advisory for the Prom.  They'd figure that out soon enough once we got there.

First stop was squeaky beach where we frolicked in the wind.  The brochure says that the beach squeaks when you step because the sand is all the same size. Hmm....  [nerdy section alert] I've been working with Betsy Madden and Justin Herbert on the generation of seismic/acoustic energy upon sliding and this explanation doesn't provide the whole story.  It must be cohesive strength that is lost when you step that provides the acoustic energy.  The small grain size of the sand may provide the high cohesive strength needed to generate significant squeak.  Too bad it was a national park and I couldn't take samples.  Then again, with my hearing loss I'm really not the person to study the variation of squeak in
Robin and Will's jackets look
a bit like flames
sand.  [end of nerdy section]

It was so windy that the only birds we saw (Cockatoos, Scarlet Rosella and Gallahs) were sitting on the ground. After a hot lunch at the park's cafe Will, Robin and I went for a walk in woods that are recovering from a fire in 2009.  The forest contains tall trees that survived the fire with green leaves in the canopy and blackened trunks scarred by the fire.  The tree ferns and bushes on the forest floor are growing back vigorously.

The views were fantastic and we were sorry that Gavin felt too sick to join us on the walk.
Robin attempts flight

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