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Albany, WA

S 35°00'40" E 117°52'28

Tue 5 - Thu 7 Nov 2002

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Tuesday 5th

We set off again to the east, stopping at Walpole to buy supplies.

photo of jean way up in the tree tops

Just to the east of Walpole is the valley of the Giants, a CALM site which features a stand of mature Red Tingle trees with a tree walk which climbs 40 metres (130 feet) above the forest floor so that on gets a birds eye view of the canopy. Jean announced that she wanted to do the walk, despite its height and see through flooring. She excelled herself by completing the walk though I don't think she saw much of the trees.

After her ordeal, she didn't feel up to eating so we pressed on to Albany and found a suitable caravan park for a few days stay.

Wednesday 6th

We set of to visit some of the sights of Albany. We were aiming for Whaleworld on the south shore of King Georges Sound.

On the way we saw a sign to the wind farm so we took a short diversion The wind farm is most impressive. It comprises a dozen 1.8Mw turbines mounted on 50 metre (150 feet) towers spread out along the shore south-west of the town. It was built in 2001 and supplies about 70% of the power used by the town.

There is a coastal lookout at the site of the first tower. The track to the lookout is all set about with wildflowers in extraordinary variety and profusion. The view from the lookout is stunning. One is about 100 metres (300 feet) above the rocks and one looks out directly to the south across the Great Southern Ocean. Here you can believe the ocean goes all the way to Antarctica with the sea being a deep blue and the waves rolling in from the south onto the rocks below.

We pressed on to Whaleworld. This is a remarkable place. It is a museum celebrating the whaling industry which flourished here for over a century. It is on the site of a whaling station built in the 1950s and closed in the 1970s. One of the chasers has been beached on the site and is accessible to visitors. All the original plant, boiler house, flensing and cutting decks, steam winches, rendering cookers and so on have been conserved and there is a wonderful photographic collection by a local press photographer which documents in a quite vivid way the life of the whalers. This is a very well done tourist attraction. We felt more than usually happy to have received good value for the entry fee. This is all the more remarkable because it is a not-for-profit organisation and is run by a local service organisation.

On the way back to town we visited the Gap and Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park. The Gap is a deep, narrow fissure in the cliff which has the full force of the waves constantly driving the ocean into the rocks. The Natural Bridge is a granite formation in cliff which spans a natural rock pool also pounded by the waves. It was a pretty calm day but the force of the ocean caused a constant salt laden spray to pervade the site. One interesting feature of the experience was the behaviour of some of the tourists. Despite detailed and insistent warnings to take great care and not take any risks, several of the young visitors walked outside the safety fence.

Thursday 7th

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Created by Robin Chalmers on - 04.11.2002 and last revised 08.11.2002