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Published: March 10th 2018
This morning we headed off to the south coast of the island with our main aim being to see the Australian Sea-lion colony at Seal Bay. We took the guided beach tour with parks ranger, Lauren. Almost as soon as we moved away from the visitor centre we saw a Tamar Wallaby and before going much further we were seeing sea-lions in the sand dunes. Lauren told us that sea-lions move up from the beach overnight into the sand dunes to stay warm because they have hair like us rather than fur, so they are not as well insulated from the cold as fur seals.
The other main differences between fur seals and sea-lions is that sea-lions have external ears and they have bone in their front flippers. Having bone in their front flippers makes them much more agile on land than the fur seals. Lauren told us that we would not be able to outrun a sea-lion running at full speed!
We also learnt that the Australian sea-lion is much rarer than the NZ fur seals with an estimated population of only 14,500. The colony at Seal Bay is considered a significant colony with around 800-1,000 sea lions.
The population is doing well with 174 pups born this season. As we left the beach to return to the visitors centre we saw a rather mature juvenile who was still being allowed to suckle from his mother. Lauren was very surprised and told us that it was very unusual to see a pup that advanced in age - not to mention size! - still being fed by mum.
At the conclusion of the beach tour we did the self guided boardwalk tour. This allowed us to walk up to the viewpoint high above Seal Bay as well as venture back down almost to beach level to watch the sea-lions a bit more. Most of them were just laying around on the beach, but occasionally there were males doing a bit of posturing at each other. We also saw a few heading out to sea where they will feed for three days before returning to the beach again for a rest.
Our next stop was at Raptor Domain where we took in the Birds of Prey Show. When we bought our tickets there was a very cute baby owl in a box on the counter. The owl was
found at the base of a tree about three weeks ago covered in ants so very lucky to be alive. It has more than doubled its size since arriving at Raptor Domain to be rehabilitated/hand reared.
The show was quite interactive with most of the birds being worked very close to the audience. Audience members were also able to volunteer to have a number of the birds sit on their knees or don a glove to have the birds sit on their balled fist. At the end of the show a truly magnificent wedge-tailed eagle was brought out.
I wasn’t going to say anything about food today but, here I go ... before leaving Raptor Domain we purchased some ‘authentic Aussie Tucker from the KI Tuckerbox’. I mean, how could we resist? I think the spiel is to lull foreign tourists into thinking the food is more exotic than it is? Anyhow, two of us chose the toasted sandwiches which were pretty good - as toasted sangas go. Bernie went the Egg and Bacon Burger and Steve opted for the ‘Boogie Board’ which was a long bread roll filled with fish, prawns, lettuce, tomato and a delicious home-made
sauce. Somehow we all managed to resist the Predator and Bonza Burgers and Dave’s Dogs!!!
Next we set out on another one of KI’s (many) unsealed roads to do the Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park D’Estrees Bay Self-guided Drive. Thirty-one teeth chattering kilometres later we reached the end of the drive at the rather inauspiciously named Sewer Beach and the eastern entrance to the Cape Gantheaume Wilderness Protection Area. So, from the end of the road we retraced our route as far as Elsegood Road where we turned north to return to Kingscote.
We stopped at Clifford’s Honey Farm and Drunken Drone Brewery where the girls sampled honey ice-cream and the boys tried the honey wheat beer. The day is turning into a tour of the gastronomic delights of KI?!
The day was deemed warm enough to swim so we made our way to Emu Bay which we had been told was good to swim at. Arrived to find a beautiful, calm swimming beach - at least I didn’t have to worry about the surf being too rough! We changed into our bathers and headed down to the beach where we discovered that the water was only about
knee deep. I think it has to be said that we sort of wallowed around in the water rather than swam. The water was lovely ... until the bogans started driving onto the beach with their boats ... and stubbies in hand. Actually, even that was tolerable, what really drove us out of the water was when the horse float arrived and decanted a horse which was then ridden into the water where it promptly lifted its tail and evacuated its bladder (bowel?) into the sea water. Eeeeeeuuuuuwwwww!
‘Home’ to shower and then out for some tapas at Amadio Wines for dinner.
Steps: 14,007 (10.81kms)
Tot: 1.481s; Tpl: 0.069s; cc: 12; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0389s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb