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Published: November 30th 2008
Located in Busselton, south of Perth, at 1841 meters it is the longest wooden structure in the Southern Hemisphere.
Reaching the end of a walk along the Busselton jetty, the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere I am more the 1.5 kilometers from the shore. Necessity dictated its length. Commenced in 1853, a 162 meter jetty was completed by 1865. Horses pulled carts, transporting timbers such a jarrah and karri to the ships. However the shallow waters coupled with shifting sand and larger ships meant the length had to be extended. An additional 132 meters had been added by 1875. Further extensions in 1887,1890,1894 and 1911 increased its length to 1841 meters. In 1909 a steam train replaced the horse and cart. This was replaced by diesel in the 1960's. Closed to shipping in 1972 the original plan was for the jetty to be demolished. Public objection to the demolisation of this now iconic structure was its salvation. Since them it has survived a cyclone and a fire. It is mainitained with public money.
There are a number of reasons one might walk along the jetty. One of course is exercise, another fishing, or my motivation, visiting the underwater observatory located near the end of the jetty. Opened in 2001, it 9.5 meters in diameter and
Fish, corals and crustaceans can be observed through the windows of the Underwater Observatory.
allows people to go 8 meters under the water. The Leeuwin current brings tropical and sub-tropical water down the coast along with a diverse range of fish, crustaceans, sponges and corals, Yes corals at 33 degrees south. These can be observed from anyone of the eleven windows, located at different depths, in the observatory. The first windows are located at waters edge, the deepest are 8 meters under. I spend more than an hour observing the sea creatures until the setting sun and closing time force me to the surface.
While yesterdays activities were centered around Busselton and its jetty today, the aim is some exploration of the environs of the Geographe Bay coast. Driving due west I come to the little town of Yallingup. Yallingup is an aboriginal word meaning, place of love. Indeed it is, if your love is surfing. Spent the time there gazing out to sea and looking at wildflowers and maritime plants. Had a great lamington at the local cafe too :+)
At nearby Cape Naturaliste is a lighthouse, completed in 1909, with a maritime museum. The buiding material was limestone pulled by bullock wagons from nearby Bunker Bay. At 120 feet high
Coast near Yallingup. The area is popular for surfing.
its light can be seen up to 25 nautical miles. Climbing to the the top allows panaromic views of the surrounding countryside to be enjoyed. Unfortunately I was so emmersed in the views that I didnt allow myself enough time to visit the museum.
However there is a walk via paths, cut through coastal heath, to a observation deck where whales can sometimes be observed from the shore. Three types of whales use the bay for a resting area, the blue whale, the humpback whales and the southern right whale. The southern right whale is said to have the largest testicles in the animal kingdom weighing as much as a small car. It is also said to have a six foot penis. At the observation deck is information explaining how you distinquish whale species. Unfortunately for me it was academic as I did not se any whales:+(
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