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Published: February 21st 2020
GOR Day 17. French Island 2
A better morning to wake up to, although a rather cool breeze from the south - Antarctica. Great breakfast of cereal , fruit, bacon, egg and toast to set us up for the day. Most went off cycling into the great wilderness of French Island, population 120.
The island was named in 1802 by a French scientific expedition on board the ship, L'Naturaliste, led by Pierre Bernard Milius.
The first European settlers on the island were William and John Gardiner in 1847. They had the first pastoral lease and grazed 8,000 sheep. Access to the island is by ferry from Stony Point on the mainland or from Cowes, Phillip Island. Only locals can have cars on the island and dogs and cats are banned in the National Park, which covers 2/3 of the island. Most cars here are old machines suffering the last years of their life on washboard roads which would put the old Leyland Test Track to shame. There is now a fuel pump at the store which avoids the previous job of hauling fuel in cans. The 21st century cometh - but slowly.
Bill and I had a leisurely morning walking
through the bush alongsithe Coast Road looking at moths, butterfly’s Banksia trees with their intriguing flower/seed pods and many other interesting products of nature. Millipedes were in abundance, as were ants and pesky flies. Coming back along the foreshore, which had great views and reminded me of Scarborough with its seaweed smell, we had the pleasure of birds among the mangroves and these were Ibis, Heron, Sand Pipers, Plovers, Pelicans, Swans and Oyster Catchers. The heat was building up so we headed back to cast off some clothes and eat our packed lunch of toast sandwiches and cereal bars. When the weather is good this place is heaven, unless you are a city person and it could be hell for you. For most - a great place for respite and contemplation.
Two koalas spotted today having a rest in the eucalyptus trees. Dave spotted two echidnas. Result.
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