Sunday, October 29, 2006

Not for Rotto

Scooters on Rotto?
Methinks it's a bad idea.
Rottnest is for ambling, or pedalling - not for zooming.
In today's STM there's a feature on things that aren't too bad for the environment, including an electric scooter from Perth company EMC.
"There's almost no noise to them - they're a real buzz," a company dude says.
He hopes they will soon be used on Rotto.
I don't think so!
Too fast, too noisy, not Rotto, no way.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Flash book

Rotto Bloggo knows what the best Rottnest book is.
But the second-best? It's a question that has dogged the finest minds and caused controversy.
Rotto Bloggo has reached a decision, however.
The second-best book ever on or about the island is All The News in a Flash.
The author is John Moynihan, and it was published in 1988.
Put simply, the book is a wonder. It documents communications between Rotto and the mainland from 1829 to 150 years later.
Flags, fire, boats and the heliograph were used before the first underwater phone cable was laid in 1900.
John's book is endlessly interesting, with many fascinating asides and incidental details about the island and people who have been on it.
And John is still with us: he retired in 1992, but spoke to Rotto Bloggo today.
He said when ATNIAF was published, some people said it was quite good up to 1935, but after that wasn't so good.
Rubbish! The book is good all the way through.
As John pointed out, up to 1935 communication was mainly about people - after 1935 it was mainly about technology.
We picked up our copy of John's book from an Elizabeth's for $12.
That was a tremendous bargain, considering how over-priced Elizabeth's can be, and what copies go for on Bookfinder: today the cheapest copy is $37.84.
Hopefully we'll run a few stories from ATNIAF on this blog in future.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Venus rising...

Another stellar (sorry) Rotto photo on Flickr.
This is Venus over Rottnest, from Flickr user Goss.
It was snapped 20 minutes after sunset, in Cottesloe, looking out to the island.
Goss took the photo in September last year.
As the Bangles sing: "The summit of beauty and love/And Venus was her name".

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"We want piss!"

A blast from the past: Rotto Bloggo was reminiscing with someone who told us about 6PM Radio Rotto days…
(For the younger, foreign and/or uninitiated, 6PM was a hot commercial AM radio station in Perth in the 1980s).
The station would broadcast from Rotto on Australia Day long weekends - Rotto Bloggo’s pal takes up the story…
“E even if the 26th of January fell on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday back then, we'd go to work on the 26th and there'd still be a Monday holiday…
“All the stars were on the island for 6PM Radio Rotto: Lionel ‘Yorkie’ Yorke, Gary Shannon, Baby John Burgess. It was huge. Loads of people used to get on the ferry, charge across to Rotto and get blotto…
“Accommodation wasn't checked back in those days: if you had nothing booked, you'd get on the ferry, head over and pretty much sleep wherever you fell over. If that was in the sleepout in someone's bungalow... luxury!
“The Rottnest ferries would do several extra runs on a Friday night - all packed with people, so there were invariably far more people coming onto the island than there were beds (of course everything's closely monitored these days so this couldn't happen today).
“Of course there was a bit of drinking. This was back in the days when pubs could only open at about 3pm on a Sunday…by the time three o’clock was approaching, the crowd was restless.
“They’d start queuing at the entrance to the Quokka Arms, and chant ‘WE WANT PISS! WE WANT PISS!’
“I was at Bathurst Point one time when the pub gates opened at three: I could tell it was three, because you heard this almighty cheer as the drunken throng stampeded into the pub to drink even more booze.”
Happy days. All gone now. Enjoy your Johnny Walker responsibly and all that.

Do you think the 6PM throng were big Kosovich fans?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Oil rig for Rotto waters

Rotto Bloggo had our feelance hat on yesterday, doping out the story of oil near Rottnest.
The result is in today's edition of the Post - a fine paper...

A Melbourne energy company is optimistic about finding commercial quantities of oil near Rottnest Island, off Perth, and hopes to drill an exploratory well as soon as next year.
Nexus Energy, an ASX-listed company, says there are potential reservoirs of at least 200 million barrels of oil in the Rottnest trough, in its Vlaming Sub Basin permit.
If exploration goes well and the oil is there, production will begin in two to three years.
Company managing director Ian Tchacos said the permit area covers more than 1800 sq km.
“The area we’re going to be drilling in is about 15km from Rottnest and the same from the shoreline,” Mr Tchacos said. “Obviously you’ll notice a rig and a drilling ship there, because it’ll look different to ships that are anchored. But we were shooting seismic surveys for a month and no-one noticed.”
Nexus did its seismic surveys in August, when it thought there would be minimal whale movement off the Perth/Rottnest area.
“But we sighted lots of whales: we had a spotter plane up there and we were continually shutting down our seismic program to enable us to shoot it without disturbing the whales,” Mr Tchacos said.
There would be no impact on tourism, and little risk of pollution. An oil rig off Rottnest and the coast would pose less of a threat to the environment than oil tankers going in and out of Kwinana.
“I’ve got a boat myself and I’m a diver,” Mr Tchacos said.
“I believe the oil industry is so advanced you can do this sort of thing responsibly. New-generation oil developments mean you can do a lot of this sub-sea – you don’t need to do anything above the surface.
“All the ingredients for a significant field are there: it is under-explored.”
There would be “at leats another couple” of exploratory wells before any production begins.
Mr Tchacos said it was too early to say to whom the oil would be sold.
“You wouldn’t know until you’ve made the discovery and you know the product you have,” he said.
“But we’re optimistic: the shortage of light crude oil in the region will be good for us.”
Nexus would work with recreational and commercial fishers, as well as whale-watching firms, during further approval stages.
Rottnest is WA’s most-visited tourist destination, with half a million people setting foot on the island last financial year.
The WA Department for Industry and Resources confirmed Nexus was granted its permit to explore for oil and gas last year.
“There is a commitment to drill a well…by July 2008,” a Department spokesman said.
The spokesman said chances of an oil spill or other environmental damage are “extremely remote”.
“All field activities have to be approved by DoIR before they are conducted and must meet stringent health, safety and environmental standards.
“Field activities are conducted after consultation with relevant parties that might be affected.”
The Rottnest Society said the idea of an oil rig off the island was “alarming”.
“Oh dear,” said the Society’s Sue Folks, when told by The Post about the exploration.
“I can’t imagine people being very happy with drilling in sight of the coast.
“I’ve seen Barrow Island, and I know what that looks like.
“There’s always risk in drilling for oil.”
Chris Burton from Western Whale Research was on the Nexus boat when it was doing its seismic surveys.
He said it was an opportunity for whale researchers to get information about humpbacks they wouldn’t otherwise obtain.
“Nexus abided by the guidelines for seismic shooting: if whales got too close they shut the shooting down.
“I don’t think an oil well would be that invasive for whales: the noise impact from drilling would be less than that from seismic surveys.
Humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic up the WA coast to the Kimberley.
Mr Burton said there had been an increase in humpback numbers off the coast of WA’s north despite the offshore activity of the state’s booming oil and gas industry.Last month the WA Government said petroleum was the state’s largest resource sector, and had jumped by 23 per cent in the last financial year. Mineral and petroleum sales from WA reached more than $43 billion in 2005-06.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How convenience!

"Explore everyone's geotagged photos on a Map."
So says Flickr about its Map feature (see the link above).
A very handy and convenient way of finding Rottnest photos on Flickr. Just want pics of The Basin? Just click and you're there. Quicker than having to use Flickr's search function.
(Wikipedia: Flickr is a photo sharing website and web services suite, and an online community platform, which is generally considered an example of a Web 2.0 application.)
But it's still worthwhile browsing, as not everyone's geotagged their photos.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rotto ferry saves man

Drama and tragedy off Rottnest yesterday morning...
The West Australian: 'One man drowned and his fishing mate drifted for hours in rough seas before being rescued by the crew of a passing Rottnest ferry after a boat trip off Perth went horribly wrong.'
The men's five-metre boat was swamped at about 7.30am south of Rotto, near Stragglers Reef, about halfway between the island and Fremantle.
The Australian: 'WA Police Sergeant Graham Clifford said the deceased man's companion was spotted three hours later clinging to the upturned boat.'
The rescued man, 60-year-old Joe Favazzo from Coogee, spent last night in Freo Hospital.
This morning ABC Radio News reported he was released from hospital after being treated for hypothermia and trauma.
The West's report today said ferry engineer Craig Marshall jumped off the Star Flyte and rescued Mr Favazzo.