Saturday, August 30, 2008

rottnest romance #19

Time for another thrilling episode in the only Bills and Moon romance set on the beautiful island. You'll recall our blonde heroine, Larissa Kidd, was setting off on a bike ride to the West End. No Troy Buswell jokes about bicycle seats or anything else, please. She's got her lunch and a water bottle with her. Who knows - perhaps there'll be some nude sunbathing very soon. In a week she'll be voting in the 2008 WA state election. Are the Greens green enough for our feisty young conservationist? Read on...

It was still completely trustworthy, though, Larissa assured herself. She jumped on, and slowly threaded her way around the numerous pedestrians as she cycled through the winding historic Thomson Bay area. After a few minutes she reached the open road which stretched out between the large salt lakes. She began to pedal energetically, and was soon making good progress.

Gradually the island lighthouse, a brilliant white in the sunlight, slipped by on her right-hand side. At times she free-wheeled down hills, but also had to stand on the pedals to force her way up steep inclines. She had promised herself she wouldn’t get off the bike and walk up the hard stretches.

As Larissa sped through narrow Neck – so named because only a thin strip of land separated the waters on either side – she could hear the surf rolling onto the beaches.

Breathing deeply from her efforts, she resolved to finish it in one final big push. All went well until she had just passed the turnoff for Radar Reef. The, when she had less than a kilometre to go, disaster struck. Something went wrong with the pedals and the bike swerved dangerously. She braked, and managed to come to a halt without crashing.

What was going on? Kneeling down to inspect the pedals, she saw at once what was wrong, and let out a groan.

The cotter pin in the left pedal had snapped. She couldn’t believe it. Of all the times it had to happen, it happened way out here. Murphy’s Law strikes again, she thought sourly.

And of course it was typical her bike repair kit wasn’t strapped on to the back of her bike. She prided herself on being mechanically competent, and if she had bought her tool kit with her she might have been able to do some sort of repair job until she returned to Thomson Bay.

Look on the bright side, she told herself, as she surveyed the final hill that led to the cape. At least she hadn’t been travelling at speed when the pin broke. There might have been a nasty tumble if she had. And it wasn’t too far a walk, anyway.

Before she began to trudge up the hill she had a look around. There was no-one else to be seen: she might as well get going…

Then, in the distance, she saw a lone cyclist appear away on the track that led back from Radar Reef. Was he or she coming this way, or heading back in the other direction? There was a chance the cyclist might have a tool kit with them.

She hopped up and down on the spot, yelling out “Hello! Hello! Over here!” as loud as she could, while waving her arms about. It worked: the cyclist turned left, and rode in her direction.

Pleased, she watched the4 cyclist – it seemed to be a man – come towards her. With any luck she could…

Her positive attitude swiftly evaporated as the cyclist neared her, and she recognised who it was.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

shark lark

Why hasn’t Rotto Bloggo received the hoax email called Rottnest, Western Australia?

"While the ocean vessel 'Pirate' was commercial fishing for dhufish, this Great White Shark was hooked in the mouth,” it starts.

"It only resisted slightly for 5 minutes before it came up alongside the boat to have a look; just long enough for one of the crew members to slip a rope around it's tail!

"And that's when the fun began. The shark took off towing the 35-foot fishing boat backwards through the water at an estimated 7 knots.

"Just like in JAWS, the boat was taking on water over the stern and the crew watched in horror as the shark would actually jump completely out of the water at times.

"This went on for an hour before the shark finally drowned. She weighed in at 1035 pounds It is suspected she followed a weak El Nino current into local Perth waters in search of food. Although mid 20 degree water is considered ideal for these sharks, the larger ones can tolerate water in the low 10s.''

A huge shark towing defenceless little boats over the Perth Canyon! Diners at Cicerello’s stunned when they see a huge fin surging in the harbour!

Alas, not true.

Hoax-Slayer also has this example in an email:

Subject: FW: Fancy a swim
Wow! So much for swimming at Rottnest on the north side of
Gage Road ... just southwest of Cottesloe.

Ha ha! Gage Road! Does that second foggy pic look like the cerulean blue of the water between Rotto and Cotto?

Nothing about this on Snopes yet…we’ll keep checking.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


A shocking 13 days without posting. Cheers for the various prompts and nags. Of course Rotto Bloggo has no excuses. We deserve to be sent to Tentland without anything from the bakery.

On a brighter note, it's exactly 50 days until we're next scheduled to be on the beautiful island. It'll be blokes only: sharing the choice waterfront four-bed Geordie Bay joint will be a detective, a lawyer and two journalists. There won't be a lot of Oprah on the teev.

The numberplate? It's a puzzle. Something to do with the listings magazine?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

vote 1 for Rottnest

Only 27 days to go until Election 08. At election time Rotto Bloggo’s thoughts turn to the beautiful island. We’ve never voted there, but we would love to. Perhaps this will be the year.

Our fantasy 6 September on Rottnest would be getting the first ferry and sitting next to Antony Green and members of the meedja, hearing political scandal over a Dome latte, going to vote at the primary school and then watching the ABC evening coverage over a glass or three with the waves lapping in the background.

How about this lame summary? “The Fremantle electorate contains the suburbs of Beaconsfield, East Fremantle, Fremantle, Rottnest, South Fremantle and White Gum Valley.” How dare Rottnest be described as a suburb. The map on that page is also crap as it doesn’t show Rotto.

To the numbers. Fremantle is very safe Labor and held by Jim McGinty (he who is reluctant to provide shield laws for journalists). But in the 2005 voting bunfight the island was more blue than red…here’s the breakdown of the 127 lucky people who voted on Rotto on 26 February 2005:

Liberal 50
ALP 48
Green 13
There were five informal votes, four each for Family First and an independent, two for the CDP (who they?), one for another independent, and a big fat zero for One Nation. Ha ha ha!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

rottnest romance #18

The next day. Larissa must have had a terrible bout of overnight indigestion after her verbal stoush with the evil amoral nasty ruthless developer Nick. No doubt she smouldered at home after the encounter, knocking back a bottle or two of Oomoo. What's going to happen next? Will she be throwing herself in front of the bulldozers? Wll Nick sabotage her ferry? Will they exchange poisoned vanilla slices at the bakery? read on...

Chapter Three

With a loud clatter the gangway was thrown onto the jetty. A crew member jumped nimbly off the boat, and tied it securely into position. The captain stepped back, and passengers began filing off the ferry.

Larissa went up to her. “Morning, Caroline. It looks as though you had a capacity load again this morning.”

Her employee turned to face her. “Hello, Larissa. Yes, we were full. We also brought some freight across as well, which should put us well into the black for today.”

“Good news, Any problems – anything I should know about?”

“No, but there is something for you, though, It’s on the bridge – I’ll get it.”

“No, it’s alright, I’ll fetch it. You better make a start on unloading all those bikes – there must be dozens of them.”

Caroline gave a rueful smile. “Quite a few, aren’t there! Well, it’s good exercise for the crew.”

“Right,” Larissa agreed with a grin. She eased her way along the gangway and went upstairs to the bridge. As she entered she saw a huge bunch of flowers – yellow carnations. Picking them up, she noticed a note was attached. It read: Larissa – sorry I upset you. All forgiven now? Marjorie.

She smelled the flowers – they were lovely. If her sister wanted to mend the relationship with her the she certainly knew the most effective way of doing so. Smiling to herself, Larissa thought perhaps she’d been a little too harsh with her older sibling. She would ring her later today and say so, and also thank her for the flowers.

She left the Daisy, and walked along the jetty. The passengers were streaming off, eager to explore the island and enjoy themselves. She stopped at the office and put the carnations in a vase, filling it with water. Her assistant Frances, working at her desk, caught sight of them as she placed them on the reception counter.

“What lovely flowers! Are they from someone tall, dark and handsome?”

Larissa chuckled. “I wish. No, they’re from Marjorie. I’ll leave them her to brighten up the place. See you later.”

She left the office and strolled back to her cottage. It was another beautiful summer day, and the sunlight streamed through the branches of the big Moreton bay fig trees that lined the road. With her morning’s walk complete, Larissa had decided to go on an excursion. With a packed lunch and dressed in a sleeveless polar fleece and khaki cargo pants over a bikini, she set out to cycle all the way out to the other end of Rottnest – to the West End. It was a longish trip – about 25 kilometres there and back – but she thought it was about time she had a decent spell of exercise.

After putting her lunch in a bag and filling a water bottle she wheeled out her bike from behind the cottage. She gave it an appraising look. She had had the same bike for years now. It was a ten-speed racer, which ran very well. It had once been a brightfire-engine red, but due to the extensive use it had seen, plus the odd bash and scrape, it was now a little dilapidated.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

olympics and rotto

The Games at Smoggy Bottom are less than 24 hours away, yet we've been searching in vain for a strong link between the Olympics and the beautiful island.

Has Stephanie Rice partied at Pinkys? Did Daria Joura ever play on the monkey bars between Dome and the tea rooms? Has Cadel Evans ever zipped out on his bike to the West End (taking three minutes to do so)?

It seems not. The closest connection we could find was endurance swimmer Penny Palfrey (who did the Rottnest swim last year) being presented with a gong in Townsville by Olympic swimmer Elka Graham.

There are sharks in the water. Here's another story about a Gage Roads crosser: "Cameron Clyne has to kick hard against rough currents, fierce headwinds and sharks in the oceans where he swims."

The bloke is head honcho at National Australia Bank. "Clyne shrugs off the threat of sharks prowling in the waters off Perth in Western Australia, where he competes in the annual Rottnest channel race. 'You don't have to be the fastest swimmer. You just have to be faster than the slowest swimmer,' he told reporters."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

rottnest romance #17

Two chapters down, eight to go. Phew. When will Larissa and Nick have sex? Chapter 3? Later? It seems a long way off - but then again, you can never tell with these crazy young things. They need to chill out and be civil over a nice round of mini golf at the Brett Heady Family Fun Centre. Or they need to wet a line. Hard to be as cross as a frog in a sock when you're fishing. Stay tuned for the opening salvo later this week of Chapter 3 in Rottnest Romance, the only Bills and Moon romance novel set on the beautiful island paradise that is Rotto.

“I’ll grant there are similarities between us, but not as many as you fondly imagine.”

He looked amused at that. “I’m not fondly imagining anything.”

“We’re both businesspeople, yes, but we differ a great deal in how we do our business.”

“Right. I pillage the environment without a care, whereas you wouldn’t harm a blade of grass.”

Leave, Larissa thought. Leave now, before you say something you’ll really regret.

She threw her napkin on the table. “I’m not going to be patronized or insulted any longer,” she informed them in the most civil tone she could manage.

He looked momentarily surprised, but then fixed her with a narrow-eyed look. “Storming out in a huff because you’re losing the argument? I thought you might be made of stronger stuff than that.”

Several answers came to her. After a moment she chose what she thought was the most dignified response.

“I’m quite prepared to debate our differences, but as I said I’m not going to sit here and be insulted. I’ll leave you two to enjoy your meal,” She rose from her chair.

He leant back in his and spoke in a gentler, quieter voice. “Come on Larissa – surely it isn’t worth storming out at the cost of not finishing your meal. Please, sit down again.”

“And have myself subjected to more abuse?”

“No, not at all,” he said with a smile. “No-one’s abusing anyone.”

“We disagree there, along with everything else.’

He sighed, and shrugged again. “This is completely unnecessary.”

“I won’t bother you any more. Have a pleasant time on Rottnest, as I’m sure I won’t be seeing you again. And do enjoy your meal,” she added, with a harsh edge to her voice.

She turned away, and made her way through the tables. From the corner of her eye she saw that a few curious looks were directed at her.

As she passed the group of people still waiting for a table she felt a hand pluck at her sleeve.

She turned to see who it was. It was Mrs Squire – again. Was the pesky woman following her, for heaven’s sake?

“What was going on there, Larissa?” she enquired eagerly. “Were you having an argument with that nice man of yours?”

It was too much for her. She gave the gossipy woman a laser-like stare, and hissed, “Oh, go away! It’s none of your business!” And with that she strode out of the restaurant without looking back.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

619km to rotto

The beautiful island has been mentioned in the Queensland Coroner's Court.

"Jenny Batten, wife of Des, 69, said her husband was a careful and experienced yachtsman who regularly skippered motorboats to Rottnest, was a member of Fremantle Sea Rescue and the holder of a recreational skipper’s ticket and marine radio qualification," said this report in The West.

Des Batten was aboard the Kaz II, which was found floating sans its three crew in April last year.

Better news for seniors here: a free trip to Rotto!

'SENIORS card holders in the Goldfields region have the chance to take a break on Rottnest Island in the August Seniors Card website competition,' according to the Golden Mail.

'The prize is courtesy of ferry operator Rottnest Express and is valid for two adults to travel on same day return transfers.

'The winner will also receive free bike hire allowing them to explore the island at their leisure during the day.

Entering the competition to win two return tickets to Rottnest Island and free bike hire can be done in one of two ways...see here for the GM story.

Monday, August 04, 2008

rottnest romance #16

Second-last instalment of Chapter 2. Surely the sharp implements are about to come out as the heated argument between Larissa and Nick gets ugly. I'll give her $20 if she upturns the table on him and glasses him.
"Let's try and discuss this in a civil manner," she suggested.

"That's fine by me," he shrugged.

"Can I ask what steps you've taken to ensure your development has as little impact as possible on the environment of Parakeet Bay?"

He inspected his glass as he twirled it in his fingers. Eventually he replied: "Of course, the tender called for considerations to be given to the environment of the area."

"Which sounds like you've only given lip service to the matter."

He raised an eyebrow at her. "Since you're such an expert on the area, what should I be concerned about when I proceed with the development?"

She wondered if he was sincerely interested. Against her better instincts she decided to give him an answer.

"Parakeet Bay is a particularly sensitive area in regard to sand dune erosion. In fact most of Rottnest is. More people in the Bay might lead to that problem becoming irreperable."

He looked pleased at hearing that. "You'll be delighted to hear the sand dunes will be fenced off."

“What do you mean?” she asked, puzzled.

“My cottages will be behind the dunes, and paths will lead down to the beach – the dunes will be protected by fencing.”

She shook her head. “It’s not good enough. The very fact you’re building something there will lead to erosion. Even if the dunes get that protection.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake,” he spluttered, finally moved to sudden anger by her observation. “It’s going to be a residential area. I can’t help it if people are going to want to walk down to the beach.” His dark eyes glittered at her.

“You can’t help it, or you don’t care?”

“This is ridiculous,” he rumbled. “You slant things in such a way that suggest I’m a heartless destroyer only interested in making money from damaging the environment.”

“You said it, not me,” she shot back. “Why else would you be doing it, if not for the money?”

But at the same time, she wondered if what he had just said was true. Was she so obsessed with picking holes in his argument she wouldn’t give him a fair hearing? No – that wasn’t right. Even if there was an element of truth in that, then it also applied to him. He wasn’t interested in conducting a reasonable discussion. He was merely concerned with pushing on with his grand design – nothing else was as important.

“That’s what business is about, Larissa – discovering the needs or services people want, and then providing them while making a living from it. I’m surprised you’re not aware of this by now,” he added with a sneer.

“There’s no need to be condescending,” she retorted.

“Isn’t it true?” he pressed, determined to make his point. “Isn’t that what you do in your business with your sister?”

“Yes, but I wouldn’t…”

“So there you go…”

“The similarity on…”

“You’re just the same as me.”

“Will you let me finish!” It came out much louder than she expected, and again heads turned in her direction from nearby tables. She glowered at him, and struggled to keep her voice at a normal level.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

hotel hiatus

The five-star hotel slated for Rottnest Island is well behind schedule.

Negotiations between the state government and developer Broadwater are continuing, despite the company being chosen as the builder 18 months ago.

The Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) has stopped spruiking the $50 million project on its website and signage.

It mentions refurbishment programs and the construction of the new Dome cafe, but details of the hotel have vanished.

Tourism Minister Sheila McHale said in January last year the hotel would be built within two years.

"The new facility will provide eagerly-awaited accommodation on Rottnest," she said at the time.

"The 120-room hotel will offer guests options such as short-stay and fully serviced rooms of an equivalent four-star rating."

The hotel will be built on four hectares of the derelict water catchment site at Mt Herschel, near Geordie and Longreach bays.

But the minister said she was disappointed with the wait.

"I have a certain level of frustration with the delays but this is about getting it right for Rottnest and future generations of holidaymakers," she said.

"At no time has the Rottnest Island Authority delayed the process. We look forward to the contract being signed."

Broadwater's Scott Cogar didn't return numerous calls.

Broadwater is the head of a six-firm consortium that will build the hotel.

The other companies involved are First Acuity Management Enterprises, WA Developments, Humfrey Land Developments, Jones Coulter Young Architects and Ningaloo Reef Retreat.

"I don't think they know a lot about it at the moment," someone at Humfrey Land Developments said when called.

WA Developments said only Broadwater could comment on the hotel.

First Acuity Management Enterprises, Jones Coulter Young and Ningaloo Reef Retreat didn't return calls.

RIA bugle Penni Fletcher-Hughes said the hotel could open in 2010, subject to government approvals.

"As far as we know, negotiations (with Broadwater) are continuing," she said.
"The company has four years to build the hotel from the date of signing with the government."

The authority recently spent $76,000 on a geotechnical survey for the hotel.

"The survey was an integral part of the undertaking to potential developers to ensure the site is development-ready," Ms Fletcher-Hughes said.

Golder Associates spent five days on Rottnest taking site samples and then took four weeks to test them in a laboratory.

The authority wouldn't release the survey.

"The report is part of the negotiations expected to result in a development/lease contract signing with the Broadwater consortium and is therefore currently commercial-in-confidence," Ms Fletcher-Hughes said.

Ms McHale said the survey wasn't the reason for the hold-up.

"The geotechnical survey was in fact done ahead of time at the request of the developers," she said.