Monday, September 29, 2008

wave hello

"Rotto's waves could help power nation."

Now that's the sort of headline we like at Rotto Bloggo. Of course the motion of the ocean around the beautiful island could be the electrification of the nation. Glorious Rottnest energy leads to enlightenment across our magnificent country!

There's a bit of a catch: it wasn't only Rotto waves that were under the microscope. Also in the frame are Kangaroo Island (SA) and Eden in NSW.

'More than a third of the nation's power could come from the ocean, according to a report that examined waves at Rottnest...the report's authors, consultants RPS MetOcean, found waves had the potential to generate four times existing national electricity output.'

It's all done with with subsea buoys attached to pumps on the seabed. The bouys wave to the motion of the ocean and drive the pumps, which pressurise seawater, which is then piped to land where it powers electicity-generating hydroelectric turbines.

'Carnegie Corporation, a private company which wants to build a wave farm in southern Australia, says about 10 per cent of this power could be tapped economically.

'Carnegie is studying potential sites for a wave farm.

'Carnegie managing director Michael Ottaviano said the world's oceans had huge potential to generate electricity.

"This report further supports Carnegie's view that Australia has the world's best wave energy resources,'' Dr Ottaviano said.

Sounds good to us. The accompanying pic (from Stefan Landsberger's fabulous site of Chinese propaganda posters) could be Photoshopped without too much trouble to reflect Rottnest's glorious power-generating role.

Friday, September 26, 2008

rottnest honey

Lots of good things come from Rotto - like honey.

One of Rotto Bloggo's bright young journalism students at Curtin wrote a lovely story on Rottnest honey. As we speak the story is being perused in that journal of record, the Western Independent. Thank god there are no feral bees on the beautiful island. I'd pay a small fortune for that.
At $60 a kilo Bees Neez Apiaries is producing Western Australia’s most expensive honey.

David and Leilani Leyland, owners of Bees Neez Apiaries, first began production of the rare Rottnest Island Honey late last year.

Only 80 250gm jars of Rottnest Island Honey were produced.

The honey is sold only at Bees Neez Apiaries, located in Beechina, as well at Rottnest Island’s General Store.

The Apis mellifera ligustica, an Italian bee, is taken to Rottnest Island once a year and left to produce a honey free of any contamination.

According to David Leyland, who is also the head of the Bee Keeper Department at the Western Australian Farmers Federation, the honey is perceived to be something special.

“Because there are no feral bees on Rottnest, we can get the sort of matings that we desire, the right characteristics.

“By taking the bees over to Rottnest, we are ensuring that we are producing a pure type of honey free from contamination,” he said.

“This Rottnest Island Honey in reality is not your typical Australian honey as the bees feed off a weed type of plant, giving the honey its sweet yet bitter taste.”

The process of deriving honey from its hive is normally done using machinery, but Rottnest Island Honey is manually hand spun twice after it is extracted from the hives.

This is known as the two-frame extractor process that Mr Leyland says aids in producing its “delicate” flavour.

Rottnest Island Honey may see an increase in production in the future but Mr Leyland says that all depends on how popular the honey is.

“This year we are going to work with seven other bee keeper businesses to produce more of the Rottnest Island Honey.

“If we can buy the honey off them we can produce a bit more but I’m not sure we will go that way yet, it all depends on the demand."

It takes 125 bees one week to produce a single 250gm jar of Rottnest Island Honey.

The average bee produces two teaspoons of honey in its six to eight week lifespan.

The Western Australia Agriculture Department began the process of taking bees from the mainland around 30 years ago.

Daughter Queen bees from the best were mated and assigned to drones at Rottnest Island to ensure quality production of WA honey.

Mr Leyland describes the reason for breeding bees on Rottnest Island.

“In 1978, Western Australia’s borders were closed for any bee imports or bee products.

“To make sure that we continued having good quality bees, they (the Agriculture Department) had to start breeding their own (bees).

“Obviously the Ag Department over at Rottnest Island started breeding bees for the industry and that industry took over.”

Border closure resulted in WA becoming the only state free of European Foulbrood, a disease threatening to wipe out bees worldwide.

WA is also the only state that does not use any pesticides to extract bees from their hives.

Today, 40 per cent of Western Australia’s honey is exported.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

rottnest romance #23

More heart-pounding excitement on the beautiful island as we delve deeper into chapter 3 of the only Bills & Moon novel set on Rottnest. Larissa nibbles on Nick's nuts, and he says she's smart. Love is blossoming faster than Mrs Rotto Bloggo can devour a jam doughnut from the bakery. We're taking bets they'll be licking the tartare sauce of each other's extremeties within a thousand words. Read on...

"I'm afraid not," she said, smiling. So he had remembered she was a vegetarian. For some reason it made her feel pleased.

He offered her a small container. "How about some Waldorf salad?"

"Alright then - thanks. But only if you have some fruit."

"Done," he said with a grin.

They ate together. She reflected that out of his suit and with his mind for the moment not focused on his business he could actually be reasonably pleasant.

"It's a beautiful location here," he said, looking back up at the rocks.

"Yes, it's one of the island's more attractive spots," she agreed.

He slid a sideways look at her. "Perfect for a luxury revolving restaurant and leisure centre, in fact..."

Despite herself she laughed. "Don't you ever leave your work at home/" she asked good-naturedly.

"I was only kidding," he assured her with a grin.

"I know, I know," she said, holding up her hands.

"Actually you're right - I should learn to switch off more, and take time to relax," he admitted.

She took a sip of water, and asked, "Where's Ashleigh?"

He snorted. "Getting on a bike and riding to the other end of an island isn't her idea of a good time. I dare say she's still at the hotel, taking full advantage of room service."

They were silent again. She remembered last night's meeting, and her stalking out after they had argued. Perhaps she should make some sort of apology. But, she thought, he had raised the subject - maybe he should have a word or two of regret to say as well.

"Anyway," he began slowly, "about last night..."

"Yes?" she prompted.

"I think we got off on the wrong foot at dinner."

She thought it had happened when they first met, but she let it go.

He continued, “Perhaps a few of the things I said last night were somewhat uncalled for. If so, then please accept my apologies.”

She sensed he was unused to apologizing, and felt glad he had made the effort. She responded, “I should say the same thing. But…”

“Yes?” he said, turning to look at her intently.

“…I’m not going to take back the meaning of what I said about your plans for Parakeet Bay.”

“I wouldn’t expect you to.”

“Really? Aren’t you going to try and convince me that there’s no alternative to your plan?”

“Can you be convinced?”


“So I’m not going to. You’re an intelligent woman, Larissa, and you’ve obviously given a great deal of thought to what you believe in. I’m not going to try and talk you around to my way of thinking.”

She averted her gaze to her empty lunchbox. She hadn’t expected any compliments. What did he mean by saying them? They had made her feel…what? A Little light-headed, actually.

Friday, September 19, 2008


There was a shriek of anguish last week from the Rotto Bloggo compound when we missed out on an eBay sale of Isle of Girls.

The wonderful Eleanor Smith tome was up for grabs with a starting price of less than $10. We put in a parsimonious bid: just before the auction ended there was a higher bid; we bid again but were pipped at the post by a measly cent. It sold for a meagre $11 - surely we could've bid a dollar or two more.

Such is life. We’re aiming for better luck with an intriguing new item on the online auction giant: a Cedric Emanuel sketch of a heartwarming Rottnest scene.
Cedric was once “Australia's best known pen and pencil sketcher”. He’s in the Art Gallery of NSW and was prolific. The item up for grabs is pencil on paper from the 1970s:

“…serene Little Parakeet Bay, located on Rottnest Island, which is off the West Australian coast near Fremantle. This is a magnificent example of Emanuel's work, and is testament to his unrivalled prowess with the pencil: note the delicate shading of the clouds in the sky (the photos below do not do it justice); the subtle reflections of light across the gentle incoming waves; the detailed stony outcrops that frame the central scene of the tranquil beach.”

When Rotto Bloggo espied it the bidding was at one cent. We went wild and have whacked in a bid of five bucks. The seller cautions us: “An image of this calibre, if offered in a commercial gallery, is likely to attract an asking price of around $1,000-1,200. This represents an excellent opportunity to enter the Australian investment art market at a more affordable level.”

There’s another Cedric on eBay, too, which has 10 bids so far, highest $103: “Emanuel has depicted two charming historic buildings on Rottnest Island, located off the coast of Western Australia near Fremantle. At the upper left portion of the sketch, we see the Rottnest Island Chapel, built in 1858; lower right, the artist has illustrated another quaint stone building. Evident in this artwork is Emanuel's unrivalled skill in illustrating light and shadows cast across buildings.”

Unrivalled even by Caravaggio? That’s a big call. Mind you Caravaggio didn’t do anything on Rotto.

rottnest romance #22

The latest instalment in the thrilling Rottnest Romance, the only Bills & Moon novel to be set on the beautiful island. In these 500 words, the lunch at the West End continues. Larissa is picking at her rabbit food, while evil nasty immoral developer Nick is no doubt gnawing on the femur of a protestor crushed by one of his bulldozers. What will happen next? Our advice: keep reading. Nick's nuts get a mention pretty soon...

Getting up with some reluctance, she went over to him.

“My napkin, I believe,” she said curtly.

“What? Yes, I suppose so,” he said with an air of unconvincing surprise. As she went back to her lunch she felt like laughing at his display of pretense. Of course he had seen her napkin.

She started eating her yogurt. As she ate she looked at the seagulls, over the ocean, wheeling above the waves. After her meal she might go and have a look at the osprey colony in the rocks…

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Nick suddenly get up and walk in her direction. She looked out at the horizon, resolutely ignoring his approach.

“Excuse me.”

She turned her head to him. “Yes?”

“Do you have any salt and pepper, by any chance?”

“Sal and pepper? Er, no, I don’t. Sorry,” she added.

He nodded and trudged back to his spot. She felt a moment of regret she hadn’t bought any seasoning with her, followed by an inward frown. So what if he had been caught short – it wasn’t her problem.

She took the top off her water bottle and poured the last of her water into the top, which served as a cup. Taking a piece of carrot from her salad, she popped it in her mouth and reached for the water. In her distraction she knocked it over. The water trickled out onto the sand, and disappeared as it sank through the grains.

Biting back a curse, she quickly looked across to see if he had noticed her clumsiness.

He was looking at her, a blank expression on his face. She felt unbearably silly – she would bet he was now going to come out with a smart remark about what had happened.

He called out, “Do you want any more water?”

She shook her head, warily returning his look. “No.”

“I’ve still got quite a bit – certainly enough for two.” He picked up a large bottle of mineral water that was still nearly full. Perversely, now that all of her water was gone, she felt quite thirsty.

“That’s generous of you,” she replied hesitantly. “I’d appreciate some.”

“It’s no big deal. But there is one condition.”

She tensed. “Yes?”

“That we sit together sociably, instead of trying to conduct our conversation by yelling from one end of the beach to the other.”

In spite of herself she started to smile. He had a point – there didn’t seem to be much purpose in ignoring each other.

“Shall we meet in the middle?”

She nodded. “OK.”

They gathered up their lunches and moved to the centre of the beach. In silence they sat down again. He took her bottle cap and filled it up with some of his mineral water.

Presently he spoke. “That looks like a healthy lunch.”

“Yes, I suppose it is. Not very exciting, though. What have you got?”

“Smoked salmon sandwiches, along with a salad. I’d offer you a sandwich or a piece of lettuce or walnut, but I suppose you couldn’t accept anything.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rotto gold in Beijing

Yikes: did you see this story on a Paralympian in some Fairfax papers on t'otherside?

Brad Ness is the captain of the Australian wheelchair basketball team. 15 years ago he was a teenage deckhand on a ferry travelling between Rottnest and Perth.

He was standing on a wharf with a rope near his foot. A ferry departed at speed, and the rope zipped through his lower leg.

"We were preparing to leave the pier when the skipper thought he heard me calling 'All clear', but the rope I had was still attached to the quayside," the 33-year-old said. "When the ferry moved out, the rope tightened and sliced off my right foot as neatly as a chef chopping through a carrot."

One leg amputation and some time later and Ness won gold: "led brilliantly by captain Brad Ness", we thrashed Canada in the final.

We have unanswered questions about Brad's accident, though. Which ferry company? On Rotto or the mainland? What happened to the foot? Did the ferry keep on going?

But the overall message is clear: Rottnest is a place for winners.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

to the lighthouse

It's a must-read about Rotto.

Earlier this month we reported Denise Kirby's Body on the Rocks had won the Extensive Reading Foundation's Language Learner Literature Award for Adolescent and Adults, in the Advanced category.

Rotto Bloggo was rushed a review copy - and we can say it's gold.

All the beaches are described as beautiful (but the Basin is the most inviting); there's lots of info about lighthouses, people play Scrabble, there are bike trips out to the West End, there's bakery action - it's a tremendous book.

There are mentions of some of the great Rottnest names: Parker, Angwin, Timperley, Scanlon...

Scanlon? You'll have to read Body on the Rocks to find out more. There are also pics, a glossary, and a quiz at the end.

We're putting it on our Top Ten list of great Rotto reads. It's published in Germany by Hueber for English learners: Body on the Rocks is for a basic vocabulary of around 2000 words.

Monday, September 08, 2008

rottnest romance #21

We're out at the West End and there's gunna be a showdown between Nick and Larissa. Will Nick be exposed by our brave young heroine as a smuggler of high-grade herring and octopus? Or will she whip out her own quokka-shaped bong, inviting him to fill her pipe with the good stuff? Afterwards, will they roll around together in the foamy surf? It's getting exciting in Rottnest Romance...

There were a number of people already there, eating at the picnic buildings and ambling over the walkways. Some were at the edge of the cliffs, gazing out at the dramatic views of the turbulent ocean. She couldn’t see Nick.

Hopefully he had decided to go off and explore the area, she thought optimistically. Shouldering her bag, she admired the view for a moment, and then began to carefully pick her way down to one of the beaches.

Even if Nick was prowling around, there was little risk of him stumbling across where she was going to eat her lunch. She knew a very secluded spot where she had eaten a couple of time before – she liked to think of it as her very own private spot.

Once she had reached the soft yellow sand she took off her sandals and strolled along, enjoying the feeling of the sand between her toes. Her retreat was along the right hand side of the beach. The rock there formed a natural windbreak – she had eaten there while watching the surf break and race up to the shore. Larissa reached the rock, and…

There he was again, stretched out on his side, poking in a lunchbox. He looked up and saw her standing there.

“Hello again. Changed your mind about that lift?”

Her mouth set in determination. “You’re occupying my spot.”

He looked nonplussed. “What do you mean, your spot?”

“I always have lunch in this very spot when I come out here.”

“Is that so? I don’t see any sign telling me that this particular piece of beach is reserved for the use of one person only,” he stated, looking idly around.

It was obvious he wasn’t going to move. She glumly thought she should go and eat somewhere else. But then, seeing him casually laid out, she felt a sudden stab of annoyance. No – why should she be forced to go somewhere else? It was a free country, and she wasn’t going to let his unexpected presence put her off.

She turned on her heels, and strode to a point 20 or so metres away from him. She sat down and looked in her bag. A delicious lunch was in there, and she was going to enjoy it. Never mind about the interloper a bit further down. She could feel him looking at her – it didn’t bother her.

In her lunchbox was a container of yogurt, a salad and some fresh fruit. She took out her fork, spoon and napkin. As she placed them in front of her a breath of wind took the napkin and blew it up in the air. It sailed across to where Nick was, and landed just in front of him.

She froze. What would he think was going on? She could have kicked herself – why hadn’t she tucked the napkin under her lunchbox?

He wasn’t making any move to return it to her, of course. She didn’t relish the idea of using her shirt to wipe her mouth and fingers after she had eaten…she sighed, realizing she would have to retrieve it herself.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

rocking the truck on Rotto

Prostitutes, Homer Simpson, Cat Stevens, Michael Kirby and Rottnest Island.

They all get a mention in this profile in The Australian of new Chief Justice Robert French.

Good to see a WA bloke get to the top of the legal industry - even better that he's spent quality time on the beautiful island.

The story tells of his failed attempt to knock off Kim Beazley Sr in the Federal seat of Fremantle in 1969 (French was president of the Liberal Society at UWA at the time)...

French describes that time as "a lot of fun". He even took a band, Time Peace, on the hustings to support his campaign slogan - pop politics in the swinging seat.

"The high point of the campaign in 69 was when we went over to Rottnest Island," he says.

"We were on the back of a truck outside the Rottnest pub, the band was playing and there was a crowd of about 500. While the band was playing the crowd was rapt.

"They would stop and I would stand up and give a short burst and the crowd would move forward and start rocking the truck.

"We got the band to start playing again."

He never fell victim to a rotten tomato but remembers that "a dog in Willagee bit my trousers. I think it was an ALP dog".

Are the ALP dogs biting today?

Friday, September 05, 2008

rottnest romance #20

More from the third chapter of the only Bills and Moon romance to be set on the beautiful island paradise that is Rottnest, WA. Larissa has huffed and puffed out to the other end of Rotto - and is nearly at the West End when her bike goes bung. Bugger: will she be eaten by feral quokkas? Or will a knight in shining armour come to her rescue, as often happens in works of this genre? Will she get back to Thomson Bay in time to vote tomorrow at Rottnest Primary?

Nick Montagu stopped by her side. He was dressed in faded blue shorts, a T-shirt and deck shoes. Surveying her for a moment, he said, “Hello again. Can I help?”

What incredible bad luck, she thought. It was almost funny.

Larissa swallowed hard. “I just had a slight problem with my bike, and I was wondering if someone could help. I didn’t realise it was you.”

He gave a ghost of a smile. “You mean if you had known it was me you wouldn’t have waved for help?”

“No, that’s not what I meant…”

He got off his bike and put it to one side. “What’s this problem, anyway? Your pedals, by the look of it.”

“You don’t have to bother – I know what’s wrong…” But he was kneeling by her bike, inspecting the damage.

“Your cotter pin is broken,” he announced after a moment.

She sighed. “You don’t say. I know what’s wrong.”

She gave his bike a quick glance. “I was hoping whoever was riding towards me might have a repair kit – but apparently you don’t.”

“Nope. You’ll need a bit more than a tyre patch to fix this, though.”

“I know how to replace a cotter pin, thank you. I need a small spanner and a wedge of metal to act as a temporary pin. I’ve got all that stuff in my repair kit.”

“Where is your repair kit?”

She hesitated. “Well, it’s at home,” she admitted, feeling foolish.

He gave her a look from his kneeling position. “Not much good there, is it?”

She didn’t trust herself to reply. Why didn’t he just go away?

“Are you going out to this Cape – Vlamingh, is it? – further on?” he asked, straightening up again.

“Yes,” she said, and them immediately regretted saying so. It wasn’t any of his business.

“So am I. Would you like a lift?”

She looked at him, incredulous. Surely he couldn’t be serious! She wasn’t going to accept any help from him.

“No, thank you,” she replied frostily. “I’m quite capable of walking.”

He must have detected the chilly note in her voice. “Fine,” he said abruptly. He got on his bike again, and pedaled away from her without so much as a backward glance.

She looked balefully at his back as he rode up the final crest. She could see the muscles in his legs working as he smoothly tackled the hill. His arms, too, showed some muscle as he gripped the handlebars…

With an impatient shake of her head she grasped her bike and began trudging towards the Cape.

Nick had better not pester her while she was there, she thought ferociously. If he followed her around she would tell him in no uncertain terms to remove himself.

After ten minutes of brisk walking she reached the Cape. The road stopped at a couple of picnic buildings, and a wooden walkway led out further to the edge of the cliff. Down below were sandy, inviting stretches of beach. Larissa knew from her past visits that, although the Cape seemed quite small in size, there were numerous nooks and crannies that you could explore for the whole day.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Rotto book wins award

Get ready for an influx of German backpackers to the beautiful island paradise.

They'll be paying homage to the award-winning novel, Body on the Rocks, written by former West Aussie Denise Kirby (and blogged about earlier this year here).

Rotto Bloggo can reveal the book has just won the Extensive Reading Foundation's Language Learner Literature Award for Adolescent and Adults, in the Advanced category.

The ERF is a not-for-profit organization that supports and promotes extensive reading in language education: stories designed for English language learners, with graded vocabulary and grammar.

Denise (a Perth actor for some years before moving to Sydney) writes fiction for young people. Body on the Rocks was published by International Language Teaching Services, who have a series of graded fiction readers licensed to publishers around the world, including Hueber Verlag in Germany.

"Denise is thrilled that the award might help bring Rotto to an even wider international audience," ILTS told Rotto Bloggo.

Wunderbar for Rottnest! If you see holidaymakers from Hamburg pigging out on cream buns by the bakery, thank Denise Kirby.

More details on the ERF awards here: