Saturday, October 25, 2008

quokka song

We’re not familiar with Dan Warner’s work. He’s a musician in Melbourne, and according to Fairfax, ‘he has written songs and performed as part of the Warner Brothers, Overnight Jones, the cultish Dan & Al, Dan & Kev and as a solo artist, releasing 10 albums, including his new second solo record Night Parrots.’

But he’s alright by us: ‘He began playing the guitar at five and as a child growing up in Perth adored John Denver. Neil Young and Bob Dylan soon took the mantle and by the time Warner was 11 he had written his first song.

"It was about Rottnest Island and it even had a line about a quokka in it. It was called The Island and it was so bad."’

Rubbish! It must have been marvellous. We need more songs with quokka lyrics, and more songs about Rotto. The Quokkas Cricket Club are working on their team song, it seems, but we can’t see the words.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

the midas touch

How much moolah is Dome losing on Rotto? Enough to buy at least three loaves of bread from the bakery.

Here are progress shots taken over a couple of days. The old one is gone and the new is further than a lick of paint from completion.

When is it going to be ready? No idea. No word on the Dome website (although you can apply for a job).

The digger in the photo was running but stationary. The radio in the cabin was going full-blast: we thought it was just to provide tunes for the blokes standing around.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

age of aquarius passed

How good is catching $200 worth of fish for about ten bucks worth of bait? Pretty outstanding. More on the fishing later: we’ve been tardy in blogging about our recent paradisiacal four days on Rottnest, and will try harder.

The plush bayfront Geordie unit was mostly in order. On the first morning there was an electrical issue: when we plugged in our Aquarius toaster, it shorted out half the place. A phone call to the accommodation crowd, and that afternoon a near-new Tiffany toaster was delivered (but they forgot to take the dud Aquarius with them).

The wire screen doors were an issue. The springs were buggered, so they would slam shut if you weren’t careful. “That bloody door”, someone would remark occasionally, as it (yet again) slammed.

There was also no ashtray.

But minor quibbles, these, for the luxury that is the beautiful island. More reports following in the next few days. We did like this Phil Haberland assessment of the Rotto zeitgeist: “I was sitting on the veranda of my Rottnest villa in Nappy Alley, overlooking Thomson Bay. For $200 a night, I was feeling as rich and spoilt as Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. If you must endure school holidays, this isn't a bad place to prop for a week. In fact, I could think of no better place in the world.”

Phil noted the important-looking plaque outside the bike hire shed that Premier Barnett opened when he was Minister for Tourism in January 1994.

“…this island paradise remains one of the great jewels in the WA crown. It needs to be treasured and nurtured,” Phil wrote.

“People have been bagging the island of late, saying it's cheaper to go to Bali (blah, blah). But, if you haven't been over there for a few years, I suggest you go and have another look…to hear all the children say in unison, ‘Dad, can we come to Rottnest every year?’ is to confirm them as dinky-di West Australians.”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

island time

In a few short hours we’ll be either strolling around Thomson Bay, sitting on our luxurious Geordie Bay balcony, or wetting a line off a jetty. Four days on Rotto. We last glimpsed the beautiful island a few days ago, from a retirement village in the heights of City Beach. It was a clear day, and it looked as though you could’ve jumped across.

We won’t be illegal fishing (today’s pic, of those naughty alleged fishermen the other day, is via Fisheries), or diving (see here for a science feature that opens off ‘the Australian resort island of Rottnest’) while trying to work out how to harness wave energy.

We’re taking three books, a pile of marking and a stubby holder. We’re not taking the laptop, the alarm clock or stress.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

rottnest romance #25

Time for another pulse-racing, adrenaline-rushing, brow-fevering instalment of Rottnest Romance, the only Bills & Moon romance set on the beautiful island. Before we get to the fabulous fiction, you may want to check out this ad in today's paper. Cleaners on Rotto! The ferry leaves at 0730 and the gig pays a whopping $18 an hour. We are seriously tempted. We could stand outside units and shout at people waiting hopefully to get in before 2pm: "It's not fucken ready yet, whaddaya lookin at cunt?" This ad could be just the thing for our RR heroine Larissa - you'll recall she's dissatisfied with her ferry work. She might become a cleaner and have the contractors using Enjo and no chemicals within a week.

The ad says call ISS on 9445 4467 or text ROTT to 0438 965 407. We texted immediately, but no response as yet. Keep you posted.
That made her pause. Why would he be racking his brains over what they had named her ferry? It gave her a peculiar feeling – the thought he would be thinking about her. For a moment she wondered if any other aspects of her life had also claimed his thoughts…

He leaned over and poured some more water into her cup. Casually he asked, “How old are you, Larissa?”

“I’m twenty-six. Why?”

“Just wondering. You’ve been involved with the ferry for five years, yes?”

“That’s right.” She curled her toes in the warm sand, slightly uncomfortable with his questions.

“What did you do before the Daisy?”

“I went to university in Perth. I did a degree in environmental studies…”

“I should have guessed,” he interrupted dryly.

“…while Marjorie did a business degree. She’s the brains behind the operation.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” he said quietly. “How long have you been on Rottnest?”

She hesitated, and decided to fib. “A few months. Marjorie and I are supposed to swap every now and then, but we haven’t got around to it lately, for various reasons.”

He stretched out on his back, placing his hands behind his head. There was a smile playing around his lips.

“That isn’t what I heard,” he murmured.

“Why – what did you hear?”

“Your sister told me you haven’t been off the island in nearly a year – not even across to Perth for a weekend.”

She was indignant, and felt her face colour. Marjorie again! She had a mouth as big as the Sydney harbour Bridge.

“Well, I suppose that’s right, now I come to think of it,” she admitted in a tight voice.

“Isn’t life here…well, a bit quiet?”

“By that you mean dull, don’t you?” she demanded.

“Not at all – I just meant that it…”

She cut him off with a curt tone. “I find it suits me. Maybe I’m not as outgoing as everyone else, but I don’t need hundreds of other people around me to keep me happy.”

He sat up again and seemed about to say something, but kept his silence. Just as well, she thought. She was tiring of his questions and opinions about her lifestyle. Just because it didn’t match his busier, high-powered existence didn’t mean that it was wrong.

She decided to start probing with some questions of her own, as he ate the last of his salad.

“Where do you call home, then, Nick?”

“Home for me is where the project I’m working on is,” he replied, “although I suppose I most relax on the Gold Coast.”

“Do you have a wife and family?”

He laughed. “Not me – no time!”

She had thought as much. No doubt it was quite convenient for him, having his assistant for his girlfriend – or did he regard that arrangement the other way around? She noticed a dab of mayonnaise from his salad was on his chin, and she had a sudden urge to lean across and wipe it off.

Friday, October 10, 2008

quokka com pewter

We might be missing out on Rotto gems on eBay, but we snagged this superb item today: a pewter quokka. An associate of taste (The Lazy Aussie at The Worst of Perth) tipped us off about this item.

We rushed to the shop and lo, it was still there. And look at the (strange) price! It was originally $14.30 – a massive saving.

This is going straight in the poolroom. This is solid pewter: the tail is nice and strong and will be handy for aural cavity excavation. The little fella doesn’t have any eyes, so he won’t be upset.

We’d take it to the beautiful island on Sunday – yes, Rotto Bloggo has four nights coming up, in primo Geordie beachfront – but we don’t want to run the risk of losing it.

Lots of news happening in and around the island. According to Aunty, Fisheries Officers have swooped (like a hungry gull) on 147kg of scallops.

A torch has been on Rotto to spruik climate change. And Japanese lizard smugglers were apprehended after an investigation began when the men visited Rottnest Island.

Will our bucolic 72 hours be interrupted by breaking news? One can only hope.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

fight for survival

We wrote about those strong winds of Rotto earlier this week. How strong? A bloke called Frank Okely found out how strong on Tuesday. He was going to have a leisurely paddle from Thomson ‘round to Longreach, but ended up at Floreat.

(For our small army international readers: that’s kind of like intending to paddle from Keflavik to Reykjavik, but ending up at Scotland…or starting from Netanya and aiming at Jaffa, and finding yourself at Crete).

Excellent job from the mainstream media in covering this huge Rotto news: see the leads below…

“Never underestimate the sea,” Frank told reporters. Ah, the sea. As we’ve quoted Clive James quoting Jacques Cousteau before, there is no sentiment to the sea: zere is only ze struggle to survive.

WA Today: A Perth kayaker who is lucky to be alive after his journey around Rottnest Island went horribly wrong spoke of his ordeal today. A 48-year-old West Leederville man has described how an afternoon paddle on a kayak turned into a fight for survival.

Perth Now: A PERTH man blown off course while kayaking around Rottnest Island could not fight the strong ocean currents so he paddled nearly 22km to the mainland.

ABC Perth: Police say a 48-year-old man is lucky to be alive after being swept away from Rottnest Island in a kayak.

( and the ABC mention a place called Thomsons Bay, and Perth Now calls it Thompsons Bay - oops.)

There were some charming reader comments on Perth Now: this from Andrew of Broome: 'FOOL !!!! So much time and money is wasted on unprepared fools like this , they should be made responsible even if it makes them bankrupt. I am sick and tired of the daily expense nowdays to find fools like this, I don't pay tax for fools.'

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

rottnest romance #24

Time for the latest eye-popping instalment of Rottnest Romance, the only Bills & Moon romance set on the beautiful island. And a warm hello to our regular readers from Iceland and Israel! Nick and Larissa are still on the beach having their lunch. Will there be a rockfall, entombing them under limestone? Unlikely - we still have seven and a bit chapters to go. When is the horizontal folk dancing going to start? A bit of post-prandial action coming up, perhaps? Read on with bated breath to find out...


He gave a contented sigh. “This really is a perfect setting for a quiet lunch. How often do you come here?”

“Not often enough,” she said ruefully. “With our ferry, I have to be near Thomson Bay most of the time. It’s not a lot of work, but I have to be around in case there are any problems.”

“How is the ferry business, anyway?” he asked casually.

“Not bad,” she said, “summer’s our best time, of course. So at the moment business is good. I don’t know, though…”

“What?” he prompted her.

She paused, uncertain. She had felt a sudden urge to confide in him – to tell him how she really felt about the ferry business. Was it wise? Impulsively she decided to go ahead.

“I wonder if I’m really cut out for business life. Lately I’ve been losing my spark for it.”

She had his attention. He was propped up on an elbow, looking at her. “Go on.”

“At first it was fun, setting it up. Struggling through the first couple of years. But lately…I think Marjorie’s the real driving force behind it these days.”

“Why do you think you feel like that?”

“I don’t know,” she said with feeling. “Maybe I need to do something else…” Her voice trailed off.

“Hmm,” he mused, looking out at the sea again. After a moment he said slowly, “Could it be that, deep down, you’re worried about the effect of your ferry?”

She raised her head. “What do you mean?”

“Think about it. Your ferry brings people to Rottnest. They have a good time, and come back again. You carry across more people. They have to be catered for, with restaurants, facilities…places to stay, like cottages. So you have a direct hand in the development of Rottnest as a popular tourist place.”

She gave him a sharp look. “You’re saying that unconsciously I’m upset at the role I have in the way Rottnest is changing?”

“Does it sound right?”

“No,” she replied with some force. “I mean, I know what I think about things – there’s no deep mystery to it.”

“OK,” he shrugged, “so my theory isn’t right.”

Frowning, she glanced at him as he looked out to sea again. He was basically hinting she was like him – using the island for personal gain. Her mind drew back sharply from the notion – because it wasn’t true. She had a sudden slackening in her recently improved opinion of him. If he had come out and said it bluntly, she would have been rather cross.

“Incidentally, why is your boat called the Daisy?” he asked.

“It’s named after a wildflower that grows here – the Blue Lace Flower. It’s actually a light purple – it grows all over the island from September to November. At that time you can see whole stretches of the island covered in daisies. We thought it would be a nice name when we started the business,” she explained.

“It is,” he agreed. “A wildflower! I was racking my brains and though you had named it after your mother or someone like that.”