Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Random quokka

Someone from the shire put up this sign a few days ago, well I think it was them. Parks and Wildlife have denied any responsibility. It's just outside my driveway. While there are rumours of quokkas around here, I've never seen one. The most random thing about this sign is that it faces traffic on their way back out to the highway. You'd have to dodge these mythical creatures for ten kilometres on the way here before even seeing this sign.

The shire have been busy on the mountain road too. On one of my last journeys to the fire tower, I saw two similar signs; one of a horse and another a deer. Apparently there are feral horses and red deer out in those badlands. No mention of kangaroos, emus or feral pigs, though I see them every day.
Might write the shire a letter requesting a thylacine sign, seeing as they are definitely the main suspect (that I never see) in eating all the quokkas (that I never see).

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

'This wave will humble you'

For the first time in hstory, a woman has surfed The Right and survived it.
Photo by Chris Gurney
Most locals around here know about this wave but for those Of Other Places, The Right is a legendary wave and one of the biggest, lumpiest and nastiest wavesi n the world. It only really works when the swell gets to eight metres and is just down the road from where I live. 

Immediately after, or even during a big storm, four wheel drives towing jet skis start arriving in town. When I worked at the coffee shop, foreign big wave surfers would come in early for a coffee and then reappear in the late afternoon looking dazed and hungry. I've spoken to some old timers at the pub who used to paddle out to this wave but these days they are tow-ins. They are invariably young men who fly in from all over the place when The Right is working.

Now, there's Gracetown's Laura Macauley.

Photo by Anthony Pancie
 Here's a link to some video of Laura surfing The Right thanks to the ABC.

And here's some more footage of The Right:

Friday, June 5, 2020

Rip tide

So strange to hear waves on a still afternoon in an inlet closed to the sea. There is a tide now and the tide is returning, lapping on the shore.

The sea rose up; a king tide, a full moon and a nine metre swell. The sea pushed through the sand bar and into the inlet. "Never before in living memory," said Ms Mer who has netted fish here for half a century, "has the bar been broken by the sea."

My sister sings by the fire, as Ms Mer's boat beetles back from setting over night nets. Owlet nightjars sing their coordinates as they fly across the inlet to roost. Waves lap the shore and the boat's wake arrives to slap against the rocks. Sister sings Riptide by the fire.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

On piggers taking control of a zoom meeting

It was a while ago now but I keep on promising this story so I guess I'm going to have to put out at some stage. I've been off grid for five years and adapted my life to work and home. Some people would see me as a comrade living in North Korea: sitting in the dark with a wind up radio. That is pretty close. Candles are nice. I've had a single solar panel powering what a solar tech guy recently called a motorcycle battery, in not wholly admiring linguistics.

So, given that the campuses had shut down and we ran all our tutorials and meetings via zoom, it was a time for maximum exploitation of tech and time. I got onto it pretty much a week before anyone else (except the insurers) because I'd been working remotely for years anyway.

Apart from the laundromat and my friend's back veranda, both with power point and internet access, this was my most common teaching room. I've run it from my car.

It's my in-range spot and a great place to make calls, five kilometres from my home. This is also not a great place to call anyone during a storm. Ten days ago ... see below.

photo courtesy of OzStory
 I've spent several hours at a time on the phone at this in-range spot, while the original pandemic stuff played out and work meetings went online, full of peering administrators trying to work out who was there. Some meetings were funny and joyous, particularly with students, and others were like aghh.

During this particular meeting, I was still feeling smug about having a work meeting in a karri forest rather than the bedroom or cramped office that I could see everyone else zooming in from, when a 4WD full of people and dogs stopped beside me. 
'Are you okay?' one of the blokes asked. 'Not broken down or anything?'

It's the nicest thing to do and something I've noticed a lot when I'm in my in range spot in the forest recently. I'm having a work meeting and people stop to ask if I'm okay. The problem with this occasion was that they were pig hunters, I had my dog on the back and I was intently listening to how someone had just run a 'virtual field trip' while the campus was shut to students.

Yes, all hell broke loose. Their dogs spilled off the back of the ute (pig hunters leave one side of the cage open so their dogs can smell wild pigs and get started) and started trying to attack Selkie through the open window. My dog went ballistic and the worst thing was that I'd forgotten to turn the mute off my mic during the meeting. I'm shouting, they are shouting, all the dogs are shouting, everyone is shouting. A bit of fruity cursing.

The only people not shouting were my boss and colleagues, staring from their living room desk tops. I'd pretty much shot down the whole meeting. Lesson for the day? Turn on your mute button before the pig dogs take over your zoom meeting and assume total control.